We have friends visiting from California, so we took them here - an amazing archipelago of 5 islands in the Andaman Sea, located off the west coast of Thailand. We met up with some Bangkok friends I work with, as well. This island has just camping and some rudimentary bungalows - perfect for time snorkeling in the turquoise waters, lying on the white sand beaches, and hiking/trail running through the rainforest trails. Unfortunately it isn't a cheap destination, as the speed boat transfer, national park tickets for foreigners, island restaurant, snorkeling trips, etc. add up quickly. But, it's checked off the bucket list now!
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Our friends from home in California (left), our Bangkok friends, teachers I work with (middle), and us (right) - standing on the National Park beach waiting for our speed boat ride back to the mainland. The two nights and three days on the island were lots of relaxing fun, and a nature feast for the eyes, ears, and lungs (living in Bangkok makes for poor air quality much of the time!) And the best part, time with friends, building relationships.
I am not a super confident swimmer, and I hate cold water. Good thing that Thailand snorkeling is WARM and the choral and fish are so beautiful! We don't dive, but one of Thailand's best dive site is not too far from here. Snorkeling in Thailand has always been easy - just reserve from wherever you're staying, and a long tail boat shows up with a local driver to take you out to the spots. I found that here around the Surin islands it wasn't crowded at all, probably because the Thai New Year holiday has just passed, and we're entering the hottest part of the hot season.
Lots of tents close together, but luckily we were some of the only people camping here for the two nights. The nice thing was that the tent was literally 10 meters from high tide. Jeff found some time to relax in the Eno in the shade for a break from the tropical heat. It is hot season here right now, meaning that it is often 40 celsius with over 80% humidity.