The day before yesterday we drove somewhere I’d never been before. As much time as I’ve spent on Koh Pha Ngan, I never ventured much along the east coast of the island. When I was here in the early to mid-2000s, the roads to the east coast beaches were unpaved, and the mountainous terrain, along with monsoon rains or dry-season loose dirt made the rutted dirt tracks treacherous for all but 4WD vehicles or experienced off-road bikers. Boat taxis were the only easy way to get there, and I just never got around to it. But now the roads are paved and in good condition so off we went to explore.
The road winds its way up and down steep slopes and around sharp corners, palm trees turning into jungle on either side. As we motored along, I felt Chloe leaning into my back, resting her head against me. Relaxing.
“Are you falling asleep? You CAN’T fall asleep!”
“…well, I am feeling a bit tired…”
“Well, you have to stay awake. If you fall asleep you’ll let go and fall off the back of the bike!!”
I proceeded to point out every little detail around us, making it sound as interesting as possible no matter how mundane, in an effort to capture her attention. Our first plan had been to drive to the furthest beaches – Thong Nai Pan Yai & Noi, but I was worried about Chloe flopping off the bike mid-snooze, so we thought a closer beach and a short break might be in order. We turned off the main road and stopped for a visit at Than Sadet Waterfall before heading along to the beach. The waterfall itself isn’t super impressive, and none of us wanted to stay too long so we didn’t swim in the somewhat murky, if cool waters. A little foot-dipping sufficed.
Chloe became suddenly quiet and gloomy – a sure sign that she’s upset about something, but good luck finding out what. This is a common emotional state for her, and oh so frustrating for us. After much wheedling I found out that she didn’t like Alex and Ben dipping their feet in the waterfalls and pools. Why did this upset her? I’ve got no flippn’ clue.
We walked back to the bikes and continued on to Than Sadet beach. It’s a beautiful spot and I image most people spend their days there doing not very much.
We were hot and sticky after our ride, so we jumped in the water and had our first beach swim of the holiday. It was wonderfully refreshing.
The calm, quiet ambience of the beach was somewhat tarnished when the “Party Boat” from Haad Rin rocked up, blaring tunes and disgorging a bunch of scantily clad 20 year olds. I’m definitely too old for that shit. It was late afternoon and time to head back home in time for a shower before dinner-time hunger overtook us. As we drove back I stopped to take a picture of the bizarre monument in the middle of one of the few roundabouts on the island.
Notice the sky. I turned back towards our direction of travel. I took another picture. Notice the sky.
Yup, time to get a move on. As the clouds moved over us the late afternoon light turned into dusk and a chill grew in the air. Cold winds buffeted us as we rode along, the mountain peaks disappeared in shrouds of fast-moving mists while droplets of rain sputtered down on us. I started looking for shelter should the deluge come. But as we kept driving, the sky lightened and once again the winds blowing against us warmed our skin. We had skirted the edge of the storm and had been spared the worst of it. With black clouds at our backs, we kept on driving towards the setting sun.
All content including images © Leigh Eros 2017. Do not reproduce without permission.