Koh Phayam

After a little over a week on the Thai mainland we decided it was time for a taste of the island life. One day of biking got us from the tiny beachside National Park of Laem Son to Ranong – a city bordering Burma on the western coast of Thailand. After a frustrating hour of riding our bikes around Ranong in the very hot midday sun, we found a decent hotel to spend the night in. Our room was on the 4th floor and had a neat view of the city…but there was no elevator so we got to experience the fun of schlepping all our gear up four flights of stairs for the first time! We ended up locking our bikes outside in the ‘secured’ car park behind the hotel. They were there the next morning, but we both spent a lot of time worrying & peering out our window towards the bikes in an attempt to catch anyone trying to wheel them away. The sunset in Ranong was beautiful – here’s a glimpse of it from the main street:

The next morning we woke up, rode our bikes to the pier, and caught a longtail boat to the island of Koh Phayam. The boat ride was supposed to be two hours long, but something was wrong with our boat’s motor so we spent an additional hour sitting at the pier waiting for it to be fixed. The smell of rotting fish in the sweltering sun was overpowering at the pier – disgusting. There was also a hyperactive four year-old Australian with lenient parents on the boat. This kid literally spent the entire three hours running back and forth over our feet, fiddling with our bicycles, and peering waaaay over the side of the boat. I was wishing he would fall in for a bit of excitement, but no luck. View during the boatride:

Upon arrival in Koh Phayam our boat was mobbed by guesthouse owners out to hook a tourist our two and drag them back to their resorts. Having the bikes was nice because we weren’t dependent on these people for a ride – instead we got to cycle around the island and pick out a place to stay with no pressure. We somehow ended up on a very rough trail through the remote jungle in the middle of the island. After 4k the trail ended and we were on the other side of the island…on a beach! No more road! So we pushed our bikes through the soft sand, then got back to ride along the shoreline towards the bungalows. Riding our bikes on the hard packed sand was easy and we just couldn’t get over the fact that we were actually riding our bikes on the beach on an island in Thailand. Wow! Here I am:

Bamboo Bungalows was our residence of choice. Here I am relaxing in a hammock. The open air restaurant is right behind me:

Lots of traditional fishing boats along the shore:

Fruitstand where we bought watermelon for a snack:

There are tons of dogs around here. None of them are spayed or neutered and they are all running around breeding like rabbits. We’ve been chased by dogs a few times but so far they haven’t tried to bite – they just run along side us barking like crazy. Sometimes yelling at them gets them to back off, and we recently found a bamboo switch that we’ll use to swat them like the locals do. I am also going to start looking around for a nice handful of rocks to throw at the next pack of barking dogs I run into. The other day we saw a dog get absolutely nailed by a speeding truck. I felt really guilty about it because the dog had stopped in his tracks in the opposite lane to stare at us and wasn’t paying attention to oncoming traffic. A truck came roaring around the corner and the crash as the it hit the dog was so much louder that you’d expect. The dog went flying through the air and did not move again. At least he died instantly rather than just getting maimed. Here’s a funny skinny dog we saw while walking on the beach:

A neat fishing boat covered in white flags and wire traps of some sort. Maybe for crab?

Someone’s bungalow on the beach.

We continue to be amazed at how inexpensive it is for people to vacation here in Thailand. You can stay here on this beautiful island in a nice bungalow for $6 a night. Each meal costs about $2, local whiskey is $1, and local beer is $2. You could live like a king for for only $15 a day! Or you could work at any old job in the US for 6 months during the summer, come live here for the other 6 months, and you’d still come out saving money in the end.

We also had our first sighting of an old, fat, white guy with a young beautiful Thai woman. These two were walking down the beach hand in hand and then came to our resort to eat dinner. We have never eavesdropped so much in our lives! These two were not getting along either. They tried to order some fresh fish for dinner and she wanted two fish for herself, while he thought they should only get three total. She was so mad at him she got up and moved to the chair at the far side of the table. He attempted to pacify her by saying, “I’m not used to having woman tell me what to do. In America no do.” We almost burst out laughing! He proceeded to talk to her in pidgin-English for the rest of the night and eventually switched to a chair next to her. Here’s to hoping things work out for those two lovebirds!

The sunsets here are amazing! Here are some pictures:

Koh Phayam is known for its cashew nut trees. The trees are all over the island and their fruit gives off a very strong sweet scent. Cashews grow as a seed hanging off the end of a pear shaped fruit.

The seeds are picked, boiled, and then dried in the sun. When they are dried the outer husks are peeled off.

After two days here we’re getting a bit restless. Neither of us are the type that can lay around and relax on the beach for too long, and we’re excited to keep cycling North towards Bangkok! So, this afternoon we’ll hop on the boat back to Ranong. In the words of George Costanza, “Onwards and upwards!”

4 Responses to “Koh Phayam”

  1. Dad Says:

    The sunset is beautiful. I like them all, especially the one with your silhouette.
    Peace & Love,

  2. Dad Says:

    I looked on Flickr for a larger picture of the dog on the beach but couldn’t find it. It looks like the dog is smiling.

  3. Nick Says:

    Hi there
    Just looking at you great web site at the fab photos and fun passages. We are in siem Reap/cambodia at this moment and plan to ride/train to Bangkok, starting tomorrow. was looking with intrest at your rout e in the s of Thialand as we are planning on doing that same ish route, looks good !
    sadly I have short hair so will have to either hang out for a few months or give the dreds a miss this time. Never mind…….? We plan to ride onto singapore then fly to oz then nz the s. america so will see you there.
    have a graet trip, if the ride is not wort the sweat take the train/bus/boat/plane we do the same! By the way we startedup in chian if you need any tips, can’t rememebr if you are going that way
    Nick Strange

  4. John (Loves boats) Alford Says:

    Your story is such an inspiration. Truly so.

    That dog in the pic looks funny! And the one that got knocked over – poor thing.

    Did you try the cashew fruit itself (not the nut)? I miss cashews – I used to eat them when I lived in Africa – you can’t have too much of it though ‘cos after a while, the sweetness starts to bruise the tongue. Seeing the picture of it brought it all back for me – thank you for snapping it.

    You sound like you’re having a wonderful wonderful time. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    take care…

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