Koh Lanta, Thailand
22.04.2010 - 26.04.2010 35 °C
A whole day on the road to travel from Koh Lipe to Koh Lanta. I missed out on the direct speed ferry by just one day as it had now closed for the low season. Soooooo it was longtail from Lipe to ferry, ferry to Pak Bara port, bus to Trang, another bus to Koh Lanta, including two car ferries, and lots of patience essential. I had a cunning plan though. My idea was to use Koh Lanta as a peaceful base to explore other islands in the area rather than stay on say hectic Koh Phi Phi with the twenty-somethings and pay way ridiculous prices for the privilege.
It was dark when i finally arrived to my bungalow on Klong-Dao beach and the place was so quiet, out of season feeling, practically dead. Just a couple of very laid back restaurants and bars on the beach, dimly lit by a few candles. Huge empty beach. Place I was staying was a little unusual too in that it also doubled as an art gallery, run by a rasta called ‘Toy’. We chatted for a while and he was too chilled or something to bother checking me in! No hassles or worries atall, great big bungalow for 500 Bahts (£10) a night, I enjoyed my stay here.
Koh Lanta overall not really my kind of place being on my own, maybe would have been better with special company or in high season. The beach was nice although the sea a bit choppy, food extremely cheap and bloody tasty, sunsets were just amazing . Back in the UK, I rarely catch a good sunset, being at work or too busy with other things. Since I have been away though, I have seen the sun go down most evenings and am being completely spoilt by the most incredible sunsets. I am very lucky. There were very few tourists around Koh lanta generally but those that were there were mostly Swedes it seemed (there were even Swedish meatball restaurants, I thought of you Anne ) The beach itself also had a European feel to it, ladies going topless cringe cringe, not only as the sights were generally not very pleasant but do these people not realise that this can be offensive to Thai people? Away from the beach, the island has a diverse feeling to it, buddist monks strolling the streets, prayer calling at mosques and Chao Ley sea gypsies.
I spent four nights on Koh Lanta. One day I caught the boat over to the beautiful Phi Phi islands (written as a separate entry) and another day I decided to do something a little different and explore the mangroves on the East side of the Island. This turned out to be a whole lot of fun. As it was so quiet, I ended up with two guides to myself!! My guide Tan had to go and get Tom, my ‘skipper’ for the day out of bed, he thought he had another day off! They made for an entertaining double act, neither of them speaking very good English so we just laughed a lot! First up, a little kayaking around the mangroves, ahhhh nice and relaxing. Saw many different species of birds and there were big eagles circling overhead. Then, we ventured further by longtail along the coast of Koh Lanta past little villages and fishing boats, then the mangrove monkeys!!! As soon as we stopped the boat on the muddy shores around the mangroves, monkeys started appearing from no-where, TONNES of monkeys. Before I realised what was happening, two of them tried to grab the bag of mangoes that Tan had bought along to feed them. I ended up having to wrestle them for it and one bared his teeth at me! ‘Are you sure these monkeys do not bite?’ hmmmm. Cue the feeding frenzy, monkeys tea party, mango food fight! It was CRAZY and they were EVERYWHERE, all over our boat. Many had tiny baby monkeys clinging onto them, I adored them.. Once they had eaten the mango they tended to chuck the skin back at me to get my attention, so by the end of this I was literally COVERED in sticky mango goo. It was everywhere, on my face, in between my toes, in my bikini top!! Amazing day and something I think I will always remember..
Ankle-Gate Update: You may remember that I twisted my right ankle in the car accident just before I left England. I have avoided writing about this as I am hoping every day for better news to report. It just does not seem to be getting much better and my climb of Kinabalu is 2 weeks away. Some days it just randomly starts to swell up and climbing in and out of boats, walking on rough roads with backpack etc.. is just not helping. I know I should be resting it, and I am doing much less galavanting than I would normally (I like to walk EVERYWHERE) but I cannot stop everything to rest it. I am doing my best here but I am thinking its about 50:50, maybe less, to whether I manage the mountain climb, it is very frustrating. To be honest though, I am really grateful just to be here atall after what could have happened in that car. If I don’t do the climb there will be other mountains but I will be