Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Save the Thai islands. Do not litter.

When we arrive at Akwa guesthouse in Koh Samui our faces are hanging. All the planning to meet up on an idyllic Thai island, all the anticipation of staying right on the beach… and now this.

There’s nothing wrong with Akwa itself, in fact it’s pretty funky – but it’s not right on the beach as the reviews said. There’s a very busy road in front of the guesthouse and then another row of shops and hotels before our feet hits white sand. Even then the beach is full of litter.

The first tourists beached Samui around the 1970’s. In one lifetime a pristine island became an overcrowded, hedonistic garbage dump. Why does a human being always have to abuse everything; consume it and spit it out as though it is the only person in the world? What happened to preserving natural beauty for others to enjoy?

We find the same disappointment when we cross over to Koh Tao. The beaches are dirty, the sea is full of gunk and the coral reefs are mostly dead. However, the scenery in Tao is gorgeous, the food is good and the massages are cheap.

So for a bunch of friends who met up from all over the world, this is still a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday. Plus, we did find some pretty, quiet beaches in Koh Tao (such as Freedom beach in the picture) where we could enjoy the island dream.

My bests:

Best meal: Fresh BBQ king prawns at Buddha View Resort in Ao Chalong Bay, Koh Tao

Best view: Watching the night fall and full moon rise from New Heaven restaurant at Freedom Beach, Koh Tao

Best beach: Ao Leuk Bay, Koh Tao: the sea water is the most crystal shade of turquoise I have ever seen

Best snorkelling: around Nang Yeung island – a rope keeps boats from anchoring in the reef so much of it is still alive

Best massage: There’s an elderly lady that offers Thai massages on the beach in front of Akwa guesthouse in Samui. She has the kind of magic touch that I have never even found in five star spas.

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