Ko Hai

Once again the heat woke me up early and although I hardly leap out of bed, due to my strained shoulder, I can’t get back to sleep and lie there thinking about our plans for the day. After showering and breakfast in the cafe next door, Simon packs up our gear and goes to the ATM to get more money. The exchange rate is more like 70 baht to the pound and we realise although things are more expensive than we thought, we have more left in the bank also.

I try and do some schoolwork with the kids but can’t get comfortable due to my shoulder and give up on the idea for today .At 11.30 the minibus comes to collect us, there isn’t anyone else on the bus and it’s a very comfortable, air conditioned ride along a decent road. It’s a fairly rural area and we only pass a few huts made of wood and corrugated tin on the way. We also pass thousands of rubber trees planted in straight lines, I had read that the whole area is a giant rubber plantation and there are small black cups attached to the trunks of the trees about a metre off the ground collecting the sap.

After an hour we reach the pier, the boat is being loaded up with supplies to Ko Hai and we share a beer whilst the fella’s finish packing up. The boat is a type of motorised wooden longtail boat and we are the only passengers. I’m really excited, this seems very adventurous and we sit on the benches together until the boat gets out to sea. Before long we are speeding along, the sea is calm and so blue and tall, sharp limestone cliffs rise up out of it. The film The Beach was filmed in this area and I sing the All Saints song Pure Shores as we race along. It’s so exhilarating, feeling the scorching sun and spray on my face and the wind blowing my hair everywhere; we move and sit on the front of the boat.

We pass several islands and soon one of the fella’s points out Ko Hai in the distance. As we near the island he cuts the engine and we drift in over rocks and coral. The beach is about 400 metres long with fine golden sand and at the back on a grassy flat area are about 20 small wooden huts on stilts. Thankfully I don’t have to carry my pack as 2 fella’s rush down to greet us and carry them for us. I’m apologetic when they nearly collapse under the weight of them though!

The huts cost 500 baht each and we decide to have 2 separate ones. We check them out and as expected they are really basic with simple wooden furniture, mosquito nets and cold water shower. Power is only available between the hours of 6pm and midnight and for the first time since we have been travelling we have western style toilets without a flush. Still pouring water down the toilet to flush it is an easy enough task and the peace and solitude definitely make up for it. It is so gorgeous here, with palm trees all around and a quiet restaurant with a good menu. There is a decent selection of books available for exchange and a few games for the kids.

I think maybe half of the huts are occupied and I’m looking forward to a few days of complete tranquillity and relaxation. With that in mind, after some fresh chicken, vegetable and noodle soup I crash out on the bed for a few hours and go to sleep. With the door and shutters of the hut open it is beautifully breezy and I have a complete doss afternoon.

Simon takes Ali out for a walk across the rocks, we are planning to do some fishing and want to hire a boat and do some snorkelling here also. An English fella and his Chinese wife who are very familiar with the island tell Simon there is an excellent seafood restaurant on the other side of the island and we decide we will pay them a visit there too.

In the evening we share a green curry, and hot and sour orange curry with shrimps. The foods really excellent and it would be good to think we can avoid fried stuff for a while. As Maisie is feeling poorly with a cold I put her bed early and Simon and I sit listening to Ali playing his guitar on our little wooden veranda. What a lovely end to the day.