A guest blog today from David Smith in Bangkok:
Forget about Phuket, by-pass Koh Samui and make for a a Resort in Koh Kood instead if you are truly looking to get Away from it all and experience something a little bit different.
A population of just 2,000 awaits you here though there is no Holiday Inn, no Central World Shopping Malls, no 7 elevens or McDonald’s in fact nothing at all to remind you that you are still on this commercialized world.
There are only the basic natural elements and ingredients of life itself. In fact in most quarters of the island you will find it hard to use your smart phone, iPad or other such ‘Stay in touch with work and stress’ devices. Perhaps you can have a holiday instead……what a quaint idea.
And holiday we did for our four days Away from it all, looked after by the lovely native staff at Away Resorts. After a quite delightful hour on the ferry over we were greeted by keen bag carriers and a lovely lady bearing fruits and gifts of tropical welcome drinks, a seriously refreshing coconut & lemongrass concoction.
Check in, a quick unpack, no time to waste, straight back into the Escape Restaurant on the waters edge to tuck in to a much needed late lunch. Seafood in curry powder paste was recommended to me; my only complaint was that it broke my heart not to be able to finish it such was the size of the dish!
We spent the remaining 3 hours or so of daylight on laptops and smart phones, checking in, uploading pictures to FB (the resort has quite good Wi-Fi in the Restaurant area) to depress friends in the more northern hemisphere regions, and walking around the huge tropical grounds of the resort checking out the flora, views and generally doing those settle in and feel the awe holiday moments.
Evening comprised of a couple of sunset drinks at the Castaway pub, a light evening meal and time mingling with the other guests.
Our first full day took us on a short speed boat hop up Klong Chao River, followed by a short walk through some greenery to Klong Chao waterfall, with its freshwater pond. As a non swimmer, I left my cohorts to the cooling dip and opted myself for some adventurous rock climbing alongside.
We decided after to take the long way home, climbing our way up some rocky terrain and jungle back to the road to be collected by the resort driver. On the drive back I got some quite superb shots of island life, one of note was the lady with her young daughter doing their household laundry in the next door stream.
Evening two and day three consisted of more eating, relaxing, mingling and some water activities. I decided a bit of Kayaking with life jacket in the shallows of Klong Chao Bay would be an acceptable risk. The waters are as clear as you can imagine, I could quite clearly see the rocks and fish as I peered over the side of my Kayak.
The Away Resort has a great activities centre where they can offer just about every water activity you would want on such a holiday. They also have a professional diving company there running full PADI diving course should you want to do such a thing. I cannot speak highly enough of the waters around Koh Kood, so I am quite certain it must offer some of the very best diving in all of Thailand.
Evening three consisted of a beach barbecue, all you can eat deal. It was a very atmospheric gathering with a lone Thai lady playing guitar and singing a few songs, around the campfire so to speak. This set us up perfectly for our last day which consisted of a morning tour up to a few other beaches on the west coast, all of them deserted and all of them idyllic.
Then came that awful holiday moment; the goodbyes. It is always a hard thing to say goodbye but there is an extra twang to that sadness at Away Resort as the staff here act almost as family and friends, such is the kind of informal and relaxed style. You feel that you have to come back to see them again else you are letting down old friends…good marketing ploy or just super idealistic service? You will have to go along for yourself and make up your own mind.