One hour by speed boat from Koh Chang Island, Koh Mak is a small, beautiful island, only 16 square meters. So wild and undeveloped, that even the Russians from Koh Chang didn’t venture here. But the Germans, Scandinavians and one Canadian – Romanian did, in search of adventure, peacefulness and close to nature living.
No banks or ATMs here! A couple of local convenience stores and few restaurants, and these are all. Just lonely beaches…
Renting a motorbike is the easiest way to travel in the island.
“A simple life is good with me. I don’t need a whole lot. For me, a T-shirt, a pair of shorts, barefoot on a beach and I’m happy.” – Yanni
The palm trees adjourned beaches and the green, calm, wavy sea under the tropical sun and blue skies – give you a postcard perfect and dreamy look of this tropical island.
But look closer and you will find the human generated pollution at the edge between the beach and forest, where the sea has deposited our garbage: all kind of plastic, glass bottles, shoes, boat ropes and bulbs, toys, syringes and many others. It makes an interesting (but sad) photographic subject.
I rented a bungalow at the “Monkey Island” resort – a funky place with funky music, more suitable for teenagers who want to party. The small bungalow with just a fan was OK, but hot inside. The bed was covered by a mosquito net. The bathroom was already ”occupied” by a lazy frog that made clear she owns the place!
Food is good and papaya salad at ‘Monkey Island’ is excellent!
In a scorching day, I rented a bicycle to tour the island with just an idea of the geography of the place. Steep hills, 40 degrees Celsius and soon I was completely wet and dehydrated. The Red Bulls didn’t help, but apparently a cold, big Chang Thai beer, savoured on a beautiful, wild beach, was just the fuel I needed to continue biking.
Lost in time fishing villages, a serene temple on the top of a cliff, a completely deserted pier and plantations of coconut, pine apple and rubber trees give you a quick view of the island in one day bike ride.
Riding the bike through a narrow path under hundreds of tall coconut trees, made me wonder what will happen if a coconut is falling in my direction?!
The mornings are for walking on the lonely beaches, searching for sea shells and interesting lost objects thrown on the shore by the sea.
The evenings are for swimming, more exactly bathing, or just staying in the warm sea water for hours and watching the sunset. It is that good!
At night, the green lights from fishing boats can be seen at the horizon of the sea.
If you want to be alone with yourself on a beach, Koh Mak is the place to be.
One of the biggest islands in Thailand and number four in Lonely Planet’s Top 15 Thai Islands & Beaches, Koh Kood (or Ko Kut) is also one of the most beautiful: a serene, peaceful place, with virtually no night life.
Pristine beaches and the emerald sea surround the jungle covered island. Trekking is possible to the rainforests and waterfalls.
Everything is more expensive here and prices can be double compared with Bangkok for food and drinks.
I choose to stay at Uncle Joe’s bungalows, Ngamkho. My bungalow is on a hill facing the sea. In the mornings I am woken up by the melodic trills of little birds that have their nest under the bungalow roof.
So quiet! It is like the time has stopped. A feeling similar with the way you spent your childhood, worry-free and having a different perception of time and space.
Meet my roommate, the granddaddy of all geckos, the biggest gecko I’ve ever seen!
Internet is spotty here, and there are days without electric power.
Sometimes, I can survive during the day with breakfast and canned coffee, only to indulge in the evening on a culinary fest. And this was grilled sea-bass fish with red wine at Ngamkho. Aroy! It means delicious in Thai.
Finally, in one morning, after searching in vain to find a bicycle for rent, I returned to Ngamkho and I asked Uncle Joe, the owner, to rent me a motorbike, telling him that I never rode one. Reluctantly, he has agreed: “Watch the speed!”
I got a red Honda, automatic bike. The instructions were “hold the brake, turn on the ignition, start the engine and rotate the throttle from the right handle bar to start the motorbike moving”. Easy!
And here I am, riding with the wind! It is thrilling and the desire to increase the speed is not easy to contain. It seems that I have problems taking the curves, but the roads on the island are mostly empty, so I am safe!
The roads can be very steeply and with a lot of sharp curves, interrupted by small wood bridges. Some roads go nowhere and I had to turn back. The map I have is difficult to follow, with minimum indications, so I just went where my bike was bringing me.
Not knowing where you are going, you let yourself to be surprised.
And I was, when I discovered an old fishing village at Ao Yai. I stopped and walked on the wooden path watching the boats, the fisherman bringing nets with shrimps, and the children playing around. Sea food is a must. I choose steam fish. The fish is taken directly from the sea, weighted and cooked.
At sunrise, I brought the motorbike back and I enjoyed my last day on the island savouring a travelling Cuban cigar brought from Havana via Toronto.