Ko Phayam

Ko Phayam is the perfect antithesis to Phuket. Phuket is geographically huge, crowded to the point of breaking, and infected by overbearing commercial interests. Phayam is a pristine and tiny island lost in a big archipelago, home to a few hundred people instead of over half a million, and only very recently discovered by tourism. It's not perfect, and in many ways it's not as picturesque as it's more famous counterparts, but Ko Phayam makes up for this in character and hospitality.

It has intermittent electricity, no ATMs, and the only vehicles with more than two wheels are a handful of re-purposed agricultural tractors. From the minute my slow boat from Ranong bumped against the aging pier, I could tell the pace of things was getting taken down a few notches.

I stayed on this quiet island for three or four days enjoying the seemingly infinite beaches, exploring rocky coves on a motorbike with some kind of fluid leak, and letting a few cheap days roll by to balance the budget.

At one point, I went to a reggae party with a blind German who couldn't stop dancing with the hottest ladyboy on the island. And one time when the rain was too strong to keep driving, I'm pretty sure I got caught up in a paganistic ritual involving the butchering of a chicken. But overall, my time on Phayam was an easy and pleasurable blur, best described through a series of innocuous and G-rated photographs.

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