It has taken a while to get back here. The last blog post was back in June, before everything changed in our Harty world. It has been quite tricky to get back to the positives, and share all the wonderful, amazing things that have happened over the last six months. They have been in a tight tangled knot with all the other stuff. I don’t wish to share that here and now, as I set it up hartsinthailand as a platform to capture our adventure in Asia, to share it with family and friends and to hold as a reminder of how our married life began. But things are starting to untangle now and it is good to be back. We have been so lucky to visit some really stunning places in Asia.
On that note, I want to share some beautiful photographs from Koh Lipe; an island in Southern Thailand and just a hop, skip and a jump away from Malaysia. It’s a pain in the arse to get to let me tell you. One flight, one bus and then a two hour speed boat where you are packed in like a sardine. These pictures have not been filtered. They are true blue. Sometimes you have to go a bit beyond your doorstep and into difficult corners to reach something that takes your breath away. Enjoy!
We stayed at the best place on the island. Nestled at the end of Sunrise Beach, with its own private beach, Ten Moons has perfectly formed thatched huts, including oceananic views. What a perfect spot for morning coffee or an evening with beers and Uno cards.
It was a climb to get up here mind. The only thing that got me to the top every day was singing ‘The Climb’ until I collapsed on the wooden floorboards outside our shack to take some deep breaths. Good job it was low season and some huts were empty… I think.
One day Will missed a step here (right at the bottom) and nearly fell flat on his face. He grabbed me for support and got cross with the slippy steps. That low season rain has a lot to answer for!
At the bottom of these naughty steps, we were blessed with the private beach and water that resembled a big, fat, sparkly diamond. All was forgiven with these magical mermaid waters.
The restaurant next door had the best view and we paid for it with a very expensive pineapple fried rice and other things, including some icy bottles of local beer.
That’s one happy face up there. However, one morning it wasn’t. Staying on Sunrise Beach means you have to get up early at least once to witness the spectacular sunrise. Being dragged out of bed at 6am was not Will’s prime moment, especially when the sun was not playing along. The colours were very pretty though, and taking in thismoment of calm was important for both of us.
This little Scooby Doo wanted a piece of the sunrise too, and came to sit with us on our mat once he had finished obsessing over the birds and fish. Woof!
The beaches are aptly named on Koh Lipe. Fortunately we caught the ‘spectacular’ at Sunset Beach with, um, the sunset. On this day we took a motorbike taxi and ‘fessed to being lazy.
Koh Lipe is an island where you can totally relax. It is not a party island, nor is it over commercialised. It is the paradise people go to, to escape for a while. There is one walking street, dotted with cafes making healthy smoothies, and Thai restaurants serving fresh seafood. There is also an Indian restaurant that served some of the best curries we have ever tasted. Eating Indian food in Thailand is something we used to laugh at; ‘why would you want Indian food when you are surrounded by Thai cuisine?’ We love Thai food but when you have lived here for two years, variety is the key to success.
After several days of adopting the beach bum title, we decided to venture to Koh Adang. This is a big island next to Lipe. There are no shops, no restaurants and no activities. It is just a mass of natural good stuff that you can hike through. We negotiated with the taxi boats at Lipe to take us over and pick us up for £4 each. Thai time is real don’t you know, and we got picked up an hour after we agreed. Oh, Thailand!
With water, insect repellent and monkey nuts in tow, we began the hike.
Half way up we were startled by the silence. There was nobody else around. It was just us, with Will leading the way like he had done this a million times before. I was petrified of the monitor lizards as everything with brown and green, which is a perfect camouflage hideout for these prehistoric looking beasts. There is a photograph on the Borneo blog (click for the pictures) of me next to one, right before nearly standing on him. He was huge and completely masked by the hiking scenary. So, Will was also on strict monitor lizard watch.
Two-thirds up, hair clinging onto the backs of our neck, we nearly gave up. This was the sight from Viewpoint 2.
But something within told us to keep going, so that’s what we did. I love a gut feeling, as it is always right. Look at that view! Lipe is a tiny island as you can see. You can walk from one side to the other and there are no cars.
At the top we were startled by another voice. We had found a hiking friend, who took this photograph of us. He explained that he was a bit nervous too. Silence can be the most beautiful thing in the world, but when you are hiking up rocks, gravel and mud it can be ruthless.
The hike down involved the three of us for safety in numbers. That meant ultimate monitor lizard protection too. The best part of the hike? The secluded beach at the bottom and running into that salty sparkle!
Now I know what a paradise beach looks like.
Koh Lipe became the trip of dreams when I found this natural treasure.
As a child I used to collect shells and precious stones. This is the biggest shell in my collection but I couldn’t keep it. It was never mine to keep and belongs to the natural world. I hope somebody else finds joy in this beauty one day. It remains somewhere on the seabed of Koh Adang.
Everyone needs a breath of fresh air once in a while. Living in Thailand means that we can go to an island, visit a national park or just lie in the sun without a second thought. But we carry on about our city lives and forget to do this. It was a very conscious decision to visit Lipe, based on the hectic and harsh world we had to journey through for a little bit.
So, thank you Koh Lipe, for balancing us when we needed it most and for untangling the last bit of the knot. We are doing great!