The rickety ferry boat engine cut out suddenly. As our momentum continued to send us drifting forward, I looked out the scuffed window. We were gliding towards a jungle-covered mound rising out of the turquoise water. A glistening strip of white sand surrounded the small island and woven palm frond bungalows dotted the edge of the beach.
I blinked at what I saw before me as our ferry finally came to a bobbing stop in the deep water. How would we get to the beach?
My question was quickly answered as a host of pink, green, and yellow ribbons jostled for the passengers’ attention. A pod of decorative Thai long-tail boats with long, egg-beater engines rounded the side of the ferry—one for each resort. The captain of each slender vessel shouted his resort’s name and held out his hand.
Anxious to walk into this picture-perfect dreamland, I grabbed my bag, heavy with all the books I’d been meaning to read, and gingerly stepped onto my boat. At a pace appropriate for a vacation weekend, we puttered to the far end of the beach as the saltwater splashed pleasantly in our faces.
When people dream about a beach vacation in Thailand, they imagine a magazine photo: white sand, a single swooping palm tree, and crystal clear waters. At that moment, gliding along the coast of Koh Ngai, I realized that this beach truly does exist. Long, bending palms dipped under the weight of bright green coconut clusters and postcard-perfect rope swings.
Our boat motored up to a solitary floating square dock, anchored in the deep water. The wooden platform had two rainbow striped beach loungers attached to the deck. The chairs swayed back and forth, gently rolling in unison with the ocean. The sun shone down on the chairs, inviting occupants for a warm mid-ocean nap. We glided past the deck and finally turned towards shore. I made a gleeful mental note: That deck is the only thing I have planned for the next three days.
The long-tail captain drove us into the sand and threw a small ladder over the edge of the wooden boat. Moored in about a foot of water, I took off my shoes, hiked up my pants and jumped into the warm Andaman Sea. My captain handed my bag to an attendant wearing a smart polo that read Coco Cottage on the chest. “Welcome to your holiday,” he smiled. Welcome, indeed.