Island hopping in the Andaman Sea
Trang is our stepping off point for a couple of weeks of desert islands without discs (strictly mp3).
We pass through a lush, hilly landscape of rubber and palm oil plantations, arriving abruptly at the sea at Pak Meng. Boats for the Trang islands leave from Pak Meng Pier, which is pretty much just that apart from a small fishing village and a broad sweep of casuarina lined beach. The pier is shielded by a spectacular bay of limestone carsts overlooking turquoise clear water.
We wait under cover at the end of the pier while our boat and a selection of long-tailed launches are loaded with all the provisions that tourists need to survive on a desert island – namely, lots of beer and loo rolls. We set off about an hour after the scheduled time and power our way rapidly to Koh Ngai.
What we discover and what we have not been told is that there is no jetty anywhere near our hotel nor are there any roads on the island to connect it with the one concrete pier a mile or so down the coast. We suddenly find ourselves doing an exciting open water transfer to a long-tailed launch which takes us to within 150 metres of the shore. It dawns on us that we have to wade the rest of the way in. Hotel staff helpfully carry our bags and we gamely descend a step ladder into thigh-deep water. Thanking my lucky stars that I am not wearing long trousers, I wade crotch-deep for what seems like a long time. This is because the sandy bottom is not just sand, but is liberally strewn with rocks and crushed coral. Beach sandals are what is required and mine are well ahead of me in my bag!
I bring up the rear in our slow wade and take the opportunity to take a few snaps on my mobile in the hope that I look nonchalant rather than challenged. On arrival, all is pampering and cold face towels. We settle in to the sybaritic life!