Koh Phayam – Part 1
After one night in Ranong which essentially consisted of Craig throwing up and some intense iodine application to numerous infected bites/cuts on his feet, we were not sure if he was going to be well enough for the two hour boat to Koh Phayam. However, after finding out that our room had already been reserved by someone else for the next night, we decided to brave it.
Following a very iffy bus ride to the Pier (for Craig) we had an hour to wait for the boat. Luckily “Dr Mel”, as I have renamed myself, found a local Thai herbal remedy (Flying Rabbit) for upset stomachs and that seemed to work a treat, along with a lime which was kindly donated to us by a French man who seemed to know what he was talking about, and may have been an actual doctor.
The journey to Koh Phayam was probably the most excited I have been yet, simply because I had a very good idea what was in store for us, and I had insisted that we could not go to Thailand without a visit.
Every traveller dreams of finding their own little paradise, comparable to the one found by Richard in ‘The Beach’, (btw, read the book it is way better than the film). Six years ago when I was on my last travelling adventure, a few friends and I spent around two weeks on this island, and I have been raving about it to anyone who will listen ever since. Admittedly at that time it was the back end of high season, and this was one of the reasons for its quiet serenity, and visiting again smack bang in the middle of high season, I could not expect to encounter the same empty white sandy beach. So there was that fear of tainting one of my favourite memories of my life, but I didn’t care, I had to go!!!
We found a lovely hut back off the beach to stay in, and bartered 50B off the daily price because we were staying for 4 nights (450B per night). Our hut was one of the nicest places I have stayed in in Thailand so far, the highlights being; a mozzie net with no holes, an actual sink where the water doesn’t drain out onto your feet, shelves for our stuff and even a lock on the door.
I unpack as fast as possible and practically run the 200m down to the beach, bursting with anticipation and excitement. As the beach comes into view those old memories come flooding back. A huuuge long beach, the tide out so far it takes 5 minutes to walk to the sea, on the sand along the way are millions of crab holes, with tiny little balls of sand surrounding them in symmetrical patterns.
Stop one, Joker Bar, does it still look the same? Is Annie still there? Do the Banana Rotis still taste just as good? I practically run down the beach, Craig just about keeping up! It was still the same, she was still there, and we would find out the next day that the Banana Rotis are still just as good. After watching the sunset and as evening set in, I could tell Craig was getting increasingly frustrated with my anecdotal tour guide act with every bar and tree swing we passed. I realised I had to stop myself and see what Koh Phayam had to offer us now!
The following day we spent the whole morning and early afternoon reading on the beach. I was reading Animal Farm, and Craig a book about North Korea, so you can imagine the heavy Communist based conversations we were having… Possibly my second favourite thing in the world after being on Koh Phayam 🙂
So after a GREAT morning we decided to rent a moped and explore the Island. We went to the next beach up ‘Buffalo Bay’ and watched a beautiful sunset, although I was somewhat distracted by this girl doing hoop, as she was pretty damn awesome!! From our sunset viewing point I saw this wooden structure sticking out onto the beach which looked like a broken pirate ship, I was intrigued to say the least, so we hopped back on the moped and went to explore.
Now I am not sure I can do this place justice with words, and it was only ever night time when we visited, so our pictures don’t quite capture it, but search “Hippy Bar Koh Phayam” on Google and see for yourself. A two storey bar built over a period of 7-8 years entirely from drift wood collected from the beach (or at least that’s the story we were told). This place is an architectural marvel, it really shouldn’t be standing… But it is!!!
Sitting there with an almost full moon behind us, I couldn’t help but feel like one of the lost boys from Peter Pan. All of the bar men looked like different characters from a Thai version of Pirates of the Caribbean, and the standard hippy clientele smoking wacky bakky and comparing the length of their dreads were around on every platform. We only stayed for one beer on this evening, but planned to return the next night as they were apparently hosting a pretty bangin’ full moon party. To be continued….