Last weekend (actually, the one before the one just been) was a (very) long weekend.
We took advantage of public holidays on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to do what most western travelers come to Thailand for. We took a boat to the Island (koh) of Payam (Payam). It’s the low season for travel to Koh Payam so it made for a decidedly slower paced holiday than what can usually be expected.
We took the 1:30pm boat from Ranong so by 4:30pm we were on board and the boat began to move. Around 5:30 we finally broke free of the sand bar we were stuck on and we headed for open water. We arrived on Koh Payam as the sun was setting so we hurried to get a (motorcycle) taxi across the island. We had teamed up with a couple from Basel, Switzerland by now so the convoy of 4 motorcycle taxis snaked through the darkening forest to Bamboo Bungalows.
The island has no cars and therefore no car roads. The only 4 roads on the island are (generally) paved and (often) wide
enough for motorcycles travelling in opposite directions to pass eachother. Given that this is the low season, 200Bhat ($10NZ) per night is all that was required for our one room bungalow built of bamboo.
The next day we hiked back across the island to the collection of 20 shops (15 closed because it was low season) that constitutes the township and hired scooters on which we traversed the entire realm of Koh Payam.
The only activity of significance was attending the Buddhist celebration of (Buddhist) lent. We wandered along the
beach till we could hear some music coming from some where inland. Following the music led us to a gathering of Burmese Buddhists who instantly offered us a delicious second breakfast of fried rice with rasins, cashews, spicy prawn pickle/paste and a host of other Burmese dishes. We even got to meet the presiding monks who, upon hearing that there were Swiss people with us, gleefully gave us the great news of Roger Federers Wimbeldon victory! they told us that they read it on the internet before arriving on Koh Payam as there’s no internet access on the island (it’s the low season).
We spent the rest of our time reading on the beach, swimming in the nicely tepid Andaman sea and strolling up and down one of the best beaches I’ve ever been to. There were plenty of other facilities and activities ‘availiable’ at our bungalows, but they were unavailable because it was the low season. It was a nice balance of having some company (Diego and Sarah from Basel) and having our own time and space. Most of the time Nuala and I had the beach to ourselves. Other times we had to share with a bunch of transparent crabs that scurried around the beach and then disappeared into their little holes on the sand.