When I made my way out of Bangkok I was headed down to a port to take a boat to Koh Tao. On the way I got to talking to a couple on the bus about an island they were headed to called Koh Phayam. I had never heard of it before. It wasn’t documented as a popular destination in any guide book or internet review I had read but it was very popular in a German guide book, hence why the bus was full of them. I had a few days to kill before I had to meet my friend so I thought it would be a good opportunity to see another island instead of spending a few days in Koh Tao waiting. I didn’t know anything about it, I didn’t know where to stay and I didn’t have any friends to share a bungalow with. I heard they didn’t have hostels on that island either. I arrived to the port at about 5 or 6 am which meant I had to wait a few hours until the boat arrived to take us over. As I waited I realized a lot of the tourists headed there were couples. I sparked up a couple conversations with some of them to procure some information and at one point I saw someone else doing the same. I overheard a guy named Matt describing his situation, similar to mine, and asking about the island and where to stay. He was next to me so I mentioned that I’m in the same exact situation; waiting for friends to meet on another island, just heard about Koh Phayam, and alone with no knowledge of Koh Phayam. We immediately clicked. He even turned out to be same age and had the same watch as me. We decided that if it came down to it we could share a bungalow to save money. When we got to the other side finally we rented a scooter and went on a search for somewhere to stay. We found one bungalow that had a one night availability and took it right away after realizing we didn’t have much of a chance at other accommodations. The next few days we did nothing. We had both come from busy parts in our travels and didn’t mind just laying by the beach and hanging out. We made a friend from Sweden who loved to hang out and eat like we did so the three of us made a good trio.
The island has a reggae/hippie vibe. Very relaxed. Beautiful beaches and ocean. At night time we even saw phosphorescence in the water but only one night. We were so ecstatic running around in it that we momentarily lost some of our belongings on the beach. The island is a little more expensive than other parts of Thailand but it’s to be expected on a remote island. There were quite a few Burmese people who came over from the nearby border to work as they said the working opportunities were better in Thailand. One of my favourite memories was riding to and from our bungalow at night time on the narrow road in a t-shirt and shorts through the jungle while the moon and stars lit the way. I felt so free. It was such a contrast to living in a city that it was unbelievable that life could be that way. So simple. So pure and so magical.
If you get a chance you should go visit. Stay near the hippie/reggae bar which is made out of wood constructed to look like a sinking ship. The guys in this video are the owners and that’s Matt stepping into the shot at the end.