Our story started back in 1995,Wally and Giovanni were on their way back to Phi Phi Island from shopping in Langkawi with Wally’s boat, the “Windstar”, that evening Wally felt like he couldn’t go any further,so they decided to spend the night on a island, the same island that later on became site for Paradise Lost Resort.
But let’s go a little deeper,who is Giovanni and who is Wally?
An island in the Strait of Malacca off the west coast of Thailand, between the Phi Phi Islands and the mainland. The area was designated as the 62nd national park of Thailand in 1990.
Originally started as a one-off event in the mid 1990s with just one couple marrying underwater, its popularity has increased and in 2000 it gained official recognition as the largest underwater wedding in the world.
The story started back in 1995, Wally and Giovanni were on their way back to Phi Phi Island from shopping in Langkawi with Wally’s boat, the “Windstar”. That evening Wally felt like he couldn’t go any further, so they decided to spend the night on a island, the same island that later on became site for Paradise Lost Resort. But let’s go a little deeper, who is Giovanni and who is Wally?
Giovanni, is an Italian guy, arrived in Thailand in 1994 with his small black Pincher named Pluto, he opened his very first business (Oasis Restaurant) on Phi Phi island the same year, just before the dry AKA high season.
Wally is an American citizen whom flee the US after he received the call for Vietnam War in 1970, a peaceful guy in love with the sea the very same night he jumped on his boat and sails away. Giovanni and Wally met in Phi Phi island early in 1995, they became friends right away, then they spent many hours of the day together on Wally’s boat, then Giovanni used to work at the restaurant at night time while Wally was enjoying even more boat. During a trip back from Langkawi they had to stop somewhere to rest, a beautiful island with nothing on it, just palms, white sand and clear sea water, they couldn’t believe how beautiful it was, in fact once back on Phi Phi island, they spoke about it with their friends, among these friends a local well known landlord came up with something like this: ”I do have a piece of land on that island,I don’t even know where it is located but yes I own a piece of that island”, by the way, we are talking about Koh Kradan.
Months passed by, Giovanni with his restaurant, Wally with his Boat charters. On one day of 1998 a bad news arrived for Wally, apparently the US Government was promising bounties to whoever was able to give informations regarding war deserters, so one night Giovanni, Wally and the Landlors had a dinner together to discuss the issue, the Landlord came up with an idea. He proposed to hide Wally on Kradan Island. So the next day Wally and Giovanni with just a rough map with them left to Kradan. Giovanni had to go back to his business in Phi Phi island, but he wanted to help his friend as well, so he took some time off and spent few weeks in Kradan, where eventually managed to find the land.
After 5 months of cleaning and searching they finally found the fresh water source. So they decided that it was time to build few bungalows, another 18 months spent building the accomodations, making accessible roads exc.., officially Paradise Lost, the very first resort on Koh Kradan powered from Wally’s boat engine opened with 3 bungalows with shared bathroom and a small restaurant on November 11 2001,the same date of Plutino Birthday, Giovanni’s first Son. From 2001 till 2010 the resort grows of 1 accomodation unit each year. From 2001 till 2005 the people stay at the resort were exclusively Wally’s boat charters customers. In 2005 a German guy arrived on the island, he was so impressed with the surrounding that once back in Germany he managed to place the resort on the Stefan Loose travel guide,from that moment the Resort started to see more Germans coming.
In 2006 it was time for the Lonely Planet guide, and the Resort started to be well known around, but still keeping everything small enough to be enjoyed from their Guests. With the Obama administration Wally has received,together with all the others, an official pardon for the Vietnam issue. He was now able to move around freely, unfortunetly life plays its rules, and after no long, Wally passed away in 2015 on its bungalow’s door steps. But as he always used to say.. He was happy.
Giovanni in the meantime was running a successful ice cream production business ’Pluto Ice Cream”, yes, named after his dog, a well known brand in the south of Thailand. After taking care of his friend’s funeral he had to managed to keep the business in Kradan running. So, after a few bumping months everything was back to normal, even better now. Giovanni redesigned the Resort a little bit, he bought 2 brand new generators,built a new restaurant, he want actually to build a few more bungalows. And even if not always there, he tries to go to Kradan at least once a week, because that it is the place where he actually want to spend his time once he will retire, in a Refound Paradise Lost!
True paradise when we got lost
We've tried their food and drinks while we waited and were amazed. Thai iced tea was my favourite and husband really loved their pad thai.
A jungle paradise