Paradise!!…We Found It!!

Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
Trip End Sep 01, 2011

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Where I stayed
Ang Thong National Park

Flag of Thailand  , Surat Thani,
Sunday, February 13, 2011

After sunbathing on the roof of a boat for 2.5 hours, we finally arrived…in Paradise! The other tourists on the boat were slightly jealous when they found out we were actually staying on the island and not returning with the boat…I was a little shocked myself! It was quite the humorous ordeal, trying to load our four packs and the four of us onto a couple of longboats for the short ride to shore!…and then unloading in knee deep, wavy water (well, for most it was knee deep, more like waist deep for me!!) without getting any of our electronics wet! Fluffy, powdery, white sand beach. Palm Trees. Limestone cliffs. Paradise. And all ours after 3pm! 

There are two options on this island…cabins or tents. Either way…no hot water and only certain hours with power! The first night, we were in a cabin that sleeps 8 people…for 4 of us…lol. This was the most expensive cabin (1200 baht). The second night, the other cabin came available and for 560 baht we were in a two storey, two bedroom, two bathroom, very basic cabin…..with a roommate…a rat! Luckily, the rat stayed downstairs and we managed to lock him in a storage room (or so we'd like to think…lol).

Our days were spent on the beach, exploring caves, kayaking around the islands, and enjoying the monkeys and hornbills in the evening….what a life! One afternoon, we decided to climb the 500 meters (straight up) to the lookout point! The last 20 meters, you need to use a rope through jagged limestone…what fun! From the top, you can see almost all of the 42 islands…I can't use words to describe the beauty of this pristine land. 

We made friends with the workers and hired a longboat (3000 baht/day…and worth every penny!) to take us around to the various islands and snorkelling. It was fantastic! Our guide was wonderful and entertaining. He took us to the other side of our island where we met some of the locals and hiked up to a wonderful waterfall. At another beach island, Jay and I went for a walk…OMG…we walked right up to a 5ft water monitor lizard!! We didn't see him until we were way too close for comfort! Luckily, he was more scared than us…not sure why, as we were about the same size!! haha. He took off into the bush at a superman speed. Despite our encounter, we continued to walk around and stumbled upon an amazing limestone cliff that we climbed on for awhile. 

After lunch, we found an amazing snorkelling area…seeing as I'm slightly leary of fish, it took me a long time to get ready….just as I hopped into the water and pushed away from the boat, Andrea starts yelling….JELLYFISH!! JELLYFISH!!….and they all go swimming past me to the boat!! Terrified and panicking, I was the last one in the water….grr….yes, even my newly wed, loving husband left me in a rush to get back into the boat! I've never doggy paddled so fast in my life before! Once we were all safe in the boat, we could see a ton of long stringy jellyfish all around us in the water! Andrea had been stung all over her hand and arm and was in a lot of pain. The guide said this has never happened before and didn't have any vinegar or anything else in the first aid kit….so when in a deserted paradise, and a desperate situation, there's nothing else to do but…yup, that's right…have your other half pee on your jellyfish sting! lol. It actually worked…the myth is true! It relieved the stinging a bit and Andrea was slowly getting feeling back in her arm and was ready to continue on with our day.

The next island had a huge sink hole lagoon with crystal blue-green saltwater. Just as we reached the lookout point, our camera broke!! So, unfortunately, we didn't get many pictures. Our guide and his girlfriend are the only ones who live on this island…he was pretty happy to show us around. He took us snorkelling in a "no-snorkelling" area to show us some amazing coral and large clam shells that he works hard to protect. Since the jellyfish incident, my fear of fish, and lack of swimming confidence kept me in the boat while the others hopped in to snorkel. I prefer snorkelling 10-20 feet above the fish, not a foot above coral and fish!!….but…I didn't want to miss out! I put on my snorkel mask, and to the amusement of our guide, I snorkelled from the boat, with just my head in the water…lol. It was SO BEAUTIFUL! We ended our day watching an amazing sunset from the boat…we couldn't ask for anything more!

On our last morning in paradise, Jay and I woke up early, before anyone else, and hiked 250 meters straight up to an undeveloped, raw cave….where we explored and hung out with a monkey family, returning just in time for the restaurant to open for breakfast! Our expedition in paradise is over…we caught the afternoon tour boat back to Koh Samui, enjoying a nice buffet lunch on board. I was SO excited…Rick and Andrea had gone down to the buffet first and Rick returned with a large plate of Vanilla Pudding! I couldn't believe it…it has been so long since we had anything like vanilla pudding….and to have it in Thailand…wow! So, I filled my plate!! That's all I was going to eat…just vanilla pudding…5 large serving spoons of it! Rick and I were sitting at separate tables, across from each other. I took a large tablespoon size mouthful of delicious, refreshing, vanilla…..wait…something's wrong….BLECK!!!!….that IS NOT vanilla pudding!! I swallowed, embarrassed to have believed it…and sat back, with a straight face while Rick took one spoonful of his….then another….and it was on the third spoonful that he got a questionable look on his face and I burst out laughing! It was MAYO!!! No wonder the chef looked at me like I was a lunatic as I loaded my plate with nothing but…MAYO!! I will never forgive Rick for telling me it was Vanilla Pudding….lol. At least I wasn't the only one surprised!

As soon as we arrived, we booked a ferry to Koh Tao, leaving the next day, and paid for 2 nights at a hotel there. We found some small bungalows along the beach to spend the night in…looking forward to hot showers! Our excitement came to a quick halt….our worst nightmare came true. After being gone for a few days, with no communication to the real world, we were horrified to get some bad news from home….Rick and Andrea had to return ASAP. Jay and I stayed up ALL night helping her search to find the quickest way off the island…we were at the airport by 4am, hoping to get on a standby flight. I'm very disappointed in humanity…we asked numerous people if they would be willing to switch flights and leave a bit later…only one person considered it and was concerned for our situation, but her boyfriend wouldn't even give her a chance to explain. We said our goodbyes to Rick and Andrea at 9am that morning, and prayed for their safe and quick return home.

With heavy hearts, Jay and I returned to the bungalows at Home Bay Resort (500 baht/night), on the beach, asked for a late check-out and took a half hour nap. Then we grabbed our stuff and headed to the pier….upgraded our tickets for 100 baht each to sit VIP…air con and comfortable seats…and relaxed/slept for the 2 hour ferry ride to Koh Tao, arriving to a stunning coast line formed by massive boulders all around. Unfortunately, the hotel Tropicana Resort (800 baht) has been less than accommodating for our situation, and made us pay for Rick and Andrea's room. Although they made us pay, they refused to give us the keys to the room…they were booking it out to someone else. Since they were heartless and not concerned for our situation, we raised some fuss, compromised on paying for only one night for the lost room, and demanding the keys. If we were paying for it, no one else was going to be staying there! After a night without sleep, and the heartbreak that we just went through, I am anything but forgiving.

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