The South Islands and chilled beach life
Next morning we packed, had breakfast and checked out of our room. We left a bag with clothes at the resort to collect after our travels south. The resort was full on the dates we liked to return to Ao Nang, so we found a place near, for about the same money, this would be convenient as we had to return the motor scooter the day before we would leave for the airport.
We drove the 75 km to the ferry to Koh Lantra in about 2 and half hours, this included a coffee stop at Amazon Coffee, 55 km from Ao Nang. After the coffee we headed for a secondary road, through more true Thai country side. After an hour we arrived at the ferry ticket office and for 45 Bath for a motor bike and two people we got ferried across!
When we arrived at the other side we followed the road over the new bridge and into the main town of Koh Lantra, we had lunch at the “sisters” restaurant, a laidback place on the main road of the island. After lunch I had a quick peak at the beach, with its white sand and bordered by the resorts… it looked very exotic!..
We went on and after a small navigational error, we drove the last two kilometres to the exit road of our resort, from there it was another 850 meters on a road in service ( flat pressed earth, all the way up to the resort..
The Lantra K resort was a new place with 3 blocks of double apartments, a base one and a first floor one.. the owners were very sweet welcoming us and explaining things to us.. We got our kit inside, closed the doors and crashed on the bed for an hour, before we made our selfs ready for dinner again. We did not drive far to dinner, just on the main road, passing some foraging monkey, was the Diamond cliff beach bar, were we found a table at the edge, over looking the little beach and Andaman sea. It was a little private balcony with only two tables and the other table came empty half way our dinner, making it a very special evening….
Next morning I drove to the 7/11 nearby to get som eggs and tea for breakfast, after my return Dhyana was just up, I made tea and tried to get the saucepan going on the ceramic 1 burner stove.. , it needed the owner with an other saucepan to make it work.
After eggs we moved to the nearest beach and had a refreshing dip in the ocean..
Thereafter we moved on to another (Long) beach, in search for coffee.. I left Dhyana behind there and walked the length of the beach before returning.. shortly after we moved on to Saladan Pier, were there where restaurants on stills at the waterfront… all pricy and not to our liking we returned back to Khlong Dao beach and had wings and fries there at the beach.
We went shopping on the way back, bought a genuine Thai broom, and a T-shirt, before we returned more near our resort neighbourhood.. we had a drink on the beach at the blue moon bar and dinner next door at the beach side restaurant. It was a beautiful night, only stressed on the end by the loss of the motor scooter key. It took us half an hour searching the two places before one of the staff found it, what a relief… we gave him a big finders fee.
Next morning after self made breakfast, I drove a few kilometres inland from our place to visit the tiger cave. From where I left the motorbike at the ticket booth (100 Bath) I had to walk an hardly marked track through the jungle and later following the river bed, climbing over boulders and jumping streams. After half an hour and 1.7 km further inland I found the cave complex in a massive rock wall, deep in the jungle of Koh Lanta. I circled around and crawled and climbed in and through narrow passages, but did not wander beyond the first chambers, not to get lost, also I had to be extra careful as I was alone at this place and did not want to get hurt without any aid nearby… I stayed for about 40 minutes before I returned, drenched from sweat, at the motorbike. When I came back at the Lanta K resort, all was already packed and after a cooldown shower, we set off again. On the way to the ferry we had coffee at a little bakery, coffee place, along the road. The ferry was swift as ever and before we knew we were back on the road and on our way to Koh Jum. There was a lot of policemen around at the intersection with the big road. It happened that the King was passing and all the roads were blocked to leave the road empty for the kings convoy to pass.. a few minutes later 5 police cars and 3 minivans passed with high speed and thereafter, all was back to normal.
We had a smoothie to cool down from the heat and thereafter we set off again to the ferry to Koh Jum. We arrived at the Leam Kruat longtail pier. The ferry was slightly bigger then a longtail boat, it costed 250 Bath for the one way crossing with the motor scooter. A wooden board gave access to the deck. The skipper drove the motorbike over the plank on board and secured the bike with a rope. A vending stand, jerrycans with fuel, some bags and another scooter all were loaded aboard before we set of for the 30 minutes ride to the island. Some people were sitting inside, some on the roof of the boat, while we meandered through the islands to Koh Pu pier. There everything was unloaded and the skipper drove the bike off the boat using the plank as a balance on the short pier…
We found our way to the Coral Bay Beach resort over a road that started as a concrete road from the ferry and ended as a steep rocky dirt track by the time we reached the resort..
