My destination, on that same journey, was one of the least known and less developed islands in the area, Koh Yao Noi. The locals on this island form an extremely strong community, and time after time, they have resisted the opportunity & temptation to sell themselves out, in order to keep mass tourism off their island. Most people have a price that they would sell for - no amount of money will encourage the people of Koh Yao Noi to open the floodgates to tourism, or at least, it hasn't yet. Never say never. That was part of the draw of the island, as I wanted to see how life went, in a place that isn't as heavily touched by tourism, as the rest of the country. Apart from the odd, modern, Government building and one or two fancy houses, everything else here is really old fashioned. Buildings, scaffolding, chairs, floors, tables, all made from bamboo. I didn't realise how robust bamboo was, until I saw it being used so extensively, here in Thailand.
A half hour speed boat journey brought me to Koh Yao Noi. Before getting onto the boat, I witnessed the only crime I have seen in Thailand - funny enough, it was committed by a monkey! It went into a shop at the pier and helped itself to a packet of crisps, before climbing onto the roof, eating them in front of the frustrated shopkeeper. Talk about rubbing it in!
Most of the roads around here have concrete surfaces. There are a few areas where the concrete runs out, and you are driving along a dirt road, through the jungle. Seeing some of the tribal settlements along the way, reminded me of my jungle trek, in Chiang Mai, earlier in the trip. Everyone just seems to do enough work to get by, then spend the rest of their time surrounded by their nearest & dearest - the things that really matter, as I've previously mentioned.
What I especially love here, is how informal everything is. Checking into the hostel was just a matter of paying for it. Renting out a scooter was the exact same. They laughed at me, when I asked for a helmet! Everywhere else, there is a rigid policy of checking passports, filling out pointless details etc. Here, they put blind trust in you, on the assumption that you are just as honest as they are.