Friday, April 29, 2016

The treasure island

Thailand is often synonymous to postcard perfect beaches with clear blue water and white sand. We didn't want that much, but we wanted to go to one of the Thai islands and bathe in the sea. It had to be close to Cambodia as our 2-weeks vacation did not allow for more, and we didn't want someplace overly touristic. In the combination of these two, we ended up choosing the island of Koh Kood, that most people had never heard of before (including us).

For that we had to rise at 4h30 in Bangkok to be able to get to the Island on the same day. As backpackers we are dependent on the schedules of buses and other public transportation and specially for remote places that require a change in mode of transportation, that means, strange hours! And after 6-hours of bus ride, a transfer to the pier, a 2-hours of boat ride and a transfer to the hotel, we were perfectly installed by 3pm in Koh Kood! It seems long (and it was) but it was relatively straightfoward!

On the transfer to the hotel, already in the Island, we met a Russian guy and an older Indian guy (we never asked them their names!). After the usual "Where are you from", "Have you been here before" questions, we got into discussing the places where we were going to stay. The Russian guy who had stayed in the Island many times before mentioned that he was staying in a bungalow far from the beaches as this meant it was cheaper/best price. We mentioned, our was also far from the beaches but that was probably a bit more expensive because we had asked AC (it was still VERY hot). He said that it was a fair price (After we shared how much we were paying) and continues by saying that some of the most expensive resorts in the country are in this Island and that Hollywood stars would often come one in particular (Soneva Kiri Resort) - prices were absurd according to him. And then the Indian guy says "Yes, that's where I am staying. But I am not paying for it so it's free, and that's the best price!". Indian Guy 1 - Russian Guy 0! I thought it was a bit hard to believe that an island that is relatively unknown and small could have such a luxurious place, but after some research, I realised that this is indeed a well preserved secret.

But expensive resorts and prices talks apart, what stroke me the most, was the fact that the Russian guy had apparently been here many times before and he seemed to know his way around this region (Southeast Asia). And in the next two days, we kept bumping into people that were recurrent to this specific Island, apparently coming back year after year at times; others almost moved here permanently. This was maybe our first sign that this was not just not another picture perfect Island, this was a hidden treasure Island where the treasure is the days you spend here!

The waterfalls are amazing, the fauna and flora still run wild, the beaches are ligned with palm trees and have white sand, the water is clear blue and warm and the seafood amazing and cheap. But what I think captivated me even more was not bumping into a tourist at every turn, not being arressed every other minute to buy something (we never were, actually), being able to leave our things unattended at the beach during our long swims at the sea with no worries of what might happen, the overall "good vibe", and the inspiring sunsets! Andre was also highly captivated by the freedom of having a motorbike (the preferred way of moving around the Island) and driving it around. In short, this is a place where a person can just be and rest!

By the end, we were sorry that our two weeks and our plan didn't allow for a longer stay (we really considered it) because at the end we really understood why people come back again and again and again! We felt like we wanted to do exactly that.

The sunset at the second night
This is a fishermen village where we could find the best seafood restaurants at the best price - Andre actually tried to eat the whole restaurant!:P
(Because we were two days on the Island I thought it would be worth to upload two photos!)

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