Sunday we had our swim before breakfast – not that breakfast was too early. The water was lovely and clear and I could see a couple of friendly little striped fish swimming near me. One was called Pedro and the other one was Penny. It was nice to swim with the fishes. Later we set about booking travel on to Bangkok – or trying to. It looked like maybe we were out of luck with the trains but then we ended up with tickets that we were a bit dubious about. Such is the nature of do-it-yourself travel. In the middle of the (hot) day we caught the local transport (covered utes with bench seating) north to Chaweng Beach. Julia had confirmed that was where we stayed 35 years before – my memory was hazy. She remembered it was at First Bungalow which fitted with my memory that there was nothing else around – at all. I was amazed to find on the map First Bungalow Beach Resort and we headed for there.
There were about 5 simple bungalows and an even simpler restaurant back in the old days. That’s all gone now – replaced with a sprawling modern resort. With a First Restaurant – just where I remembered the First Restaurant had been. What a change! It would be like revisiting Routeburn Flats Hut after 35 years and finding they’d build another Queenstown around the flats and up to North Col. It is hard to properly describe the extent of the change. The town behind the beach was even more frantic than the one at Lemai Beach. We had lunch and a swim and discovered that the water at that end of Chaweng Beach is not even very nice. It was murky in a weird way. We were happy to leave the madness behind and get back to our idyllic little resort.
It didn’t make me sad – it is what happens to lovely places. All us tourists contribute to the changes to the places we visit. I was happy to have seen it before it all changed – I felt slightly historic.