Koh Kood, Thailand – From the minute our speedy ferry pulls up to a rickety wooden dock lined with stick-built houses decorated in hues of blues, greens and reds – the bits of paint that managed to weather the tropical rains that annually pelt these Eastern shores of Thailand – and drops us in front of the small fishing village’s local mercantile, I know already this might be my favorite island in the world.
Remember that nearly perfect beach I told you about a couple weeks ago? The one with the thirsting palm trees and the sparkling white sand? The one I had almost entirely to myself, less a few locals swimming around in their clothes, which led to my getting a farmer tan?
Well, forget about it. I’ve since learned people skip over that beautiful mainland beach for a good reason – Koh Kood.
The roads (all three) cover only about half of Thailand’s fourth largest island, which makes it feel like a small paradise with a dark side – the undiscovered jungle that swamps the majority of the land. As our loaded (and free!) taxi snakes up hills and around corners, I watch the scenery pass by with my mouth agape. I am in love.
When the taxi peaks over the first hill, allowing an idyllic panoramic of turquoise waters rushing up against sandy beaches and dancing palm trees, my first thought is I want to die here. That is, if this isn’t heaven already.
I spend the next several mornings pinching myself after opening my eyes to the sun shining through the open windows in my bamboo-and-wood bungalow, the gentle sounds of the waves rushing up on shore and the birds chirping with cheer for another gorgeous day.
I spend most of my mornings writing at the outdoor restaurant overlooking the sea, while the tide slowly works it’s way away from me, as if to say, “Pst. Follow me!” By afternoon, I usually let it lure me into its hot tub-comparable water (seriously, the first time I put my foot in, I quickly retracted because I was not at all prepared for the intense warmth – in Oregon, we have to wear a full bodysuit before we can brave the ocean waters), before relaxing beach side with a book in hand, trying hard to fix those ugly tan lines I got in Trat.
Other days, I’ve visited the island’s two waterfalls, either by foot or scooter, both with refreshingly cool water for swimming in the pool below the plunge – one with several rope swings, the other with good rock jumping.
Each night, when the sun leaves my side of the world to head for yours, it does so with a dramatic and varied display of vivid colors amidst tantalizing clouds. Every sunset is so brilliant, so unique, it stops me in my tracks and catches me off guard, despite the fact it happens at approximately the same time, night after night.
After pinching myself, closing my eyes and reopening them each morning for 12 days in a row, I’m still here, and I’m beginning to believe I really did die and come to heaven.
If that’s the case, it seems I won’t be coming home. I’d really love if you could celebrate my death by gathering all my loved ones together in some equally picturesque location, with lots of wine, chocolate, and good cheer. It will be my own little take on the celebration of life and death in Varanasi, India. You can hold your glasses up high, salute to the amazing life I’ve been fortunate to have (I have managed to squeeze quite a lot into 27 years!), and know in your hearts that I’m looking down with gratitude and love from the most beautiful heaven on Earth, otherwise known as Koh Kood.
If I’m not dead, tomorrow I’m going to somewhat reluctantly pack my bag and head off to an even lesser known island – Koh Rayang – where there is only one resort. On the entire island. It holds the potential to take the position of best island in the world, but for now, Koh Kood can’t be topped.
Where’s your favorite island/beach in the world?