Ko S. lies in the Andaman Sea, near the coast of southern Thailand and not far from the Malaysian border. There are lots of islands in this general area, many of them popular with tourists and undergoing rapid development. But things on the Ko S. have moved slowly despite the beauty of its coasts and jungles.
Those who visit Ko S. are mostly elderly northern Europeans looking for somewhere quiet. They often stay for months on end. It’s quiet out on the Island alright. There´s no night life of any kind. Peace and quiet is something Thailand has never catered for, even though the potential market is huge. There are millions of people who don’t want the hyper tourist scene but no one in Thailand seems to have realised this. Ko S. is a metaphorical Robinson Crusoe among the gamut of Thai tourist islands.
How long this situation will continue is a moot point. One reason why change might be delayed for a good while yet is the character of the local Islanders. They lack any trace of the entrepreneurial spirit. They seem to be rather content with their lives. Social and family ties are strong. Most people know each other. There is no glaring poverty and as yet, no conspicuously wealth. Some people have better homes than others. But with the absence of all the trappings of the consumer culture, an egalitarian society is still the defining reality of the island.
Scenes from the ´main street´ of the one ‘town’ on Ko S. :
From almost every coast of the island, there are fine views….
Our favourite stop on the Island where we often had a meal and looked out to sea…. whilst the proprietor listened to jazz on her little radio