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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kho Lanta's Lush

 We’re staying on a beach where all along there’s little guesthouses and bars, much removed from the party in Phi Phi these bars are so chilled and relaxed, with cushions and hammocks. We spent the first night in one called Riviere resort but weren’t that impressed so moved on the second night to Garden Beach which is cheaper with a fab communal area and a chilled out relaxed atmosphere.

The first night we got here we fancied a night out, having seen all the bars and guesthouses in the day time but not realising they are more for quiet drinks and chilling. We ended up in one bar sat overlooking the sea with a gorgeous but very strong bucket chilling on bean bags and chatting.

The second day we moved accommodation and were sat catching some rays on the beach when we looked up and who should we see but Sam (one of the guys we did the camping trip on Maya Bay with)! Him and Tom had come here the same day as us on a boat at the same time but we hadn’t seen each other until then! It was good to see them though and that evening us 4, a guy we had also met on Phi Phi from Australia, Dave, and 2 Swedish people spent the evening chilling in the bar, drinking and chatting. Part way through the night I spotted a lady walking along the beach selling lanterns that you light and release over the sea. Mister Al and I let one go together, it had a rocky start where it nearly landed in the sea but with everyone cheering it on in the bar behind it took off and could be seen floating in the distance for ages! Was a cool thing to do together and to watch it floating off into the night sky, although it was really hot holding it before it had warmed up enough to release!

Yesterday we decided to rent mopeds and explore a bit of the island. I didn’t last long though! Anyone that knows me knows I’m not the most confident driver in the world; yes I won the worse driver award at college! I went a small way but decided it was far too stressful so jumped on the back of Mister Al’s where I was his very own private radio- screeching when he went any faster than 40KM/hour, singing jingle bells and telling him to slow down on the corners. It was cool to see more of the island and the little secluded beaches.

First we headed to a waterfall on the south of the island. As we pulled up to where you park the bikes we noticed that the area was also used for elephant trekking. There were about 5 big ones, one was massive with really long tusks, and 2 baby ones. We want to do elephant trekking at some point but this one was only short and quite expensive so we just had some lunch while watching the baby ones and after asked if we could have a photo with them. They were 3 and 4 years old and very gorgeous. One put his trunk out to Mister Alex’s hand, think he thought he had some food for him! As we were having lunch who should turn up again but Tom and Sam!!! We swear they are stalking us!!

It was a bit of a trek to the waterfall, on the way we stopped off at some bat caves. The path wasn’t always there so we mainly walked along the river/stream to make sure we were going the right way. As we were walking we suddenly heard this screeching, really high-pitched sound that went on for ages, we think it was a bird but we didn’t actually see it. The waterfall was very different to the 7-tiered one we saw in Khanchanaburi but still lovely. It was quite high and flowed slower down the side of the rock creating a little pool at the bottom, made for another good photo shot.

After this we had a little ride to a viewpoint looking over the sea and nearby islands before heading back and treating ourselves to what appears to be Kho Lanta’s speciality meal. It’s called Hot Pan, we saw a group of people having them on our first night here, a choice of meat with veg flamed in the pan, absolutely delicious! Think we are going to have another tomorrow!!

Today we had booked on a trip to see 4 islands nearby and do some snorkelling. We had to be ready to be picked up at 8:20 so last night I set my alarm on my phone. The thing is I’ve kept my phone on UK time so we know what time it is there. So for us to wake up at 07:30 I should have set it for 00:30 but instead I set it for 12:30!!! Luckily Mister Alex suddenly jumped up at 8am, it was panic stations but we made it for the pick up, even having time for some toast! We thought it was a bit weird when our taxi didn’t pick anyone else up on the way to the port and got a lot of strange looks from all the Thai men there, not sure what went on but we were than taken back to the guesthouse, told to wait for another taxi (a van which we sat in the back off) who then put his foot down big time to get us to where the boat was waiting we realised someone had made a mistake somewhere and we were very late! Very weird as we had passed the turning earlier on our way back to the guesthouse! When we got there my hair resembled cousin It from the Adams family and we were faced with a completely full long tail boat all waiting for us! As we stepped on Mister Al made a joke how it was my fault they’d all been kept waiting as I’d slept in but not one person on the packed boat even cracked the smallest smile. As the boat was full we had no choice but to sit on the front bench in front of all the other tourists staring at us on the anchor ropes!

First was a snorkel stop where we saw the usual black and yellow striped fish, rainbow coloured-fish and coral. It was just as we were both saying when we were back on the boat that we need to do diving or something so we can see some more interesting sea life that a French girl turned and asked me if we’d seen the black tip shark or the huge jellyfish!!! How did we manage to miss them?!

Next was Emerald Cave, the reason we did the trip. This is a secluded beach, surrounded by big rocks and when you get there looking up is like being in a volcano surrounded by greenery, beautiful! To get there you have to swim through a cave tunnel cut out of the rocks. It twists and turns so is pitch black and then the light is visible at the end showing a glimpse of the beach. Apparently it was used by pirate’s years ago to store their treasure! We all had to wear life jackets for this! I thought it made it harder to swim as it kept going over my head!

Next stop was a nice little island with a few hotels on with their private beaches for lunch. The weather had started to change, as it always does when we do trips, so we ordered an Irish coffee to warm us up to go with our rice. As we were sipping away I realised the restaurant was playing silent night, was really cool to be sat in my bikini on the beach with an Irish coffee and listening to Christmas songs!!!

The final stop was another snorkelling stop but as I mentioned the weather had started to change so we didn’t want to get wet and cold for the boat trip back so didn’t go in. The people that did didn’t have long though, another long tail boat pulled up next to us and the men told us that the weather was changing and the waves were getting bigger and our boat was too full so half off us had to go in the new boat. We were lucky because we got in the new boat and found it had a screen that was dropped down over the front so we hardly got wet despite the rain and waves splashing over the boat, the boat we were on before didn’t have this so everyone got very wet!!!!

As I’m writing this we’ve just had tea and are sat in our own little private beach hut overlooking the sea. The suns just set, beautiful reds and oranges! We are spending one more day here and then moving on, on the 23rd December to Kho Samui an island on the other side of Thailand for Christmas.

Lots of love everyone xxxxxxxxxxx

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