After having said goodbye to our Australian friends we left Khao Sok in southerly direction for the coast. Here we were confronted with the high season in the for western tourists most popular region of this country. For a week or more we had difficulties in finding a place to stay. So we started to use the inernet to find out in advance if accommodations were avalailable. Until now we have never needed this method, we just stopped somewhere and got a room, or something like that :-).
New Year's eve we thus arrived in Sabai Resort, some 4 k away from Pak Meng Beach, were we initially intended to stay, but full. We learned that during these specific holidays each Thai takes his picknick basket, loads his family on a pick-up truck and goes to a place like Pak Meng. When we had taken our bikes to see the beach boulevard, we returned earlier than planned. The road was congested and the beaches crowded. Thai families seem just to sit down somewhere, rocky or sandy ground, beach, shaded roadside, who cares, unpack their loads of food, eat and drink, sleep, sit, talk, let their children play, and at 17.00 hrs they leave. What stays behind is what they didn't eat and the plastic where it was all packed in. A big mess. We cycled back home to our remote resort, feeling happy that we needed not be a part of this. The resort was an oasis of quietness, with cold beer, good food and interesting conversations with the Italian-Thai owners.
On New Year's day we made a 4-island tour, starting from Pak Meng Pier. We were the only falang (westerners, white people) among app. 60 Thai. The boat first took us to an island, actually mainly a big limestone rock standing out in the Andaman sea. There all the passengers hadt to put on a life jacket, then we all got off the boat into the sea. It was too deep to stand and I think that there are hardly any Thai who can swim. But we were all kept afloat by our life jackets, and we were told to hang on to the one in front of us. Thus we were pulled by the guides, who obviously could swim, into a cave in the huge wall of rock. Far beyond all ISO-standards I'm sure. It was a app. 80 meter long tunnel and it was fun, this train of people, clinging to each other and floating in the water in the pitch dark cave, shouting and cheering (of fear?) and then arriving in an amazing open space with daylight through an opening high above. Aswesome!
Then we had a big lunch on board, we stopped on a pristine beach of another fairy-tale island, we snorkled and saw multy coloured fish in all sizes and after seeing flying dogs hanging from a rock we returned to the pier, to be picked up and taken back home to Sabai Resort.
Then it was, due to the time-differences, the right moment to make phone calls to our beloved at home.
A lovely new year's day!