khoa Lak, Phuket and a diversion to London

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September 13th 2015
Published: September 16th 2015
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Khao Lak

My eyes feasted on the richest deepest gold coloured sand I have ever seen, as our feet softly sunk into the silky grains. The ocean was recuperating from a bit of bad weather and although sparkling grey, it did have a tinge of blue. Huge open rooted trees lined the beach, and the tide line was sprinkled with pretty shells. I loved this beach, it was beautiful.

Then we turned and saw the pictures, covered in plastic and pinned to a tree. Pictures of children taken by the Tsunami, on this very beach, right where we were standing, how could such a beautiful beach turn into such a violent force of water. The Tsunami hit heights of 10 meters, being funneled into the bays, taking over 4000 people’s lives and floating a royal police boat 2 kilometers inland. The beach in 2004 had been lined with resorts, replaced now with only a few and we are not staying in any of them! The Thailand King and Queens daughter and her adult children were holidaying in Khao Lak at the time, hence the Police Boat presence, unfortunately the Princess’s 21 year old son did not survive. There are many videos and pictures on the internet with people standing on the beach watching the water disappear and a white capped wave coming, not realising the size or force of it, only to turn and run at the last minute, a little too late. This is one tourists story.

Khoa Lak's 6 inter-connected beaches extend for many miles. The area we stayed in consisted of the beach, a few resorts, Pete’s Beach Bar, the busy main road at the back of the beach lined with shops, dive shops, tour operators, restaurants and bars, and a market 4 days a week. Past the market area is a road down to the beach also with shops and restaurants, but looked very scruffy. We got a steal deal in a room that in high season is NZ$160 but we paid only NZ$42.00 as it was the rainy season. We relaxed in the sunshine with two large pools, lovely peaceful lush grounds and a lovely big room, whilst watching the Bangkok bombing unfold.

We were amazed, but not surprised, when one day later the Shrine was open again. If the Thai Police catch these people, it will by luck only, not by any intelligence! This is a quote from the media a few days after:

Thai police had offered an $84,000 reward for tips leading to arrests in the Bangkok bombing. On Monday, they handed out the cash — to themselves. They arrested a suspect Saturday, though the man has not been charged, let alone convicted. He may not even be the prime suspect in the Aug. 17 bombing at Bangkok's Erawan Shrine, which killed 20 people and injured more than 120. That was enough for national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung: He said he was taking the unusual step of redirecting 3 million baht reward to highlight that Thailand's police are good at their jobs. "It is the ability of Thai officials that led to the arrest," he said. "This money should be given to officials who did their job."

Nothing else much to report really, but we enjoyed our relaxing week we found some amazing Thai food on the back street at Orchid and had great sunny weather with little rain, collected shells off the beach, drank beer at Peters Bar, visited the market and tsunami police boat.

I have started collecting shells as I believe they are the only souvenirs you can buy now that are not made in china. We were looking in a large souvenir shop in Lombok and you could buy wooden kiwis!


We co-incidentally ended up being in Phuket for 2 days at the same time as Grant and Letitia. Had a great couple of days catching up, enjoyed a great long lunch and some excellent Chardonnay and walked Bangla Road in the evening. Grant got very excited when we scored a table on the footpath right next to the lovely ladies, dressed in costumes, in the middle of walking street promoting their Show. Opportunity for a little subtle perving, feasting his eyes on the voluptuous bodies. It seemed such a shame when we felt it necessary to tell him they were lady boys!

Patong had not changed since last blog 3 years ago, they have cleared the rows of umbrellas, loungers and beach shacks off the beach, replaced by mounds of sand shaped as pillows with a hired lounger mattress lying on top. Not sure what they wanted to achieve by this cleanup by the military who are currently running the country. Watched the barefooted parasailers on the beach skillfully maneuver the tandem flights by steering the ropes, without harness.

We have been travelling with Air Asia and our fellow passengers do make us giggle. The queue to board starts as soon as they enter the departure lounge, and if they are not in the front of the queue they push their way forward to get to the front of the queue. In fact this is not restricted to plane boarding, if there is a queue in, like McDonalds, they will walk up front to the counter, past the queue of people, stand next to the person being served and push in next. Unless I am next, of course. They walk very slowly, they say it’s a 20 minute walk to the gate, and it does take them that long, it takes us 6 minutes. They ignore any boarding calls by seat number, so it takes ages to get down the plane aisle to your seat and if they board both ends, there is the big two way traffic jam in the middle as they got on the wrong end, hurrying to the first set of stairs to get on as quick as possible. They cannot bare to turn off their phones and in many cases don’t. When the wheels hit the ground, before they announce ‘do not turn on your phones until we are outside the terminal’ we hear the musical sounds of phones turning on, incoming texts and phone conversations. They announce before you land that ‘it is a criminal offence to take the life jackets with you off the plane’. OMG people steal the life jackets!


We took a 6 day diversion to London after getting a cheap deal on Malaysian Airlines and were slightly concerned when it was delayed 5 hours, the official reason being “the plane is broken”. So we knocked on Sue and Tom’s door about 11.30pm to surprise them and get them out of bed! We were here to join Emma-Jaynes 30th birthday celebrations, as was Liam who had surprised them a few days earlier and was in Cork for a few days with Emma-Jayne, Kate and Simon. Brett Stevens kindly put us up, with Sue and Tom, in his house around the corner from Emma Jayne’s flat in London which was currently housing 9 - Emma-Jayne, Toby, Liam, Kate, Simon, Emily, Katey, Mikey and Hannah. Enough for a party? Maybe, if you add us 4, yes definitely, and we did, much to the dismay of the sleep depraved neighbours.

On Emma-Jaynes and my birthday we had our nails done, then pre-dinner drinks at Shushisamba, zooming up in a glass lift to the 38th floor, WOW what amazing views of London – loved this bar! We then headed out for one of the most delicious Pastas ever. Emma-Jayne’s 30th party the next night was fabulous, filled with friends, decorated like a mid-summers night dream. Afterwards we went to Kings Head, a private Club Emma-Jayne belonged to, invitation only. It was just amazing, an array of rooms over 4 floors, decorated with taxidermy animals, like tigers, lions, polar bears, even a butterfly room. Awesome night. So far sleep had come after 4am, 3 out of the last 4 nights. The next day was Sue and Toms 35th wedding anniversary, could we possibly carry on? Why yes, we had a milestone to celebrate, so instead of nursing a hangover, out came the champagne with BBQ brunch. By 8pm some decided they needed sleep, flight back to KL the next morning. Emma-Jayne and Hannah on the other hand were still up from the night before! Well done!

Thanks so much to everyone who we spent time with, thanks for your generosity, hospitality and for making us laugh lots! Well after 6 days of drinking and celebrating, and having the most amazing time, we definitely felt the need to dry out! So we are heading to Pulau Weh Island, a boat ride from Banda Arche in Indonesia. We are still on the Tsunami trail.


Leaf on Sands - Agoda – NZ$42 -

Awesome value only during off season, we were lucky as we had a lot of sunshine, one day rain and some rain at night in August. The room too tired to be worth high season rates x4, there are many different and new rooms, we had cheapest. The resort was fantastic and would definitely go back. It has washing machine behind mini mart, orchid restaurant next door do amazing food on their specials menu on back page. Only 4 minute walk to beach along alley by The Sands Resort in front.

Taxi – we used Communication through Facebook. They are very responsive and reliable. Which cost from Phuket Airport to Khoa Lak 1000 baht (300-500 cheaper than Taxi). From Khao Lak to Patong beach, Phuket was 1800 baht.

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