21.11.2008 - 24.11.2008
Our first stop on our journey through Thailand was a little island called Koh Lipe. We arrived in Lipe (as it is called by the locals) after an hour long speedboat ride from Langkawi, and from the very beginning it turned out to be a real treat.
Our first steps onto Thai soil came about as our boat reversed into two feet of water before the skipper promptly told us to get out. After splashing through the local surf we were directed to a beach hut where we were told to present our passports. After a refreshingly short space of time we finished 'immigration' and were officially in Thailand. Our next step was finding the place where we'd booked our bungalow.
As the resort that we were staying at was on a remote part of the island we had to take a longtail boat to get to it. At first this remoteness gave both myself and Niamh cause for concern, however, as our longtail boat puttered around the last headland whatever concerns we had melted away quicker than an ice cube in the midday Thai sun as we caught our first glimpses of the aptly named Mountain Resort where we would be staying for the next three days.
The Mountain Resort consisted of around twenty bungalows perched precariously on a large wooded hill overlooking a stretch of postcard-picture-quality beach. The Bungalows themselves were clean, had Air-con and most importantly a sea view. We ate dinner on the resorts' gargantuan deck that clung to the cliff side forty feet above the beach and commanded eye watering views of the island spotted Andaman Sea. Our first evening was spent watching the sun go down on the beach before counting the stars by moonlight and enjoying the seductive peacefulness of a pristine beach we had to ourselves.
The morning of our second day was spent snorkeling. The visibility in the water was fantastic and it was thoroughly enjoyable floating above the fish infested black coral that is indigenous to this region. The best fish sighting of the day went to Niamh who spotted a young Barracuda which seemed almost translucent as it shimmered past both of us.
That evening we decided to go and find the main village. As I mentioned our resort was in quiet a remote part of the island so we had to either trek through the jungle in the dark or walk along one of the beaches before cutting through one of the smaller villages. Unsurprisingly we opted for the beach route. I should say at this point that Koh Lipe is so small that it has no cars or roads so as a result most transport is done by either walking or by longtail boat.
Once we finally found our way to relative civilization we stumbled across a little local Thai restaurant called "The Happy Restaurant". Our meal here consisted of the freshest fish I have ever tasted, stuffed with lemon grass and garlic and wrapped in a banana leaf before being barbecued.
We finished the night watching a local fire show. I must say that there was something very cool about drinking an ice cold Singha beer on the beach while watching such an entertaining spectacle as a fire show for the first time. There was something almost hypnotic about watching two flaming braziers revolve faster and faster on alternating orbits around the lithe and graceful bodies of the fire dancers.
Our final day was spent much like the first and by the time it came for us to leave we both agreed that Koh Lipe had been the highlight of the holiday up to that point.