THE KOH LIPE ZOO
After another overland border crossing, our shared minivan drops us near the Pak Bara pier and we are in Thailand, land of a million Thais. Once there, we booked a ticket on the ferry and found an agency who could book us a bungalow at one of the cheap resorts: Porn Resort. No, there’s no stripper poles, just the basics at this place. The bungalows didn’t have a sink or a flush toilet, but it did have electricity, a fan, and it was right on the beach. Porn Resort is on sunset beach, which is a smaller beach than the sunrise beach and less developed. It felt like we still had our own slice of paradise on this little island in far southern Thailand. Koh Lipe is in the process of a massive building up… we were told that 10 years ago there was nothing much on the island… maybe some bungalows. In another 10 years, it’ll be fully developed. They just put in an ATM on the island last year, thankfully for us, we needed some cash.
We shrugged off our lodging situation once we realized we were again AT THE BEACH! We enjoyed the beach for awhile and walked into “town” for dinner. Town means the walking street of the island… which is just what it sounds like; the walking-width main avenue where the shops, travel agencies, thai pancake stands, bars, and restaurants are.
We mainly enjoyed the beaches on Koh Lipe, and caught up on our reading and relaxing. At our resort we met some fellow travelers staying at the same place: Chris from Holland, Caroline from Belgium, and Michal and Aga from Poland. We relaxed on the beach together and chatted about where we had been, why we are traveling… the normal stuff. Then we started to talk about how Chris got the time off to travel. For those of you reading this in the states that aren’t aware, we live in a work work work prison – Europeans normally get 6 weeks a year of vacation time (of which companies have rules of how many weeks you can take consecutively). He is a firefighter in Holland and had to ask to save up his vacation time for two years to be able to take off for 10 weeks.
“IN AMERICA IT’S ONLY WORK, SLEEP, WORK, SLEEP, WORK, SLEEP, THEN YOU GO OUT ON THE WEEKEND, THEN WORK, SLEEP. THAT’S NOT LIVING. ONLY TWO WEEKS OFF… THAT’S NOT LIVING. THAT’S WHY AMERICANS ARE [DOES CRAZY MOTION NEXT TO EAR]. BLEH, I WOULD NOT LIVE IN AMERICA.” – CHRIS (HOLLAND)
If we had six weeks off a year, I wouldn’t have had to quit my great job to try to see the world… I could have done it one year at a time.
Besides chatting on the beach, the other thing we did is PLAY WITH PUPPIES! What? Puppies on the beach? 4 of them? This can’t be real.
There was a Mom dog who would look after the four puppies, but pretty much the family chilled with us on the beach and mainly with Aga, who had been buying food for them at 7-eleven and feeding them. There was a dad too, but he wandered around, and sometimes flirted with this other girl dog… A real life doggy sitcom. That night all six of us went to dinner together on the walking street and the mom followed us most of the way until we had to try to get rid of her… that’s what you get for feeding a stray. Michal and Aga left the next day and now it was up to Chris to feed them with the food that Aga bought (she made him promise).
The sunset side of the island felt like a zoo because it was more undeveloped. During the day, there were dogs and puppies, birds, cats laying, and crabs running around on the beach. At night between dusk and 10pm, the bats would come out flying and squawking, and our friends had rats that came into their rooms (luckily we didn’t have rats).
Most of the day we stared at the puppies cuz they’re puppies. One night Maria and I were walking home from dinner on the walking street (about 15 mins back to sunset beach) and feeling very homesick. Most of the time when we get homesick we think about family, friends, food, or the things we would normally be doing if we were at home. It’s really easy to get homesick when you’ve been away for 2 and half months and counting. As we were walking back to our bungalow, in the lamplight we saw four puppies running at us, and immediately forgot about our homesickness.
“IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO NOT SMILE WHEN THERE ARE FOUR PUPPIES RUNNING AT YOU” – MARIA MILLER
Three nights on Koh Lipe was a great start to Thailand for us… but we heard from Michal and Aga that Koh Lanta was worth checking out. It’s on the way north for us, so we booked a ferry ticket northward!