The Southern bit
05.01.2011 - 09.01.2011
To get to Ko Lipe, a small island off the Andaman Coast, you have to take a ferry from Tammalang and transfer to a longtail for the final 100 yards to the beach. The surrounding waters are too shallow for the big boats. Jumping off a boat and paddling ashore with our rucksack instantly qualifies as our best 'arrival' so far. Our journey to Ko Lipe had been somewhat circuitous, first taking a coach to the northern tip of Malaysia, then a ferry to Lankawi, a small malaysian island for the night, then an early boat in to Thailand and another to the islands. As we entered Thailand, whose sandy beaches Katie had been relishing for quite some time, it began to rain, and Katie began to swear. A lot. Thankfully the sun was shining by the time we were installed in our Ko Lipe beach hut and kicking back with a pineapple juice. A couple of days of dedicated sun-bathing (Katie) and snorkelling and hiding from the sun (Tom) ensued. Quite the Jaques Custeau, Tom has invested in his own underwater equipment to enhance exploration.
From Ko Lipe we ferried to Ko Taruntao, getting absolutely soaked and slammed about in the process in some rather choppy seas. But the end was well worth the means. Ko Tarutao was beautiful. Beautiful and very quiet. It is a National Park and as such has been protected from mass development. It attracted some controversy with the decision to allow the 'Survivor' TV series to be filmed there. In survivor style we dumped our bags at our beach hut and headed straight into the jungle in search of a hillside waterfall. An excellent scramble up river, and several times across and through river, led to a georgous isolated pool where we stopped for a dip.
On the way down we explored the local beaches and enjoyed the local wildlife (though sadly no sign of the elusive Hog Badger native to these regions). If you are ever in this neck of the woods, we'd recommend getting yourself here - compared to some of the resorts on neighbouring islands this is Robinson Crusoe desert island wilderness stuff of dreams. Next stop Ko Lanta.