We were exploring Bangkok slowly, taking our time. After the Indian craziness we couldn’t just start resting, we needed to unwind carefully and it turned out not to be so easy. The island Koh Phayam that we’ve chosen for our dream holiday wasn’t what we expected or needed, so we cut it short. It turned out to be a good move as we only stayed in a hostel for one night and we made new friends. How? Read and find out! :)
There is a lot to explore in Bangkok. It was a shame that we didn’t have a host on CouchSurfing as it is always so much better to be shown places by a local! However, as we mentioned in a previous post, we stayed in a really nice hostel, from which we took a short walk everyday to our favourite food street. There was a river on the way with a bus… boat stop.
You could buy anything on the streets of Bangkok, but we were still surprised to see a cat in a bowl on one market stand!
This whole trip to Asia has enriched our culinary sides. New tastes, new colours, new shapes – all of that was within our grasp. We wandered through streets, stopping every now and lured by delicious smell of various products. For example, we found rice on a stick in a shape of a heart. Or sweet pancakes. Or delicious fruit. And so many, many more.
Tired and a bit worn out, we let a few days days pass and then we decided to move to our dream location. Due to excess travelling we craved for some peace and silence. So, we decided to go to the small island, Koh Phayam where we wanted to spend “proper holidays”.
After a whole night bus journey we made it to Ranong – a city from which we wanted to take a boat to the island. Very tired and sticky due to a general hotness and humidity, we waited for our turn in a crowd of Europeans, watching a cute little girl helping her dad with preparation for the trip.
Koh Phayam and its tricky laziness
The water didn’t fill the whole canal because of the low tide, so the landscape presented itself in a muddy way. The speed boat transported us to Koh Phayam in about 50 minutes.
On the boat we befriended a Polish couple, Justyna and Damian, and we kept in touch for the rest of our stay there (hopefully for a longer time also ^^). We’ve had lunch together and went our ways, after all we’ve had a bungalow booked! They didn’t stay far from us.
Our place was called Lazy Hut (check out their FB page too). It was quite cheap for a standard we got (500THB/night), the huts were made of bamboo and they were quite clean. Also, they lay on secluded part of the beach so there were not too many people around making it a nice place for peace seekers.
Koh Phayam is very small, with no permanent electricity access (except generators) and low population. It has also a plentiful of guest bungalows. They are made of bamboo and are set on two big beaches of the island – Aow
Yai (the Sunset Bay) and Aow Khao Kwai (The Buffalo Bay), both of which have white sand, shallow, beautiful water and almost no people. In the middle there is a National Park, some rubber trees plantations and Eastern side has a pier, fishing nets and is more for “local” people. The Island has no cars on it, only some scooters and tractors. It means that if you want to move around without walking too much you must rely on either scooter rental, or hiring a scooter taxi which can take your luggage and only one person. That’s exactly what we did.
The first thing we did after checking in was a nap. Our room had a mosquito net which made Niki very calm and happy.
Later, we went for a walk to the beach. Sun didn’t greet us that day, there was quite a sleepy and grey atmosphere all around us. Niki was collecting shells and Nick was chasing crabs. These little creatures are so fast you wouldn’t believe it! It was impossible to take a photo.
We sat down, ordered a banana-coconut milkshake and looked at each other. Now what? That’s it? We were already so bored! Food was also three times more expensive here than in Bangkok… Do we really want to spend here 7 nights? Oops.
Trying to adjust to the laid-back reality
All the nights were nightmares for Niki due to the fact that it’s the time when all the spiders and cockroaches come out. And these spiders were in a size of a hand…! We’ve had a mosquito net, yes, but Niki was still quite uncomfortable with the idea that these monsters walk around us.
Luckily, the next day was sunny. It helped a lot with choosing activities for the day. After a nice breakfast we tried to build a sand castle, but the water washed it away pretty quickly (high tide). Nick was doing some hand stands and went surfing, while Niki was enjoying milkshakes and was running after Nick with a camera. Moreover, we discovered a delicious dessert – banana slices cooked in coconut milk. Om nom nom!
The day passed actively, we were having a lot of fun as the waves provided Nick with happy surfing, Niki with a good opportunity to take pictures and both of us with a very pleasant day. It was quite surprise for us that we could have so much to do here. Later in the evening when we could relax with a good dinner, have some read and lastly, see a stunningly beautiful sunset. We experienced a bonfire too as it turned out we had newlyweds among guests. Interesting enough, it was also young wife’s birthday so we had a chance to eat a cake, enjoy a free beer and sing “Happy Birthday”.
We also decided to stay here only 3 nights instead of 7 what made us much more relaxed. Spending so much money for food and all in all, boredom, wasn’t definitely our cup of tea. More, we got used to travelling and staying in places with local people. On Koh Phayam we were surrounded by Germans, Englishmen and other Europeans what wasn’t what we were looking for.
The next day the sky was grey again. The fun thing was, it brought a thunderstorm and all people went to the water to chase the waves. There were more swimmers at that moment than through entire sunny previous day. The rain was actually colder than the Ocean so Niki stayed in the water for about an hour while Nick grabbed a surfing board again. It was the first time Niki wasn’t afraid to dive under big waves and jump over smaller ones all by herself!
We spent the evening talking with our new friends from Poland. Nick felt a bit down without street performances so he whipped up some bubble juice and went to make some soap bubbles at the beach. Unfortunately, he was missing some ingredients so they weren’t as spectacular as usual.
Going back to Bangkok
We were very happy to leave Koh Phayam – it definitely is not a type of travel we enjoy. This time we took a slow boat, which needed 2 hours to get back to Ranong. It had the most uncomfortable benches in the world, however Niki tried to take a short nap during the cruise.
From the shore to the bus terminal we took a sŏrngtăaou (‘two rows’; a small pick-up truck outfitted with two facing benches for passengers), which was way cheaper than a rickshaw or taxi. It would be a nice travel but our fellow passengers turned out to be far from polite. At first, a French couple, a girl from Canada and us were talking in English, but suddenly the French guy asked the girl from America where she’s from. After finding out that she’s from Quebec, he said: “Oh, so you can speak French!” and they started talking in their language, completely excluding us from the conversation. Yeah.
We’ve waited few hours at the bus station and spent yet another night on the bus. We reached Bangkok at 6.30am, waited an hour and walked to JC Hostel. Our beds weren’t ready yet, so we’ve had a nap on a sofa in their lounge. :)
After dinner we did the most amazing thing in the world of travellers; something we’ve been waiting to do for such a long time. LAUNDRY!!!
That day we also got our CS request approved by a lovely German girl Lena. She already had Couchsurfers at home, but she said there’s still space for us. Before that we decided to visit one part of Bangkok – Chinatown. I must say, it was much different from what we expected. We saw amazing temples on the way, of course, but the inner part was a huge marketplace. :)
It was amazing to walk through the streets and see basically everything for sale. We are sure that we would find anything we wanted if we searched hard enough there. We strolled around the district and ate some amazing food (again!) and later we went back to the hostel to pack and leave to Lena’s place.
We left to her house the day after, with the detailed description of how to get there. I must say that was the craziest ride by local means of transport that we’ve ever had. First we had to take a bus boat. Fine. We jumped in, sat down and had to hold on to our hats – the boat was going extremely fast!! With a narrow canal and passing by other boats we were pretty shocked.
We changed a boat at the end of its line and got to a place from which we had to walk to a bus stop and have a short ride further. The bus drivers seem to be as crazy as the boat drivers, seriously… Lena picked us up 2km before her house and when we finally made it there, we were happily greeted by Rui (a Portugese CouchSurfer) and her two dogs.
Even though we were tired, we still wanted to go and see a night market. You could find some pretty weird stuff there, not only One Piece (yay!) pictures and clothes, but also food.
It turns out our next week we shall spend in Bangkok area where we want to rest and prepare ourselves to the Christmas season. We will work as hard as possible then to regain our funds and keep on swimming. Until next time! Ciao!