Freedom is a state of mind

Fully recovered now from jetlag, monkey attacks and a rough second nights sleep that I can only put down to mild anxiety: the inability to leave London behind in mind, and initial backpacker blues – I’ve moved to the other side of the island to a place called Freedom.

My hut is right on the beach, and it’s the only place where you can see both sunrise and sunset here. They make a great coconut shake, and the staff are talkative. English isn’t widely spoken here, and there aren’t actually that many English people, but lots of Europeans – Czechs, Germans, French and other nationalities – but English seems to be the general meeting point for broken communication.

According to my British friend Chris, this this is the most real of all the places he’s seen on his trip, which has included a few nights in Bangkok, Phuket, Lanta and Phi Phi.

Ko Jum is a sleepy little island, with approx 1500 Thai’s living on it. There’s a village at each end of the island with local restaurants that tourists don’t seem to go to, which admittedly i’ve yet to try either but want to, and budget resorts sprinkled along the coast. You’ll pay roughly $20 a night, maybe a bit more as it’s peak season right now. There are two higher end resorts (Koh Jum Lodge and Koh Jum Beach Villas – between $100-$400 a night), but they’re still rustic in their own way, it’s just that the quality of the properties vastly differs from say a straw or concrete hut.

There’s not much to do here except walk round the island, trek up Koh Pu mountain in the South, snorkel, kayak, take a day trip to a neighbouring island, play card games, read a book, swim, sunbathe, get a massage or write. Plenty then really!

No yoga or meditation, but this island offers a different kind of retreat.

Once you’ve acclimatised, you start to forget the things that filled your city brain, and only focus on the right here and now.