What to do in Surat Thani. The fireflies show on Tapi River.

If Christmas were to be celebrated in Surat Thani, then its fellow residents wouldn’t have to spend a thin dime on Christmas trees and lights as they already have it all natural, all ready-made, all for free.

Mr. Panu is the king of all boatmen working on Tapi River. I wasn’t thrilled at first when he recommended taking me to see the fireflies. I see fireflies on my porch, mostly on those evenings when I have too many beers.

– Come on, come on, it’s nice. You never see before.

The long-tail boat slipped into the night, engine revving. The river led us towards the Gulf of Thailand. Eyes wide open I was trying to recognize the fireflies. Instead, a one-million mosquitoes army was surrounding me, shinning a bit to tell the truth, probably to see their way towards my skin. Once the house lights faded away, Mr. Panu exclaimed as if it were a first for him too:

– Look, look Hoi hin, Hoi hin!
– Hoi Hin?
– Fireflaaai!

A 5 meter tall tree in front of us was shinning like a Christmas tree. Small white lights flickering in a cheerful and lively bustle. It must have been two to three hundred fireflies. A whole colony. The first colony, because during the next 30 minutes, we visited many others. Each cluster of palm-trees was a firefly-tree. The sky was blue, and the moon was in the last quarter. The creatures were swarming around the crowns of the trees, and their lights were mixing with the stars.

As anticipated, I didn’t manage to take pictures. The firefly’s light, strong enough for human eyes, is too weak for a camera. The swinging boat made it impossible to even install the tripod. However, I tried to create some piece of photographic art which you can see below. To give an impressionistic title, we’ll call it “Fireflies mixed with stars, seen from the turning of a boat on the Tapi river.”


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