Blog : Koh Lanta
On our boat from Phi Phi to Koh Lanta B bagged us good seats right by a fan and so we were pretty comfy for the journey but loads of people had to sit outside and ended up getting soaked in a rain storm and with the sea spray, some people actually just out their bikinis on to be outside!! We had to pay 10Baht each for the island boarding fee when we got off the ferry at Koh Lanta, which all felt a bit dodgey but we figured its only 20p anyway! All of the backpacks just got chucked from the boat down to the pier so we had to root through loads of luggage until we could find ours and drag it out of the pile to the side. It was so nice travelling with B as he lifted my backpack up for me and helped with the straps and sometimes i am a spoilt girlfriend and he carries mine for me as well!
From the pier at Koh Lanta we asked a couple of people if they knew the way to our hotel that we had booked... From reading some blogs at the crack of dawn that morning i knew that it was walking distance away and also that it was opposite an apparently amazing Swedish restaurant and after ten or so minutes of walking in the mid day heat with our backpacks on, B spotted it at the end of the road. We had two nights booked in this area - Saladan, but we knew the island was pretty big so we talked out renting a bike again like we had in Phuket. When we got to our "ocean view beach bungalow" called Aloha Lanta, we were pretty disappointed to find a cheap and basic and slightly grotty - especially following Foto Hotel - room in a hotel block which had a window overlooking a local laundry drying area, not quite as the website described! But as it was cheap we thought wed live with it for the two nights, whilst we decided whether we wanted to go also to Krabi and Railley beach or not. After dumping our bags and showering, as we only had a fan room we got out of it pretty quickly and walked back down our little road to the Swedish restaurant to sample the recommended pizza and have lunch. It was a cute place on a little terrace out to sea next to the port, but everything, chairs, tables, even the wooden frame of the whole building was the swedish flag yellow and blue colours, which we did think was funny because had it been an English place like that we wouldn't have touched it with a barge pole!! We agreed to get a bike again for a few days and see the island as we could see from our maps it was much bigger than wed first thought. As soon as we had arrived though we both liked the vibe of the place, Koh Lanta felt a lot more local and authentic in comparison the Phuket, with rickety roads, lovely lovely people and a relaxed atmosphere, so we were both really keen to do a little bit of exploring and a moped was our answer. After a cheap bite we walked further down the road and up the main looking road which was a bit busier and had shops lining it rather than the little cafes and laundry places our road had. Lots of restaurants and shops had signs outside "motorbike to rent" but B specifically wanted an automatic one, saying manuals were pretty hard to drive, which made it a bit harder to find one. We walked and looked for about twenty minutes, picking up leaflets and maps and guide books as we went to research later and eventually we found a supermarket that would rent us one so in exchange for about £4 a day and Bs passport we took the little green beauty! She was actually a lot older than the Phuket bike but did the job all the same, although the seat at the back for me was very uncomfortable as it felt like the back wheel had no suspension, not fun on bumpy half road half dirt tracks! We shoved our helmets on and decided to go on a little drive and see if we could find Long Beach as wed overheard someone on the boat saying it was a nice beach. It was quite difficult at first to work out how to get through all the little beach resorts which separate the coast from the road and so we snuck into a big swanky hotel and used their motorbike carpark and walked right through the complex as if we stayed there, using the toilet on our way and that! It was funny because we really didn't look like the rich middle class Russian guests that surrounded us! We had a nice cold drink at the hotel bar before hopping down to the beach. Neither of us had our swimming cosies on though but after ten mins of sitting on the scorching sand with the sun shining down brightly we just thought f*** it and ran into the sea in our undies! B in his boxers and me in a stupid lacy thing but luckily at least I had a bandau top on so it could sort of look like a bikini! We didn't even really get any funny looks as i suppose we were still quite conservative compared to a lot of the more flamboyant guests!! We saw lots of cute little bungalows backing onto the sea further down the beach and decided that later we would go and have a look at them and account out somewhere to stay for another couple of nights having decided we liked Koh Lanta enough to stay and not go to Krabi, in just one afternoon on the island!
