Exploring Koh Phayam
Even though this island is only 10km long, there is so much to explore!
Oh yeah, have I mentioned there are no cars on the island? The largest vehicle I’ve seen is a big red tracker, that is either full of food from the ferry or a large group of tourists. To get around on the small concrete roads, locals use scooters and sometimes bicycles. Most tourists rent a scooter to get around town. Although you can walk, there are many places to explore and for 200 baht ($7.50 CDN) it’s worth it to have a scooter. As most of my favourite things were within a 10 minute walk of my bungalows, I only rented a scooter half the time I was there. It was a lot of fun learning how to start and drive a scooter. And by fun, I mean absolutely terrifying until it was absolutely amazing. I’m still not the most competent driver, but I improved significantly! The first day I had the scooter I spent over 2 hours just driving around the island, getting my bearings and taking in the quaint lifestyle.
As with most Thai islands, there was a lot of activities you could sign up for. You could rent snorkeling equipment for 80 baht ($3 CDN) and explore the corals on Long Beach and Monkey Beach. From the North part of Buffalo Bay you could rent kayak or paddle board for similar prices. For myself, I prefer lazy swimming over all of those activities, so I mostly bummed around on the beach all day.
It’s been so easy to find people to talk to and you make friends so quickly while traveling that I found that I had to actively seek out alone time. This surprised me! After about 4 days of bumming around on the beach, spending time writing in my journal, and exploring the island by myself, I finally felt ready to be social again. It was perfect timing because within 24 hours I had met Lara and Jorin, Sabine, M, Lenie, and Kelli! Lara, M and I bonded one afternoon over a rather salacious conversation that had us laughing for hours. I spent most of the next five days hanging out with Lara and Jorin… exploring the Island, swimming at our favourite beaches, hanging out playing cards on the couches in Rabbit Bungalows or eating at our favourite restaurant Cha-Chais. They have now moved on to India for 7 weeks and I miss them dearly! It just means that I will definitely be adding Germany to my list of countries I’m visiting in the next couple of years.
The Disappearing Island
Ok, so not really disappearing.. but during low tide the water is so low you can walk across to the island. Jorin, Lara, Tim and I did this one of the days. We bought some sandwiches from the pier and headed off to the west side of the island. Thankfully Tim knew where he was going, otherwise we’d never had gotten there! They were in the middle of building new roads in that area so I’m fairly sure by next year it will be easier. Word of warning for those who go.. either wear water shoes or bring your sandals for the other side! On low tide the water went to just below my knees, although we could have gone up further so it wasn’t so deep. It was nice and sandy at the beginning, and then turned into pure tiny, painful rocks. By the time we got to the other side, I was cursing loudly and dreading coming back. That didn’t stop me from enjoying my lunch or the exploring we did though. A little ways up the island we discovered a beautiful sandy beach. I made the executive decision to give my bag to Jorin, and swam back. Best decision ever. I loved the swim and I could practically feel my feet thanking me. The others were a little doubtful because it was so far, but this water baby was loving it! We had stayed so long on the island that the water was up to Lara’s waist on the way back, so I’d definitely suggest wearing swim suits.
Snorkeling Trip that Never Was
While on the island, you can also do a snorkeling trip to Surin Islands. Lara and Jorin convinced me to go with them (not that it took much) but this adventure taught me not to take plans on Koh Phayam too seriously. First time we tried it was moved because of bad weather the day before. Second time, we made it all the way to the boat before it got canceled! The small zodiac went back to pick up the second load of passengers but then broke down. Which meant the six of us had breakfast and coffee and chatted on the boat for over an hour while they tired to fix it. Eventually, they called off the tour and the boat driver had to paddle board out to us. I was sad we didn’t get to go, but it made for a pretty good morning! And since we had to be there by 5am, I felt like I’d already had a full day by the time my usual wake up time came around.
My favourite thing to do on the island was to get on my scooter and just explore. No plan, no map, just driving to see where it takes me. I loved navigating the narrow roads, swerving to miss the potholes or slowing down when it suddenly turned into an all dirt road. I did a few days of exploring by myself and then near the end of my trip Lara and Jorin joined me. Not only was it more fun for me to explore with them, it was also very helpful when I ran out of gas. Not once, not twice, but three times. In my defense, the gas gauge was broken on my scooter.
If you haven’t read my other posts about this little slice of paradise, find them here: