Koh Jum, Koh Bubu and Koh Siboya

These islands, south of Krabi, are places to escape the crowd. The beaches are not as divine as other Andaman Sea spots but they are quiet and somewhat away from the

Koh Jum (Jam)

The island itself, with its beige-yellow beach and shallow waters, is not one of the most beautiful in the Andaman Sea, although it does have a magnificent pair of sea eagles who make regular appearances on the village side. Its main attraction is as an escape from the crowds on other islands, a slightly rough-hewn edge and enough variety in accommodation and restaurants to keep things interesting. Recently, the island, which only has around a couple of hundred residents - mostly Chao Le and Muslim fishing families - has seen a flourishing of cheap bungalows and there are now over 20 places to choose from. There is a fear that the resort side of the island is quickly running out of space, thus seriously hampering the privacy and quiet that travellers find here. Additionally, there are
concerns that high-level developers will step
in to create hermetically sealed resorts and drive out the smaller set-ups. But this still
seems unlikely as the beach is not particularly
attractive and there are no sites of note on the island to visit. So far, the operations on Koh Jum do not have pools - the only one that did had its opening day on Boxing Day 2004 and was promptly wiped out by the tsunami.

There is also still a sense of being in the jungle, with pythons making slithering debuts in resort kitchens from time to time. Koh Jum's real ace-in-the-hole for
independent travellers continues to be that
it does not have mains electricity, so that resorts depend on individual generators -
most of the places only have electricity from
1800 to 2200/2300. The island also has a undeniable quirky charm, both in terms of the locals and expats who have set up semi- permanent base here. There is a working fishing village with a mosque on the other side of the island from the resorts, which protects Koh Jum from being a toy
island like the voluptuous Koh Ngai. The village has a superb restaurant with sophisticated
seafood dishes that would not be out of place in a metropolis, general stores and clothes shops selling ubiquitous backpacker tat - fishermen trousers, hippy Alice bands and multi-coloured ashram muslin shirts. You can also watch fishermen at work here or have a cool beer away from the resorts. Finally, if you find that Koh Jum is not isolated enough for you, then take a day trip to Koh Bubu or Koh Siboya.

Koh Siboya

Koh Siboya is a speck of an island with a population of about 1000 people, most of whom are Muslim and involved in rubber or fisheries. The beach is really just mud-flats that stretch for an astonishing length and bake and crack in the midday heat. However, it is the isolation of Koh Siboya that attracts returnee visitors - a mixture of hardcore travellers and middle-aged hippies. You will also find expats here who came for a couple weeks years ago and who have stayed on living in idiosyncratic and charming bungalows. There is not a lot to do and, from our reports, the main attraction/activity for visitors remains watching monkeys catch crabs on the beach, and freeform meditation.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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