The Village at Coconut Island offers it's guests the use of bicycles during their stay. My bike riding skills are perpetually rusty, but I thought it would be a fun way to explore Coconut Island. The island is quite small, at *roughly* 1.5 miles x 1 mile, making it manageable to explore on foot or on bike. Because it does get so warm, I recommend the bikes because it gets you around faster and generates a cool breeze for you. But... about the bikes..
About the bikes...
My biking skills weren't the only rusty thing around.... There were some bike "issues", but fortunately for me, my bike is not the one shown here. Which is a really good thing, because I struggle enough on a functioning bike, let alone one where the chain keeps getting stuck. O.o
These lovely trees lined the side of the road which went quite up hill... Not ideal for a cantankerous bicycle, but always remember that the mishaps of any trip make them extra memorable even if they make you extra miserable at the time.
Views From The Bike
Who are we kidding? I can't take photos and ride a bike simultaneously. Guaranteed I pulled off to take any of these photos. Still, check them out. So much local beauty and simplicity.
This small island is a short boat ride from the east coast of Phuket. Our transfers between Ko Maphrao and The Royal Phuket Marina were included in the cost of our stay at The Village at Coconut Island. A sizable amount of this island consists of mangrove forests and you can find long-tailed macaques there although we didn't get to investigate those forests.
You'll also find the floating Seafood Restaurants there. One of my greatest regrets is not going over to eat at one. It was petty, but here's the story.
As we were hanging out at the pier, taking photos, and taking in the beauty... a boat pulled up. Two muslim women in traditional garb and hijabs appeared and they had a lot of groceries! They must have made their trek to Phuket mainland to stock up on supplies and were returning. (?) It was hot, and one of the women was older and being youthful, how could we stand around and not help? So we just started to pick up the groceries and carry them up the incline to the top, flat part of the pier where they had set the first few bags. At first they looked confused, shocked... afterward we all kept smiling and even chuckling. Some other locals were sitting on the pier, maybe waiting for a boat somewhere or taking a break from work. I imagine they were amused?
After we helped carry a ton of groceries, we pointed to the floating structures not far off in the distance to ask if they were the restaurants. Indeed they were and we could certainly be boated over for a notable (relatively) fee! Here's my petty regret and lesson learned.. I was a little perturbed. Here we just randomly helped lift a lot of groceries and made your day easier, yet I had to wonder if pale skin and dollar signs were all people saw in us?
In reality, we should have went. Whatever the fee was, although it seemed way too high for what it was, was relatively small compared to the US currency exchange rate and I would rather hand it directly to locals than to, say, the resort to pay for over-priced food. (Although I don't think we even had cash on us because we were just going for a "quick" bike ride, that turned to to be not-so-quick)
We wanted to help with the groceries to be nice, and help and older person, not in the hopes to catch a free shuttle over to the restaurant. haha!! So why be offended when there was a cost to go over there? I guess because the rate (I forget now what it was exactly) seemed really high. But still... It sounds so dumb writing it out and reflecting back on it. It probably would have been the greatest meal of our time on Koh Maphrao, and collectively cheaper than a mediocre Olive Garden meal, but we missed it.
Lesson Learned. :o)
A crazy thing about this island is the tide. The tide changes so drastically each day that there are times it recedes so much you cannot leave the island. You can walk directly on the sand that previously was covered by ocean far out that you maybe wouldn't have even swam that far. It's crazy. So in some pictures above you can see boats that look beached. Really, earlier that day boats were floating in the water, and as the tide changed, the water pulled out and left the boats on sand. Some time later, they will be again floating in water.
It's a crazy thing to notice. The tide changes at every beach, but I had never seen it so pronounced as here. (More about it in an upcoming post about exploring Phuket mainland.)
The bad thing about that is that if you want to go to the mainland or return to Koh Maprao from the mainland at a certain time, you may not be able to due to the tide changes. I could see how it would be inconvenient for locals, yet I'm sure they are just used to it by now.
Anyhow, stop back next Tuesday to explore Phuket mainland!