After saying goodbye and promising to promote Khvan Jai’s homestay – I’ve done a little so far with this blog but will brainstorm further, ways to promote a business that’s technically not a business, just a sign on a gate – I have a leisurely cycle to the port at Ban Phe.
Bypassing the touts I cycle all the way to the end of the pier and when instructed, carry my bike onto a bright pink boat bound for Ko Samed.
I arrive at the island and pay the 200bht fee for it being a national park, and stop at a couple of resorts asking for prices as I cruise along, journeying South. I settle for a lovely bungalow overlooking (just) Tubtim beach for 800bht/night. A leisurely 16km ride today.
Quick as a flash I’m into my boardies, and the ocean for my first beach swim of the trip.
I read in the Lonely Planet that the island used to be malarial, good job it’s not any longer as despite applying copious amounts of repellant by the end of the night I’ve been bitten by a handful of mosquitoes. I hope it’s rabies free too as on my walk up the beach to find dinner I’m set upon by half a dozen dogs. I shout and kick, landing a couple of blows but one gets to me before the owner gets to them, and punctures the skin drawing blood.
A great meal of spicy calamari and rice before a fire show. As in, fire twirlers – Rach would have joined in I’m sure. I’ve taken some sweet photos on the DSLR that I will upload, in due course.
I spend the next day exploring the island. The main roads are sealed but some Google map ‘roads’ are more like walking tracks!
A word of warning for those wishing to do the same by bicycle – the hills get steeper the further south you go. 10% inclines are ok but 15% are painful. By 20% you are a sweaty mess leaning forward so you don’t topple backwards! And going downhill is no fun because of the speed humps installed for the jeep taxis and rented motorbikes and 4-wheelers.
Discover a great viewpoint at the ‘Park Youth Camp’. Further along this road leads you to the best part of the island. If you have money, my recommendation is to head for Praw bay on the west coast. Beautiful and secluded.
I make it to the end of the island but it’s not really worth it. Average view. But satisfaction of making it to the southern tip.
Lunch of tuna sandwiches at an advertised viewpoint before making my way to another set of bungalows “wonderland”, for a more basic style 600bht hut. Another great meal, bbq whole snapper and a couple of beers, before bed.