Visit Undiscovered Island In Thailand
It’s The Beach, a fellow traveller had told me during a climbing course in Krabi, southern Thailand. Beautiful, untouched, with great limestone walls, he’d said, and without the suicidal Scot, the tyrannical Tilda Swinton and the mass tourism that ruins nearby Koh Phi Phi Leh (where the movie version of Alex Garland’s novel was shot) on a daily basis.
A few days later I’m on my way to Koh Laoliang, which is something of an anomaly in Thailand: a remote island national park ringed by a marine reserve with one perfect beach free of longtails and blissfully uncrowded – because daytrippers aren’t allowed, there are no bungalows or resorts and only 50 people can stay at a time, in a tented camp that’s open only five months of the year .
Just getting there is a little adventure. I don’t have to swim with my backpack in a garbage bag like “Richard”, played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie, but I do have to take a motorbike, a bus, a taxi and two longtails to reach Laoliang, in neighbouring Trang province, from Krabi. (It’s easier from Trang airport.)
The last longtail ride is my favourite part, speeding over a turtle-green Andaman Sea watching flying fish, diving seabirds and our looming destination: twin karst islands 20 kilometres offshore.
Forty-five minutes later the boat noses ashore and I step from its bow onto North Laoliang Island and its unbelievably lovely beach. Clean, with dazzling sand devoid of footprints, it’s lapped by swimming pool-clear water and enclosed on three sides by 100-metre climbing walls. Then there’s the accommodation.