Saturday, June 12, 2010

KO PHAYAM เกาะพยาม

While technically part of Laem Son National Park, little Ko Phayam swims in the sea amid other verdant flecks of sand and limestone. It’s a welcoming place, whose small population is a friendly mix of Thais and Burmese, expats and a few dozen ethnic chow lair (also spelt chao leh; sea gypsies) who earn a living baiting prawns or plucking savoury cashew nuts. Everyone gathers along the two main bays, flanked by strands of flaxen sand, where the soundtrack is a delightful blend of lapping waves and hooting hornbills.

The island has one ‘village’, where you will find the main pier, a couple of simple eateries, small grocery stalls and a bar. From the pier area, motorcycle taxis scoot you to your basic bungalow along the motorcycle ‘highway’, running down the middle of the island.

Getting There & Around

There are daily boats from Saphan Plaa to Ko Phayam’s pier at around 9am and 2pm (150B, 1½ to two hours). From Ko Phayam back to Ranong the boats run at 8am and 1pm. During the high season there may be three runs daily. Long-tail boat charters to the island cost 1500B to 2000B. A charter too Chang is around 1,250B.

Motorcycle taxis provide the transport around Ko Phayam; there are no cars or trucks (yet), and roads are pleasantly motorcyclesized. A ride to your bungalow will cost 50B to 100B. Walking is possible but distances are long – it’s about 45 minutes from the pier to Ao Khao Fai, the nearest bay.

Motorcycle rentals are available at Oscar’s, the only bar in Ko Phayam’s village – you can’t miss it. Some of the bigger guesthouses might be able to arrange rentals, too.