Assignments completed for the day, I’m currently sat watching the storm roll in. Thick balls of white-grey candy floss floating down the mountains, colliding with dense jungle vegetation and dispersing into a translucent sheet – slowly suffocating the island in torrential rain.
It’s monsoon season, and for the second year running, it’s late. Deep orange-brown puddles cover my ankles as I take them on at the bottom of the hills – a challenge I apprehensively accept. Roads transform to rivers and people become billowing sheets of plastic in the wind. Their scrunched up faces penetrated by the warm rain, trust me it feels like marbles being thrown at you.
So big it’s easy to forget you’re on an island. Bophut for the beach, Chawang for the nightlife, Lamai for the night market and Hua Thanon for me – obviously. I’ve loved being able to have my own moto and just get up and go wherever, and whenever, I want. The only public transportation here are songthaews (trucks with benches in the back) and private taxis, but after a while, you get sick of bartering prices and being ripped off. Oh, there’s no number you can call for them to pick you up by the way, waiting at the side of the road in more remote areas for twenty minutes or so… uh no.
As mentioned in my previous post, I have been accepted into a three-month residency at The Content Castle, a writer’s retreat and a workshop of sorts. Crafting extensive copy for luxury travel companies against the backdrop of Guan Yu, The Castle is a haven for writers. Straight outta uni, I was maniacally waving my hands at the computer screen, straining to be seen like the kid at the front of the class, bursting for the opportunity to prove themselves.
Learning about brand new concepts such as the digital world of business, and corners of the world I’ve not yet explored is both enticing and challenging. I’ve cemented my brain on tight, hoping the screws won’t come loose from the pressure underneath, and I’m bloody well enjoying having both a purpose and an excuse to work (as crazy as that sounds). I’m someone who likes a routine and regular targets to reach in amongst the fun and games of traveling. I think what is truly unique to The Castle is not only learning about your personal writing strengths and weaknesses but learning from the experience of others too. Cross-editing work, and swapping travel stories with the digital nomads is something you can’t put a price on.
Eat: at the Fisherman’s Village. Okay, it’s a little more pricey in comparison to the 60TBT Pad Thai’s we’re used to, but the quality and environment are of a five-star restaurant at half the price. Jake took me to Link for my birthday a couple of weeks ago where we ate Thai-Style sea bass, croquettes and was surprised by a chorus of ‘happy birthdays’ from the staff. A brownie stack with ice cream is a birthday girl’s dream.
Drink: at the pop-up stalls, usually found at markets and areas like the Fisherman’s Village. They sell cocktails for 90TBT and under, and they’re damn generous!
Do: visit the waterfalls around the island. Make sure you were practical shoes because the climb up can get pretty handsy, but the natural pools and views are so worth it. If you keep on driving passed Na Muang 2, you will come to a viewpoint with a secret infinity pool. A great chill spot for a beautiful day.
Stay: at New Hut Bungalows. When we first came to the island, we stayed here for just over a week I think? The ultimate backpacker’s residence, make sure to get a hut (a wooden teepee with a fan) on the beach. Less than twenty meters from the sea you get to witness beautiful sunrises and sunsets all from the comfort of your own front step. For 25-300TBT a night, it’s a gem.