Koh Yao Yai – Around the island on a moped

Koh Yao Yai

When I arrived at Koh Yao Yai Village on Yao Yai Island early in the morning, my room wasn’t ready yet. I was eager to see more of the island, and suddenly, renting a moped seemed like a great idea.

I used to work as a tourist rep in Greece many years ago, and at that time, we used mopeds to get around to see the tourists at the different hotels. I don’t think tourist reps use that kind of transportation nowadays, because you’re very exposed if an accident happens, and trust me, it will. Just within the course of a summer season, I had two crashes including a rather bad one right in front of some of “my” tourists. However, this was all forgotten that morning on Yao Yai Island. Instead, I couldn’t wait to be on the road again, wind in my hair, born to be wiiiild!

I drove down south and checked out a couple of picture perfect beaches before I stopped at a roadside restaurant to have some lunch. It was the usual open air, plastic chair configuration, which I’ve over time learned to take as a sign for good food.

The population on Koh Yao Yai is predominantly Muslim and the food is halal so you won’t see a lot of pork dishes. Instead, the island’s food vendors offer a refined selection of meals made with chicken and beef, so it doesn’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.

I had a noodle soup with meatballs and stir-fried chicken with basil, and while I was eating I could feel that someone was staring at me. I looked up, and I almost choked. Behind the kitchen, just a few meters away, was a giant bird! I don’t know a lot about birds, but I think it was some kind of raptor. It had a rope attached to its feet, so I assume that they kept it as a pet:/

The nice lady at the restaurant had been watching me taking photos of my food, so after I had finished my meal, she indicated that I should go and take a photo of the bird too. I felt really awkward about it, because I’m really against keeping wild animals in captivity, but I was also aware that this wasn’t the time to start educating people about animal welfare, so I just smiled and snapped a few photos, which I later deleted. However, if you look very closely, you might be able to spot the bird in the photo below.

I continued my trip around the island, and I was feeling adventurous, so when I saw a small road, which looked like it could lead to somewhere nice, I decided to drive down that way. I could see a tiny bit of the ocean glistening between the jungle-ish vegetation, so I figured that if I just continued a little further down the path, a beautiful secluded beach might be waiting there for me.

After a while, the trail got really bumpy and narrow. I was hoping that it was just a short stretch, but it actually got worse to a point, where I couldn’t even identify what was track and what was jungle anymore. That was when I should have faced reality and turned around, but instead, I continued a little longer, determined to reach my destination.

Then suddenly, one tire slipped and before I knew, I was in the middle of what felt like a controlled, slow motion crash. While I was lying on the ground, it dawned on me how incredibly stupid I had been. Not only was I on a rented bike without insurance, I was also at a really deserted place. If I had been injured, I would have been in some real trouble, so kids, don’t try this at home.

After brushing off the red dirt from my clothes, I therefore decided that my adventure quota (and my stupidity quota) was up for that day, so I slowly drove back and handed in the moped again.

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