We came to Ko Phayam for a couple of days and stayed for a fortnight. We could have easily stayed longer if we hadn't already made arrangements to volunteer in the north of Thailand.
Ko Phayam island is shaped like a kangaroo with a joey poking out of her pouch. The island is a 45 minute speed boat ride from Ranong. It has a few small jungle topped rises and is covered in cashew nut trees, with the occasional rubber tree grove. It is underdeveloped (for now) and a motorbike or bicycle is essential for travel around the island as there are no roads large enough for cars.
We settled at the furthest guest house from the pier on a beach called Ao Yai (Long Beach). It was a 3km sandy stretch that gently slopes to the sea. Our place was called Baan San Kayoo, which roughly translates as Home of the Cashew Nut. It was a basic bamboo hut, with electricity from 6.30pm to 11pm and cold water which occasionally had enough pressure to reach our bathroom.
After being on the move everyday in Burma it was relaxing to take it easy and have a place to call home for a while. Chris brought a bright yellow hammock and we put it up on the veranda. Our hut is nestled amongst the cashew nut trees, and we often have a Hornbill feeding nearby or spot squirrels in the trees. The pride of our place is our resident frog and three large geckos. It's lovely to see them everyday and study their behaviour.
We've read a few books and snorkelled most days. Today I've mostly been sitting under the mosquito net, reading George Orwell's Burmese Days and shelling sunflower seeds to extract the pip. Yes, only a few weeks ago we were aghast at the passengers, like parrots, devouring their morsels on the Arreywaddy Boat and now I've become one!
The snorkelling on Ao Yai beach is pretty good, when you catch the tide coming in it's quite good visibility. One day, just before the full moon high tide we went out during the late afternoon and saw three Lion Fish. They were absolutely beautiful and mesmerising to observe.
We have met a great crowd of folks; many are staying for a few months to get away from their winter. Ricky, Hans and Summer were excellent drinking buddies along with Carin, Kriss, Mark and Tracey at Geir's bar! Every few days one of the bars has a party with live music around a theme, such as Valentines or Rock "n Roll. Everyone turns up - children, shop owners, Thai locals, old hippies ex pats, well to do middle-aged French tourists and joins in the dancing. It's a top atmosphere and very welcoming.
Chris has become an excellent motorbike rider, with me hanging on the back for dear life! We often visit one of the other two beaches, or the high street next to the pier to find some lunch or take a swim. Some nights we went for dinner with our neighbour Rob, a Canadian who had visited the island once before. Rob was a great laugh, an incessant talker who became a good friend during our stay.
Our home from home, one hundred metres from the beach tucked into the jungle
Our new back garden
3km of beach to ourselves at Ao Yai
Our resident hornbill who visited most days
Two of our other room mates
Our house sitter, we worked in shifts, he looked after the place during the day and us at night
Sunset at our secret cove
The fantastic shipwreck look of the Hippy Bar at Buffalo Bay to the north of the island
Snorkelling off the northern tip of Ko Phayam
One of 3 Lion Fish we spotted whilst snorkelling off Ao Yai beach