Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Koh Lanta

We’ve had a really chilled out ten days on Koh Lanta and most of our days have been spent relaxing on the beach with a selection of books. I think I’ve probably read more in the past two weeks than I did all of last year! 

We decided to stay in the same bungalow I wrote about in the last blog post as the location is pretty idyllic and the best beach on the island is a ten-second walk from our front door. The beach is lined with a string of beach bars and restaurants, all offering cheap food and happy hours of varying duration every day, so we have been working our way through most of them and sharing around our custom.

Sunset on Khlong Nin Beach
Our day has pretty much followed the same itinerary most days: wake up, have breakfast on the beach, alternating between swim, read and snooze in a deckchair in the shade, lunch, more beach time, a spot of work or blogging as the sun goes down, followed by dinner on the beach. It’s a hard life! 
I did however, break the inactivity with morning runs, workouts and yoga sessions on the beach, so I don’t feel quite so guilty about taking it so easy!

One of the highlights of each lazy day is seeing a dog and a duck (an unlikely partnership, I know!) go for a walk down the beach and back again. They might stop for a sit on the beach, or a wallow in the waves on the shoreline, but always together! It makes everyone look twice, smile and invariably take out the camera – myself included.

An unlikely friendship
The dive boat that got washed in by last week’s storm has been gradually been thrown about the beach and smashed up more every high tide. It’s been quite a mission for the locals this week to clear the wreckage, which concluded with a digger on the beach dragging the remaining sections away from the shore before the next storm rolls in – apparently, that’s expected over the next couple of days. We are hoping that we will have made it safely back to Phuket and on to Malaysia by the time it hits as I don’t fancy that five-hour ferry ride in rough seas!

The shipwreck

We hired a bike for a few days in order to see a bit of the island, making trips to the beaches along the east coast (which are all pretty glorious), over to the old town, with its buildings built on stilts, out over the sea, and down to the national park at the tip of the island. 

Koh Lanta Old Town
I’m not sure if we’ve been fairly sheltered on the beach we’ve been staying on, but elsewhere on the island there are so many macaques. We saw them in the trees on one beach and as we arrived at another roadside beach, a couple of tourists warned us that some monkeys had just chased another couple on the beach. Remembering our experience in Borneo where we were chased by a particularly territorial alpha male macaque, I was very wary that they didn’t get too close. We must have seen twenty or thirty over the course of the day.

Monkey steals someone's picnic on the beach
Unfortunately, some of the tourists still find it hilarious to feed the monkeys, which is only going to encourage them to ‘attack’ more. Mind you, I once found them ‘cute’ and funny too – perhaps it’s not until you’ve been threatened by monkeys that you realise they are wild animals and not to be befriended. I will certainly be keeping my distance, that’s for sure!

A stick to ward off the monkeys!

In contrast to the hot fierce sun by day, the evenings have given way to a few tropical rainstorms, thunder and lightning – perhaps in a build up to the imminent storm. We were lucky yesterday when we managed to make it back to our accommodation and park up the scooter just seconds before a torrential rainstorm hit and lasted for several hours. It’s funny how quickly the weather can turn in the tropics.

A storm rolling in

As mentioned previously, we leave tomorrow for Malaysia on a visa run before coming back to Thailand for our final week – I can’t quite believe that leg one of our trip has almost come to an end! We’re planning on visiting Penang and Langkawi in Malaysia but will see if the storm is meant to hit there too and if so maybe visit a different part. It would be great to fit in some diving, but subject to calm seas, I think.

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