Islands of SW Thailand – Part 2

critter destroyer

The Fearless Critter Killer

Beginning of March and after more than seven weeks on Ko Libong we’re ready to move on. Our stuff is loaded onto a long-boat and we head off to our next destination: Another small island to the South called Ko Sukorn.

The ninety minute boat ride takes place in calm seas with the sun shining and we’re even lucky enough to see dolphins along the way!

If we thought Ko Libong was quiet, Ko Sukorn is positively empty.  It’s true that we’re going into the low season (temperatures are on the rise and most visitors are returning home) but still, there were days when we were the only guests on Yataa Resort.

The inhabitants of the island are mostly Muslim, and the villages are beautiful.  Much cleaner and prettier than Ko Libong, the locals plant flowers round their houses and generally seem to take more pleasure in their surroundings.

Yet another idyllic island where time moves on slowly and tourism hasn’t yet taken over.

It didn’t take long for us to make up our minds that we would stay longer than just a couple of weeks. Although Yataa is a nice enough hotel, spending weeks in a large empty resort wasn’t too appealing, so we decided to spend a few days looking for somewhere cosier to live.

Ko Sukorn is the one place we’ve been where having a motorbike is a necessity, not only for exploring the island, but also for day-to-day activities like nipping to the local shops or dropping off laundry.  Luckily for us, the owners of one of the local restaurants agreed to rent us their Honda for a small fee.

Dave and the bike

Zipping around the island

Their restaurant  takes a bit of getting accustomed to.  Hygiene is not a priority.  But the food is great and we haven’t been ill yet! Chickens run wild, cats are all over the place (no complaints here – they eat the cockroaches 😀) and, on a reluctant trip to the less than inviting loo, a snake coiled itself round my ankle. Luckily my reflex reaction was to flick my leg and it went flying. When we told the proprietors they looked rather worried and asked if it had bitten me, on hearing it hadn’t they assured us that it wasn’t poisonous anyway😀.

Never fear though – there are more appetising places to eat:

First stop was to find a hairdresser as Dave’s hair was starting to get out of control😀. Luckily we ran into a gentleman who not only  is a masseur,  drives a tuk tuk, is a Thai boxing teacher, but also cuts hair: In no time the old Dave was back.

The roads on Sukorn are in good condition and there’s no traffic so driving around is great fun.  We did have a scare one night.  We were on our way home in the pitch black (no light pollution here) when, just in the nick of time, we managed to make out a herd of water buffalo in the middle of the road.  They’d obviously just been cooling off in a mud lake and were making their way back.  Luckily for us, huge and scary looking as they are, they’re very sweet and timid and a blast on the horn soon had them stampeding away from us.

After five days we had to exit the island and the country because our sixty day visa was about to run out. Leaving a lot of our stuff at the hotel, we again boarded a boat to yet another pier (Tassae) and from there a two-and-a-half hour drive to Hat Yai where the last Thai international airport before Malaysia is situated. In Hat Yai we spent one night in the Centara Hotel – a very good hotel, comfortable bed, power shower and Japanese food!

The following day it was a quick AirAsia flight to Kuala Lumpur where we spent the night in the Sama Sama airport hotel, treating ourselves to club class and the corresponding ninety minutes of free drinks! My first wine in two months – bliss!

Next morning we took the AirAsia flight back to Hat Yai and by the afternoon were back on Ko Sukorn with our new thirty day visa.

During our drives around the island we’d discovered the “Dugong Bar”. A wonderful place right on the beach. Gop, the landlady told us that she also had two bungalows for rent and as soon as she showed us the one overlooking the sea, we decided to take it for at least a month.  After five nights, we extended that to two months 😀

The house resembles a Canadian log cabin (Gop’s husband Mike is Canadian). It’s set in the middle of the woods on a hill, with a huge terrace overlooking the sea from which we watch the fish eagles doing their thing. Totally private with no neighbours, a comfortable bed, big bathroom and the bar/restaurant just down the path from us.  All this, including the motor bike hire is costing us the princely sum of €23  per day. What more could one wish for?

Gop’s family is a wonderful example of how different beliefs can coincide – Mike is an Atheist, Gop is Buddhist and their 8 year old daughter has chosen the Muslim religion and wears a hijab (sometimes😀)

Gop’s staff (all Muslim) come from the local fishing village so our fried rice diet is supplemented with fresh fish and at the moment, crab. Crab fishing is dependant on the moon/tides and takes place between  half moon and full moon.  From full moon onwards we’re treated to clams and squid, meaning – There’s never a bad season!

Living in the woods, we were expecting a lot more bugs and things than there actually are. Mosquitos are nearly zero, ants can be a bit of a problem and the occasional scorpion has been spotted, as well as a beautiful tree snake.  We’ve had a couple of ginormous spiders in the room, but Dave’s become a dab hand at “flipflop tossing” – the poor critters don’t stand a chance.

Hmmm, I just did a search on “spiders of Thailand” and wish I hadn’t. In some cases ignorance is bliss.

When we moved in, we noticed a big bamboo stick  leaning against the wall but thought nothing of it.  Gop later informed us that the stick was for battering cobras – apparently there are a lot around and they don’t like bamboo!! Note that she told us this after she’d relieved us of the rent we owed her😀 The stick is now always close at hand.

Defender of the Homestead

Defender of the Homestead

Gop’s daughter has just let us know that the villagers recently killed a snake that had devoured an adult goat 😱- We are in the process of looking for a larger stick!

At the moment there appears to be a frog stuck in the bathroom drainage system somewhere.  When he croaks the echo down the pipes sounds like he’s using a megaphone. I make a point of checking out the toilet bowl thoroughly before I sit on it – Wouldn’t want any unseemly surprises!

It’s now the beginning of April and we’ve just returned from another visa run.  It was lovely spending two nights in great hotels – Drinking out of nice glasses🍸🍷, being able to boldly enter the bathroom without fear of animals 🐍🕷 lurking in corners – But even with all that, we were very happy to get back to the peace and quiet of our island.

Gop and her family have left for their own holiday and won’t return until after we’re gone.  We really do have the place to ourselves now.  Though the beach bar is officially closed, Gop’s left us full access (silly lady 😀). It’s the first time we’ve had our own bar and we like it! Her staff come in every evening and prepare dinner for us which consists of whatever has been caught that day – Life is good!

The temperatures are on the rise averaging 39℃ in the shade!  I suffered from a bad heat rash for a couple of days – fortunately it was only a couple of days. It’s not possible to do a lot in this kind of heat and we’re glad that we’re on the coast, getting the sea breeze.

drooping buffalo

So hot, even the buffalo’s horns are wilting!

Well, our time here is nearly coming to an end. We’ll be returning to Kuala Lumpur for a few days and then flying on to Cambodia.

We’ve loved being in Thailand and will miss the small, quiet islands but it’s always exciting to be moving on to somewhere new. Next post from Siem Reap!

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