|With no cars allowed on the island, but hundreds of cats, I am instantly taken with this beautiful place. The more we explore, the more smitten I become. The beaches are picturesque and the views are breathtaking. We climb up the steep mountainside to the viewpoint. The island stretches out beneath me. From here I can see both Ton Sai Bay and Loh Dalam Bay, their white sandy beaches being gently kissed by the crystal blue water of the Andaman sea. As I look down over the island, I remind myself of the devastation caused by the 2004 Tsunami. I wonder in amazement at how far the people have come to rebuild everything I see before me.
Rather than heading straight back down, Jaime and I decide to explore the east side of the mountain. We take ourselves on a trek through the jungle to find Tohko Beach. As we walk amongst the trees, butterflies flutter in clouds around us and a monkey blocks the path in front of us. It feels like such an adventure. Clambering over rocks and tree roots makes us hot and sticky. When we emerge from the jungle, a huge grin spreads across my face. This is exactly what we were hoping to find. The water is calm and the beach is quiet. Hammocks swing in the trees and boats bob in the water. It is an idyllic spot. I can't help but feel immensely proud of us for finding it. We enjoy a long and blissful afternoon before heading back up the mountain to watch the sunset over dinner.
That night we discover the vibrant and intense nightlife on the west side of the island. There's music, dancing and fire shows all the way along Ko Phi Phi Don beach. Allowing ourselves to get caught up in the excitement of it all, we buy ourselves a bucket of banana daiquiri to enjoy. It's the best cocktail I have ever tasted. We spend the night dancing and making new friends. They are kind and incredibly generous. They even invite us out with them on their private boat tour the following day. Enjoying their company so much, we find it hard to refuse.
We join them early the next morning and board the boat. It takes us all around the islands. We stop off at secluded beaches and quiet lagoons. We visit Maya Bay, Ton Sai Bay, Pileh Cove and others. We are surrounded by such natural beauty. The towering rock formations are perfectly offset by the blue sky. The water is so clear. Hundreds of fish surround the boat. We dive into the water and snorkel with angel fish, butterfly fish, and blowfish. The entire day is spent with everyone smiling and talking about how "unreal" it all seems. It truly does.