In the minibus On the way to Hat Yao, no-one spoke English (& Clive's Thai failed him) and we had our fingers crossed that we would know when to get off as the bus kept stopping/diverting whenever any passenger asked it to
. However, we saw a sign for the resort and in Clive's excitement to jump off and collect our luggage, he failed to notice that the boot lid was designed for smaller Asian people, and as a result bashed his head severely enough for it to gush blood (and dent) his head. He looked cute with a plaster on over the wound (but had to cut his hair even shorter than normal for the plaster to stick). There doesn't appear to be any lasting brain damage, but who knows..... The driver was quite worried about Clive and we later found out that he had been around the village telling the tale of how he had nearly killed a "farang" (foreigner). As this is Injury number 4
for Clive - and so soon after the previous one - as yet unhealed - I have decided to set up a special entry to catalogue the injuries. Will keep this under January 1st if you want to check progress......
Anyway, Haad Yao Nature Resort was very run down, with plenty of asbestos, concrete and plastic. Food was very expensive, even compared to Bangkok - and each meal was at least
50% cabbage and, regardless of what was ordered (ie seafood soup or chicken noodles) always the cabbage. The tours were also astronomically priced (approx US$100 for two people to go on a 2 hour walk!). I would not recommend this as a place to stay - even though it is the only place in Hat Yao - it is possible to pay the local people to transport you in a local boat straight over to your island of choice (needless to say at a fraction of the cost that the resort wished to charge) and the larger ferries all arrive early afternoon, so there is no need to stay overnight, especially as most, if not all, people arrive by mid-morning from their previous destination.
However the beach, which was both beautiful and deserted was a 10 minute walk away and really only used by the local villagers who only really turn up at weekends and so we had the beach to ourselves
. A local lady who lived right next to the beach prepared a couple of delicious meals for us. This part of Thailand was saved from the Tsunami by a massive shark-fin shaped rocky outcrop, which protected the bay and the village. However, there are signs every 30 yards or so pointing the way to the nearest evacuation site - and none more that 350metres away.
The walk to and from the beach was along a road, shaded by sea-pines and local fruit trees including papaya and lots of chinese pears. There were a couple of tethered buffalo (that seemed very wary of us) and a number of squashed snakes on the road. Along the road an beach were some fantastically coloured bougainvillea (fushia-pink and white) which seemed to ramble over everything.
After arriving on the overnight train at Trang station, we caught a tuk-tuk to Hat Yai Minivan Station and jumped straight on a minibus to headed to Hat Yao, which is on the West coast of Thailand, almost as far South as its possible to go. Back in Bangkok, we had identified this village as a good spot to get across to one of the islands in the Andaman Sea. The main reason for choosing this place was that we were attracted by the idea and concept of an "eco" resort called the "Haad Yao Nature Resort" that sold itself on the basis of being eco aware and supported the local Sea Gypsy community. All well and good, but as it turned out it would be hard to imagine a less eco-aware resort (the Travel Lodge in Milton Keynes is probably more eco friendly!).