"I'm now sat in my hammock swinging gently in the breeze feeling totally chilled."
When we started this trip we blocked out the last 3 months for Thailand. This was due to previous trips that had been amazing. Five years on though, and over the course of the year we began to realise through stories from other travellers and in the news that the Thailand we remember is maybe long gone!
I'm now sat in my hammock swinging gently in the breeze feeling totally chilled. We are on a small island in the south of Thailand called Koh Yao Noi, it's exactly what we were hoping for. Not too many tourist, great climbing, food and beaches; basically paradise.
Internet searches for this place will not tell you much as information is passed through word of mouth. "Where is good to eat?" "Where can you watch sunset?" This means when you go to these places they still feel special and there are not hundreds of people there.
Close to where we are staying the sun rises from the sea at 6:30 everyday and to miss it seems to be a crime. The sun is my bedside lamp. Even if I try to sleep in my body wakes me to see this beautiful sight everyday as if it knows we will not be here forever.
I sit on the wall as Sarah does Tai Chi on the beach and the sun provides the most dramatic back drop. It feels like the Truman show! If I take a boat and sail to the horizon will I hit it? It's just too perfect to be real.
We are both so glad we chose this island and we will stay here now untill our visa runs out. We have met some great people who return to this place every year for months at a time. Could this be the place for me and Sarah to live forever? Who knows but it's exciting to think one day it might be.
We have spent some great days climbing here. The rock is beautiful and the climbing is great fun. Perfect days spent at coastal walls with the bright turquoise Andaman Sea providing a dramatic exposed backdrop. It's still hard to believe it's real when you turn around to see it. The motorbike ride to the crag is an adventure in itself followed by a hike through a section of jungle that's alive with all sorts of great animals. Hornbills fly from branch to branch chatting while eagles sore high above. A six foot water monitor prowls around the jungle floor and beautiful monkeys with hair like a lions mane and blue tribal paints on their faces watch us as we climb. Vibrant green snakes cross our path as we drive in, it's like being on safari everyday. Some of our friends also witnessed a king cobra killing a mouse right by the place we park our scooters!! Amazing and a little scary if you think about it for too long. The developers of this island really deserve a pat on the back for sharing this place with everyone.
Rest days are spent on hidden beaches with no people or sun loungers to be seen anywhere. The sea is clear and just right for a dip when the heat is too much. We have been massaged and drank from fresh coconuts, I mean if your not a little bit jealous yet I'd be surprised. Along with resting comes my second favourite thing EATING!!!
We have managed to find beautiful tasty, cheap thai food. Parcels of sweet sticky mango and Jack fruit rice for only 5baht (10p). Curried rice and spicy rice salad with chicken and egg to take to the crag only 40 baht. Mouth watering duck noodle soup again only 40 baht(80p). The list could go on... And I'm sure it will as we keep finding more great surprises on this great little spot.
It's exactly the sort of place all you guys back at home think we have been all year!
This island is predominately Muslim which is great and keeps this island closer to its original state. Alcohol is hard to find and expensive, keeping away the boozer tourists and slowing down the mutation into another Phuket or Koh Samui. The call to prayer is beautifully heard all over the island whether you're just waking in bed or laying on the beach. The general respect for everyone can be felt strongly here also the locals are here to survive not rip you off. You are treated with the respect of a local which is rare to find anywhere in Asia. Please if you come to this place respect their culture and beliefs too. I've already met people on this trip moaning about the call to prayer waking them up, wearing virtually no clothes to walk around and wanting for western food. You have to realise it's these things that will ruin this beautiful place.
So now finally at the end of our trip we are here on island paradise. We can be smug and think of the office back home from our hammocks on the beach. We're living in bounty advert!! For a while anyway.
The strange thing about this whole trip is people keep telling us how lucky we are. Luck has nothing to do with why we are here, we made this trip happen through changing our priorities, saving hard and wanting to break away from the hum drum of life in the west. And the great news for all of you is anyone can do it.. The question is do you want to?