Shallow water, sunburns, slugs, tropical entity and light rain on the shoulders


Southern Roadtrip 2020

I have been longing for a long domestic road trip for a while. Because of lockdown and the diseases, Thai tourism has shrunk, some business pause and die. So it’s time to travel more in vacant places that used to be crowded and overpriced.

We had 8 days vacation in November – December. Our trip includes Koh Tao Island the sea, Inland Waterfalls and Rural Village among the tropical forest in the middle of mountain range.

Koh Tao, Chumporn / Suratthani

The island was vacant and almost empty due to the pandemic. It has bad reputation about Mafia, Crime and Unsolved Murders but now it’s really quiet, too quiet for bad things to happen, maybe. Most ferries are closed. Night life is gone but it’s pretty good for us who embraces quiet beach and nice sea to swim around.

There was a little showering but not too bad. W took long walks to many beaches around the island. Some are good and some are filled with trashes and un-swimmable. We got some sunburn but the experience is good and relaxing.

Just swim and walk all day. Nothing more. Nothing matters for now.

We stayed at Clear View Resort with the room next to the sea. My friend can swim any time he wants to Mae Haad or Sairee Beach.

Cloudy Morning at Hinwong Beach – The wave was too strong for swimming, lots of beer, syringes on the beach. So i just lied down and read the books while my friends are climbing the rocks.

Thung Song, Nakorn Si Tammarat

We stopped by this place by looking at the map. The waterfalls are nearby but it’s closed due to Covid-19. We happened to get into Pliu Waterfall and Swim for a few hours until it rained heavily. I love the leaf dancing and clear cut rocks that are easy to climb.

Na Yong Waterfall – Closed Due to Covid-19
Swim swim swim

Lovely fungi pattern on the straight cut rocks at Pliu Waterfall

Ban Tra, Trang / Pattalung

the only access to Ban Tra is tiny motorbike road about 7 km from Tontok Waterfalls
The shaky road that is made and kept by villagers

We stayed with local farmers, Mr. Hoi or Ko Hoi. His dad came here in 2528 to plant rubber trees. He, his son and his relative took us to an unnamed Waterfalls with nice sand floor. Our tropical forest excursions was a few days before large wild flooding. We spent good time with farmers and hunter-gatherers in Ban Tra, a remote village of 70 families in Banthad Mountain Range. We learned about their lives and limitations. No infrastructure and no access to commodities like running water and electricity, no phone signals, village-made road. I’m not romanticizing lack of infrastructure, more of a reminder people in rural area don’t get access to things I’m accustomed to.

Note: Don’t come in rainy seasons, everybody keeps saying it’s better in dry seasons [circa April]

The unnamed waterfall with small beach upfront : )
We had to keep putting tick killers in our shoes to avoid the land slug

The area was ex-communist campsite during 1970s-80s with ongoing conflicts between folks-rubber farmers and forest authorities.

On the last day, the only wooden bridge was cut by large wild flood the night before. We had to walk around 3 hours to the village center 6 km. away. Luckily the land was flat so it’s not too bad for me. But our plan was delayed for 4 hours.

Fat latex tree with abnormally large trunk girth size
Rubber plantation exist among the forest
the village long history since Ayitthaya era , with intense conflicts

To summarize, what I loved about this road trip is that we have loads of time to fill it with conversations in wide topics.