After a disastrous attempt at getting dressed whilst taking our wet undies off and trying not to get our clothes sandy i got sand all over both of us by arsing around so we decided to pop home, read our little guide book that had a few recommended places to eat and stay, have a shower and then go back out on the bike for a butchers. We had to stop at one of the road side gasoline ladies though as we were completely out of fuel after our twenty min drive or so, B said it was almost empty when we got the bike though and he just had noticed until we were red lining! For a pound the lady filled our tank with petrol in an old bottle of rum, enough to easily get us to a petrol station closer to home. We set off for Klong Nin beach, which was further down the coast to look at a couple of bungalows for our next few nights, after Aloha Lanta we wanted to actually see the places with our eyes(!) and then get some dinner down there. It took us about half an hour to drive to Klong Nin beach, by which point it was pretty dark so we couldn't really see the beach but there were loads of cute little bars and restaurants along the edge of the sand and a nice little buzz of atmosphere and we liked the bungalow wed been to look at and the staff had hearts of gold... All the ladies took the mick out of B as he wrote his first and second name in the wrong boxes on a form and they were rolling around laughing, so i felt at home straight away! They gave us a nice discount and we booked to stay for five nights. One of the managers asked us if we were going for dinner and said his sisters restaurant just up the road on the beach was a fantastic Thai and seafood joint (of course hed say that i heard dads voice in my head) but we decided to try it and so we parked up and walked over to Roi Thai and OH MY GODDDDD!!!! It was the most delish thai curries wed ever eaten! We sat right on the beach with cute little fairy lights and mood music playing and B ate a green curry and me red, which were both sooo delish we polished the patterns off the bowl and we also had Bbqed king prawns (with all the shells on and everything, i deshelled it!!) and calamari, both of which were so yummy that when we saw the cooking class advert we pretty much signed up instantly! We really enjoyed our evening down in Klong Nin and were excited about moving down after our second night in Aloha Lanta, which after a pretty shoddy a first night sleep on a rock hard mattress, mountains for pillows and an absolute sweat box, couldn't come quick enough!
The next morning we decided to go for an explore of the whole island and check out all of the beaches. We thought that perhaps we might be able to find a secluded beach that we could chill on for the day so we packed up a big beach bag with supplies and jumped on the bike. We drove all the way down the west coast road, Klong Nin was about half way down and we saw loads of beautiful bungalows in the hillside and villas on the beach and we started dreaming out loud about living in Lanta and opening a kitch little cafe, until we both decided we loved London too much! We saw lots of little sand paths through the lush green jungle leading from the road to beaches and decided wed drive to the very tip of the island and then come back to one of the paths and get some more tanning time in the bank! We went to the national park which was at the end of the island, great rolling hills of trees and lots of weird sounding animals and colourful birds which was really cool. We had my speaker (which B brought me, cutie) and ipod blasting out old school tunes and it was so funny singing along at the tops of our voices, driving along these half dirt roads and occasionally passing someone going the other way who must have thought we were mad! We turned back when we started to feel a bit hot and burny and found the most perfect and secluded beach at the south of the island. Bamboo Bay was the last beach before the National Park and absolutely gorgeous. It had been barbed wire fenced off and lots of sticks and stuff put in the way of the path leading through the trees to the beach but as there were two other mopeds parked on the side of the road as well we figured wed be able to get through. It was so worth it aswell, there was maybe ten people on the whole beach that must have been a kilometre long and a picture perfect half moon bay with cliff faces at either end sheltering it from the world! I even managed to get my baps out for some topless sunbathing, along with a couple of the other women, which was good - a sign in my books of a secluded beach, especially as it illegal in Thailand! It was a crazy hot day so we spent most of it frolicking around in the water and playing tunes on the beach and we had some lunch and a cold drink at a tiny little restaurant/bar at the very other end of the beach, before making a move back to the hotel late afternoon. We dropped some washing off at the little old man next door to our hotel and cooled off before heading over the road to the Swedish bar again to have a sender cocktail and call the mummatron to wish her a happy birthday, which I really enjoyed, it was so nice to be with one favourite person and have the other almost in front of me :) i was in a pretty gushy mood all night that night! We also went to the travel agents to talk about the possibility of another boat trip as we really liked the look of Emerald cave, an old pirate treasure cove, which was on one of the leaflets we picked up, so we booked that up as part of a four islands tour around the coast of Lanta which included lunch and snorkelling too - very exciting... After dinner on our way home we spotted a huge night market in our town so we parked the bike up and went in for a look. We had to pay to get in and once we were inside a) we realised it was quite a locals market and b) surprise surprise i needed the toilet pretty badly, so we went round looking at all of the stands at a trot before racing home to Aloha Lanta.
