Archive for ‘January, 2022’

Here’s to another year in Thailand!

What better way to start the year than to go on an adventure? Dropping Joshua and Sandra off at the airport was sad and the idea of going back home was horrid. So, we dropped them and kept driving north to Ranong. Ranong is a small border town, not a lot to do, sleepy but pleasant for a night; before Covid, most people came here for a visa run to Myanmar. The food was good though and we had an amazing breakfast! Before Ranong, we stopped at Memories Bar in Koh Lak. Nice little place, surfers paradise and a perfect spot for a weekend getaway from Phuket.

And to Ranong! Geoff found us some street art… A very old barber’s shop and a cat.

Strange things do happen and the world can at times feel like a very small place. After stopping for petrol and bumping into someone I used to work with in Bangkok, we then bumped into somebody else we used to know, from Geoff’s school in Bangkok. Jon L! We had a really good catch up with Jon and Pat and it turned out that they were staying in the same hotel and in the room next to ours!!! Go figure… We had an amazing Thai breakfast, the best Thai breakfast I’ve had in Thailand before getting on a boat to Koh Phayam.

Koh Phayam is a very small island, about 45.00 km2, it has no roads and no cars and the population is around 500 people. It is unspoiled and rustic and some places still have no electricity. It is a hippy, rasta kind of island and a great place to chill. There are 2 main beaches on the island, Ao Yai and Ao Kao Kwai (Buffalo Bay). Both are very beautiful and at the moment, extremely quiet and unspoiled.

Ranong Pier

There is so much space on this beach! A lot of places were closed due to Covid and the sense of space and freedom was just amazing. Although it is now becoming more developed, the island is still very rustic with no frills. There are a few places to eat and some cafes dotted around the island but all are pretty basic. No chance of getting a decaf here. Came across a wonderful little Japanese bakery by Bamboo Bungalows on long beach. She makes beautiful bread, cakes and sandwiches. If you ever visit, go there. It was our favourite place!

This is the weirdest sand ever. It sounds like snow! It is so loud when you walk on it…

There is only one temple on the island and it is at the end of a small pier which is rather unusual.

The next place to visit was Buffalo Bay. One end was not particularly nice but the end where the Hippy Bar is, is particularly beautiful. I am being fussy now…

One of the highlights of being in Phayam was watching the sunset from the Hippy Bar. This is a really crazy and amazing reclaimed wooden construction that goes on for ever. The bit you see on the beach is like a pirate ship jutting out but as you walk inside it goes on to all sorts of nooks and crannies, walkways and lounging areas. Incredible!

And another really lovely bar, precariously build on the side of the cliff which has beautiful views. I really have no idea how they build this stuff or how safe it is…

We read about a beach in the north that was quite hard to get to! If you don’t want to meet people, go to Ao Kwangpeep, also called Monkey Bay – a tiny little beach at the northernmost point. However, to get there is not easy and not completely harmless either. With Geoff’s riding skills this was a walk in the park although I was pretty scared! The road starts off well tarred, until one thing is clear: this is no longer a road but a steep descent with plenty of massive holes! It was worth it though, the beach was deserted and the only place to stay is now fully derelict and abandoned due to Covid. The view to Koh Chang and Myanmar is beautiful!

A video of the best kept part of the road

And so our visit to Koh Phayam comes to an end. A truly beautiful island, unspoilt and still rustic. On the way back, we stopped at Little Amazon in Takuapa. It is is a small stretch of mangrove forest in Phang Nga Province. The Sang Ne Canal has massive banyan trees with intricate root systems that create archways over the small waterway. There is plenty of wildlife but try to get a guide that speaks some English as we had no clue what ours was telling us! We saw a few birds, a couple of snakes and lots of monkeys, pretty beautiful spot!
A video with the monkeys!

Oh, I nearly forgot. The tiniest ever praying mantis.

An end to 2021 in Thailand….

It has now been 5 years and 6 months since we set foot in Thailand. I had never really thought about visiting Asia, apart from India so ending up in Thailand was not on the cards but life has its twists and turns… We are at a crossroads at the moment; reevaluating our life, options, needs and wants. Having choices is great and we are fortunate to be in this position but it also brings confusion and leads to difficult decisions having to be made. In the meantime, we are enjoying our time here, getting on with work and continuing to explore as much as we can during these Covid times. We are in the middle of a fifth wave and it feels as if everyone has had enough now. It seems the government is trying to keep things open and make Covid endemic this year. Let’s see…

October and it’s Halloween. Not a lot going on but some funky decorations and Marianne and Blaze looking cool! I tried to scare the kids at school

The much awaited December finally arrived with Joshua and Sandra visiting. After 2.5 years, it was a very exciting reunion! December also marked the end of the Monsoon. After 6 months of rain, some of it of biblical proportions, seeing blue skies and calm seas is good for the soul.

Sherlock Holmes looking beautiful!
I think he wants to be gifted to someone….
New beach bar
First day of beach after the rains
Toilet in Bangkok
Xmas tree in Bangkok
Bangkok views

The wait is finally over. We all went to Bangkok to collect Joshua and Sandra and spent a few days exploring with Marianne and Blaze. Never been to a games cafe before but highly recommend it. Such fun and so many games!!

Went to a festival of lights which included a river trip to see some of the lights around Bangkok. Some unusual installations…..

Blaze enjoying a spot of relaxation!

Back to Phuket to a Xmas full of cheer. It was the first Xmas where we have all been together with partners. Very exciting to see the kids growing up into adults and enjoying their independence. Thank you to the friends who joined us and made it a fun and memorable day.

And so the adventure begins. On to Khao Sok National Park – it is covered by the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, huge limestone mountains shooting straight up in the air, deep valleys and breathtaking lakes. We decided to go on a stroll which ended up taking forever but managed to get to a river for a cool swim. We thought it would be a leisurely stroll through the jungle, 3kms, they said, each way. It is indeed a beautiful forest, may types of trees, monkeys, plants… It all looked even better once we managed to get back to the car and rest.

Walk through the jungle video

We stayed one night at Cheow Lan Lake, an 185-square-kilometre artificial lake. The lake is only a few decades old but the area is ancient. Khao Sok National Park outdates even the Amazon rainforest, with scientists estimating its creation at approximately 160 million years ago. The cliffs in this area are thought to have been created at the same time as the Himalayas, when 50 million years ago the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates collided, forcing the rock upwards. It is an incredibly beautiful scenery with limestone cliffs jutting out of the emerald water. So much fun for swimming and kayaking! Shame is was cloudy but still beautiful.

Aerial photo of the lake

And New Year came and went… Let’s hope 2022 brings joy and happiness to us all and hopefully less Covid. Time for one more picturesque trip before Joshua and Sandra head back to chilly Edinburgh. Coral Island or Koh Hae is very close to Phuket and easy to get to for the day. It has beautiful, clear, blue water and a coral reef which is just off the beach. Plenty of fish to see!

Aerial view of Banana Beach – Koh Hae

And the visit comes to an end! See you in Summer.

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