One day I made a pact with my friends to go on a joint trip to Thailand and my Thai friend Au recommended Koh Kood . He told us this island was only known to Thai people and not many else. How exciting!
My trip in Thailand started with an overnight stay at the Metropolitan hotel and a dive onto the great big white bed. Room service of good pad thai and a super spicy green papaya salad made me feel refreshed and happy in no time after the long plane trip. The Met is a favourite for it’s minimalist decor and spacious rooms not to mention the amazing breakfast at the hotel’s organic restaurant Glow. It now also houses one of the best restaurants in the world – the Nahm .
Another short 1 hour flight south,I was struck by the tropical heat stepping out of the plane . The wild countryside of the Trat province sped past me in a cab on my way to the boat launch.From the little english she could muster my driver told me this area is very famous for it’s bananas and rubies.Both yummy!
Long occupied by the French , this part of Thailand saw fierce battles fought over it’s territory ,the land reluctantly returned to the Thai government after the WW. Even now the area is sparsely populated , hiding within its’s archipelago myths of pirates and smugglers. The islands are relatively undeveloped,possibly because of their proximity to war torn Cambodia.They remain thankfully virginal having escaped the uncoordinated development that befell the other , more popular islands.
Koh Kood or Koh Kut is itself the 4th biggest island in the whole Thailand and it read like a dream on paper:lush vegetation,streams,white sand and waterfalls.
I arrived wide eyed and full of adventure to meet my friends, then realized time somehow dripped by like molasses here. All my buddies lay on wooden beds drinking pina coladas at noon leasurely discussing the possibilities of lunch. Like a jack-in-the-box I retold the details of my journey. One of them yawned,the other flipped a page in his book. Then there was silence. I looked around to see coconut trees lazily rustling over a tame cove, fish frolicking under the pier and a river flowing into the ocean to my left. Crickets buzzed. I sat down nervously shaking my leg and ordered a pina colada. This tranquility business is strange , I thought, then picked up the menu and ordered 3 mains. Steamed crab,stir-fry prawns and morning glory . I ate it all myself , the very un-thai way,by not sharing. As I finished my second pina colada , I stretched out like a lazy, fat cat and found my mind and body on this quiet island’s time.
Captain Hook resort didn’t have 5 star accommodation but it’s setting and the delicious food we ate from morning to night made up for it. We kayaked down the estuary to little bar shacks where we drank young coconuts and cocktails, ate snacks and jumped into the river from the small pier when we got too hot on our quest for bronzed perfection. Sometimes we just wallowed like beached seals around the shallows of the resort beach for hours then took long afternoon naps. By night we’d take over the small bar ,hook up our ipods and drink a pina colada river with no other westerners around us.
But then, human as we are and never satisfied, we wanted more – we wanted to discover what else existed .Captain Hook is not connected to the rest of the island by a road and no other resorts exist nearby .This isolation is both a blessing and a curse , so we found out from the only employee that spoke English that CK has sister properties on the island,one of which,The Peter Pan resort, provided regular boat shuttles. A trip was promptly organized and we set off on a day excursion. Lo and behold Peter Pan resort was even lovelier ! A long white palm fringed stretch ,tranquil massages on the beach and sunny spacious rooms! Where do we sign up?
Now connected by a road to the rest of the island we excitedly hired scooters. Winding rides ensued, races even, discovering hidden coves down mostly deserted roads, dirt tracks and emerald jungle .We visited the only “big” village and the only proper “store” on the island. They had some cute kid’s tie dye dresses, thongs, shells, ice cream and soda.Shopping addiction satiated , my girlfriend and I sneaked down the road into the tiny village and saw strapping thai fishermen pull up their nets ,crab traps down by the boats,prawns drying in the sun.So this is where all the amazing seafood we were eating came from!
And then there were the beaches. Perfect, meandering down the coastline ,buried in the foliage.Each one more beautiful than the next. Tiny little bungalow resorts, no tackiness, no shops, no rubbish. Just pure water, sun and sand.
What struck me about this island is just how quiet it truly still is. There is no true luxury , yet it is beyond luxurious because it provides the magical at no extra cost. The nature is unspoilt,the people are nice. This island does not scream tourism yet it will soon . Get there before it does as Six Senses was building a resort here at the time of our trip!
Oh and did I forget to mention that the mountains of fresh seafood and gallons of cocktails we drank on our week long sojourn in Koh Kood came to $100 per head?