What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Long-tails in the Night February 8, 2016

I feel like with all the blogs I’ve posted about the great Thailand adventure so far, you’re all going to get the impression that Thailand is just one big city. It’s not, not even a little bit. In fact, my favorite parts of the trip were far outside of Bangkok.

The husband and I were lucky enough to stay on a private beach in Ko Phangan for a few days.


The views were absolutely breathtaking, and I spent a fair amount of time reading and plotting out new stories while lying in this hammock.


The days were long, the naps epic, and the shower freezing. If I were ever to be lucky enough to be the sort of full time writer that had publishers breathing down her neck to complete the next bestseller, I would run away to Bottle Beach and write in a ridiculously inexpensive paradise. Seriously, breakfast was less than two bucks, and the room was $17 a night.

But getting to paradise was not quite so easy. We had to take a plane, which was met by a man who herded us onto a bus to drive to a dock where we were all marked with stickers and color-coded tags before getting onto a catamaran. Once we got to the island, we climbed into the back of a truck with five other people and all their luggage to be dropped off all over the island. The problem being the beach we were staying on can only be driven to in the daylight by one very sketchy and death-defying road, and it was already dark out.

The truck/taxi driver dropped us off at a little shack with a long-tail floating in the water nearby. The guy who owned the shack found us the guy who owned the boat, and by that time, night had really truly fallen.

The long-tail captain wanted to overcharge for our trip around to the beach, and we tried to argue. But it was either that or be stuck waiting at the shack until morning.

We agreed to pay him, and he went to go get more gas since apparently he had thought he was done for the day. When he got back, he loaded our bags, poured himself some whiskey and offered it to us.

Now, when you’re standing next to an ocean in a country where you don’t speak the language, and your only hope of getting to a bed for the night offers you a drink, you take it and hope he’s sober enough to get you there alive.

Riding on the front of a long-tail in the dark, with mist splashing your face and the green glow of squid fisherman dotting the distance, is an amazingly exhilarating and slightly death-defying experience that I hope all of you can have someday.

The air was crisp, and there were so many stars out that you could see the mountain silhouetted against them.

We sat at the tip of the boat and laughed, and the captain laughed at us laughing. And finally we arrived at the beach.

The captain got out of the boat and hooked a ladder onto the side. We climbed down into the water (there was no dock) and made our way to the beach where everyone was shocked to see two backpackers arrive after dark. They all asked us where were trying to go like we were in the wrong place. But we found our bungalow and our little piece of paradise. It was brilliant.

So cheers to the long-tail captain. Thanks for the ride!


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