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Published: February 17th 2020
Oh! We do have interesting journeys and we certainly travel in style! The small dirty pick-up truck that arrived at 9.15 a.m. on Saturday morning to take us to the pier on Koh Jum, already had four people on board, one of whom was very large. We had to climb up over the tailboard and sit with our rucksacks between our knees in a tiny space and hang on tight as we bumped along. The two young boatmen in charge of our Long-tail, were very chilled out, smoking weed as they navigated through the mangroves and then out to sea; the aroma wafted all around us as we chugged along across the Andaman waves. Eventually, “Land Ahoy!” there was the island of Koh Lanta, with its nice solid-looking wooden pier, before us. However, unlike the ferry and speedboats mooring up, we didn’t reach the pier. Instead, the boys headed towards the muddy litter-strewn beach before the pier and told us to get off. So, seven of us took off our shoes, paddled ashore with our gear, realising of course that these guys probably had no licence to transport us anywhere and certainly not to dock at the pier. Ah well! “You
gets wot yer pays for!”It was a cheap crossing! We struggled up the sloping muddy beach, through a narrow alleyway between two dockside bars and joined the more civilised set, just disembarked with dignity from a speedboat, to bargain for transport to the southern end of the island. And now, the story gets much better…
“Hurrah!” for the Lonely Planet guide. Thanks to the guide we headed South, almost the length of the island, to Koh Jark Beach, also called Last Beach (which it is). Beyond this, the southernmost tip of Koh Lanta is rocky outcrops and National Park Rainforest.
Northern Koh Lanta is, quite frankly, a squalid litter-strewn tip, just one continuous sprawl of cheap bars, dingy restaurants, hoardings advertising Cannabis Parties, and Happy Hours, dirty shacks and petrol fumes. Nasty! The only “Nasty” on this trip so far! We shared a taxi truck with three German tourists, who got off in the midst of all of this. ” This is our fourth time on Lanta. We love it here!” they said. Our brains failed to direct our lips to respond to this, so we just smiled!
Once we left this mess behind us, we discovered
that Southern Lanta is a different island. Clean, lush, hilly and forested, with a winding road that affords stunning coastal views along the western side of the island. Beautiful! We have done it right this time. We have a lovely spacious bamboo bungalow, in nice gardens, with a small meadow behind and then rainforest. Monkeys play in the trees and swim in the small river, water buffalo graze in the meadow, also with a large grey hog for company there, and Klong Jark beach is just one hundred metres away through the coconut grove. It is the best beach so far. We spent our first evening having dinner on the beach watching the sunset. Idyllic! The experience of the morning’s journey faded away with the setting sun.
Yesterday, Sunday 16th
February, was John Boy’s birthday. Seventy-four years young! We had a lay in, then he opened his cards and presents, which I had brought hidden in my rucksack, and the rest of his special day involved relaxing in a hammock, swimming in the warm sea and lazing in the shade of a banyan tree on the beach. The evening ended with yet another delicious Thai meal on the beach.
John rates this as a perfect way to spend a birthday!
This morning, after breakfast, whilst John was in the shower, I stood before the little mirror in our bamboo hut putting in my contact lenses, with my back to the open door. I suddenly had the sensation that I was being watched and saw a shadow behind me in the mirror. It was very quiet. I slowly and nervously turned around to see, right behind me, a large Macaque sitting on the floor by the bed. He was just staring at me. I moved slowly to my right, feeling with my hand for the camera, on the shelf behind me, keeping my eyes on the monkey. He took a step closer. As I moved again, so did he. I grasped the camera and as I brought it in to view, he backed to the doorway. I then noticed another monkey looking in the window and six or seven more jumping about on the deck and steps outside. I took his photo, which made him stand up on his hind legs and bare his teeth. John then came out of the bathroom, but the Macaque had already retreated to
the deck. Well! Goodness! It isn’t every Monday morning that starts in this way! People often remark on our good fortune in spotting wildlife, but quite frankly, this was a little
close for comfort, whilst at the same time really exciting! I think John was rather jealous; he only saw the monkeys in retreat on the deck, steps and then down in the garden.
Apart from our “Monday Morning Monkey Meeting”, we both had a Thai massage, a little swim, a few drinks and some lunch on the beach. This evening we shall just have to drag ourselves down there once more for the sensational setting of the sun and tempting tasty Thai food!
We are leaving Koh Lanta tomorrow morning and taking a speedboat south to another little island, Koh Muk, one of the Trang archipelagos. So, yet another small part of the planet for us to experience! “I would rather own little and see the world, than to own the world and see little” Anon.
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