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Published: March 30th 2008
Been to two more Islands since the last blog, Ko Lanta and Ko Mook. Have spent the majority of our time on the beaches, with the odd trek inland to relieve the weighty stress of doing nothing! So, as last time, there is very little to report; enjoy.
Ko Lanta is a fairly large island with all the best beaches along its 35km west coast, we ended up staying on Long Beach (cause it's like, long) at a quiet little cove just round some rocks at the southern end. We stayed in a great, rough and ready bungalow operation with huts in the sand right next to the beach, just perfect for the glorious sunsets.
We both love our food and we found a superb little restaurant about ten minutes from the beach. Our money has not been going quite as far as we had hoped, so we are on a bit of an economy drive of late, but this has had many positive consequences, not least for our stomachs. We always eat local food but due to our financial constraints we are now more discerning and fussy regarding price. In England a drop in price is generally reflected
in a drop in quality, not so here. In fact the diametric opposite seems to apply, and this restaurant that we had assiduously hunted down was a good case in point. All meals were 50 Baht and the selection was huge - not just the usual noodles or fried rice that you can normally expect for this price. We dined on some of our favourites - Laap (a spicy salad of ground meat and herbs) with Khao niaw (sticky rice), pork with garlic and black pepper, curries both red and green, spicy (seriously spicy) Papaya salads, green chilli stir-fry, and the unbelievably hot, hot and sour soup - and almost always left full. If we were still hungry then the mobile desert stalls could furnish us with banana pancakes or other, unknown but no less tasty, sticky stomach busters.
We enjoyed Ko Lanta for its rugged, quiet beaches but also for its local interest, which was lacking (read non-existent) on Rai Ley. We spent a lovely full day exploring the island on a scooter. In the morning we crossed to the mangrove choked east coast, taking a high road over the small mountains that form the backbone of Lanta.
From the top we stopped at the aptly named viewpoint restaurant for a bowl of Khao Tom Kung (Rice Soup with King Prawns) and a swoon at the view. From here we visited a couple of Chao Ley (sea gypsies) settlements and then headed to the lovely Ban Si Raya, or Lanta Old Town. Here, houses jutted out over the sea on supporting stilt legs, window boxes were full of brightly coloured, heavily scented flowers and the restaurants sold delicious, cheap seafood.
From Ko Lanta we went to Ko Mook. For a very reasonable price we managed to insinuate ourselves on to a Four Island snorkelling tour that, perfectly it transpired, stopped at Ko Mook second - after some snorkelling and a trip to the stunning Emerald Cave. All for less than we had expected and including those activities that, had we wished to do them, would have cost us far, far more. The Emerald Cave is a pristine inland Lagoon, replete with small white sand beach, towering cliffs and millions of butterflies that can only be reached with a swim through a sea tunnel in the rock, forty odd yards of which were pitch black!
is stunning. It is a small Island with one small fishing village on its East coast, the rest of the Island being covered in jungle. It has one beach, one picture postcard perfect beach on its West coast and it is here that the small cluster of bungalow operations and one resort are located. A typical day here may have been spent something like this:- We wake early in the morning and make it down to the beach just as the sun is cresting the hill that backs the beach (which is deserted). We mess around hunting for shells, poking about in the rock pools that fringe the bay until we are sufficiently hot to take a dip. We don mask, snorkels and flippers and head off around the bay to get lost in the hypnotic underwater world. The water is so clear at this time of day that fishes over five meters down can be seen with incredible clarity. There is little coral here but the variety of life below the waves continues to astound me.
Before lunch we contemplate taking the brisk hike to a viewpoint which I found that gives great views over the small Island
but find the sun too hot for a jungle bash and decide to read on the (still almost deserted) beach instead. Lunch is taken and we again eat at a lovely local restaurant that has pretty decent dishes for 30 Baht (about 50 pence). Anny decides to have a little nap so I go find our friends and cajole them into playing some frisbee, great fun but very hot work. Anny wakes up and joins us down on the beach where we relax, read or explore until watching another spectacular sunset. Invariably the humidity of the day will have produced some big clouds by evening and after our dinner we sit on the veranda of our bungalow and watch a tropical storm create its unique blend of havoc.
Other things we have seen or done. Seen a few more snakes (one large, black and evil looking), a couple of quite pretty spiders, sea Eagles, hermit crabs, monkeys and lizards. We have got pissed a few times on the cheapest gut-rot we can find (alcohol being comparatively expensive), a local brew called Lao Kaw (sp) and one night a rat decided to come sleep with us and tried to get
into Anny's sleeping bag - that must happen most nights I hear you scream; but I assure you, I always ask first and only have recourse to biting as a last resort!
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