Thailand is without doubt a beautiful and diverse country, ever popular as a holiday destination. Its better known tourist locations are well documented and have been enjoyed by millions of people for many, many years. But the wants, needs and desires of the tourist evolve, and this evolution has found visitors looking for something that differs from the well-trodden tourist hotspots.
There is now a great deal more focus on the kingdom’s islands. Of course some are already well known, Phuket and Krabi to name just two. But Thailand has 1430 islands that sit in its coastal waters. Many of these islands are unspoilt, uncommercialized and epitomize Thailand’s natural beauty.
Lapped by the blue waters of the Andaman Sea, to the Southwest of Phuket and part of Surat Province, lies Koh Bulon Lae. A visitor is unlikely to find a more natural location, one which is almost entirely untouched by modernity or the commercial giants that view each visitor as part of their ledger’s bottom line.
If you enjoy glitzy shopping malls, beer swilling on a bar crawl, beach parties or the thumping music spewing from neon lit nightclubs, then give Koh Bulon Lae a wide birth. Wild hedonism is not to be found here, nor are cars, there are no cars on the island, no ATMs and definitely no 7-11s. With everything that the island doesn’t have, it has become much loved by singles, couples and families as a rare gem of a place to be enjoyed and cherished simply for what it is. Paradise!
The island is tiny, you can walk from one side to the other in around 20 minutes, and in taking such a walk you will go from pristine beaches, to mangrove, swamp and dense jungle, such diversity in a small area is astonishing. When visiting the island, a walk from coast to coast is a must.
Meander along the trail that cuts across the island to see and feel the diversity of the island. The one thing that is striking is the noise, with every decibel being given by nature. Shrieking bird calls are endless, the millions of cicadas create a cacophony of noise that most people never experience. You are also likely to encounter the large, but harmless, monitor lizards that lounge around the mangroves.
Getting to Koh Bulon Lae
Traveling to Surat Province is straight forward. There are many bus and minivan services to the area, many of which can be booked to take you straight to Pakbara pier. There are flight services to Hat Yai and Trang from where transfers can be taken to Pakbara. It is from Pakbara pier that the power boats make the short crossing to Koh Bulon Lae. The power boats are met just off the beach by longtail boats to ferry visitors ashore.
There are also inter-island boat services that connect the many islands that lie off the West coast of the Kra Isthmus. Island hopping has become a popular way to explore the kingdom away from its mainland, thus, from the mainland or any of the Andaman Sea islands, getting to Koh Bulon Lae is without problem.
Where to stay on Koh Bulon Lae
Many of the island’s visitors are backpackers on a budget, and they are well accommodated. Between Panka Yai Bay and Mango Bay, set on the forested trail are the Jungle Huts. Basic but entirely adequate, these homely residences are the bargain stay option on the island. Yes, staying here does require a walk to the beach, but on Koh Bulon Lae there is no such thing as a long walk!
School Beach is the islands best beach, and one of the most beautiful in the whole of Thailand, not surprisingly the cost of accommodation here tends to be higher. Although, close by is Panka Noi Bay, which offers excellent accommodation at very reasonable rates. Go just a little further North to Panka Yai Bay and visitors can enjoy the cheapest bungalows on the island. Visitors planning a trip to the island should be aware that many places close up between June or July, through to October.
Koh Bulon Lae, What to Do
Koh Bulon Lae is not about expelling boundless levels of energy, quite the contrary in fact. The most energetic activity you are likely to indulge in will be swimming and snorkeling in the island’s silky blue waters. Visitors can hire a kayak and paddle around the island with ease and explore its quiet coves, above and below the water.
Trekking is popular, and you don’t need to be an experienced hiker to trek across the island. Trek at your own pace and enjoy being enveloped by unspoilt natural beauty. You may even hear the island spirits that are said to whisper in the gentle breeze.
Undoubtedly, most visitors love the pristine beaches and pure white sand. Lap up the sun, loose yourself in quiet contemplation, meditate and be at peace with the world. For any explorer coming to the Kingdom of Thailand that is seeking natural tranquility, it is Koh Bulon Lae.