All too soon, our days in sunny Koh Tao with our darling daughter, were coming to an end.
We began to measure time in terms of the number of remaining meals we could take at Tukta’s. (The most fantastic, authentic and reasonably priced Thai food on the island!)
We had so many things to fit in to the last remaining days… Ian wanted to dive with Erin. We had booked to help out at a beach clean up with the delightful Josh from Master Divers on Mae Haad. There was yoga-ing, shopping, tanning, reading, eating and games playing to do.
One day, we walked over to Haad Tian beach and half way up a vertical hill were thankfully offered a lift from a local fisherman to the beautiful resort hotel there.
It was gorgeous; land to sand luxury!
Since we were complete interlopers, only getting through the security-guarded gates by virtue of being best pals with the local fisherman and restaurateur (Eagle View), we were banished to the tiny, narrow strip of sand under the gnarled roots and trunks of the mangrove trees along the edge of the beach. In this way, we were not encouraged to set foot on the green and hallowed turf of the sun-lounging area round the infinity pool, darling.
However, we had an interesting hour of tide-dancing, desperately trying to avoid the waves as they crashed up the beach on the incoming prevailing wind. So, with our second set of exercise completed for the day, it was time to relax and read…bliss.
On our return to Chakok, we came across a great vantage point to watch the sunset at the bar ‘Natural High’. It has a huge, open patio which offers amazing views of Chalok and its environs. From so high up and through the haze of spliff smoke, man, all you can see is tree canopy below. It’s tricky to identify landmarks and makes it seem all the more ethereal and remote, hovering there on its unique peak. We had a delicious dinner here and enjoyed some people watching before sand sliding down the hill.
During our last few days we spent a happy couple of hours helping Erin source the items she needed to decorate and equip her home. There are some great road side stalls and market places in Mae Haad and we spent time in them all. We spotted many bird cages en route complete with song birds that apparently Thai people take to bird singing competitions. That takes X Factor to a whole new level. The ‘Chick’ Factor perhaps?
We tried road side barbecued chicken for a snack on the walk back and for lunch I tested my paltry Thai at a food stall for Thai people (only Thai signs, no Englishified food, no English spoken), where we were assured we wouldn’t like anything they had to offer.
Well, as much as I’d like to say I eat anything, my digestive system and taste buds are not quite ready for chicken offal curry, and marrow spicy soup. I had fish curry and it was delicious but highly ‘prik’, as the vocabulary is here. My mouth was on fire. The centre of the table displayed a huge basket of vegetables and spices. Raw long beans, Thai basil (hot) Thai basil (sweet) and a variety of egg plants in every size. Ian had freshly deep fried fish in little batter clouds. Toptastic. However, I wasn’t brave enough to try meal worm and other delicacies offered at this road side stall.
We enjoyed our last lunch at Coconut Monkey in Mae Haad with Erin and Paul, also saying goodbye to Anne-Marie (our yoga teacher from Ocean Sound Yoga School). During our wait for the boat there was just time for Erin to secure victory in the traditional Holiday Back-gammon Championships.
Then we were heading back, bumping through lumpy waters, on the bilious Lomprayah Catamaran, to the mainland pier and then, by bus past the beautiful, unspoilt, deserted coastline beaches of Chomporn, to the town’s railway station.
We took a stroll round town and came across this well loaded motorbike, a fascinating police box and one of many gorgeous spirit houses.
After yet another other lovely roadside stall supper, we were back on the sleeper train which left Chomporn at 8.30pm so most passengers were already prone, tucked up in their little bunk beds behind twee, coral coloured curtains. Our beds were already made up and, soon, we too, were happily ensconced.
Next, we arrived in Bangkok at 5.30am…. The best time to be taking a taxi ride since there is virtually no traffic. We headed for Silom but somehow just struggled, in the Thai language department, to communicate sufficiently to find our friend Don’s apartment! Our fault, of course.
We had a wonderful day in Bangkok, catching up with friends and then it was silly o’clock again and we were heading to the airport at 4am to catch our flight to Doha.
So sad to be leaving Erin and Paul and lovely Thailand but looking forward to the next phase.