I stared at the ferry I was going to sit on for three hours. I watched as they packed more and more people. I hope it doesn’t sink, I said to myself. I dropped my bag below deck. People were waiting about. There didn’t seem to be too many single travelers here. Maybe it would be different on the island. I went up above to get a tan.
I was heading to Ko Lipe, a small island of the southern coast of Thailand. Located hours from the mainland, it doesn’t see many tourists. I’d never even heard of the island until my friend emailed me saying she was there. It wasn’t in my guidebook and my fellow travelers were just as clueless. She described it as paradise- cheap, deserted, and beautiful.
With a description like that, I couldn’t resist. I was in Ko Phi Phi, the exact opposite. Ko Phi Phi is expensive, touristy, and crowded but this place sounded different- like paradise. I read the words over again. Cheap. Beautiful. Deserted. It was my dream. It was my own personal “beach”. (The Beach is a novel by Alex Garland about finding paradise and then destroying it.) I took the next ferry back to the mainland, bought a bus ticket, and eventually, I was offloaded at the ferry.
Play it again Sam
I had made my way up to the front of the deck. Around me were various couples- British, German, and French. I sat down near them but without the nerve too talk. They were all in conversation. I felt awkward. Quietly, I just took in the sun. The British couple had a guitar and was playing a few songs while merrily chatting away. After awhile, I worked up the nerve to talk to them.
“Hey,” I said. “You’re pretty good. Know any Jack Johnson?”
And that was all it took. They introduced themselves as Paul and Jane. They had met in Australia a few years back, had been traveling for years, and were on their way to moving to New Zealand. It’s funny how you can connect with random strangers. We spent our time on the boat chatting. To this day we remain good friends.
“So, where are you meeting your friend?” They asked.
“I have no idea,” I said. “It’s a small island. I’m sure I’ll run into her.”
We had hopped in a longboat and headed to the shore. There’s no dock on the island so you need to be ferried from the boat. Landing on one of the beaches, I heard my name called. I looked around and there was my friend on the beach.
We hugged. We chatted. I went to find a room. It was about 3pm after I checked into my bungalow. The wooden bungalows were on a hill, shrouded by large trees, and overlooking the ocean. Below was a tiny secluded beach and, out in the distance, a small island, surrounded by coral that looked prefect to swim to and explore. Staring at my surroundings, it looked like a post card. This was clearly paradise.
Featured Courtesy by Mark Fischer