We checked out of the Aloha Lanta hotel the next morning after a delicious breakfast at the Happy Time bakery up the road from our room, which B said did incredibly coffee and interestingly, was run by three teenage thai chaps who were lovely! We collected our clean washing and then thought about how we were going to get us and all our stuff down to our new bungalow... We ended up doing two trips up and down the coast on the bike, each time me wearing one of the big backpacks on my back, on the back of the bike, which B said made the bike really heavy and hard to manouver! We had seen others doing it though and it was a million times cheaper than paying for a taxi and i made B promise he would drive very carefully and slowly, which he did, although I suspect 30mph was the top speed with all that weight anyway!!
Our new bungalow was gorgeous and the staff remembered us and joked about B and his name which was funny again. The room was clean, had aircon, towels and even the slightly wiffy sniff in the toilet couldn't taint Green Rock resort for us! We felt at home straight away and decided on a walk up and down the beach literally steps from our bungalow to check it out in the day light. It was really cool and there was a really chilled vibe with lots of little beach shacks and bars playing reggae and west life (an interesting mix but at least we were both happy!) had deck chairs and loungers and we ended up walking all the way up to one end of the beach and following the happy hours back down the beach, with nice fruit juices and a cocktail in front of the sunset :) we had dinner at a cheapish but pretty grotty restaurant, wed chosen it because we both fancied western food rather than thai as wed had thai for lunch. I had a pizza that was disappointingly soggy, with far to much cheese on it and B had a burger which he said was actually alright! And then we had a pretty early night, watching TV on the laptop as we had to be up early the following day, to be picked up for our second boat trip of the holiday!
Our alarm went at 7:00am the next morning and we scrabbled out of bed and down to the free breakfast, which was a choice of bacon and eggs or fruit plate and scoffed some food before our pick up. We were going on the 4 island trip, which was in one of the brochures wed picked up earlier in the week from one of the travel agents wed walked past. It would take us to four different islands, just off the coast of Koh Lanta, where we could snorkel and see the amazing rock formations. We boarded our pretty big speed boat on the beach right by our room and met the other people on board. In the front outside bit (dedicated suntanners) there was a Swedish father and son, both wearing really cool circular, mirrored sunglasses; two friends from Washington and an Italian looking family that didn't speak that much. The American pair were really nice and we had fun chatting with them about places wed travelled and working in the hospitality industry. And the Swedish dad had a great accent, he spoke really slowly and staccatoed! The first island we arrived at we couldn't get off at as it was a pretty impressive rock with sheer sides and loads of bats in the trees growing from the rock face. It was cold snorkelling in the water as it was in the shade and still relatively early in the morning, say 9:30 or something. The visibility was also pretty poor but the shoals of fish beneath us were huge! B dive down a few times and said he could see angel fish through the water which was cool. I snorkelled around a smaller rock an was enjoying watching a little family of fish swim around and thinking about what they might be doing and their daily routine - dropping the kids off at school and going to work etc and then i saw the biggest and most disgusting looking jellyfish i think id ever seen in my life. It was big and yellow and really sqwidgey looking - bleughhhh! I swam back to the boat as fast as i could and B and i got out of the water straight away as we saw another pink one floating past. We didn't like that much and shivered our way back to being warm. I think we probably opened some of our 7/11 snacks as well for a munch! The sun didnt come out until a little bit later in the morning, but we had sun teamed in the hotel lobby that morning whilst we were waiting got out pick up. I had stripped down literally to my bikini bottoms and was slathering cream all over myself! The reception lady kept calling me "sexy lady" at B which he thought was hilarious, so we were fully prepared for the burning sun! The next stop was the whole reason wed booked the trip...to emerald cave, which was once used by pirates as a secret cove where they stashed all of their treasure. To be able to get to the beach though you had to swim about 100m in the pitch black through a narrow opening in the rocks, which was a little but scary as you could see anything and everyone kept quite close together, which meant that we all kept kicking each other which kept making scream! It was funny as there was a group of Japanese tourists who were all tied together in a line being pulled through by their tour guide and another group of indian looking girls with full on robes on coming the other way and after both groups had passed, the smell in the air was something else! It was really cool to be on the beach of the island and learn a little bit about how the cave was formed and how it became called Emerald cave - because of the pirates treasure story. It was a very small beach with not much space but it was really cool and you could easily imagine pirates rowing ashore through the cave and stashing gold in the jungle just off the beach! We wondered whether there would be any left and it defo would have been an amazing beach to be on, on your own... It had really high cliff sides all around and am opening way up above to the sun, the only thing when we were there was that the angle of the sun wasn't quite right, so we didn't actually have as much warmth as we could have! I wrote a big hi mum message in the sand though which we had fun taking pictures next to, and then watching others tentatively pose next to it after we were done! The next island, number three was where we pulled up for lunch and it was scorching at this point, so