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Published: March 27th 2009
Are we in Thailand? Thursday 26th March 2009
Khao Lak is one of those places that could be anywhere. Full of mostly German tourists, pizza restaurants and “Happy Hour” bars. Travel guide books usually give an accurate impression of a place, but not this time. Our “Lonely Planet” unfortunately is rather old and other guides are misleading. We envisaged this area to be similar to Ao Nang (we wish we had stayed there longer) without the limestone crags but with a mountainous backdrop instead and similar Thai bungalow huts fringing a sandy beach. Well, the mountainous backdrop is here, but so too are large package-tour resorts and kids who should be in school back in Europe. Oh well, can’t get it right every time!
The Khao Lak National Park, which we came through on the journey here, however, is scenically stunning; rugged limestone outcrops above deep ravines, wide rivers and verdant jungle. It was worth coming here for the journey. In some ways it was the journey from hell, because it took so long! We stopped at every little town and village for the “conductor” to do his shopping or chat to his friends or have a fag and
Main street in Khao Lak
A Bangkok bus just leaving
buy a drink. The stops were longer than the moving bits of this journey, which took an amazing six hours to cover about ninety kilometres!
Tomorrow, we shall be passing through the Khao Sok National Park, which should be equally good. We’ll pass through Khao Sok on the way north east, because we have just bought two long-haul tickets to Bangkok. The bus leaves here at 5 p.m. and gets to Bangkok at 5 a.m. on Saturday morning. If, however, it is like the last bus, then it could be 5 a.m. on Sunday morning! Having said on our last blog that we were not going to rush north, change of plan (which is what travelling is all about) because we have decided we really do want to get to Chiang Mai. Our intention is to get off the bus in Bangkok, make our way straight down to the river and take the boat to the old capital, Ayutthaya, about three hours journey on the Chao Phraya River. From Ayutthaya, where we’ll probably spend a few days soaking up some Thai history and culture, after so much sun, sand and sea, we can then get north to Chiang Mai.
Khao Lak Beach
That is the plan at the moment.
Khao Lak’s saving grace is its west-facing beach. Andaman sunsets are so dramatic and awesomely beautiful. We sat and watched the sun set over the Andaman Sea for the last time. The west coast of Thailand is very special! This is the coast that was ravaged so severely and tragically by the tsunami. Tsunami evacuation routes are clearly signposted along the whole of the west coast; a poignant reminder of the devastation.
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