I wanted it all – palm trees, a white sand beach, and clear warm water. I also wanted it on a budget, and for myself. So far I had not found that perfect combination. The owner of my guesthouse in Trang suggested I visit Koh Tarutao if I was looking for nicer beaches and fewer tourists. The ferry ride was not long, in calm seas. This island is one of the stops for the many tour companies offering day trips to 4 or 5 islands. Some tours only stop here for 15 minutes. If you are staying, you must pay your park entrance fee, then at the Park office you choose your accommodation – there was not a lot of choices as there are only park bungalows or tents to rent. I was staying at Ao Molae 4 kilometres from the pier. As I waited for the shuttle I read signs warning of noseeums, monkeys breaking into cabins, and pythons in trees.
This island was at one time a prison colony and has never allowed outside development. My bungalow was perfect, and on a beach that was ideal. There was a line of garbage just above the high tide line. The Goddess of the Sea did not want man’s garbage, so this was nature’s way to return it.
An outdoor shower served both sides of each bungalow building. There was one cafe with restricted opening hours. The staff were armed. I do not know who thought water guns might be a deterrent to monkeys, obviously, no one told the monkeys as they swooped in and stole food off plates as we ate. Electricity from solar panels was available from 6 – 11 pm. There was no wifi. I swam and walked the beach several times each day. I always had both the beach and the sea to myself. The social life revolved around dinner and sunsets at the cafe. One day I decided to go for a walk down the jungle road. The jungle was so thick you could not see anything, but there were lots of sounds. Monkeys were playing a wild game of Tarzan. The trees formed a canopy over the road, and I could not avoid thinking of the warning of snakes in trees, so I did not walk far. Four days of time alone, on a beach, and I was rejuvenated to carry on with my adventure. Every silver lining has a cloud – and the only cloud here was the constant threat of thieving monkeys. I had found what I was looking for.