so hot so we had a full recreaming session in the shade, whilst trying not to stand on any of the inch long ants that were prowling the floor! The island had tents on it and you could choose to stay the night but we both couldn't think of anything worse as it would be soooo hot and stuffy!! The island itself was really beautiful, white sand and clear waters although there was nothing to see snorkelling, even though quite a few Russians were trying all they probably saw was me and my weak bladder! Lunch on the island was just simple rice, chicken and veg but we had pineapple and watermelon for dessert which was really nice and it was free unlimited soft drinks which were icy cold so they were super refreshing! We lied in the sun after lunch to let it go down and frolicked in the sea a little bit to cool ourselves and B got asked to pretty much be the photographer for an American girl from our boat and she was splashing around in the water pulling sexy poses, it was hilarious and B looked so uncomfortable!
Back on the boat we went to the fourth island, where we got dropped off for more snorkelling. We were warned to be careful of sea enenemys and moray eels and not to go near them. Obviously the first thing we did was dive down to see an eel that some bloke pointed out to us!! It was really long and ugly, poking out of the coral with its beak like mouth open and it's beady eyes just staring at us :/ it was kinda scary! And then B spotted a big spiky black thing hiding in more coral and said it was a sea enenemy thingy so I didn't want to go too close! The snorkelling was better at this stop, the coral was brighter and more colourful in place and there were quite a few shoals of fish and lots of angel fishys and families of fish swimming around! B and I swam around hand in hand, squeezing when we saw something we wanted to point out to the other and trying to talk underwater, nine times out of ten we knew what the other was saying as well, it was funny! We were doing hand signals and everything to communicate and B loved diving down to have a look at something a bit closer and then saying I should...
On the way back to Lanta we chatted to the Americans on the boat and told them about the half moon party that we'd seen signs for that was going on in the evening and asked of they fancied getting a drink there later... We arrived back to shore at about 3pm and it was still sooo hot and we got dropped on the beach and went straight to the foray bar and ordered happy hour cocktails... The sand was so hot to stand on barefoot though I couldn't stand and order at the bar because it burnt my soles so I had to stand a little bit round the corner in a little patch of shade and shout my order round! We laid down on a raised bamboo platform that had cushions and recreamed and had a little snooze and enjoyed our drinks as we people watched and tried to work out if a lady in the sea was actually a man or not! It was great! We chatted about our plans for the evening and about 5 or 6 we went back to our bungalow and got changed and showered and everything. I put my nice dip dye white dress on and bless him, B said I looked really nice and that we had to go to a really smart restaurant in honour of it. So we got on trip advisor looking for some recommendations and found a posh restaurant in a big hotel complex that we thought we recognised the logo of, so we jumped on the bike and off we whizzed! It took us a few goes up and down the high street to find the hotel and we were about to give up and then we found it and we parked up in the lot and the. The concierge called us a complimentary golf buggy to take us round to the restaurant, v swanky! And we sat down on a table over looking the beach and listening to the sea and looking at the stars which was really romantic :) we ordered a nice bottle of wine and I got the honour of tasting it and we had really nice Thai food - I ordered chicken and prawn satays which were delish and then I had a really tasty Thai curry with rice and B had red snapper which he said was his favourite fish. We were so full but did manage to squeeze a bit of shared apple pie in before getting back on the bike and weighing it down!! We drove back to our road and it was still relatively early so we went to the rasta bar at the end of the road and had a really nice mojito, Bs was raspberry flavour and mine pineapple. They were yummy, although we weren't brave enough to try the Tom yum or lemon grass flavours!! The rasta bar was quite chilled out and it was kinda a bit weird to see Thais dressed as Bob Marley! There was a bit of music playing but after we'd heard the playlist twice over we decided to move on and go to the full moon party bar which was much more lively... There was lots of people chilled out drinking around a little fire and smoking and so we got drinks and plonked ourselves down on the only spare deck chairs which we quickly realised the reason for being empty as all of the bonfire smoke blew into our eyes and the bright green laser lights shone in our faces. We nabbed some other seats when these people who were clearly out of their heads got up to attempt to dance around the fire like looneys! We laughed and laughed at the people on shrooms who were walking around just looking fascinated by life!! We chatted to a cool group of sweeds and watched two hideously arrogant and not very good looking Americans full on trying it with two girls. One was having a lot more luck than the other and as the first couple went to sit down and chat more and the boy visibly drool all over her, the second couple looked so akward and as though all of their conversation had dried up! We had a good chuckle thinking about what they might be saying, trying to make small talk, whilst they were both desperately trying to motion to their respective friends to get the hell up and leave! The toilets at Mong bar were probably the nicest ones I'd used in all of Thailand, they were so clean and swanky and even had hand moisturiser next to the sinks!! Simple pleasures! The Americans never showed up though, we figured that perhaps they'd been tired after the boat trip and not wanted to come out. We had a great night though and rolled into bed together before passing out after a pretty long day!
