Photo: Learning nothing at School Beach.


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Palms sway as school kids laugh and play on a beachside field. Travellers swing in hammocks and stroll on flower-draped paths to the next languid bay. Away from the problems that blight more popular Thai islands, the serene environment on Ko Bulon Lae is likely here to stay.

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Breaking from Thailand’s tendency to exploit beautiful islands for maximum profits, Bulon is a model for sustainable tourism. Solar panels provide clean power. Notably well-done info boards explain the cultural and natural background. Local families run nearly every resort and you won’t find the jaded, greedy attitudes that are so common on more popular islands. Focusing on fishing and rubber tapping, the charming Chao Lae (“Sea People”) keep the beaches tidy, offering a smile or “hello” to passing travellers.

Languid School Beach. Photo taken in or around Ko Bulon Lae, Thailand by David Luekens.

Languid School Beach. Photo: David Luekens

If that sounds wonderful, well, it truly is. But it takes a special sort of person to appreciate this one-of-a-kind island in the Andaman Sea. Only one resort has 24-hour power and air-con, with the rest switching on electricity only in the evenings. Most accommodation is very basic, WiFi is limited, restaurants close early and nightlife consists of a few beers around the smoke of a mosquito coil.

Most travellers are unaware of tiny Bulon’s existence, but those who have discovered it often return for long stays. These include Western families, older couples and introverted backpackers looking to soak up the tranquility while spending as little as 600 baht per day. For couples who enjoy wandering from bay to bay before tucking under a mosquito net to the sound of cicadas after dark, this is about as romantic of an island as ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 800 words.)

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ko Bulon Lae.
 Read up on where to eat on Ko Bulon Lae.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ko Bulon Lae.
 Read up on how to get to Ko Bulon Lae, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
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