Ko Lanta

We had pre-booked our ferry ticket from the Andaman Resort the previous night whilst having dinner, which is the same place where we got off the boat earlier in the week. Our hostel bloke gave us a lift down in his motorcycle/side-car taxi in plenty of time, so we got some breakfast whilst we waited for the ferry to arrive. Ko Jum is around the half way point between Krabi and Ko Lanta, and the 2 boats pass by at a similar time, and the first to appear was the one going to Krabi, so we had a little longer to wait.
Suddenly we got a shout to get into the longboat, so us and another couple got in and we were soon speeding out to meet the ferry for yet another sea transfer. Thankfully we all managed to get onboard without getting wet and we headed off towards Ko Lanta.

Not long after we left, Sadie asked me if I had paid for breakfast, which I hadn’t as assumed she had paid whilst I went to the toilet before we left. But she also assumed I had paid whilst she went to the toilet, so it turns out neither of us did. Though to be fair, we had asked for the bill twice well before we got called for the boat, so in the rush to get onto the longtail it got forgotten about… oh well!

It was a short trip to Ko Lanta, taking just under an hour and we had arranged with one of the boat staff for us to get a shared taxi for 150B each to our hotel which was at the Klong Khong beach area, about 20 mins away from the pier at the north of the island and down the along the west coast where most of the hotels are based. We soon got dropped off at Coco Lanta Beach Resort, our home for the next 6 nights and after check-in and a nice refreshing fresh juice, we were shown to our room. It was probably one of the smallest rooms we had stayed in so far, but it was clean and had what we needed for our time here plus we had breakfast included too (which turned out to be lovely).

This time we had booked somewhere right next to the beach, but as it was a rocky coastline swimming was only possible at high tide again which wasn’t a problem as we also had a lovely pool to use. We didn’t waste much time as soon as we were unpacked, we went straight down to the pool, grabbed a beer and chilled out for a couple of hours.

In the evening we went a stroll along the road to find a supermarket for a few supplies, then went for dinner at a place called M Thai which was opposite our hotel, we chose there as it was busy and the smell of the BBQ chicken they were doing outside was too much to resist. It was as good as it smelt and after dinner we went for a walk along the beach, with a few beach resorts and bars scattered along the coast, which kind of reminded us of Goa, with a very laid-back vibe with lots of ‘smoking’ bars and reggae music playing. We stopped in one place called ‘Where Else’ for a quick drink on the way back, which had a lovely set up with lots of trees, wood, lights and chilled out tunes which reminded both of us of a few venues at various festivals in the UK.

The next day was spent mostly between the beach and the pool, with Sadie reading yet another book and me researching Malaysia. That was repeated on the 3rd day, except this time we decided to chill most of the day on some bean bags that were on a lovely sheltered area of the bar terrace, with a cool breeze blowing in and despite the flaky wi-fi, I got a few things booked up for next month. We also decided to book a day trip snorkelling for the following day, and with a choice of 4 main trips we ended up picking one that took us to the nearby islands of Ko Rok and Ko Ho.

We got picked up on time from our hotel along with a few others and driven the short distance up to Long Beach, where we quickly got onto our speedboat for the day along. We then sped off down the coast of Ko Lanta, past our resort and made another couple of stops to pick up more passengers. Overall there was about 30 of us on board, the boat itself was quite new, clean and comfortable. There was a crew of 4, most didn’t speak the whole time apart from one who only let us know the rough itinerary for the day and how long we had at each stop. There was no briefing for our safety, nor was there any info given on what to do and what not to do with regards to the snorkelling and the sea-life, specifically about not to touch or disturb the coral and no feeding of the fish. A group of French had a loaf of sliced bread with them, however they only used a few bits of it after Sadie had a word with them about how bad it is to feed the fish, and rightly so.

First off, we headed to Ko Rok, dropped off a member of the crew with our lunch for later, and then headed round to a bay on the other side of the island. The water was clear blue and exactly how you imagine a tropical island paradise to look, simply stunning. We got given our snorkelling gear and flippers, this was the first time I had ever used them and struggled to get them on in the water and Sadie had to help me! We were soon swimming about, admiring the lovely coral and lots of fish all around us. 30 minutes later, we get called back to the boat and then went to another part of the island. Sadly this 2nd snorkelling spot was full of dead coral and therefore less sea-life around it, a stark reminder of why we need to do all we can to protect the ocean and all that live in it.

We then went on to Ko Rok for lunch, we had around 90 minutes here and to be honest, it was too long and would have much preferred to have more snorkelling time. We had our buffet lunch, which tasted bland and then Sadie and myself went off to try and find some monitor lizards who apparently inhabit this small island. One of our boat crew pointed us off in the direction of behind the small buildings, which sadly took us to an area where they dumped and burnt all the rubbish. Sadie did spot one lizard, however when trying to get a photo, it quickly scurried away so we gave up on that. We then decided to go snorkelling from the beach in the clear blue sea to waste some time, however some jobsworth staff member kept blowing his whistle, it was a few minutes later and when we went up to him, we realised he wanted us to go and put life jackets on to snorkel! We declined his kind offer and just swam for a bit then headed back to the boat to meet the others.

