Sunday, June 15, 2014

Koh Lipe during the Low Season

Sipping Cocktails at Castaway Resort
Taking on the advice of someone I met on Koh Lipe 2 years ago, I tried Koh Lipe during the low season where everything is just that quieter. Bad idea. June, in the middle of the raining season, visiting any islands in Thailand will be pure gamble. Yes, the rain does not pour 24x7, but unfortunately the wind and waves does. The southerly blew for a continued 3 days while I was there, spoiling my chance of snorkeling near Koh Lipe's eastern shores where Idyllic Resort is located. Only on my final day of return, did the wind recourse to blow from the southwest leaving the eastern shores in good calm. Nevertheless, on the 4 nights I was there, I protested by going into the water because I just need to be. It was a tumble of stretched arms and legs, ass in the air sometimes. I quickly retreated back to the hotel pool obediently and watch the sea instead, eliminating the risk of kissing sea urchins with my face.

An the Boats Were Here
Sunrise beach was not as crowded as in October of 2012 while I was there. Most visitors still preferred to stay on the sunset side where Pattaya Beach is. It was filled with mostly China and Malaysian tourist. This meant noise level up several notches. The sea over there was way too violent compared to the already rolling waves of the eastern shores. There were no boats moored at Pattaya, they had all moved over to Sunrise beach. As the wind in low season will blow mostly from southwest, Pattaya took the full force of her battling.

By the Infinity Pool
The sky did break sometimes, opening to allow the sun to turn Koh Lipe into postcard perfect paradise painted in varied hues of green and blue, the white shores burning in the foreground. At times like these, I chilled out sprawled across the hotel's infinity pool just listening to waves. Other times, I sipped cocktail at Castaway Resort watching the horizon to the tune of the best lounge music on the island. Castaway was mostly filled with westerners sunbathing and occasionally challenging the waves tumbling. Many were seated in the shades working on their notebooks, or reading their books. Tranquility enveloped us all, it was a state of blissfulness.

Walking Street on a Weekday
Low season on a weekday's night, walking street connecting the beaches was like a ghost town. It was deserted and windless. A large tour group did interrupt the stillness of her humid air, they crowded a restaurant somewhat in the middle of this street. Most shops were closed, an untidy bundle of stacked up tables and chairs, the dust evidence of isolation. On Pattaya beach however, was a bustle of activities. Plastic tables decked out the shore, the after light of sunset casted everything blue. Spots of candle lit orange illuminated diners, the tray of glistening fresh seafood laid on cold ice reflected the iridescence of the tungsten bulbs.

The days on Sunrise beach was generally quieter then on Pattaya. As the gust came most of the time from southwest, waves were somewhat gentle but it still stirred up sand reducing the water visibility much. Close to shore, it was like snorkeling in white sandstorm. Further out, risking currents that could swept me to far far away, visibility was much better. Restaurants along this beach were not operating at full force. At Zanom, there was no sandwiches for that afternoon indulgence, there was no fresh seafood laid on trays. They had also closed the BBQ pits so further limiting what we could order. Everything was cocooned in an off peak mood which included the savory of Koh Lipe. It was disappointing compared to the last time I was there. The fried rice I ordered was mushy. Best meal I had on Sunrise Beach came from Idyllic Concept Resort, I would never eat at hotels but I was left with limited choices. Surprisingly, this resort upheld her standards, the food was great, the live lobster that went for 1800 Baht per kg was grilled to perfection and the Cream of Mushroom was tasty on the palate and thick to my liking.

Storm Coming
This year is the first time Koh Adang was made off limits to tourist during the low season. This in an effort to preserve the marine life and to give them a chance to recuperate from the abuse of trashing snorkelers. The tour of long tail boats still operated but with destinations on the island hopping list limited. The wave direction changed from day to day, and so did the spot for visitors boarding the vessels for trips and the return journey. It will either be Sunrise Beach, the far and hidden cove of Sunset Beach or the northern shores where Mountain Resort is. Koh Lipe certainly had progressed compared to 2012 when I was there. Travelling to this island during the low season was also a totally different experience. These 2 which I will blog about in my next few posts.

Pattaya Beach
Sunset Beach
Rolling Waves on Sunrise Beach
When the Sky Breaks, Its Perfect Almost
Sapce Rocks
Long Tail Boats awaiting Sunrise
Calm Before The Storm
Securing Boats Before The Storm
Battling the Waves

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