Thailand has world-known beaches, from which Phuket, Krabi, Ko Tao are the most popular ones. Almost every beach in Thailand looks like a landscape from a famous Bounty commercial – white sand coastline with clear blue water. Those famous islands are far away from Bangkok. The only way is to fly or torture yourself with 12+ hour bus/train drive.
Once in Thailand, gateway on an island is a must do. However, we wanted a cheap alternative. On November 27, we enter Internet cafe to search for local buses towards Koh Samed island. It departs from Eastern Bus Station located at Ekkamai BTS station. We buy round trip, open date tickets for 306 Baht per person for November 28.
At 3 pm we arrive at Ban Phe port and buy round trip, open date ferry tickets for 100 Baht with the entrance fee to the National Park. All the beaches are part of the national park, and the entrance costs 200 Baht per person.
It takes 45 minutes to get to the island. A statue of the female giant – Pisuea Samut (‘Butterfly of the Sea’) greets us at the shore. She is the ruler of the undersea kingdom in a famous Thai poem Phra Aphai Mani written in 1821. At the port, you have to pay additional 20 Baht for security, cleaning and developing purposes of the harbor.
Where to Camp
The camping area is on the other side of the island, 3 km from the entrance of the National Park, at Prao Bay. As we arrived quite late and it was a sunset, we decided to stay one night at the guesthouse.
Check out Tara Lets Anywhere for alternative, Koh Lipe, island in Thailand
At around 12 pm next day, with our backpacks, we embarked on a walk. When we got there, no one spoke English. One of the staff called someone who, in bad English, explained that it was okay to camp for 50 Bahts per night. When I asked where he could not understand and tell me he would come later and hang up.
I was lost and furious. We decided to cool off at the nearest beach for a while. After 2 hours at the beach, we walked back to the entrance of the park, explained the situation and demanded to take us back with a vehicle. It took a long phone call to make them understand that I want to camp and need someone to drive us back.
I thought that with our vast backpacks, they would offer a car. But NO!. All we got is two motorbikes.
I am scared of bikes, but I could not say a word. I just whispered to drive slowly to the driver.
The camp area boasts with sunset viewpoints and has three cottages that rent out. We opened our tent at one of the viewpoints. At least something good after all!
Interested in other Thai islands? Check out The Backpack Footprint for the guide to Phi Phi islands
Nature Gone Wild
On November 30 at 7 am we woke up to an army of ants all over our tent, backpacks, and food! Jesus! They were EVERYWHERE! We had to empty everything out!
Prao Bay is full of famous resorts and has no shop or a market. We usually had to walk back to the entrance to buy food, fruits, and water.
After a long day at the beach, we prepared a yummy broccoli and cheese soup. Sitting at the viewpoint overlooking the sea we enjoyed every spoon of it.
But suddenly it got windy, rainy and stormy.
We ran around collecting our belongings and putting everything in a tent.
We struggled to keep the tent as dry as possible. I was holding it from the inside while Mariam from the outside. In 20 minutes it was over. However, it was not the end. At 2 am it started again.
What else do you have for us Mother Nature?
Fortunately, nothing. Rest of the days were peaceful with a bit of rain in the evenings.
As for the island itself, I won’t say a word – pictures speak for itself.