Next up was the 30-minute trip to Ko Ha, which we had read was mainly a dive site, but also good for snorkelling. We weren’t disappointed, well not until Sadie spotted the captain of our speedboat pick up a starfish to show some Chinese tourist, she was less than impressed yet again. However, the coral was good here and again seen plenty sea-life, but another 30 minutes flew past and it was soon time to head back on-board and head back to Ko Lanta. The crew looked for tips, we refused to contribute and instead will give them a few tips on their website. We should have got at least 3 x 40 minutes snorkelling, but, we only got 3 x 30 minutes if that, and seemed to return home earlier than planned.

That evening we just decided to eat at our hotel, after having a couple of 79B cocktails at the Meeting Point bar next door. Yes, they are probably the cheapest on the island, but sadly taste a bit watered down and all very similar, nothing like what we would get back home. After having a burger, we went off to bed as it had been a long tiring day.

The next day was another just spent chilling at the pool, swimming in the sea and enjoying the peace and quiet of our resort on our bean bags. There is a little white kitten who had befriended us (probably due to us feeding him some scraps), who just likes to come for attention and sit sleeping next to us on a chair/bean-bag out of the heat of the afternoon sun. The hotel staff say he doesn’t live here, well you could have fooled me and although a little thin, it seems healthy enough and has an adorable little face and brown eyes.

We decided to head out of Klong Khong for the evening, so we grabbed a taxi (motorbike and side-car again) and headed to the north of the island to Saladan, which is where we got off the boat a few days earlier. This is one of the 2 old villages on the island, with a lot of tourist spots and plenty seafood restaurants down near the pier. Sadly, the one I had picked out for us to go to for dinner was closed due to a recent family birth, so after a quick look along at a few of the others, we picked a busy one called Lanta Seafood, drawn in by the lovely display of fresh fish and seafood out the front. Sadie opted for a grouper fish and I had soft shell crab and we also got some king prawns. The food was delicious and after scoffing it all, we got a motorbike taxi back to our resort driven by a young female driver and her very young son who clung on in front of her as we sped down the road home in this ‘Minion’ themed sidecar.

Popped into the bar next door to our hotel which is called Freedom, however we soon left after one drink as A - it was the most expensive small bottle of beer we have bought in Thailand and B - it was full of what can only be described as ‘backpackers on mummy and daddy’s money’.

Our last full day on Ko Lanta we decided to visit Lanta Animal Welfare which is an excellent facility which has a clinic, kitty cafe and runs a sterilisation programme on the island and others nearby to reduce to massive number of stray cats and dogs. It also houses some which have been rescued from danger and you can also adopt them to pretty much anywhere in the world. On arrival we headed into Kitty City, a new part of their facility which houses their rescue cats, and has a massive area for them to play in and a quieter area for chill time and sleeping. It wasn’t long whilst playing with the cats, a staff member then asked us if we were up for walking some of the rescue dogs. Sadie wasted no time in agreeing to this and us plus 2 other volunteers were taken to another part of the facility to be introduced to our dogs. I got a very excited male called Andrzej, Sadie had a female called Lola. Both were adorable, as were the 2 others called Mimi and Sassy (those 2 had already been adopted and were just waiting on the process to complete).

Once we all got used to each other, given some instructions and some water etc, we got shown the route on the map and off we went. There were 4 routes they use, we got the longest one which was the beach route, which took about an hour. The dogs all loved it, running along chasing crabs, running into the water and Andrzej pulled me in with him soaking me! We then headed back to the centre before it got too hot. They only walk the dog’s early morning and late afternoon to avoid the hottest part of the day, and they alternate the routes too, just hope they get enough volunteers to be able to allow all the dogs to get walked daily.

The whole place is staffed by volunteers who give up their time, some for months to assist and come from all over the world to help... it’s something I would probably consider doing if the situation arose. So, once we got the dogs safely back, we went back into the kitty city just in time for the tour around the place. We got a brief history of the place, shown round all the dogs area and what kind of work that staff do daily. It looks hard work, but very rewarding and all the staff were so friendly and loved the animals. Some of the stories on how the animals ended up there is truly horrific, Andrzej was there as he was attacked by a group of locals with a machete and Lola was there as her neighbours tried to poison her... brings a tear to your eyes but thankfully they are safe now and hopefully get adopted to their forever home soon. They had nearly 200 cats and dogs placed into new homes in 2017, which is fantastic and increasing year by year apparently.

We then went back to play with the cats and kittens for a bit, and whilst Sadie would have loved to have taken Lola home, we obviously can’t as we continue travelling in SE Asia, so the next best thing was to sponsor her for a monthly amount to help with the costs of keeping her till she does get adopted, so Sadie signed up whilst we were there to do just that.
They also look for flight volunteers to take the animals who have been adopted, on to their new owner. Sadly, we couldn’t do this either, but plenty people do and it must be so rewarding to escort someone’s new pet and hand it over and them at the airport. Overall, we had a great time there and hopefully they can continue to help lots of animals.

We then went back to the hotel for yet another lazy afternoon sitting on our bean bags on the veranda next to the sea, swimming and just generally chilling out. At night we went back to M-Thai for yet more BBQ chicken and Sadie also has a Red Snapper which was delicious, before heading back for an early night. Well that was the plan, except a Saturday night is the big night next door at Freedom Bar, with lots of vehicles, people and music making so much noise I eventually needed to use my earplugs to get to sleep!

So that brings us to the end of our 4 weeks going around some of Thailand’s beautiful islands, we now head back to the mainland and visit Trang for our last couple of nights in the country.


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