Over the last decade or so, I have traveled to a number of islands in Thailand. After spending some time in the relatively obscure island of Koh Libong, I believe that I have finally identified my ideal beach destination. Located in the southern province of Trang, Koh Libong is known primarily as a refuge for the Dugong (often referred to as a sea cow), a large marine mammal which is closely related to the manatee.
With only a handful of small and somewhat primitive bungalow resorts scattered around the island, the tourism infrastructure on Koh Libong is somewhat basic. There are no gaudy resort hotels with swim up bars, no shopping district with tacky souvenir and tourist shops and there is virtually no nightlife to speak of – no nightclubs or bars.
The island’s population is primarily Muslim; scattered around the island are four small fishing villages and most of inhabitants on the island are Muslim. That would explain the absence of nightclubs and bars – in traditional Muslim culture, the consumption (and sale) of alcohol is prohibited. That doesn’t mean that you cannot get a drink on the island; at the various bungalow resorts, you can buy alcohol and beer. Buddhists own these “resorts”.
Island life for the tourist in Koh Libong is pretty quiet. Watching the tide come in, reading a good book and collecting seashells are some of the most popular activities for visitors. In addition, there are some very spectacular sunsets. Admittedly without the bar scene, Koh Libong is pretty dead at night. The social scene for a tourist is pretty much restricted to the restaurants of the various bungalow resorts - hotel guests will often linger after dinner, enjoying a round of drinks together before retiring for the evening.
Going on a Dugong Sighting Tour – more commonly known as a “Dugong Safari” - is one of the most popular excursions for visitors.
For most people, Koh Libong is too primitive and way too quiet. For yours truly, I can do without the resort scene, clutter and commercialism (not too mention the noisy jet skis) of Phuket, Koh Samui and Pattaya - just not my cup of tea. As they say - different strokes for different folks.