Ko Bulon Leh- The Lizards just keep getting Bigger

Trip Start Jan 25, 2011
Trip End Feb 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
marina resort

Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, February 18, 2011

I had heard absolutely nothing about this island. I have never met anyone who had been here, there wasn't much on it in any of the guide books or on the Internet, and that’s exactly why it intrigued me so much, and it was on my path back from Ko Lipe, so I was really excited for it to be my last island of this trip.

My journey here started with a ROUGH speedboat ride, okay, I know I said a few blogs back that I thought speedboats were cool. Well, that was on a smooth, ocean day. Today there were a lot more waves, and those Thai speedboat drivers acted like they were on a race or something. They slammed thru those waves, crashing down so hard every time, that you had to be careful to not get whiplash or even break your neck! So speedboats are definitely off the things I like list. I survived the boat ride by holding on tight and remembering it was only one hour, and there were older travelers and people with young children probably having a heck of a worse time than me trying to make it thru that ride. A few of us lucky people getting off that boat were met by the usual long tail boats , floating out at sea waiting for our arrival to take us to shore. Love the hand off, there’s something so Indiana Jones about it. One of my favorite movies as you can probably guess.

The beaches right away I could see were beautiful. How do more people not know about this wonderful island? Long stretches of white sand, and clear blue water and the island is surrounded by a jungle full of vibrant flowers, many different species of plants and trees, and lots of animals…more on that later.

I am staying at the coolest place on the island called the Marina Resort. It wasn’t easy to get a reservation, for it was the "top pick" in the Lonely Planet. I didn’t give up, I kept having my guesthouse call for me, and every day they say they are full! One day we called and they said they had a space, never give up, things change on a daily basis here in Thailand. The bungalow is the old wood style with huge decks, tall high vaulted ceilings with real bamboo roofs, and the bungalows are high up on stilts. The bungalows are scattered along a hillside which looks like a tribal resort from a movie set. The restaurant is authentic Thai style with low table and pillows and cushions to sit on while you eat. I fell in love with this place immediately. Sara D, it’s so your kind of place.

I had read in the Lonely Planet that this island has a lot of wildlife. One of the most interesting being giant Monitor Lizards.   It wasn’t more than 15 minutes of checking into my bungalow did I hear something rustling outside my bathroom (that is up on stilts as well, thankfully).

There were two huge Lizards moving slowly outside. Both about 4 feet long. I was told that there are a few that are almost six feet in length. Wow. These lizards move slow, but they are definitely afraid of you, so it’s hard to get a picture, they pick up speed and get out there fast when they see you coming. And they are harmless; they only look like they could bite something off. Lol.  I will work on being sneaky and getting some good shots of them while I’m here. The bungalows are like log cabins, with gaps in the floor and in the walls, (not big enough for 4 feet lizards to fit through, luckily) and the windows do not have screens, just some nice curtains to give you some privacy, but the openness is great for letting in the breeze since there is only a fan, and a mosquito net to cover you. So if the breeze can get in thru all those openings..So can other things? More on that later.

The beaches here are very pretty, and this island is not yet discovered on the tourist trail. There are no beach bars, and very little to do except enjoy the ocean, go for a little hike in the jungle, and relax in your hammock. This island has its regulars that I’ve already discovered have been coming here for years. There are only about 5 or 6 places to stay, all pretty basic. So you have to be into nature, and simplicity, which I am. I already know that I want to come back. The island is home to many birds that sing, including Toucans, the birds from the Fruit Loop commercial! They have long colorful beaks and are beautiful to watch.

So my first day here I was on the beach collecting some shells for my deck, and there are thousands of shells scattered all over the beaches here as well.  A huge school of fish swam by me, the water is so clear, that you don’t even need a snorkel to see all the fish. A woman from Sweden  was in the water as the same time as me so she saw my excitement as the fish surrounded me; she said it’s like that all the time here. I discovered that she is staying at the same bungalow resort as me; she said it’s her favorite, being a regular; she started coming here in 2001, and loves this island. I told her about the lizard, she said “yes, there are many…they will not bother you. But you must take caution to bring your torch (flashlight as we call it) to the toilet when you go in there at night (the lights are only on here from 6pm-10pm as many remote islands) because one time there was a large snake coiled up in the corner of the wall by my toilet. “

Really? Eh,  ….Really?  A snake? (Yes a snake Michael) how big? “It was pretty big” she said “with a large head” they came and took it out, it was poisonous ’, so they had to kill it. Really? A snake? In the bungalow?

