Islands Part II

South Thailand

September – October 2018

In my first essay on South Thailand I’ve written about my explorations on the southwest side near Andaman sea. Krabi, Railay, Phuket and Koh Phi Phi. Now I would like to take you to the southeast side to the gulf of Thailand, to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.

As I mentioned before there is a great network of ferries in between the islands. After leaving Koh Phi Phi behind I first arrived at the main land to Krabi, then took the bus to Surat Thani that is on the east shore. Then from there I took another ferry to my next destination to Koh Samui. Many people warned me that travelling in the sea during the monsoon could be risky due to the big waves and strong winds but thankfully I didn’t experience anything unpleasant.

The ocean is vast and spacious. I really enjoyed travelling through the sea frequently. Next time hopefully I thought of giving some time to diving into these magnificent waters to explore the marine life. Thailand is considered as one of the safest destinations for diving and snorkelling in the world. They said, here there are splendid sights of underwater mountains, coral gardens, interesting undersea rock formations and whale sharks in season.

Koh Samui is the third largest island of the country. It looks like the expansion of tourism has resulted in growth of buildings, resorts and hotels. So I mostly made my way to the more remote areas of the island. And again motorbike is the best way to explore the surrounding. I visited some little fisherman settlements and beaches along the coastline. In my opinion Koh Samui’s best beach is Silver beach with its glittering white sands (above).

The central part of Koh Samui is mostly tropical jungle. I did a trek through the jungle to Namuang waterfall. The view point on top was amazing. The other amazing thing about here is the friendly and welcoming attitudes of the locals in whole south Thailand. They are so kind and helpful. I loved the warm smile on people’s faces. And whenever I found the chance I took Thai massage from the talented and compassionate hands of elder Thai women.

Then taking the ferry I jumped to Koh Phangan. I found the most peaceful and cosy guesthouse here amongst all the islands. It was in southwest in Tong Sala by a beautiful shore. Being close to Tong Sala was giving me the chance to walk to the town for the vibrant night market to shop for the kitchen and eat the delicious Thai food.
I was just alone in quietness, laying in the hammock, enjoying the soft breeze, gazing at the vast sea in front of me. This summer how lucky I was to be able to swim in the beautiful waters of Thailand.

Above is the early morning view from the place I was staying. How beautiful it was to greet the sun and start the day with meditation here in pure silence. Likewise the nights were also one of a kind. It was a glamorous experience to sit under the stars or to swim in the silent waters and play with the planktons.

Apart from the sunny and hot afternoons walking is a nice way of discovering the surrounding. By the motorbike you can cover longer distances either on the open coastline on the west or up on the hills through to the national park that is located in the inner parts of the island. You can also choose songthaews (vehicle adapted from a pick-up and used as a shared taxi or bus) that are crisscrossing the island for cheap prize.
The inner areas of the island are lush green with many coconut trees. The island is also known as the land of coconut trees.

The views above are from Amsterdam bar that is located on a hill, open to a wide scenery. It is a perfect place during the sunsets when there is a picturesque blend of blue, purple, orange, pink colours up in the sky. Most particularly if you are here when the clouds are approaching to bring the rain, the sky performs a show of lightnings. I adore this tropical climate.

There are many beaches on the west coast. My favourite was Zen beach. Every evening it was turning into a meeting point of many colourful people, travellers, musicians or dancers spinning fire pois. Koh Phangan also hosts some well-known yoga and tantra schools that attract spiritual minded people to the island.
This is an important reminder; if you are someone looking for silence like me, you can arrange your travel according to the times of the well-known crazy full moon parties. Because the island becomes packed with thousands of people during the full moon.

The element of fire was in me during many months in India, putting into flame whatever I had unconsciously constructed in my pysche upon years. This leaded to an inner transformation. Coming to Thailand the fire in me let itself turn into the elements of water and air, bringing me healing, purification, regeneration and harmony. I was now feeling more relieved and open.
Over the last 39 years my mind has developed millions of patterns and tendencies. It won’t give these up very quickly. And this is the trap. The real path starts when the chattering mind starts to appear over and over again. And it is not going to end anyway. What is important is how I relate to it and see the mind how it deludes me. Right focus is not fighting the mind but disengage and return to the inner core.

It was almost one year now that I have started my journey. From the very beginning my path was unfolding in its unique, irrestible nature that was making me abide and surrender to my aloneness. The life I have left behind was flowing in an unknown way that I couldn’t know. And my life was evolving in an unknown way that nobody knew. I remember how painful this was in the beginning. And now it was all ok. Everything unfolds in peace if we don’t react but surrender to what is. I now knew the ground of non seperation and interconnectedness. Even the little blinks of this reality was guiding me through to contentment and inner peace.
Then the time came for me to leave south Thailand to my last destination of my entire one year journey before I go to visit my family back in Turkey. I hit the road to Plum village which is a Buddhist center founded by the dearest Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. I was so much looking forward to be near the presence of him and the community.

The Author