Today we journeyed to Koh Lanta; still within Krabi Province, but further south than Ao Nang and Railay.
Leaving Ao Nang, we took a songthaew to Krabi Town bus station (B60pp). The ride was rather hair-raising as the driver had a severe case of road rage. To make matters worse Lauren had eaten something that was now not sitting well with her and unfortunately she had to make use of the filthy bathrooms at the bus station (B3).
We were then crammed into the back of a minibus for a couple of hours as it wound its way down to Koh Lanta (B150pp) and made two separate water crossings by car ferry (the only way to get there in the low season). The only toilet available was a nasty long drop in the car ferry’s engine room. Not even the locals made use of it. The bus station’s toilet was luxurious in comparison. Poor Lauren!
The minibus stopped a few kilometres away from our accommodation, Escape Cabins, in Long Beach, so we hired a tuk tuk to take us the rest of the way (B50).
Luckily for us, Lauren worked a deal with the manager at Escape Cabins to get us the “Romantique Room” (their Honeymoon Suite) for the same rate as their cheapest room (B800).
We decided to end the day in our fancy room watching “The Beach”, comparing it to our real life experience of Maya Bay – some things are best left a secret.
After a leisurely sleep-in and a budget breakfast (Nutella on bread), we were ready to go exploring. We hired a scooter from reception and off we went (B200).
Our aim was to find a secluded beach to relax on, but somewhere along the way we took a wrong turn and ended up at a place called The Viewpoint Restaurant overlooking the eastern side of the island. We had a quick refreshment and used the opportunity to re-orientate ourselves. Discovering we were already half-way to Lanta Old Town, another attraction on our list of must see’s, we scrapped the beach idea and continued on to Old Town instead.
Lanta Old Town is a very pretty, quaint little town about half-way down the east coast of Koh Lanta. Walking along its main street we almost felt like we might have been on the set of a Wild West film.
There are a few restaurants along the main street that hover over the sea on stilts. Their meals all seem a bit pricey but then the sea view kind of makes up for it. We tried some interesting, but tasty local food at a place called “Fresh Restaurant” before heading off to explore the area.
The two sides of Old Town meet in the middle at a pier that extends out a fair way into the sea (we found there was more to see to the left of the pier). Considering the length of the pier, we decided to drive the scooter down like we had seen the locals do previously. Lauren decided this would also be the perfect place to have another attempt at driving. I was actually quite impressed with her improved skills. Maybe the large drop into the ocean on either side was helpful in keeping her straight.
Anyway, little did we know a quick trip to the end of what seemed like a quiet pier would turn into 40 minutes spent chatting to the loudest, most obnoxious and egotistical man we have met whilst travelling. It turns out we were speaking to none other than the American actor, Steven Baldocchi, who acted “alongside” Nicholas Cage in the movie “Bangkok Dangerous”. He is featured for a couple of minutes in the movie playing the role of a tourist walking through a night market in Bangkok. He proudly boasted about his career as an actor, his fortune and his experiences, whilst his Aussie friend sat in the background shaking his head. As proud as he appeared though, he was extremely friendly and very generous. As a wedding gift to us we were told that anytime we find ourselves in California, he will gladly put us up in his mansion for as long as we need. Now we just to find the money to get ourselves to the US.
Rather overwhelmed and a little tired, we headed back to Long Beach. We made a quick stop off at the beach. They don’t call it Long Beach for nothing. In the off season you literally have the entire beach to yourself.
That night we went to a local market in search of some food, but came away with nothing so we continued to Saladan town to see if anything was happening there. Being the off season it was very quiet there too. Low season here is great if you’re wanting peace and quiet, but it’s not fun if you’re looking for a vibey place where you can meet people.
Today we spent our morning chilling by the pool at our hotel which was really nice. However, our attempt to tan was short-lived as you don’t last long in the midday heat.
For lunch we headed to Lanta Tavern on the main road. If you’re going in search of food, along Long Beach’s main road you’ll find four to five restaurants, a bakery and a convenience store to choose from. Lanta Tavern has a very western menu but unfortunately, like most of Thailand, they don’t really know how to do western food well. Here we tried to get a bit of blogging done but wifi on Koh Lanta is very weak. We often found ourselves wandering around the streets in search of a good connection. You know you’re on holiday when that is the biggest worry you have. Life is good!
