Have you had any experiencing love or ongoing passion for knowing how these islands emerged and from where? So, 25 years ago, a few random travellers found paradise in the Andaman Sea. Phi Phi Island, off the coast of southern Thailand, was almost totally undeveloped. There were no resorts on Phi Phi—just white sand beaches and palm trees, plus a small village of sea gypsies who called themselves ‘the island people’. Travellers who made the epic journey to Phi Phi returned to the mainland with glittering eyes and epic stories. More travellers caught the once-a-week cargo ship to this new island paradise, then more and more and more. Today, Phi Phi is packed with tourists. Dozens of resorts line the once-empty beaches and trash floats in the water off concrete piers built to accommodate large ferries. Phi Phi is still beautiful, ‘a discovered paradise still worth checking out’ as Matador founder Ross Borden puts it, but for those who knew the island before the crowds arrived, Phi Phi is a tragic example of Paradise Lost.
Koh Rong, Cambodia
Koh Rong is bigger and more beautiful than the most famous Thai islands, but there are no established beach resorts on Koh Rong yet, simply because it’s in Cambodia. In 2007, your faithful Koh Rong correspondent camped in an abandoned house on 6 miles of white sand beach, and survived scary encounters with illegal loggers and Cambodian Navy men. In 2014, there still isn’t running water, and electricity is only available for a few hours a day, but there’s Wi-Fi everywhere on the island. There’s also word of heavy investment on Koh Rong, with big money flowing to the boss man in Phnom Penh and rumours of Russian, Japanese, and Chinese investors.
Bohol gets a lot of touristsit’s one of the most beautiful islands in the whole archipelago. But there are gorgeous parts of Bohol that are not developed, including outlying islands, where you can chill with some of the friendliest locals in the world.
Cuttyhunk is one of the most laid-back island ‘summer communities’ off the coast of New England. There’s nothing to do except catch enormous striped bass, breathe fresh sea air, and sniff about the new money that ruined Nantucket.
Cuttyhunk does not have discos, bars, malls, a singles scene, a party life, video games, parking lots, traffic, or much action. What Cuttyhunk does have is a quiet, isolated, beautiful, ocean environment, perfect for getting in touch with yourself.
Teuri- to, Japan
Teuri-to is a lot like Cuttyhunk, except it’s off the northern coast of Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, way north of Vladivostok, Russia. The fresh sushi and sashimi on Teuri is quite simply the best and cheapest
Providencia is the less developed of two isolated islands that lie off Colombia’s Caribbean coast, near the border with Nicaragua. Construction on the island is limited and the inhabitants own all the hotels so as to contain the dangers on the environment of becoming too popular for tourists.
Long stretches of white sandy beaches, verdant hillsides and palm trees lining the streets. Over the five days, renting a moped to explore the island, lazed on deserted beaches, drifted in the breeze in hammocks, slept late and enjoyed some cold ones with the locals. It was a cliché, it was paradise.
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