It was strange saying goodbye to my family, and this time not knowing how long for. I had, however, known for a while that there wasn’t much left for me in England. Thailand was one of the first trips I’d made alone and that deep feeling of experiencing the unknown had lingered over me. This, in time, is what lured me back.
The night train from Bangkok to Suratthani never changes. As the sun sets families begin to gather on the tracks outside their wooden homes to set up for dinner. Their houses are too small to cater for the extended family, and i’m sure that they are in tune with the trains and which tracks they use, because not one of them flinched as we jangled noisily by. As the city lights become fewer the twinkle of the fire flies multiplies. There is something magical about the darkness of jungle, broken only by drunkenly drifting stars.
Laying on my top bunk, trying to block out the ceiling light with my small plastic curtain, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the ticking and whirring of the fan by my head. Blowing out more dust than cool air, it spun and spun creating a gentle rythm which, ironically along with the rocking of the train, is what sent me into an excited, and dream filled sleep.
I arrived on Ko Samui just as my friend arrived to pick me up and take me as far away from the busy streets of Chaweng as possible. I’ve only ever passed through but it is heaving with tourists – boys dressed in fluorescent vests and bandannas And girls tiny shorts and bikini tops. Not quite authentic Thailand yet. We went, quite literally, to the opposite side of the island, to Thong Krut.
This photo was taken on a soft sand beach peppered with big rocks and palm trees, backing onto a small patch of jungle. Not another person in sight, let alone a tourist. Samui has got itself a bad name because often when people visit, they only allow themselves to see the disrupted side. However, this is a huge island, and once you escape the tourists, the locals are just as friendly as they are in the North of Thailand, and the beaches appear completely untouched.
As I watched the sun fall I thought of how it would be burning bright across my little sisters’ face back in England right now, I felt a moment of sadness as I missed her. Taking a deep breath, I found myself drifting into the gentle water, as if being drawn to the blood red blanket that was filling the sky. That moment of complete peace and sincerity, that’s why people do this, that’s why we sometimes have to say goodbye, for now.