08:30 a.m. The phone rings and wakes me up: it’s my wake up call, except that it is 08:30 a.m. and they were supposed to wake me up at 07:00 a.m. Merci Sofitel! I don’t want to make myself any later: today I am going to visit a bunch of beautiful islands and my schedule is already tight. However, the day will be quite active so I don’t want to leave with an empty stomach. Instead of going to the poolside for an earthy breakfast, I ask the receptionist to prepare me something to take away while I shower. I quickly get ready and rush down to the lobby where the driver has already been waiting for me for a while. The receptionist hands me the packed meal, and we head to the Noparat pier. On the way, I look in the bag they gave me: a small bottle of water, a greasy omelette, and 2 mini-croissants…dry. I make a mental note to count the number of stars displayed under the hotel name when i get back; it seems a few are missing…
09:00 a.m. En route to Noparat Pier! It doesn’t take me long to reach there. The pier itself is actually quite small (mostly an office where they sell tickets) and the boats (both longtail and speed boats) are lined up on the beach. The place is quite busy even though we are not in the high season.
My pick goes for a speedboat with 2 x 200HP Yamaha outboards this time, rather than the traditional longtail.
The sky is a bit cast. It is supposed to be the rainy season, and despite of the clouds, we didn’t have rain so far. The weather is hot, and the marine breeze together with the wind from the speed felt quite good, and had a welcoming cooling effect.
The boat speeds on the Andaman sea. There are many islands scattered around me, looking more beautiful the ones than the others. On the way we pass near one of the residency of H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand. Here is a sneak peak:
The speedboat approaches Koh Hong. The water is crystal clear. On the right is a small beach, accessible only by the sea. it is protected by high cliffs, and bordered by luxuriant vegetation. A tiny piece of paradise indeed!
On my left is a narrow passage to the inside of the island, in-between two cliffs. We cross a long-tail as we get in.
The passage is quite shallow and this is low tide. The captain makes his way towards the heart of the island, but he has to stop half way: the water is too shallow at this time of the day.
Never mind! We leave the captain on the ship and dip into the warm water, snorkeling our way deeper inside surrounded with sheer limestone cliffs, admiring the corals and the fertile marine life through the translucent water. Hong is the Thai word for “room”; the island is thus called as you enter the inner big natural pool by a narrow entry point, the “door”, and is bordered by cliffs all around.
After a cooling and amazing break in the water, we go back on-board and our captain takes us to visit more beautiful islands!