We decided to live our “survivors” fantasy and picked the first one of the many “ko” (“island”) with that in mind.
From Trang, we took a minibus to the nearest pier and jumped on a “chicken boat”, the water version of the “chicken bus”. By now, I have pretty much established that engines are not Thailand’s strong point. Remember the bus that broke down in the middle of the road? Well, on our way to Ko Muk, the boat’s engine caught on fire. A minor inconvenience for the captain and the other passengers, who simply scoped water and poured it on the fuming pipes until the flames disappeared.
Ko Muk is everything you could dream of. Palm trees? Checked. Pristine water? Checked. White powdery sand? Checked. Throw in picturesque Thai long-tail boats (the main form of transportation around here) and you feel like you stepped into a postcard.
We settled on the village side of the island, away from the main resort. We rented a small bamboo bungalow with a mosquito net above the bed. Have you ever showered outside, looking at palm trees above your head? It feels great, trust me.
The beach was pretty much empty and we spent quite a while looking at the wildlife around us. We spotted starfish in the shallow waters, as well as huge hermit crabs and little crabs everywhere. Everywhere we looked, it was perfect. Even the annoying mosquitoes couldn’t ruin the atmosphere!
Like a lot of places in Thailand, Ko Muk was affected by the tsunami in 2004. Signs here and there—no doubt installed after the event—reminded us we were in a “tsunami hazard zone”. According to the locals, no one had died from the tsunami in 2004 because there is a long slope to the shore: the wave came and destroyed a lot of houses, but it didn’t hit the village as strongly as it did in Phuket.
I kept on wondering how it must have felt. In Australia, for instance, locals saw the floods coming: you could tell the rivers level was rising dramatically day after day. It doesn’t make it easier but you get a little bit of time to prepare for the worst. But no one saw the tsunami coming. One second everything was fine and the next thing you know, you are running for your life.
You can see the complete set of pictures taken in Thailand on Flickr.