29.07.2009 - 03.08.2009 30 °C
After a lot of hesitation and documentation I decided to spend some time not in Northern Thailand, as was my initial plan, but in the south. In the train I decided for Ko Tao, a small island off the east coast of Southern Thailand of which I read that it was not as touristic as other places around. Upon arrival in the early morning I discovered that the beaches along the shores were nevertheless all claimed by resorts, hotels, and dive companies. Although I would have loved to dive I just don't have the money to indulge in this pass time. The only way I could afford to dive would be to work as a divemaster, but since I intended to stay there for only a week this was of course out of the question. So I walked straight to the middle of the island up the highest hill (312 m a.s.l.) and found a little tea house there in the middle of nowhere. Since I was walking with my big backpack, the guys who run it offered me to stay in a small shack they had behind the tea shop. I gratefully accepted and I stayed there for 5 nights. Since it was situated on a ridge you could easily walk to great places from where to watch the sunrise and sunset on each side of the island. And this is what I did for 6 days, occasionally walking down to the shores to have a swim or buy some water. Sometimes there was a stray tourist that found his or her way to the tea house, but most of the time I spent blissfully alone, reading books (continuing my literary education: Asimov, Tolstoy, Kafka, Hunter S. Thompson, Conrad) and trying to get back into regular meditation.
Here are some pictures:
The roads that lead to the inside of the island are not particularly well maintained.
Mae Hat and Sai Ree, the two biggest settlements of the island on the west coast.
Wut and Shak, the two brothers who run the place with Shak's wife. They live there living only from the sale of some coconuts and the occasional tourist that comes to this place.
The tea house where I lived
The kitten Sun deserves a picture. I spent a lot of time playing with it.
Watching the sunset on the big rock (my usual meditation place) with Wut and Aiwen, one of the few people who came up to the tea house.
Watching the sunrise. These pictures of the sunset and sunrise are obviously quite bad. One would need a much better camera and a minimum amount of skill to make good pictures, both of which I seem to lack. Sorry, this will have to do.
A French guy who gave me a ride on a road that we supposed would go north east. I dismounted by the time the road became suicidal and turned south west and we continued pretty much at the same speed. I was very impressed by his ability to go down the very steep slopes without killing himself. Unfortunately the road ended somewhere in the jungle. I helped him turn the motorcycle around and decided to take my chances with the jungle, which turned out ok. I saw the French guy again in the evening trying to guide the owners of the bike to the place where he got stuck. I wonder how they got the bike out of there, there's no way to drive back up those slopes and getting a pickup down there is impossible. Oh well...
After these very relaxing days in Ko Tao I decided I had had enough solitude and went back to Bangkok where I am now. I found a great place to stay these remaining days. It's a bar actually, but they have a floor where they host travelers. Perfect!