Similan Islands

Our escape from Koh Pipe took longer than expected, and we didn’t arrive in Phuket until 7 in the evening, and after watching the same Thai pop music videos on replay for 6 hours!

We took a taxi to the center of town, and they helped us find a hotel, books a 2 day 1 night tent trip to the Similan Islands, and pointed the way to good food!

As we were getting cash, the man from the travel shop spotted us, and double checked that we knew where we were going!

Our street food dinner was perhaps the best we’ve had, and we have had a LOT of very good food thus far. We skipped the Night Market, since our trip to the islands was due to commence at 6 the next morning.

The drive from Phuket to Koh Lak was uneventful, save for thinking we were departing from Phuket! Little did I know that once we boarded the boat that I would be in my swim trunks full time for the next 2 days:).

The Similans are a series of 9 islands and are part of a marine park, too. That means that there is very little infrastructure, and the Thai people and government seem committed to keeping them pristine while also promoting tourism. So far, I think, so good.

We stopped to snorkel on the way out – tons of fish, great visibility, no current.

Back on the boat, another snorkel spot (this one even better than the first), and then to Island 4 for swimming and lunch.

When we went to check in, we met “Moe”, our tour guide. We later learned that he is really “Mr Mong”, and his friendly laugh and mischievous grin did not prepare us for how helpful he would be!

There wasn’t a tent for us, after all, so we got a slight upgrade to a building. We settled in, and then went back to the boat for more snorkeling, followed by dinner on the boat. No pictures, but you can imagine: azure blue sea, rose and violet sunset, lush islands in the fore, and tasty Thai food.

After that – back to the beach for a final swim, shower and then bed!

We started the day with breakfast on the boat and more snorkeling. The crew was amused at my water entry method, which consisted of jumping from the upper deck, sans fins or life jacket. (hard to tread water with fins, and hard to go UNDER water with a life jacket.

When Puja and Iffet lined up on the top deck to jump, the crew turned out to cheer. Video once we return to the States!

During lunch, we asked Mr. Mong about getting to Khoa Tao, our next destination. Almost before we knew it, he had arranged for us to have dinner at his restaurant, the Blue Mist (where the staff spoke of him with great respect), a terrific boutique hotel at a bargain, and a car to take is from pier to hotel to restaurant and back.

Oh. And a car to take us to the pier the next morning. Mr. Mong is a big man on the island, I think!

After a shower and a rest we headed out to dinner. We were all a bit skeptical during the dark car ride through back roads – until we emerged behind the Blue Mist, walked through the kitchen, saw our pre-ordered dinner (huge tiger prawns and a salt cured, lemongrass and then grilled snapper) and spotted our table: beach front, best seat in the place and with a big reserved sign!

I will note that all of this happened without cash changing hands: three different drivers, a hotel, a restaurant. All on our combined honor. Beautiful.

As was dinner, completed with a duck curry, cold beer, spicy green papaya salad, and chicken with fried basil!

We may have finished the night with sticky rice with mango, fried banana, and a Pina Colada, but I’m not telling.

Mr. Mong’s brother in law drove us home, where our hotel owner was waiting up for is to be sure all went well.

What a great couple of days, made so by the beautiful Similan Islands, and the incredible Thai people.

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