Travel back in time on Koh Phayam
After Koh Tao, it was hard to imagine there were islands to visit that were off the tourist path. Enter: Koh Phayam. An island on the boarder of Thailand & Myanmar (you can see the mountainous islands of Myanmar from the west side of the island), it is what the popular islands were like 30 years ago.
There are no cars, hospitals, 711's, pharmacies, or chain restaurants, no electricity (generators run from around 6p-10p), and only 3 paved roads. The beaches are quiet and nearly empty. I rarely saw more then 15 people on the entire stretch of Ao Kao Kwai (the quieter of the two beaches and where we stayed). The bungalows scattered along the two beaches are basic, and there are plenty of creepy crawlers and jungle noises that will keep you up all night.
It was lovely to have a place where there was little to do except relax, eat, and sleep. The late afternoon, early evening, was the best time to explore, as the heat dropped off. Zipping around on our motorbike, we quickly conquered the 3 paved roads and began exploring the dirt roads. We found mangroves, a buddhist temple at the end of a rickety pier, grazing farm animals and a cobra(!), look out points, sea gypsies, crazy rock formations, and a ghost town resort. We finished off every night with a beautiful sunset, a couple Singhas, and delicious dishes of either Burmese or Thai cuisine. All this done at a super slow pace spread out over 5 days.
It was hard to leave, but the north was calling. I know that when I return in the future, it will be a different place...such a beautiful island can not stay undiscovered for long.