Friday, 30 December 2011

From Ban Bangbao to Ko Wai

In which Paradise has vacancies. 
Starring thonged Russians and a fisherman with murderous intent

If you were going to set a horror film in Thailand, there would be two perfect locations to choose from. The first would be some little floating bamboo bungalows on a lake in the Khao Sok National Park where a giant water beast would mysteriously devour the hapless, stranded travellers one by one. And the second would be the far side of Ko Wai island off the coast of Ko Chang.  The two victims would head over this way from their idyllic beach resort aptly named ‘Paradise’(*) to escape the hordes of Russian day trippers who arrive every morning in an ominous flotilla of noisy boats that roar up to the little wooden jetty to disgorge their thong totting cargo. 

The way to the other side of the island is behind Hut Number 9 – a steep path that requires climbing up and over the rocks and walking through a spider infested rubber plantation that is suitably quiet and creaky except for the scuttling of unseen animals through the undergrowth. This sequence would help to build the suspense.  Emerging from the forest, the two victims would find before them a mysteriously abandoned resort complex whose huts loom above the knee high grass, doors thrown open.  Also the beach, will be littered with debris – drift wood, coconuts and rubbish – but most tellingly an inexplicable number of shoes, some torn and tattered.  As they sit innocently on a log discussing the mournful, isolated setting and its appropriateness for a horror film, a lone fisherman would suddenly appear from nowhere and greet them enthusiastically in Thai, scaring the life out of them.

Our hut - £3 a night.  Total.
Aside from the Russian influx the island was utterly beautiful with a curving white beach shaded by palm trees and a restaurant with hand made wooden chairs and woven wicker lanterns bobbing in the wind.  The snorkelling was still rubbish – nothing to see apart from the those annoying little stripy fish that hover in huge schools near snorkelling boats, waiting to be fed.  Our morning swims and the one brief jaunt to the other side of the island was about as active as it got. 

(*) Arguably the best part about this little trip was calling up to book and getting to use the sentence: “Hello, is that Paradise?  Do you have any vacancies?”

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