I know, I know! This post is way overdue! I’m sorry, I’ve been feeling very uninspired lately. I haven’t been travelling since June, I still have to wait until October for my next trip, work has been an absolute bitch, and the summer has just not panned out the way I had expected it to (so yes, I’m a bit moody and just wasn’t in the mood to write!). Now I’m over it! I miss writing about the travelling; plus, writing about it makes me happier… Nostalgia always helps with a grumpy mood anyway….
So, where were we? Oh yes!!! I had just ended my Khao Sok experience and was moving on towards the “beachy” part of our Thailand trip! That’s the way I had actually planned out the trip… Moving from the hectic hustle and bustle of the city, on towards a more and more relaxed atmosphere, ending up the trip by travelling to a couple of nice beaches and islands where we could get our tan on and play Frisbee on the beach. 🙂
So onwards we went from Khao Sok towards Krabi! Caught a direct transfer via mini van (much cheaper than a private taxi) and we were on our way! We weren’t going to stay around the main city, so decided to spend just a couple of days on one of the two main Krabi beaches, Ton Sai Beach. This is right next to Railay beach, also very popular, especially amongst the snorkelling and rock climbing crowds. Ton Sai beach is relatively quieter than Railay, although both are said to have a very relaxed atmosphere. You get there via a longboat ride from Ao Nang in Krabi; it takes about ten minutes – beware though, you might be in for a wait to actually catch the longboat as the driver usually waits for more than 6 people to take the trip.
The drivers aren’t very accommodating or understanding, so they will happily wait hours to get more passengers, even if they know you’re unhappily waiting for them to get a move on! I was still sick my a very bad case of gastric flu at the time and was also developing a urinary tract infection due to dehydration, so I had a very frustrated and unhappy face on…. No effect at all on the driver…. He wasn’t going to budge! Finally, we decided to gang up on him with a couple of other people and get him to take us to the beach, at a bit of an extra price of course… The long boat ride is a short one, and very scenic, so at least that got our spirits back up after a long day of travelling (up to 4 hours).
We stayed at the Ton Sai Bay Resort during our two nights in Ton Sai. Even though it wasn’t the cheapest of accommodations, it wasn’t really expensive, and was clean, with bungalows right next to the beach, and most importantly, good plumbing and AIR CONDITIONING!!! It also had a nice restaurant which served good food, also fairly priced., and a cool bar with some pool tables, and a nice lounging spot, perfect for watching a Thai beach sunset after a day on the beach.
We basically just relaxed during our stay in Ton Sai. Swam a little, watched the climbers do their thing on the amazing beachside, rocky cliffs, and strolled around the area. You could rent kayaks and explore the surrounding beaches, even take a trip to Railay beach if you like! A morning walk around the beach and pathways behind it is recommended, especially if you want to see some monkeys! They show up early to mid morning, but then nap during the day, so you’ll only get to see them then! There are also a couple of very cool reggae bars in the one, that’s right, ONE, street behind the beach which are worth a visit, but other than that Tonsai is just a perfect place to be lazy, lay on the beach and photosynthesise in the sun. REMEMBER – USE SUN BLOCK!!! We did, we also stayed in the shade (no direct sunlight) and were very careful about our exposure to UV, we STILL got burnt! So beware.
After a couple of days lounging on the beach, we decided to try out a couple of Thailand’s islands, and we opted for Koh Lanta to be the first one to visit. This place has it all; nature reserves, beaches, resorts… Another great place to just relax and enjoy the sun and sea and just let your worries drift away into the cool blue Adaman Sea… The ferry trip there on the other hand was a complete and utter nightmare, although looking back on it now, it was quite a hilarious experience. It’s about a 2 hour trip via cabin cruiser to get from Railay beach to Koh Lanta… So first thing is to catch a longboat to the neighbouring beach (Railay), then transfer onto a larger boat (cabin cruiser) and get settled in for the 2-3 hour ride to the next island. You can easily book a combined longboat/cabin cruiser ticket at one of the tourist shops in Ton Sai Beach.
