Posted by: Richard | December 13, 2009

Heaven at the tip of Koh Lanta

First off, our netbook is slowly dying.  We had to buy a new charger.  Then the battery would only charge to 85%.  Now, the past two days have seen the battery revolt, and it won’t charge at all.  Thankfully the previous problem of the AC not working is solved, but a terrible smell comes from the little beauty.  I fear the netbook may not last…oh well, gotta use it while I can.

We are on Koh Lanta, an island in Southern Thailand.  Since Samui we took a flight to Krabi with no plan in mind.  I spent the descent and waiting for bags figuring out what to do, where to go.  We went back and forth between Krabi and Ao Nang, finally choosing Ao Nang.  On the bus to Ao Nang, we decided to head to Railay and not stay in Ao Nang.  Railay is a tiny beach only accessible by boat.  Flanking the beach are giant karst mountains that are incredible.  Having no reservations, we luckily found a room (there are only 3 hotels on the beach we were on) and went for a paddle in the lovely Andaman Sea.  That night we had an average meal and then sat on bamboo mats with beers watching the sun set listening to Cafe del Mar cd’s from the bar.  As this is now southern Thailand it is 95% muslim, so getting alcohol can get tricky and usually only available in bars and 7-11s.

The following evening we went on a fine adventure.  We took an evening snorkelling trip.  Truthfully, the snorkelling was average, but being on an old fishing boat, eating pineapple and drinking beer is a fine way to spend an evening.  Heading to a desolate beach on an island not 50m in diameter to watch the sun set, eat a spicy dinner and look at the stars was even better.  Finally, boat problems meant we switched to a much smaller longtail boat for the hour long ride back.  We stopped right below a giant karst cliff to play in the phosphorescent water (which with 4 or 5 beers in the system made me feel like I had supernatural powers).  We got back late and were in heaven!

The following day we decided to come to Koh Lanta via a 2 hour boat ride south.  We decided at 10pm to book a room at a nice place in Koh Lanta on expedia as it got exceptional reviews and was only 15 rooms.  We didn’t know where it was or anything, just hoping the reviews were true as we booked for three nights.

We arrived and negotiated the pier (which seemed to be set up as a means of liquidating as many tourists of as much of their money as quickly as possible), with touts wanting $20 per person for a ride to their hotel.  I walked forward and got into a tuk tuk and asked how much to Phra Nang (our hotel).  The driver said “200 baht”, which I thought was fair.  I didn’t realize our hotel was 25kms away over some hills that would almost paralyse our little tuk tuk.

Arriving at our hotel, we were impressed, a long beach, a tiny lovely hotel room (with a tamarind tree growing right the middle of it) and nobody else here.  We swam in the ocean, marvelled at our good fortune and enjoyed the tranquility. At night, a beachfront restaurant sprang up and we dined by candles and then went toa  beach bar where we listened to a fantastic thai cover band play hits from the 70s to today (all acoustic).  We were truly in heaven.

The nice thing about travelling without plans is that we can change our minds.  The following morning, as Lynn and I lazed in the sea we agreed we loved this place.  We decided to stay at least an extra night.  That extra night has become four extra nights.

Right now, I’m sitting on the bed looking out at some long-tail boats in the bay.  Lynn is asleep on our hammock.  There is nobody else in sight.  If there was anybody else in sight, it would most likely be a Scandinavian person, as those appear to be the only people that come here. The books in book exchanges are all swedish, restaurants and hotels have Scandi flags and a giant pole with arrows pointing to far off parts of the world lists “Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Reykjavik, Copenhagen” as well as “USA”, “Africa”, “Canada” and “Europe”.

Yesterday I rented a scooter and Lynn and I tooted around the island.  It was so much fun, and we scooted about 70km.  I can see why people like to go on road trips on motorbikes – though I need to figure out how to keep the grit from our mouths.

Tomorrow we head on a daytrip to PhiPhi, the mythical island from the book ‘The Beach’.  We were going to stay there, but everybody we talked to said it was a big party place and Lynn and I are enjoying swimming, sleeping, reading, walking and yoga too much to deviate.

On the 17th we spend three days sea kayaking near Phuket, and I’m looking to getting out on the water…..

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