Grounded on Koh Phayam

Totem is not aground, but happily anchored in a wide bay fringed by a soft beach, backed by palms and cashew trees. Welcome to sleepy Koh Phayam, antithesis to Phuket’s noisy traffic and crowded beaches, where dogs sleep in the street and cars have yet to arrive. About three miles long from north to south, […]

Unrest in Thailand: being prepared

Here in sleepy Koh Phayam, a little island just south of Thailand’s border with Myanmar, the offer of electricity warrants a banner. What’s not making any headlines is the country’s lurch toward a coup, with political unrest and protesters bloodied and killed in Bangkok as the conflict rapidly escalates. The unrest was not even on […]

Pinch me, I’m cruising: Phang Nga fairyland

There’s something a little surreal about the approach into Thailand’s Phang Nga bay, a crowded archipelago of limestone islands tucked up to the northeast of Phuket. Sailing among the sharply peaked rocks is like finding yourself in the middle of the set for an epic high fantasy film. The topography is just a little to fantastic, […]

Win a trip to Thailand by defending Asian elephants

We won’t be riding any elephants while we’re here in Thailand. If there’s a code to our travels, it’s to try and leave a positive trail in the places we visit. It’s not always easy to know how to make a meaningful contribution. Here in Thailand, it’s a snap, and anyone reading this has the […]

Satun: a quieter side of Thailand

The more time we spend in Phuket, the more I like the quiet village that was our introduction to Thailand. Ban Chebilang is just a few miles outside the commercial center of Satun, and the home of the shipyard where Totem hauled out in November. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the PSS Shipyard […]

Underwater in Thailand’s Similan Islands

I might have maligned the Similans a bit by pointing out that the coral is kinda dead, the diversity is lacking, and the tourists outnumber almost everything else. It’s true, but it’s not the whole story. The truth is that we still had a great time and saw some amazing things underwater. It’s just not […]

Freediving in Thailand’s Similan Islands

Thailand’s Similan islands gave us a welcome dose of clear water to swim in and pretty fish to commune with again. Thanks to a timely departure from the shipyard in Satun, we got to Phuket in time to meet our friend Dan and take off with him for this limestone chain to the northwest. Dan […]