We had heard that Long Beach boasts some beautiful sunsets, so we took a stroll down there in the late afternoon to check it out. It was magnificent and we had the entire beach to ourselves.
After our “tough” day lazing by the pool, searching for wifi and watching the sunset we headed back to the main road to the only Indian restaurant in Long Beach. Yum!!! Best curry, rice and naan bread and the owner is really friendly!
Today was a top notch day exploring more of Koh Lanta by scooter! We wanted to head all the way down to Koh Lanta National Park and stop at some beaches along the way, but we were wary about the road as we had read on another blog that it is very steep and uneven. We decided to risk it anyway.
The main road along the west coast of Koh Lanta has numerous beaches you can stop at along the way. Some are rocky yet picturesque and others great for swimming. The drive to the National Park took about 45minutes including a quick stop at Bamboo bay, Khlong Nin beach, Kan Tiang bay and Klong Khong beach.
Arriving at the national park we were a little confused as to what people had been talking about when they said the road was very steep and difficult. We found it relatively easy to navigate and saw many others doing it with ease. If you have driven a scooter at least once before and you take it slowly you will be absolutely fine. We found the “steep” entrance fee the hardest part to get over (excuse the pun) at 80 baht per person. A little more than we expected.
Regardless, it was a lovely place to visit. We would suggest though, that you make the most of it by bringing along some snacks or a light lunch and have a picnic on the green lawns of the camp ground or on one of the two beaches. Just beware of the monkeys in the area.
We wandered around the camp ground a little, wishing we had bought along a picnic, and then took a walk up a hill to the lighthouse. The view from here was amazing. Looking back you can see a beautiful rocky beach on the left and a white sandy beach to the right that would be perfect for swimming. Looking out you can see poweful waves crashing against the steep cliffs of the spit of land that extends out beyond the lighthouse. We spent a fair bit of time up there as it was really beautiful, although slightly windy.
We contemplated doing the jungle walk to a viewpoint. However, we had read that the path was not well maintained and a little overgrown and that the view was average anyway, so we decided against it. Koh Lanta National Park is well worth the visit on a clear day, especially if you bring along a picnic and maybe even a frisbee or a ball.
Heading back we stopped for lunch at Narima Resort and Restaurant, and had the BEST yellow curry we have ever had. Slightly pricey, but absolutely delicious!! If you are ever driving past, do yourself a favour and stop just for the best yellow chicken curry you’ll ever taste!
The rest of our day was fairly relaxed. We were now looking forward to the Four Islands Tour we had booked for the following day including snorkelling and visit to the beautiful Emerald Cave (B800pp).
We woke up at 5am to high winds and heavy rains battering our cabin. The weather was miserable and didn’t let up till late that afternoon! Sadly, that meant our tour was cancelled and visiting the Emerald Cave, the one thing I was really looking forward to seeing whilst in Koh Lanta, was not going to happen. Instead, we spent the day in our room playing cards to help pass the time.
Today we decided it would be our “catch up on blogging day,” otherwise known as our “office day.” However, our office doesn’t function too well without a reliable wifi connection. Now picture this, Mike and Lauren wandering the streets of Long Beach, holding up an Ipad, trying to find a decent wifi connection. What a pair of stupid Western tourists we must have looked like.
After trying a few places, and grabbing some food in the process, the co-owner of the Indian restaurant let us in, even though they were closed, to use their wifi. After much frustration with the slow upload of photos, we eventually published another post.
Our last night on Koh Lanta was spent having dinner at a restaurant across the road called the Thai Orchid. The food there is great, especially since they serve one of Lauren’s favourites: deep fried banana and ice cream with chocolate sauce. After an early dinner, we headed back to the room to pack our gear and get a good night’s sleep before the long journey ahead to Langkawi the next day.
Our journey through southern Thailand had now come to an end. We were full of anticipation and excitement for what was to come in the next part of our journey … Malaysia. Our first stop would be the island of LANGKAWI!
TIP: The only way we found to get to Langkawi from Koh Lanta is to book a transfer to Trang, on the Mainland, and then catch a bus from Trang Bus Station to a town called Satun. Here you can go to Thamalang pier where you will go through border security before getting on a 2-hour ferry to Langkawi, Malaysia.
For more information, including times and prices, check out our upcoming post on Langkawi.