Today we are leaving for Koh Lanta. Simon has been talking to an Australian couple and they are going to share our boat which will reduce the cost to 300 baht each. We repack our gear and set off after breakfast. Maisie sits on the edge of the boat and although I tell her to hold on tight, she doesn’t bother and looks so relaxed, like a natural sailor!
We all chat on the way; Andy and Angela are travelling back to Australia from England for their wedding in April and have recently resigned from their jobs. For the past four years they worked on a super yacht in Costa Rica for a man worth 800 million and its fascinating hearing about their time spent with him.
Koh Lanta was known long ago as Pulau Satak. This is a name of Malayan origin and means Long Beach Island. 100 years ago the island was important to trade ships, but the construction of roads on the mainland between Krabi and Trang meant that goods transportation now takes place by road. In the late 1980′s the first tourist bungalows opened on Lanta and business was booming until the tsunami in 2004. Some areas of the island were badly damaged but according to our book the “Koh Lanta Ok” campaign has ensured it is now as “beautiful as ever”.
The scenery is wonderful; the tall rocky limestone cliffs that rise out of the sea are very pretty and covered with bushes and trees, they make the seascape interesting. We also pass tiny deserted coves with golden sands. Soon we see Koh Lanta in the distance; we arrive at the pier and are helped out of our boat by some fella’s. As we haven’t arranged any transport or accommodation I’m glad to see a pick up truck and we all pile in. We drop Andy and Angela off at the end of the pier and head off in search of the beach. An hour later and we have tried at least 7 resorts only to be told they are all full. I’m just starting to wonder if we might have to catch a boat to the mainland when success!
The Lanta Long Beach Resort has 2 bungalows available ad we check them out. They are made of wood and have comfortable beds, air con and hot water. Great! On the other hand they are relatively expensive and will cost us 47 quid for the 2 per night but we don’t have much choice if we want to stay on Koh Lanta and pay up slightly begrudgingly!
The resort is right on the beach and it is really beautiful with fine sands and coconut palms. Behind the resort are mountains covered with rainforest. There seems to be one main road and there are a number of bars and restaurants, although everywhere is full, it is busy in a low key way and I agreed with Alister when he said it reminded him of Goa when we first visited India 5 or 6 years ago.
We have a drink in the bar overlooking the sea, there is a decent sized swimming pool here and the kids enjoy having a splash around for a few hours. There are loads of tourists here rather than travellers and most people seem to be German or Scandinavian. In the evening we catch a motorcycle taxi to Ban Saladan to get some cash and then ask to go to Retro Restaurant. This serves good western food and we sit on floor cushions to eat. Ali has a New Zealand steak and the Thai waitresses are obviously impressed when he finishes it all! We make our way back and crash into bed completely knackered. I think we have 3 nights worth of sleep to catch up on and I go out like a light.