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.

Koh Tao

It was nearing sun down. The water was warm, clear, calm, and glowing in a golden pinkish hue. Sounds of long tail boats zipping by. A small island about a 2 hour ferry ride from Koh Samui, Koh Tao is known as one of the best places to go divining in the world.

What I love most about traveling is how things fall in to place. Big Blue Dive School felt just like that. Their instructors are super rad and really care about everything that comes with diving. We signed up to get our Open Water Certification. A course that over 3 days and 4 open water dives, teaches you all you need to know about diving with a partner to a depth of 18 meters. The days were filled with excitement, fear, exhaustion, sea sickness, you name it. And at the end of it all, we decided to jump right in to an Advanced Certification. After 5 more dives (including a thrilling Night Dive), learning a few more skills, diving to new depths, getting 'narced' (so fun), some more seasickness, and 'getting triggered,' we are now, as my brother puts it, certified fish, able to go to depths of 30 meters.

The open waters are a whole new world. Schools of thousands of fish all moving as one large organism, eels lurking in the shadows of coral, sleeping turtles in caves, rainbow fish hunting, barracudas, tiny colorful plants that shoot into the coral for safety if you get too close…and on and on. Needless to say, it was an exciting week and I'm looking forward to more dive trips in the future!!