It’s been a little while since our last update so lots to get through! As expected the bus to Ranong took 9 hours, we arrived around 7 pm at an almost deserted bus terminal with a crappy map we’d downloaded that proved useless in helping us find the place we’d booked, Palmy Home.
Not knowing the way gave us our first opportunity to catch a ride on a motorbike taxi, we hopped on one each with our rucksacks at the front and us clinging on at the back, Sharlie managed to put her helmet on back to front too which my driver found hilarious!
Our room was nice and great value for what we paid, we had cable tv, a fridge and for a change a nice comfy bed! We decided to have a little explore and get something to eat and after walking up and down the main street ate some great food at the B Hotel, being so close to Myanmar there’s a lot of Burmeses food available and we enjoyed some deliciously spicy dishes.
We got ourselves to the pier for our boat to Koh Phayam using the local bus which saved us some dosh as it was only 20 baht each (about 40p). We boarded the slow boat along with a few other people, bags of cement, watermelons and baskets of fish and set off only to stop a few hundred meters from the dock as the engine seized up and that’s more or less where we stayed for about 90 mins (the trip is meant to take 2 hours all in).
After lots of looking at the engine and some banging we did eventually make it 2 hours later than anticipated but in one piece. There are no cars on Koh Phayam so we got to have another ride on a moto taxi to get ourselves to our accommodation at Hornbill Huts, the road undulated quite a bit so we had a couple of hairy moments speeding up and down the hilly bits but it was fun and we got to see a bit of the place along the way.
We had a nice little bungalow meters from the beach, there’s no mains electricity on the island so we had power from 6pm to 6am which was fine, showering by candlelight is surprisingly relaxing! The beach we stayed on, Ao Yai, was magnificent, 3 kilometers of white sandy beach, some nice waves for splashing around in and lots and lots of space. All the maps of the area we’d seen showed the resorts as being close together but in reality there was plenty of space between them and all were set back from the sand making the whole beach look semi deserted.
Weather wise it was fab, sunny almost every day, we had a couple of showers but nothing too bad so we spent most of our days sunbathing, trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to body surf the waves and catching up on some reading from the extensive library at our place. We had a little explore as we found some granny bikes for hire again and despite Sharlie’s protestations we cycled to Buffalo Bay beach, it was almost deserted, really nice though, in hindsight setting off at midday was not the best idea so I probably deserved a bit of grief!
We enjoyed some really tasty meals during the week, we found a cool Indian place called Peacock Tree who did a delicious dhal curry and the place next door to us, Friendly Bungalows, had a couple of signature Burmese dishes including spicy marinated pork which was fiery hot and a Burmese noodle soup which was huge!
One of the bars , Rasta Baby, had their season opening party while we were there and it seemed that most of the island came along, as you probably guessed it’s a reggae bar so we got to hear lots of Bob Marley and surprisingly some drum and bass but they also played Chaka Demus and Pliers in a 90s ragga mashup which was awesome! We drank a few too many sangsom and cokes but had a great time jumping around like loons before strolling home in the moonlight, it was almost worth the hangover in the morning!
We had a lovely relaxing week there and could easily of stayed longer but were keen to get to our next workaway place in Cambodia so we caught the speedboat back (learned our lesson!) and had another night in Ranong. We had a bit more time this time round so paid a visit to the hot springs not too far away from the town where we both poached ourselves in the naturally heated water at a spa resort, we didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as we did and we emerged feeling floaty light!
From Ranong we travelled by bus to Bangkok which was another bum numbing 10 hours (we’ve learned that we should add 33% to any advertised bus journey time) and then we were dropped in what seemed like a service station on the motorway which turned out to be Bangkok’s Southern Terminal 20 km from the city centre meaning we had to fork out for a taxi who then drove like a madman (probably because we insisted he use the meter) scaring the crap out of me (Ed).
We got him to drop us at a Skytrain station rather than our hotel as we got snared up in Bangkok’s legendary traffic and after some help from a nice passer by managed to find our hotel, Padi Madi Guesthouse, get checked in and head out for some food. There was a street food alley across the road and we had delicious pork and rice and barbequed chicken washed down with a couple of beers, and as if by magic the mega long journey didn’t seem so bad.
Next day we headed for the airport for a quick flight to Phnom Penh in Cambodia.