From Ao Nang we left Mark and Janice to embark on their 2 hour minivan ride back to Phuket, and we headed south to the island of Ko Lanta. It was a fairly uninteresting 90km drive causing me to almost fall asleep on the back of the bike (if I was tied on – could have had a great nap – we’ve seen many motorbike passengers sleeping on our travels!).
The west coast of the island has beach after beach so we were spoilt for choice when we wanted to get in the water. Down the south we found Bamboo Bay pretty deserted. This happened to be the day of the all day, island wide power cut so we thought it was a bonus to find a resort with power and sun loungers we could use.
Our accommodation was a great villa tucked away in the trees about 500m from the water on Long Beach. We had a small kitchenette so cooked for ourselves a bit. After not cooking for months, the simple act of going to the supermarket to get supplies then strapping them on the bike was quite fun.
This was also the best beach for our new found hobby of paddle boarding (went 3x). Wish we had tried it sooner (like in Hawaii at the very start of our trip) because we both enjoy it and it’s a good workout.
I also tried yoga for the first time and wasn’t put off so went to a few classes, it was really popular. I never realised that between concentrating on correct breath-taking, getting the positions right and not falling over you really do switch off any other thoughts so you come out feeling really relaxed. Matt enjoyed having an hour and a half of alone time so wasn’t willing to join me.
So, the 17th of March rolled around and what do you know, we had an Irish bar 5 minutes walk from our villa. We didn’t have any green clothing so I had the excuse of needing green to get a manicure and Matt made do with the very small green line of material around the pocket of his shorts. Not that it mattered, we ended up drinking green beer anyway.
Who’s your Paddy?
We had a fun night out and made friends with an Irish couple who had started out the festivities much earlier in the day than us. They even offered us a place to stay if we’re ever in Dublin.
During our time in Ko Lanta we established some favourite hangouts for food and drink. Our main coffee man made an excellent cappuccino (sadly flat white isn’t recognised here) and latte, and being kiwis we loved the free wine biscuit tasting, animal shaped crackers we got each time. It was here we spotted the photo of The King hanging out with ‘The King’.
Next up was our other coffee man at the ‘NotaToy’ cafe, who made an outstanding massaman curry with the best roti we’ve ever tasted. Without a word of a lie we went there 4 times just for this.
Our favourite dinner option was ‘Red Snapper’, a tapas style menu but with Asian flavours. Again we went here 4 nights, & would have gone more if they weren’t closed Tuesday / Wednesday!
To work off all the good food we found the golf driving range for a hit one day. 40 balls each later Matt had some good shots while I eventually got the ball in the air and going straight. Lydia Ko, watch out.
Thailand in general has lots of stray dogs and here on Ko Lanta they are addressing the health needs of these dogs with Lanta Animal Welfare, a volunteer organisation. They carry out vaccinations, sterilisations, surgeries and have eliminated rabies on the island. We visited the centre to see their good work and have some animal ‘cuddles’.
My favourite was ‘Carrot’ who sadly had recently been signed up to be adopted by a couple in Sweden. They try to get as many animals adopted as they can so they can end up in loving homes anywhere in the world.
Of our 5 months in South East Asia, Thailand is easily our favourite country, and one of two we’d return to.
The people are friendly, the food’s great, love the beaches & scenery, day to day life & culture, the driving awareness can be a bit sketchy (there are two times it’s dangerous on the roads – the daytime & the night time!) but as a whole it feels like a very safe country.
This will definitely not be our last trip here but for now we had to say goodbye as we head to Malaysia for a few days.