The next two days we spent chilling on the beach, ours and our favourite one at the end of the island and eating Pad Thai and people watching, our fave sport! We also brought ourselves a bat and ball set high amused us for hours on the beach and we spent a whole afternoon in the sea giggling and playing terrible bat and ball, just trying to keep a rally going whilst I tried to keep my bikini in place and the waves kept taking it off! We laughed all day and fell asleep so early that night after watching another beautiful sunset! The last day on Lanta was spent down at the nice secluded beach at the end of the island and we saw loads of monkeys which we took some good pics of when another couple started throwing peanuts for them, so they came much closer! They were funny to watch, falling out of the trees and chasing each other around. We decided not to have the free breakfast on the last day though as we were a bit bored of eggs on toast and so I directed B on the bike to a vegetarian restaurant I'd noticed on the main road and we had a delish breakfast, especially for me - soy milk muesli and a soy milk iced coffee and more scrambled egg on toast for him but it came in a sort of omlet style. We liked the French hippy couple that ran the place and although B did have a few words to say about being in a veggie only restaurant we both really enjoyed it and he even brought a really nice red vest from the kitch shop inside. They had some nice jewellery as well but it was all a little pricey. In the afternoon we had to return the bike to the shop that we'd rented it from and collect Bs passport which was all very easy and we stopped in a big supermarket to pick up some suppose for our travelling day to Bangkok the following day. And then got a tuktuk back to our bungalow, which cost more than a days bike rental!! We spent the evening looking for accommodation in Bangkok and in the end we found a swanky lookin place on hostel world which had loads of good tripadvisor reviews and lots of awards for best boutique hotel etc. It was in china town, rather than Sucumvit, which is where the couple from the cooking course told us to stay as it was really central but we thought china town sounded fun, so we booked it up. For a super sweet room we paid about £50 which we thought was really reasonable for Bangkok!
On the Friday we were up early to get our minibus which took us to the mainland, via the two car ferries. It came whilst we were still scoffing breakfast so I had to take our toast, butter and jam with us into the bus to eat! I fell back asleep almost immediately and before I knew it we were at Krabi airport and waiting to be able to check in. There was about an 100m walk from the minibus to the airasia desk and my lovely lively boyfriend carried my big backpack on his front and his own on his back, whilst I just carried the little ones...I thought that that was the way to travel, with a Sherpa boyfriend! I had to take a pic as evidence! We were really sad to say goodbye to Koh Lanta as we really enjoyed ourself an loved the vibe of the island and all the staff at Green rock. We even actually brought the manager lady who we got on with really well a tiny cute cartoon keyring, that they're crazy about in Thailand to say thank you, along with a good tip. Especially after on the last night she had lent us her own motorbike so that we could drive to dinner and not take a super expensive taxi/tuktuk there and back! How sweet!! I was really excited for Bangkok though and had loads of pages bookmarked on Bs laptop of things to do when we got there but he was more dubious about the big crazy Asian city that its meant to be... Especially as he transferred across the city to catch his connecting flight from the other airport to Phuket at the beginning of his holiday in the pissing rain!