We’ve been on Koh Mak for a week now and are having a fantastic time. The island is very laid back and has some great beaches and untouched jungle. We’re staying on Ao Kao Beach at White Sands Resort helping out at their forest garden project so in return for 4 hours of work a day we get somewhere to stay and get fed and watered.to be honest it’s almost to good to be true 3 meals a day and as much soft drinks as we need.
Our accommodation is a rustic bungalow slowly being reclaimed by the jungle, one of the steps collapsed when we arrived but it was swiftly rebuilt by Kevin, who kindly accepted our request to spend some time here. We have hot water and air con which is more luxury than we’ve had at places we’ve paid for in the past so cannot complain at all, food is provided at the restaurant, we’re working our way through the menu but current faves are the noodle soup and the yellow curry.
The working day starts at 7am for an hour then we eat breakfast then go back for another few hours before lunch, our tasks have been varied but we’ve so far:
Mixed up soil by combining cow poo, earth and coconut husk
Planted cucumbers, beans, lettuces and papaya amongst others
Got some tasty blisters and a cut finger trimming bamboo poles
Helped create a teepee style growing area for beans
Harvested the ripe beans and cucumbers daily
Helped rejig an old accommodation block to get it ready to be a chicken coup all the while sweating more than you could imagine a person actually could and getting ourselves lovely and muddy!
We eat dinner at around 6 and then to be honest we’re usually ready for bed! Our latest night so far has been 11!
We’re currently working with 2 other workawayers, Markus from Austria and Lynne from Germany, we arrived on the same day so we’ve learned together which has been nice, Paul and Biancha run the scheme and have been really good in showing us the ropes and how things work.
It’s hard work in the heat but we get to have a cooling dip once the days is done as we are right on the beach, the water is as warm as a bath though but occasionally we find the odd cold current which is bliss. It feels great to be working outside even though it’s hot we get real satisfaction from getting filthy then washing it off in the sea after, it sounds silly but we really feel like we earn that dip!!!!
We work for 20 hours over 5 days so have next weekend off, currently we’re not too sure what to do with ourselves, there are some lovely beaches around the island and Koh Kood and Koh Chang are a short ferry ride away too.
We had a day off last Sunday and spent it trying to (and eventually succeeding) find a little hidden away area called Turtle Beach, tLs situated at the top end of the island, getting there involved a bike ride of around 20 mins to Koh Mak resort which is one of the top end places to stay on the island – out of our price range 150b for a beer!
We walked along the beach from there then cut into the jungle and followed a rather overgrown path through to the beach, it was a little bit hairy as we almost got ourselves lost a couple of times and walking through the bush in flip flops is never a good idea!
Eventually though we popped out onto a lovely little beach with a nice sandy bay and a rockier side for snorkelling, we had the whole place to ourselves so we enjoyed a nice dip and a lounge around listening to the sound of the waves and the birds in the jungle.
Markus used his Bear Grylls skills to construct a shelter from bamboo and palm leaves but it came a bit too late for us as we managed to all get a bit of sunburn despite applying copious amounts of sun lotion – the sun is amazingly strong in the open.
Markus was also kind enough to ferry us over to a cool place called Banana Sunset which has great views of, yup, the sunset! Unfortunately for us the day we chose to go the weather decided not to play ball, as the sun was setting it clouded over and started to rain, lightly at first but just after Sharlie was dropped off back at the bungalow a huge thunderstorm passed directly overhead with torrential rain and thunder and lightning, the sensible thing to do would have been to find shelter and wait for it to pass but we decided to chance – riding in a storm is something I will remember for a long time! We made it back safe but wet and it proceeded to rain for most of the night, good for the plants but not so much fun for us.
The days have followed a similar pattern for the last few days, lovely hot days then a nice light show and some refreshing rain in the evening.
Anyway that’s the first week done, we can stay until the 1st of November, we’re hoping to have another workaway place lined up but if not I think we’ll have earned a little holiday!