About one year before the pandemic began, my family and I went to Koh Lipe in Thailand. We were enthralled by the pristine, emerald sea and fine white sand on Sunrise beach there. It was such a memorable experience that we found ourselves longing for another relaxing island escape as soon as we got home.
We searched for other islands that we could go to around the Satun Province and chanced upon a small island known as Koh Bulon Lae. This is said to be an unspoiled island (or undeveloped), tucked in the middle of the Andaman Sea, among several other small islands.
So, a couple of days before Christmas in December 2019, just before Covid-19 became a global problem, we drove from Ipoh, Perak, to Changlun in Kedah to get our documents processed (Note: To travel into Thailand by car, you would need more than just a passport; you would also need to bring your car’s documents. Contact your travel agent to find out what else you need to bring along).
We managed to get everything done at 4am at one of the travel agencies that operates in the wee hours of the morning, making it very convenient for travellers who prefer to get a super early head start!
The next destination was Wang Kelian in Perlis, where the immigration checkpoint for Malaysia and Thailand is located. Once we passed that, we drove for another 45 minutes to Pak Bara pier, which is the ferry hub for travellers who wish to visit some of the islands in the South of Thailand.
To get to Koh Bulon, however, we had to arrange for a local longtail boat service from the Koh Bulon Resort. Unlike the usual ferry ride, sitting on small wooden planks while soaking up the view of the open sea gave us another pleasant and unique experience.
After about an hour, Koh Bulon finally appeared on the horizon. A light breeze welcomed us as we stepped on a stretch of a nearly empty beach, making us feel as though we’d been washed away to a lush, tranquil private island.
From a distance, we could see the different types of beach bungalows. Most of them were located merely steps away from the crystal-clear water.
Words truly cannot describe the natural beauty of this paradise island. We just needed to stand close to the beach to see swarms of fish swimming in the shallow, emerald green water.
Previously, we had been to the crowded beaches of Phuket and Krabi, so this stretch of beach on Koh Bulon with only a few tourists around gave us a nice “healing” moment.
Snorkelling was allowed around the resort area but only at high tide, which was usually between 9am and 11am. The coral reefs around the island were teeming with marine life.
Those who wished to snorkel further out from the island, or go island-hopping, had to make separate arrangements with the resort. There were also kayaks for guests to use for free.
When the water had receded, some people walked in the water to look at some sea creatures like crabs and clams.
The island is home to a small community of Muslim fishermen and other locals. There was a school there too, as well as a mosque nearby. Outside the resort area, there were a couple of restaurants, one of which served halal Thai food.
Another restaurant had some Western selections on the menu, and also served alcoholic beverages.
In the evening, we waited patiently for the sunset, and Koh Bulon did not disappoint! The sky turned reddish and the slow, undulating waves on the shoreline created a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.
At night, the tide was high again and we could hear the roaring waves hitting the shores.
We were visited by hermit crabs which were running around in their various “borrowed” shells. It was surreal to see so many of them on the bungalow steps. One of them, much to our amusement, had chosen the shell of a land snail instead of another seashell!
There were crabs of different shapes and sizes scurrying around and digging holes in the area, unfazed by the few humans who were watching these flurry of activities.
We definitely want to return to Koh Bulon. It was a low-key holiday for us, as we did not spend much on souvenirs, lavish food, sightseeing or shows. Instead, we got so close to nature, embraced the beauty of the Andaman Sea, and felt totally at ease on the island, especially since there were so few tourists there and we did not have to “fight” for space on the beach!
The views expressed are entirely the reader’s own.