Published: February 1st 2007January 25th 2007
We were sad to leave Langkawi, but knew that Southern Thailand is famous for its beaches and entertainment! We caught the (1)hr ferry from Langkawi, Malaysia to Satun, Thailand, cleared Thai customs and then negotiated a car and driver from Satun direct to Koh Lanta for 1,000Baht each. We had an American from Washington St. join us which cut our costs and at the end of the day we were in Ko Lanta in less than 4hrs from Satun. We mention this b/c there was so little information on the internet and travel forums with regards to getting from Langkawi to Koh Lanta, in Malaysia .
Koh Lanta ("Little Scandinavia ")
We stayed (4) nights at the Garden Hill Resort (cheap, great location and very good value - stand alone concrete A Frames with your own drive way! It was like living in a subdivision back home). This is a really chilled out and non-commercialized island. The island really does have only one major road which makes getting around on scooters very easy (obtaining transportion is a must). The beaches are not built up, the majority of buildings on the beach are bungalows, cool chilled out restaurants and
bars. The long stretches of white sandy beaches with shallow emerald waters, makes for good long run from the beach towel to the deep water! We really enjoyed the first beach, Klong Dao, for the restaurants and bars on the beach at night. The best beaches are by far the most southern ones - skip Long Beach and head directly down to Kan Tiang Beach and Klong Jak Bay, along the graveled bumpy road - these beaches are very secluded. A good beach for just chilling is Klong Nin, offering a lot of cheap eats, drinks and accomodation on the beach are to be had. The island is developing, although the Scandinavian countries seem to have claimed this part of the world as their winter get away, don't blame them - if you are looking for blondes this is the place! There isn't much to do here other than chill out on the beach, get a massage and take cover from the rentless sun while swinging back and forth in a hammock and sucking back a cold beer, fruit shake or a Rye & coke. Having said that, there are loads of diving excursions and day tours to (4)/(5) islands.
We passed on the touristy things as we will partake in them on the other islands.
Besides beaches, touring around the island provides the opportunity to see how the locals live. The Muslim community appeared to be more present on the southern and eastern side of the island. Taking a ride to the eastern side of the island takes you past rubber tree plantations and to the Old Lanta town, including a sea gypsy community.
There are loads of places to eat on the beach as well as places to get massages as you watch the waves roll in over the pink sand and the sun go down. Wow - really hope this place stays as is, it really truly is a chilled out backpacker place, although it does have some upmarket places to stay. Of all the places we chowed down at, the (2) stand out were "Same Same but Different at Kan Tiang beach and "Sunset Beach Bungalows" (great hammocks) on Klong Nin Beach.
Ao Nang, Krabi ("Good Long tail Riding!")
Caught a (2)hr ferry from Koh Lanta to Krabi - Noppharat beach. The Thais in this part of the country know how
tourism works. We were whisked off the ferry boat a couple 100 metres offshore onto several long tails and then driven to the front door of our bungalow - all included in the cost of the ferry ticket! We stayed (4) nights at the Ao Nang Friendly Bungalow (concrete stand alone bungalows, a/c, quiet and very friendly). We rented (2) scooters, however if your intention is to lie and catch as many rays as possible, there is no need for wheels. The turquoise waters in this area are crystal clear but the beaches are jammed packed of tourists - no shock! Getting to the surrounding beaches of Railay East & West, Phra Nang Cave, and Ton Sai beaches is only possible by long tail - 15min ride. The beaches here are by no means over the top, but what makes them special is the scenery, comprising of karsts, large limestone mountains.
We did a (4) island day tour via long tail that took us out to the islands of Tup, Poda, Chicken (looks more like a sitting camel) and Pranang Beach on Railay. All the tours, whether by speedboat or longtail do the same route so be prepared, the
slands/beaches are packed - the good thing is, you didn't pay $3,500 US a night for the Sheraton on Pranang Beach and have to share it with 1,000's of tourists during the daylight hours. The most beautiful of the islands was Tup, the sand bar that connects to Chicken Island is very impressive during low tide. During the day the wind blew harder and harder, making the trip from Poda Island in 4 foot choppy waters a wee bit wet - but these dam long tails, they get through anything!
Needing a wee break from the sun and beaches we took a drive to Klong Muang beach, 20km from Ao Nang. This area represents the up market side of Krabi. There is a tremendous amount of building here, specifically in the 4 and 5 star category. However, you can't miss the "shanty" town where the construction workers live - I guess they are at least being employed (We are true capitalists at the end of the day!)
We are now on our way to Koh Phi Phi Don, so for now we sign off by saluting you all with a large Singha & Chang!
There are more photos below