Exploring Paradise… Thailand’s Hong Island

The traditional Thai long tail boat moored up on the beach and the captain beckoned us to climb aboard.  Wading out through the warm sea, I did my best to hold my camera bag high above the water. We were embarking on an adventure to see the island jewel ‘Koh Hong’.

Pic-2-Hong-Island-Thailand Exploring Paradise… Thailand’s Hong IslandAnd then we were off!  Heading out into the Andaman Sea we could see little island silhouettes on the horizon getting larger and larger.  Gradually they came into focus and we could see all their detail – the bushy green tree cover and steep, bright rock faces.  

We were entering Tharn Bok Khorani National Marine Park; and as the Hong Islands have National Park status they are all protected from development.  There are no hotels, all visitors must pay an entry fee to the Marine Park; and the islands are only accessibly by boat.

Pic-3-Hong-Island-Thailand Exploring Paradise… Thailand’s Hong IslandWe soon arrived at the beautiful and uninhabited Hong Island.  It really was just as beautiful as I had imagined it would be.  The water was so crystal clear that the white sand was clearly visible deep below the surface.

Pic-4-Hong-Island-Thailand Exploring Paradise… Thailand’s Hong IslandShoals of fish greeted us as we walked along the jetty towards the white powdery beach.  

Pic-5-Hong-Island-Thailand Exploring Paradise… Thailand’s Hong Island

As we stepped on the beach and felt the soft, silky sand warming our feet; we realised that we were the first to arrive.  There were no other footprints!  We were the only people on this paradise island for a full ten minutes before other visitor boats began to arrive…

We snorkled in the cove, walked along the beach and took lots of photographs.

Pic-6-Hong-Island-Thailand Exploring Paradise… Thailand’s Hong IslandIt was just beautiful, with the boughs of trees touching the lapping waves.  The leafy tree canopy provided much-welcome shade from the sun.

Pic-7-Hong-Island-Thailand Exploring Paradise… Thailand’s Hong IslandI thought I saw lumps of sea sponge on the rocks, but on closer inspection they turned out to be pieces of polystyrene.  I picked them up and took them back on the boat with us.  But the island really was remarkably unspoilt, considering the number of visitors who arrive each year…

We walked back along the beach, with the frothy warm sea lapping at our feet.  

Pic-8-Hong-Island-Thailand Exploring Paradise… Thailand’s Hong IslandAs we reached the jetty I noticed the paradise island cliché… there were coconuts washing up on the white sand.  Perfect!

Pic-9-Hong-Island-Thailand Exploring Paradise… Thailand’s Hong Island

Written by Sarah Rees

Environmental Scientist, presenter and keen wildlife photographer; Sarah is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. With a background in television production, she launched her online Forestwatch videos to celebrate the diversity of woodland wildlife and ancient trees.

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