One question I get asked all the time when talking about my travels is “What’s your favorite place?”
There honestly a lot of favorites, but there is one place I hold above all others. I found it on my very first trip to Asia thanks to my circus/fire friends I met along the way of that first trip. In fact for me, that favorite place is a place within a place, it’s a very specific few square feet at a restaurant on the rocks perched between three idyllic bays.
I’ve returned to that very spot many times over the last 10 years and it’s slowly changed.
No Roads (2007)
On my first visit there in January of 2007 there were two ways to make it to these beaches. One, the one everyone takes, is a 15 minute ride in a long tail boat. When the ocean was calm, this was no problem, but regularly the ocean is not-calm and occasionally it was far too rough for the boats from Haad Rin to even try. The alternative route was a 2 hour hike in the jungle on a un-maintained trail. Very few took the later, unless left no other option and there was no road.
The mythical road (2013)
Years later a “4×4 only” road started getting cut through the jungle. Motorcycles at first could make it and then very adventurous Jeeps. It wasn’t used regularly though and certainly wasn’t open to the public. Only those that owned the bungalow operations along the beach used it, and even then it was regularly too muddy for any vehicle to make it though. The boats were still how everyone got in and out, and how nearly everything THING from food to building materials got in and out. At this point the road was still half myth and many people hoped it would never become commonly usable.
The Road (2014)
Today the steepest and worst parts of the road have been paved, although it’s still only passable by high clearance 4×4 vehicles and not open to the public. There is a 4×4 pickup truck taxi service that operates making daily trips in and out. Perhaps the only good thing is there is at least now competition with the boats which had more than tripled in price over the years. Now it’s 200-300THB for either the boat or the truck, which is a bit lower than the last days of the boats being the only option. The bad is more people, more all-night parties, more trash…
The times they are a-changin…
The location iss on Haad Yuan, Haad Tian and Haad Why-Nam beaches on Ko Pha-Ngan, Thailand. I said there was a specific place there though, and it’s a table (two really) at Bamboo Hut restaurant. It’s a place where I can sit while eat the most delicious pumpkin curry, drinking mocha or mango shakes, work or gaze out onto the beautiful sra for hours. 10 years ago this spot even had “wi-fi”. Wi-fi is in quotes because back then it was a connection grabbed by a 64 Kbps connection grabbed by a dish antenna (find it in the photo). That connection was shared by everyone that could get on, imagine 10 people sharing a single 1980’s dial-up connection that frequently just stopped working for hours at a time. Fun! Now, you can get a decent 3G cellphone signal and tether to your own connection. Some providers I think now even hit the spot with 4G/LTE although that’s spotty. Still my favorite place… but I’m looking for a new place, one like this one was 10 years ago 😀
My favorite part about people asking me this question of my favorite place though is finding out about where their favorite place is and why… So!
Where is your favorite place? Why is it special to you?