13 April 2015
13 April 2015
Another island, another glorious beach, another 38 degrees of blistering heat.
Our wilfully lazy sun, sand, and sea phase came to a close at Koh Kradan, one of the islands in the Trang archipelago. With no roads, no shops and just a handful of resorts we had chosen the island carefully. And it turned out to probably be the best beach we’ve seen so far.
After the ferry fiasco from Koh Lanta to Koh Lipe, we decided to bite the bullet and go for the speedboat option to get there. This time no hassle and a cracking seat at the front as we blazed past numerous islands and rocky outcrops.
When we landed on Koh Kradan our first impressions were definitely negative ones. Rows of day trip boats lined the central section of the beach and the shallow waters were full of the ubiquitous orange-life-jacket-vested brigade. And it did little to put our minds at rest when some guy on a megaphone screamed out (presumably) that lunch was about to be served. I say “presumably” because all of a sudden there were lots of people sat on the sand with identical plates of noodles and chicken drumsticks. We began to wonder if our research had been a waste of time.
However, the following morning, our fears were completely dispelled when we took an early morning walk along the deserted beach before breakfast and, later, found ourselves a lovely spot to lay down our towels, using the mangroves for shade.
Quite simply the beach was a stunning strip of white powdery sand, which cascaded into the most beautifully emerald/turquoise/electric blue sea we can ever remember setting our eyes upon. And the vista across to the islands of Koh Muk and Koh Libong was unforgettable.
We soon worked it out that the trick to visiting Koh Kradan is to stay overnight rather than do it on a day trip. Between the hours of 7 and 11 am the beach is uncrowded, and you can pretty much find a section of it all to yourself. And then, on the horizon, you can watch the hordes of day trippers arriving as, first of all, long tails and speedboats head over from Koh Muk, followed by the larger ferry boats. Between 12 noon and 3 pm, the central section of the beach is out of bounds for anyone who treasures their sanity. And then it all goes very quiet again.
We stayed at the island’s only resort that’s not based on the beach. “Paradise Lost” is set back 400 metres from the beach amidst a clearing in the jungle and was the brainchild of one Wally Sanger, an American who was by all accounts a very colourful and welcoming character, until he sadly died a few weeks ago.
Our large, wooden bungalow was certainly one that put us in touch with nature, with enough gaps between the roof and the walls to welcome in any nocturnal beastie that might want to come and say hello. Which, when you’re in the middle of the jungle, makes for a few (not necessarily justified) jumpy moments when the lights go out. Being the heroic type I made sure that our huge mosquito net was securely tucked in on all sides. The only thing missing was a gargantuan zip to close the whole thing off completely.
As it turned out, although we heard a few sounds coming from our bathroom during the night the only animals we actually saw were the five frogs who were obviously living it up in our pretty much open-air bathroom.
The resort attracts a variety of travellers from around the world who are only too willing to discuss and recommend places they’ve been to. Among others, we met were people from Denmark, New Zealand, USA, and England – so there’s a really good traveller’s vibe to the place. Overpriced, though.
The island is also home to a number of wild dogs, which seem to roam around the edges of the jungle and onto the beaches. Some of them hang around Lost Paradise too. One of them, a puppy Nicky christened “Spud”, became our de-facto pet during the three days we stayed there. We didn’t have much choice really as the mutt followed and led us everywhere. Cute, too.
So, apart from walking along the beach, swimming and snorkelling in the sea, and eating the huge portions served up at Paradise Lost, what else did we do? Well, not a lot really. Which was just what we were looking for when we booked it. We’d planned initially to stay for five days but decided to cut it short to three. As we’d now spent three weeks island-hopping we didn’t want our memories of this paradise island to be dampened by a daily routine – and three days on Koh Kradan is probably about right.
We weren’t too impressed by the prices being charged by the resorts either. A bottle of water, for instance, costs three times what it does on Koh Lanta. So it was definitely time for us to get back to mainland Thailand.
But we did love the sense of being on a truly idyllic island. And we’re sure that when we’re back in the hub-bub of the city we’ll really miss those wonderful morning walks in the company of eagles, kingfishers, and herons.
And, of course, Spud.
What did you think? Have you been to Koh Kradan? Or perhaps you’re planning on visiting the island soon? Either way, we’d love to hear from you so please add your comments below.
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Hi, we’re Ian and Nicky, an English couple on a voyage of discovery around the world, and this blog is designed to reflect what we see, think and do. Actually, we’d like to think it also provides information, entertainment and inspiration for other “mature” travellers, too. So please feel free to pour yourself a glass of something suitably chilled and take a look around.