There is an island where it rains cashews and the sand is millions of tiny seashells. The wind carries the squabbling of great hornbills and salty sea breeze of the Andaman Sea. Rainbows are around every corner and the Milky Way galaxy shines bright in the dark sky at night. This is a real place called Koh Phayam.

I went to join some friends who had recently flown into Thailand from Germany and finished their 2-week quarantine in Bangkok. Initially a 7-day holiday I stayed nearly 3 months. Thailand’s lockdown 2.0 hit during our holiday and we all made adjustments to stay longer. The island was pretty empty due to Covid-19 and it was nearing wet season in Ranong province. The resorts were preparing for the relentless winds and rain coming their way while we got settled in our little bungalows to “rough it” on this little island. By “roughing it” I mean there is very little on the island compared to the typical tourist spots like Phuket or Koh Samui. There is one ATM on the island. It was broken for 3 weeks. The island’s “7/11” is an old woman who guards her merchandise throughout the night and wakes up for customers. Every piece of the island is alive. If you stop walking anywhere for any reason you will have ants crawling up your legs, mosquitoes buzzing around your head, sand flies digging into your skin and a dog or two looking for food or a scratch. It is not for the faint of heart to be sure.

We stayed at the beautiful Phayam Lodge where 5 of us guys crammed into a 3 bedroom bungalow for the first 6 weeks. We kept busy by learning to surf, eating at chef’s tables and generally relaxing. I kept busy with my drone and cameras, catching surfers catching waves, hunting hornbills and chasing sunsets.