“Yes, but that was last year, this year, no snake so far, and also be sure to close up your backpack when you are not using it, a Danish man last year said that he had taken a scorpion home with him to Denmark  without knowing, it that crawled inside and discovered it when he opened his pack, oh, and there are some spiders too, so make sure to tuck your mosquito net around your bed real tight! There are no screens on the windows! (yes, I noticed that) but don’t worry, this is a nice place and that hardly ever happens, you should just be cautious…have a great time!” Oh Sarah…you sooo would not be able to handle it here, you would be wishing there were just ants!

Okay, so no one mentioned all the critter tips when I registered? Ha, ha, all you do is fill out a piece of paper, they don’t even look at your passport, or take a credit card for charges. They just keep track of what you eat and drink in a little notebook and tally it all up and you pay when you leave. It’s just the system, and it works. I will have to not think about all the creepy animal talk when I am trying to fall asleep tonight. There is no door to my bathroom! So no string tied to the door keeping it shut will keep anything from coming in from there. So how many of you now what to take a trip like this with me? Ahhh, its all part of the adventure. But I’m really hoping for no critter visitors to my room on my stay though.

The staff here is super sweet. There is a really nice lady boy that works in the restaurant that is my new best friend. I think I will leave her one of my dresses when I leave since she’s complimented me several times on mine, and I’m sure she will be thrilled since the shopping here on the island is limited to say the least. Its interesting during the day the lady boys usually just dress like men, shorts, and t-shirts. But at night, they put on makeup, do their hair and wear dresses! Hey, that’s just like us girls! So same, same!

I awoke to this morning of the sounds of chickens pecking and scurrying  around. Wow, it sounds like they are so close by. I leaned over the edge of my bed and could see through the slats of wood on the floor, and sure enough, there were a couple chickens hanging out beneath my bungalow. It was 5 am. Why do chickens and roosters get up so darn early? What time do they go to bed?  Thankfully that was my only critter encounter so far anywhere near my bungalow. Maybe that’s why they are all up on stilts.

My days were spent here, taking walks across the island through the jungle , where only a few other bungalows resorts exist and a small Chow Lay community that has a small fishing village where I assume the island gets all its great fresh fish! The days were also spent collecting shells, and hanging out in my hammock, yes, Island life. Oh and by the way if you’re wondering what happened to Frank Zappa, hes living here on Ko Bulon Leh, and he wears a thong that he made himself out of string and a small piece of burlap. He spends his days in his hammock on the beach selling some crafts he carved out of wood. Actually I found out that his name is Phillipe, hes French, he came here several years ago on Holiday and never left. These islands will do it to you I guess. I tried to get a picture of this interesting fellow without being too conspicuous. He kind of looks like a cross between Frank Zappa and Tom Hanks in Castaway towards the end of the movie when he got real skinny from eating fish all day. ( another great movie).
so the morning of my departure, I am happy to report that I has no critter visitors to my bungalow. My nights were peaceful , and very quiet. The sounds of nature are by far the best choice of soundtrack to fall asleep to. I loved this island, I will be sure to return.
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Terry on

What an awesome experience!

Tracey Rooney on

Hi Elizabeth!! Loved following your blog!! Can't wait for our own adventure!! Safe travels home!!

peggy marciniak on

Hi Elizabeth,
What a great trip you had. I really enjoyed 'following' you on your trip thru the Thai islands. I want to go there soon.....let me know if you want a travel partner down the road. I'm available.

Mango maureen on

Bulon le looks like it is the winner!!!! Even better than Ko Lipe???? Welcome home to america's finest city and muchas gracias for all the fabulous fotos and inspiring tales from the land of a thousand smiles xoxoxo

Sarah on

Snakes, spiders, lizards, oh my!!!! Scary! Scary! Scary! Ahhhhh is all I can say!

You and your ladyboy friend look like great friends! Lol! Did you leave him/her a dress? Haha

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