We started with a drink at the beach bar/restaurant before we checked into our cabin..
At night we had dinner on the beach again. Truly a laid back island this was…
Next morning after a good night sleep, I woke up from some noise on the roof, looking out of the open window I saw a group of monkeys passing through the resort, jumping of roofs, climbing back on opposite cabins and then disappearing in the jungle again.
Later on, we had breakfast, while the temperature slowly came back to it’s tropical level.
After breakfast and a walk on the beach we collected our belongings again and checked out of this chilled place. We returned over the dirt track in the jungle again that brought us back to the islands main road. We drove over the concrete road around the 440 meter high mountain dominating the island. Halfway we stopped for a coffee at a French lady’s cafe and enjoyed our caffeine shot and home made cake. Not long after we arrived at the Jungle Hill resort, a big resort, with cabins spread out on the ridge at the beach, with three levels the lowest cabins skirting the beach while the higher ones laid further back, with some even on the land side of the ridge without sea view.
Because of the hight differences there were a lot of steps to negotiate to reach different cabins, or the restaurant/ reception area. The first cabin they gave us was a very dark cabin, where we could only open a few windows, we were not really pleased with it, but apparently this was the last free cabin.. Soon I found out there were also about a thousand bees living under the shower/toilet area, this made us decide to abort this place. After negotiating with the management we moved to the cabin in front and closer to the beach, were all the windows could be opened and there were no unwanted creatures flying around. The only consequence was that we had to move to another cabin the next day, but we didn’t mind. The resort was visited by a large group of monkeys, jumping and running over the roof tops and harassing each other with lots of noise, 20 minutes later it was all quiet again. We chilled, swam and at night we drove over to Koh Jum’s village on the south east side of the island. Not finding anything to our liking to eat, we drove back to a resort with a beach restaurant, closer to our stay.
Next morning we had to get up on time for breakfast to be ready to hop on the boat, for a day of snorkelling, sightseeing and chillin’. Mao picked us up with his longtail boat on the beach at 8:30 and of we went across to Koh Phi Phi Leh, the South Island of the Phi Phi group, first bay we visited was Viking Cave, a big inlet with high rising rocks everywhere you looked. Filled with boats we had a quick snorkel before we continued clockwise around the islands. The places got more quiet while we carried on.., every so often we would stop in a bay and had a swim or snorkel. We stopped at Maya bay ( famous of the movie the Beach with Leonardo Di Caprio). The beach itself was blocked of, due to over use, we could see it from a distance and it looked like a beautiful pristine beach again, without 50 or so longtail boats or hundreds of tourist tramping it. We stopped at Wang Long Cave, Monkey Beach and Nui bay. In the meantime we were treated with pineapple and fried rice for lunch. We passed along Koh Young and Koh Mai Phai, the later was accessible only with an extra payment of 400 Bath each!! We had a snorkel on the reef just of the island instead. Just after three o’clock we were back on our own beach, content and sunburned…
We checked in into our new cabin, this was truly the de-lux edition we booked for, nice balcony with good view on the beach and sea, good bed and klamboo netting and very quiet. We told each other we could stay here for a few weeks…. after a couple of hours of chillin’ we walked over the beach to a bar a couple of hundred meters further along.
The menu wasn’t big, but the ambience was unbeatable, sitting on the beach on a robust tree bench and table, a fire lit at sunset and tenth of lanterns draped on the beach created a true get away holiday feeling…. the curry we had was good and we chilled a bit longer before we returned to our de lux cabin..
Next morning after breakfast we stayed as long as possible, before setting of, back to Ao Nang. We had a coffee in the village and later we drove to the ferry.
It was the same type of ferry that brought us to the island, only slightly bigger maybe.
The skipper drove the bike back on and secured the bike. After a 40 minutes passage through the mangrove filled islands we arrived at the Laem Kruat longtail pier again, it was very busy and the boat was aside the pier, what meant that we had to lift the bike onto the pier, with 4 guys it wasn’t to hard to get the bike on the pier and soon we were off again. We stopped halfway for a true Thai roadside lunch, before we continued to Ao Nang.