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Towards the later part of my trip to Southern Thailand in February, 2004 I stumbled upon Ting Rai Bay Resort on Ko Pu. In all the years (14 of them) that I have been traveling in Thailand I had never been to Ko Pu and it turned out to be one of the best places I had ever been. The people who work at TRBR are as nice as any I've met, the food is outstanding, and up until the tsunami came along the beach at Ting Rai was maybe the prettiest little beach on the Andaman Sea.

The tsunami changed a lot of things. The food is still great, the people just as friendly, but the beach took a real pounding on that awful day after Christmas, 2004. The tsunami took an unbroken stretch of beautiful white sand and turned it into a coral and garbage covered disaster in the blink of an eye. TRBR didn't lose as much as others on Ko Pu (they lost their bar, their boat, their wellcome beach sign, and 4 bamboo chill-out huts on the beach) but the massive erosion caused by a 5 meter wave going an estimated 250-300 kph slamming into the island made the once pristine and clear seawater at Ting Rai beach a muddy, rocky, unswimmable mess. Really, the tsunami took a huge bite out of the headlands between the beaches, just pulverizing the beautiful rock formations and sending thousands of tons of orange soil into the sea.

Simply awful. I was heartbroken when I arrived at TRBR 12 days after the tsunami and saw what had happened. It took an entire month for the water to clear up, and the good news is that when I left on March 3, 2005 the water had more or less returned to normal. The water still isn't clear enough for the fabulous snorkeling of years past, but the recovery of the sea is going a lot faster than I had originally feared. By the winter of 2005-06 I am confident things will return to as it was before.

All they need now is some people to show up. The first week I was there this year I was the only person staying at TRBR, which was nice and quiet, but the owners (like every bungalow owner in SThai) took a real financial beating. Here's hoping travelers return and find Ting Rai as enjoyable and beautiful as I have.

Got pictures of the tsunami at Ting Rai Bay, or just any pictures of yourself and new friends enjoying themselves here? I'll include them if you email them to me.

TRBR official site

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