Bangkok somehow manages to feel like a tropical jungle, even though it has more concrete than oxygen per square metre.
The sky train running right above the traffic-clogged artery of Sukumvit is interwoven with tangled foliage and palpable humidity; rainy season means the slivers of visible sky are overcast and perpetually pregnant with precipitation. Out of the pot and into the fire, we leave the city and take to the sea.
Our sailboat throws down anchor in a quiet bay and we swim out to the island’s rocky shoreline, where schools of opalescent fish dash between us as we navigate through the corals. A purple-fringed rock is sighted and we gather around the oyster-embedded enclave.
As diving knives are unstrapped, oysters are extracted and enjoyed as fresh as they come, with seawater as the only seasoning necessary. In our excitement, we ignore the sting of sharp oyster shells against our palms and knees. The cuts sting throughout the salty week, but I can’t help but grin each time as I’m reminded of that unexpected marine forage-fest.
One morning we take on Pha Jun-Jaras, a short but steep 500-metre climb to a promising panoramic of the island cluster. We scramble over the last 50 vertical metres of jagged rock on all fours, pausing every few metres to look over our shoulders at the increasingly stunning view.
At the top we exclaim, soak in the sight, hydrate, and laugh knowingly at the discarded shoe soles lying about before starting our descent. I inhale a watermelon juice laced with victory before diving straight into the water; at this point, swimming from shore to boat will be more of a luxury than a task.
It’s our third consecutive day at sea, and by now we’ve all found our favourite shady spots on the sailboat. After lunch, a forming grey cloud mass promises relief from the merciless sun.
The cool drops of rain prick my skin and the blanket of water seems to push infinitely against every horizon, the illusion of directionless drifting broken only by looming, jagged shapes in the distance. I close my eyes against the whipping wind and sway with the dipping of angry waves as we continue to sail through the storm.
An hour and two massive mangos later, the clouds part to expose that sinister landline that now reveals itself as a collection of rocky isles, each woody violet and specked with green like a naked pistachio. What was moments before a crooked line drawing on a piece of paper in the distance now fragments into floating rock formations as we glide by, a fluid and ever-shifting panorama.
By evening time, the sea is a sober green-grey hue and the perfect temperature for an quick dip. Lifted upwards by the salt-dense water, I float lazily on by back. Drifting by familiar faces, lit by twilight and gazing down from the catamaran, I take another moment to savour every detail of where in the world I am.
Infinite thanks to everyone for the wonderfully encouraging comments as I finally dabble more in the travel-writing side of this blog. For food-central Thailand Part I and my travels through Greece earlier in the year, you can look back in my previous posts.
Otherwise, I track my daily adventures here on Instagram.