On January 4th Aoife and I arrived in the island of Koh Lanta. We stayed in a hotel called the Ailf Apartments for around $20 per night. The hotel is about a 10 minute walk from the beach up a back road in the middle of nowhere. However, they provided us with a motorbike during our stay for free and we were allowed to use the beachside pool in their sister hotel, the Garden Hotel. This was where we spent most of our time in Koh Lanta!
Koh Lanta is by far the least developed Thai island that we've been on and there was a very relaxed vibe about the place. It was exactly what we looking for from Thailand. The hotel worked out well with the free motorbike and the use of the swimming pool on the beach. The one major negative was that it was hard enough to get some sleep with the geicos and a nearby bar that blew the base out of the speakers!
Our typical day involved getting up around 10am, having some breakfast and driving down on my girly motorbike (it had a burberry seat!) to the Garden hotel. We would spend a
few hours lying off on sunloungers rotating between the sea and the pool and then we would grab some lunch. Afterwards we would head back poolside for the remainder of the day until sunset, which was beautiful. At night we'd go for dinner and a couple of beers. There were a few nice restaurants, in particular a German restaurant on the beach where we ate most nights. The food was top notch!
On January 8th we left Koh Lanta bringing an end to our Thai adventure. Getting to Langkawai, Malaysia from Koh Lanta was not as simple as we had expected. We had the choice of going all the way back to Krabi, stay one night and then catch a boat to Langkawi the next day. The alternative was to take a fast boat directly to Langkawi with a short stopover in the Thai island Koh Lipe. The fast boat was much more expensive, $90 each, but when you factored everything in it was definitely the best option. The bonus was that we got to spend a couple of hours on the beach at Koh Lipe. It is a beautiful beach, a bit like Phi Phi island but it
seemed to be less overrun with tourists.
In total we spent around 25 nights in Thailand. We had some great times there despite the fact that there were certain things about the place that were frustrating. The people were surprisingly not as friendly as expected and the majority of the time they were trying to rip us off. Too many people are after the quick buck and forgetting the standards and custom that made Thailand a tourist hot spot in the first place. The food was a major disappointment. For some reason the curries were never piping hot, something that made us sick in Bangkok.
But as we recount our memories of Thailand, when we're back to work and regular life, the positive experiences will be what we'll remember most. Going to see Muanthong United and getting Robbie Fowler to sign my jersey was a personal highlight in Bangkok. The city itself exceeded our expectations and there was a real buzz about the place, a hub for backpackers of every nationality. The trek in Chiang Mai will without doubt go down as one of our favourite parts of the entire trip. Then there was the challenge of the
Open Water diving course in the beautiful Phi Phi island, an achievement we are both proud of. As we continue to dive in other locations we'll always remember our first four dives in Phi Phi island, and Aoife getting lost on me of course! The few hours we spent on Koh Lipe before we travelled to Malaysia left a lasting reminder of how beautiful the Thai islands are, with their white sandy beaches and crystal clear water! With that memory engrained in my mind, I'm sure we'll be back at some point in the future. (P.S. This was written before we got Dengue Fever in Malaysia so I don’t think we’ll actually go back to Asia :) )
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