(Ko Bulon Lae) Thai islands of the Andaman coast have’s dream: white sand beaches lapped by turquoise water, with tapering off of colorful wooden boats sailing between elegant Karst Mountains. The only detail that the postcard does not show, it is the thousands of holidaymakers who pile on these small paradise.
Do not despair so far, there are still forgotten islands of mass tourism. Here are two (among others), no further, no less beautiful, just less known.
Ko Tarutao, natural
Near the border of Malaysia, Tarutao National Park encompasses fifty islands, Ko Tarutao, the largest of the archipelago (26 km long and 11 km wide). No village, only the park facilities are hiding in the surrounding nature. It has not always been so: the island was a penal colony until 1948.
Now this is where we come to escape. Strolling kilometer of floury sand of the main beach, you meet a few dozen passengers on weekdays, double in high season.
On other beaches on the island, it is likely to be one-on-one with coconut trees. Beyond the sand, the majority of Ko Tarutao is covered with jungle frolic adorable monkeys langurs, intriguing flying squirrels and a host of birds including hornbills pie with their huge beaks.
For assets, the paths start to attack the steep terrain, kayaks and bicycles are available for exploring the mangrove and isolated corners. It will be understood, do not come here for entertainment, but rather to lose. Little wonder that the island was chosen to shoot a season of reality show Survivor. One caveat, however: waste management could be improved.
Not far from Ko Tarutao, Ko Bulon Lae offers a different atmosphere. The size of the island allows to cross in 15 minutes by small bucolic trails. It walks there surrounded by colorful butterflies and songbirds, and sometimes surprised by large lizards meek.
An impenetrable jungle covering the western half of Bulon Lae, a kayak is needed to make the turn in a few hours swimming and watching understood seabed. The calm of the island is disturbed only by the generators that start at dusk.
Beach side: the usual language of white sand shaded by coconut palms, where neighbors are scarce and non-existent waste. Tempting? Sure, but the real secret of the charm of this island comes from its hundred inhabitants. Descendants of Chao Lay, gypsies now settled sea, the villagers first living from fishing and cultivation of rubber. Thus they are able to ensure the delicate balance between preserving their way of life and controlled tourism development. The result is a wonderful cocktail loving travelers who have tasted it, and who appreciate the value of a place as beautiful as single.
How to get there
From the port of Pak Bara (1 hr 30 min drive from Trang and Hat Yai airports), Ko Tarutao is 1 hour boat (1-2 a day) and Ko Bulon Lae 30 minutes navigation (a one boat per day). The latter is also accessible by speedboats making the sea link between Ko Lanta and Ko Lipe season.
When to go
The best season lasts from November to April. It was around New Year and Thai national festivals that the greatest number of visitors arrive in the islands. Most hotels and Tarutao National Park are closed from June to September, during the rainy season.
At Ko Tarutao, bungalows National Park (comfortable but not luxurious, around $ 30) reserve directly on the Internet. Camping is also possible. Book your hotel at tarutao
At Ko Bulon Lae, you have more choices, the deluxe room with direct access to the beach ($ 80, Pansand Resort) in bamboo bungalow has country charm ($ 50 Marina Resort, tel: 0815982420) . The most economical institutions offer spartan bungalows from $ 15.