So off we went towards Railay… The waters were a bit choppy when we were leaving, with a good, strong breeze seeing us off the beach… Once we got to Railay, we jumped (very gracelessly) out of the longboat into three feet deep water (backpack and all), and waded onto the cabin cruiser, which was quite impressive (a nice, comfortable looking, 35 -something foot boat)…. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s going to be a comfy ride though…. This was an aquatic nightmare…. The seas were “choppy” (understatement of the year)…. We ended up SOAKED from top to bottom… backpacks and all. I swear, at one point we had more water INSIDE the boat and in our belongings, than in the sea itself! It was a very, very, VERY bumpy and wet ride, with two hours of holding on tight for dear life, trying not to inhale seawater whilst protecting (or TRYING to at least) your backpack from the worst of the water! My advice, if you want to get to Koh Lanta by the sea (it is the fastest and cheapest option), get a very good waterproof cover for your backpack – you will most definitely need it! It was an EXPERIENCE to say the least… We finally arrived in Koh Lanta, soaked to the bone, with extremely heavy backpacks (they had half the Adaman Sea in them you see), and “slightly” sea sick, but EXTREMELY happy to be back on dry land….
We only spent one full day in Koh Lanta. I would suggest spending at least three if you’re going there though. Koh Lanta itself is made up of a number of islands, with the largest, main island being Lanta Yai, measuring about 30km (top to bottom). It has a sandy fringe along its west coast (best beaches ever!!!), jungle in the middle, and dramatic, rocky cliffs on the east side. I would suggest renting a little scooter and really exploring the place! If you are getting a scooter, a little bit of advice for you would be to NEVER leave your passport with the rental company. Sometimes they withhold tourists’ passports after returning of the bike, asking for more money, or claiming you have damaged the scooter… Best thing is to always carry copies of your passport, that way, you can hand them a copy when they ask for identification.
As, I said, we only had one full day in Koh Lanta, it wasn’t nearly enough to see the island at all. We stayed at the Klong Dao beach, at the Noble House Beach Resort, right on the north-west of the island, close to one of Koh Lanta’s main ‘touristy’ beaches, the huge Long Beach.
I was still quite unwell with a, by now, raging infection and gastric flu (yey :|), so I was very happy to find a legit pharmacy where I could get some antibiotics. (Just a little side note here – you don’t need a doctor’s prescription to get antibiotics in Thailand, if you go to a legit. pharmacy, the pharmacist would be qualified enough to prescribe what you need. I’m a physiotherapist so I’m used to dealing with medicinals as I work at hospital – I actually self prescribed, and the pharmacist was happy to oblige, after asking me all the appropriate questions to assess my needs.) So Koh Lanta was a saving grace for me… My gastric flu started getting better (after 5 days of the runs) and I got to truly relax and enjoy the sun and the beach. 🙂
During our stay we explored the surrounding area by foot, enjoyed the Adaman Sea, played Frisbee on the white sandy beaches and ate some great seafood whilst on the island. It was very relaxing and had a chilled out, peaceful atmosphere which was much needed. As the south of Thailand (including Koh Lanta) is still largely Muslim, it makes for a more slowly developing culture. This doesn’t mean that Koh Lanta is backwards or anything of the sort, it just means that it has a softer, more mellow, go-slow sort of vibe. There are no high rise fancy buildings and no overt displays of wealth, and although there are very luxurious resorts around the area, most are low-key and not as flashy as can be found around other parts of the country.
If I had to do it all again, I would definitely have spent more time in Koh Lanta, renting out a moped and just exploring the more secluded beaches down towards the south of the island, as well as perusing the markets around Old Town and getting in some snorkelling time. This place was truly a lovely island to visit, the people were warm and friendly, and very accommodating, and the beaches just divine.
Now, onto the final part of our journey in Thailand – Koh Samui! Time for some pampering, luxury and souvenir shopping! Keep an eye on the blog by pressing the “follow” button, to see the last part of my Thailand Adventure! You can also follow me on my Facebook page and on Instagram on @MalteseWanderer!