When I think of Thailand I envision turquoise blue water, green islets protruding from the sea, smiling faces, fresh curries and white sandy beaches covered in seashells. The water here is warm, the people are kind and the food is full of flavor. The last leg of our journey took us to the Andaman Sea, where there are literally hundreds of islets scattered about, like someone was skipping rocks one day and they landed where they lay.
We spent a few days kayaking the Andaman Sea, through mangrove forests, limestone caves, and even saw the famous James Bond Island (I had to search YouTube for this afterwards as I didn't know what they were talking about, but it's from The Man With the Golden Gun). Once all the adventuring was done we caught a boat to Koh Hong Island. This national park is somewhat like Hanauma Bay during the day with hundreds of tourists swimming, playing, eating, surfing and kayaking you almost can't see the sand there are so many people, but come 3pm the boats are forced to leave and only those with a permit are allowed to stay overnight and don't have to leave. For our group we were the lucky few who spent the night under the stars, sleeping in tents and enjoying a bbq for dinner with no one else on the island but us.
The next morning we kayaked to another remote island known for its beautiful beach and plentiful snorkeling. For about an hour we were the only ones there and relished in the fact that we had a whole island to ourselves. It's absolutely breathtaking. Until the boats start to arrive and then again hundreds of tourists with life vests on and pre packed lunches arrive with their selfie sticks and garbage. It's really shocking to see how much tourism plays a part in this adventure. Everyone wants a piece of authentic, remote, beautiful Thailand and if you find the right guides who care about your experience and want it to be special for you they will go out of their way to let you beat the crowds and find that moment of solace.
We spent a second night on the island. It was hot and humid, a bit buggy, but so wonderful. If you love the great outdoors, camping and seeing so many stars you can't even begin to count this is the place for you. I took a moment to frolic along the beach, just me. No one around, the tide rolling out, the moon peeking through and the beauty that cannot be defined overwhelmed me. The flora and fauna that surrounds us is similar to Hawaii, but also different. Overall, this experience was outstanding! We made lifelong friends, shared unforgettable moments and made memories that I will cherish forever. As soon as we left Thailand I felt a strong desire to go back, "but there are so many other countries to see, visit and travel to" my husband said. I know I know, but with an experience like that I can't help but say "until we meet again, Thailand."