We arrived in Ko Yao Yai. As we hit the pier on arrival, Barbie had a huge smile on her face and was totally in her element on this remote island. As soon as you step off the ferry, you really feel something different. You are basically out of the world, the world you know of. It is a quintessential tropical paradise and the most untouched island I have been to. It is an island for getting back to nature and a perfect place to really reset. The only people here are the two of us, The Skipper, The Professor, Maryanne, The Millionaire and his wife. Ginger is AWOL. Apparently, Ginger made her way to Phuket and has been seen banging overweight Russians on Soi Bangla. I can also report no sightings of Yao Ming on Ko Yao Yai.
This long, narrow island is ringed with thick mangroves and white-sand beaches and thankfully has somehow avoided becoming another hectic Thai island resort. It is really difficult to believe such a place exists so close to the major tourist hubs of Phuket and Krabi. I think the Ko Yao Yai residents will never allow it to be overwhelmed by tourism like their neighbouring islands. The locals just seem to want to preserve their traditional way of life. Thankfully.
It was only a 45 minute speedboat to get to Ko Yao Yai from Phuket’s east coast. Ko Yao Yai is only about 20 miles in length from top to bottom and sits halfway between Phuket and Krabi in the middle of Phang Nga Bay. I am glad we hit Phuket first because if we did these islands in reverse, I am not sure I could deal with the craziness of Phuket after the complete serenity of Ko Yao Yai.
We motorbiked everyday to basically secluded beaches (Loh Paret and Loh Jark beaches) through dense green forests with nobody really in sight except some local villagers, some cows and goats. I think the population of Ko Yao Yai is only 3,000.
Upon check-in to our resort on Ko Yao Yai, we were greeted and checked in by a Ladyboy (aka Ladyman). This did not phase either Barbie or I one bit. Our Ladyboy greeter was dressed up nicely and was super kind. Ladyboys are acceptable in Thai society. Nobody judges them and they are not frowned upon or looked down on at all. It is a prime example of Thai acceptance of just about any alternative behavior and particularly choice of ones sexual orientation. Ladyboys are so prevalent in Thailand and nobody seems to care. Just another example of how tolerant Thais are. Unlike in the states when Bruce Jenner decided to be transformed into Caitlyn Jenner, it was an absolute media circus with everybody rushing to judgment and spouting their opinions. I am neither pro or anti Ladyboy. But, my general feeling in life, is if you do no harm to other people or any living thing, then who really cares.
One of the absolute mind freeing things on this trip so far was completely disconnecting. Disconnecting from TV, from any sort of news, from any personal financial/business matters, from personal/celebrity gossip, from the US elections……etc. I never even know what day it is, nor really care. I am starting to achieve what I set out for……to get in a zone and just not give a shit about all the unimportant extraneous crap. Just simply enjoying the present moment, sit outside the circle, shut up, listen and observe.
Barbie is real sad to leave the extreme serenity of Koh Yao Yai but its onto the next island. She will miss feeding the roosters and chickens. I have a feeling we will be returning to Koh Yao Yai on our return to Thailand. It is a real cool place.
Mostly ate on campus at resort w/ assorted no name street side food joints thrown in.
BEACHES VISITED –
Loh Paret Beach – 7 (west side of island)
Loh Jark Beach – 8 (west side of island)
Assorted Other Beaches – 7 (on motorbike journey around island stopping at random beaches without names)
LOOSE STOOLS INDEX – 6 (has come down a notch. Acceptable being on a very remote island)
THRU THE BINOCS –
You think traveling around Southeast Asia is all fun and games? There are a few things that Barbie is really battling with on this trip.
1) Mosquitoes – These things really seem to love her sweet blood. She sprays herself with natural bug spray. Its a concoction of ingredients mixed up by this old school Thai lady we met in Ko Kret with the main ingredient being Citronella. This seems to work great (and with no chemicals) but there are select times (when we are in more remote jungle areas) where Barbie goes into beast mode and opts for the unnatural 90% DEET formula we have on hand. I told her the reason she keeps getting bitten is all because she is at war with these mosquitoes. I am at peace with these mosquitoes and they do not seem to bother me as much. I have come to the realization that your mind is so strong and you can control so much with it. I am slowly transforming into Rambo. Maybe that is why the mosquitoes do not mess with Big Doug?
Which brings me to Barbies other major beef.
2) The Cold – Here we are living in super steamy and tropical Southeast Asia with temperatures high enough to melt your brain. Yet, Barbie is cold. Not cold when she is schvitzing outside in sweat but cold inside as you gotta blast the A/C in the room. Its a real battle and the winner of the war is usually the person who falls asleep last and who has last licks on the A/C remote. Also, on any train or bus and in any store, or mall you go into, the A/C is always blasting. In these cases, I am on the winning side cause she has zero control of the A/C, however, she does a fantastic job of bitching to make up for her discomfort. It is at these times when she has absolutely no control, that I am the one verbally attacked and called a fat ass. Apparently in her mind the weight I am carrying is keeping me unfairly warm. Logical, huh?
3) Bugs – (Not mosquitoes). Once again being in the tropics, it is only natural to see some freaky looking bugs. I am not talking about the wimpy bug variety you would see at home. These critters have about 5-10 legs or so and they look like they can really somehow fuck you up. Barbie seems to absolutely adore animals but apparently bugs do not fit into the cute and cuddly animal category. I find it funny how brave she is when she sees an ant, captures it with a piece of toilet paper and struts around like she is the Terminator. However, anything larger than an ant, forget about it. Its all on Big Doug to kick butt and capture those critters.
These are just some of the battles we face being in the tropics together.