#10 from SE Asia — Ko Phayam island. No cars, no shoes, no locks, no schedule…
January, 25th, 2011
Ko Phayam, Thailand
Jeff was a day ahead of me and already had a room on Ko Phayam Island. This island is part of the Laem Som marine national park system. I rode my bike to the ferry early. I felt great relief to not have to deal with any of the moto-taxis, schedules, and price debates. I just pedalled there quickly by myself.
I took the 3 hour ride to an island that has no cars, traffic lights, and only intermittent electricity and infrequent internet. It was about 4 by 7 kms in size and known for its fine beaches. Across the island were 2 meter wide cement trails where one could pedal a bike if necessary to get to any of the many beaches, bars, dance halls and restaurants on the island.
As I rode my bicycle thru the crowd of young backpackers getting off the ferry, I noticed that they were virtually all queueing up to rent motorcycles. They were 1/3rd my age, yet they felt that they did not have the time or energy to be able to pedal a bike a maximum of 7 kms.
I would pay for this later on whenever I pedalled on the trails. I would have to dodge the motorcyclists speeding along noisily and recklessly on the trails. I should mention that I have seen a few live motorcycle accidents while on this trip. I am surprised that I have not seen more.
I found Jeff and I shared his Bamboo cabana. I unpacked, bathed, and looked around. I had absolutely nothing specific to do for 5 days. Nothing. Wow. When was the last time I had this opportunity, other than in solitary confinement in prison?
Time to turn my motor off, or at least reduce my high idle.
So what to do? Daily I swam, I used the free sea kayaks to paddle around small islands in the distance. I read, I went 3 days without wearing any footwear at all, including sandals, socks, or tongs. And by late afternoon I was usually idly drunk. Yeah I was.
I got one massage, a decent one. I talked with the masseuse and she mentioned just how sore and stiff she was from giving massages all day. So I offered to give her a massage every afternoon after she was finished. But I told her my rate was 1 baht (about $.03) per hour. She accepted and paid up in advance. So I got into massaging the masseuses at sunset on this lovely 2 km beach. Life could be worse.
But finally, it was time to go. Jeff had decided to stay another day. We said our goodbyes. It had been a good ride together. Jeff now had to get back to the US, but not me. So down the road again.