Monday February 13th, 11:40am ICT, 3:40pm AEDST
We left Koh Lipe yesterday, after almost nine days. The original plan was to stay for two nights, which turned into four nights, which turned into six nights, and then we couldn’t get the train from Hat Yai to Bangkok until the 12th, so we stayed two more nights. I’m definitely going back, I miss it already.
We arrived without having any accommodation booked (surprise surprise), so after a Thai lunch Holly and I wandered up the beach looking for a resort. We found one place that had somewhere free for the night — pretty much the only one nearby that had even a single room. It was really cheap, but so sketchy. The next day we found a new place which ended up being our home for the next seven nights, as well as being much closer to everything. Well, as close as you can be on a tiny island… It mostly just eliminated the walk along the beach in the scorching sun, but it put us closer to Sunrise and Sunset beaches as well.
I’m not really sure how to sum up our stay. We basically ate food, read books, consumed a lot of fruit-related beverages and lay on the beach… Seriously, we did that for nine days. It was bliss. Holly and I discovered a bookshop café with a Congkak board, so we went there a lot. The coolest part of being on such a small, contained island is getting to know so many people; the tourists, the shopkeepers, the residents. It was brilliant. Holly and I ate so much roti and drank so many lemon icy things that after a while we’d just show up at this one place that sold roti and fruit shakes, and she’d start making our usual order. It even got to the point where you could tell who had just arrived, because they weren’t as familiar as the other faces you saw wandering around.
One night I couldn’t sleep, and so after a night of waking up every hour or so, I decided to go see the sunrise. No regrets. Koh Lipe is empty until late afternoon, basically; very much a sleep-in-’til-lunchtime approach. I was right at home. Sunrise Beach is a few minutes’ walk from our hotel, and unsurprisingly, I didn’t see a single soul on my way to the beach… Except for a friendly dog that followed me. Ha ha, funny coincidence, except the island is crawling with stray dogs and cats. I wandered up and down the beach with my temporary friend, and watched the skyline go from dark but for the light of the moon to a huge, blood-red sun on the horizon. …then I read my book in a nearby hammock with an iced coffee, because I wouldn’t want to break tradition.
One afternoon Holly and I decided we wanted to go snorkelling, so we hired a mask and fins set for the afternoon for 50 Baht (~AUD$1.70). The first time we went out it was off the rocks on Pattaya Beach, which was cool, but not as fun as when we all went off Sunrise Beach a few days later. The beach is filled with chunks of coral, forming huge reefs that give even the small boats a hard time at low tide. As we were leaving yesterday, we were taken in a tiny little ten-or-so person boat out to the speedboat that would take us to Pak Burra, because nothing else would fit. The reefs make for interesting snorkelling, however; I’ve only done a little snorkelling in Australia, but the difference in marine life was immediately obvious.
Koh Lipe. Bliss. I don’t even. I’m still sad that we left.
I’ll be back.
Meanwhile, it’s the 17th of Feb. and we’re about to leave Bangkok. Maybe I should update again.