Sunday, 27 December 2009

Afternoon at the River in Krabi Town- Day 10

Weather – Wet, Wet, Wet

Having arrived in Krabi Town and settled in to the hotel a look around town was needed. The first time we were in Krabi it was already dark and not really ideal for taking in any sights. It was also raining all those days ago, so far the town for us is wet.

We had brought just one umbrella for emergencies and the hotel gladly offered us an extra one. It wasn’t really needed for long, the monsoons eased and eventually stopped. Some food needed again and keeping in with the Thailand style we had pizza and chips.

The town is not really big and most things seems localized on the one or two streets running along side the river. That included the banks and currency exchanges. These were getting badly needed as our Thai money was running out and unknowingly we were also running out of time. The bank we approached had already closed and the money exchanger had already done her calculations for the day so we realized we were left to scrimp and save until the morning.

Krabi Town River

Having a walk along the river to pass the time and take in a bit of the Mangrove views we were approached by a rather large gentleman. He was a fisherman touting for some business, offered to take us on a trip up the river. We had a little and large conversation about our cash flow and our need to wait till tomorrow for the banks to open. It was then he dropped a bombshell about tomorrow being Saturday and the banks being closed.

Fish Crab Krabi River

Tonight's dinner was looking like seafood, fish and crab, with a little cigarette to finish the meal off. In our 24 hours a day life we have been to complacent.

Krabi River Boat

Krabi River View

The views up the river were quite pleasant although the tide seemed to be out and the river banks were exposed with mud. At least it wasn't cluttered with thrown away shopping trolleys.

Away from the river there was a night market happening. This was taking place in the square behind the hotel that we spent our first night in. It appeared more of a fun-fair atmosphere with a few rides for the kids along with lots of home made wares and food. Extremely busy with lots of people in very small space. But we managed to get hold of some deep fried ice cream.

Krabi Town Night Time

Sometimes events take place that come completely unexpected and have quite dramatic consequences. Needless to say one of those events happened to us and completely filled the rest of our evening. To skim over it quickly we were treated completed free of charge to the spiciest meal we have ever had in Thailand. Spread over 6 dished of delicious food specially prepared for us both. The earlier wondering of how to catch dinner in the river seemed much like a silly idea now.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Leaving Koh Lanta on the Ferry Crossings – Day 10

Weather – Brilliant

Woke to sunshine peeking under the curtains and it felt particularly crystal this morning. This was our last day here on Koh Lanta and we arose together and not much conversation was had. It might have been the sadness of leaving or maybe the more than healthy amount of beer consumed the night before.

Kaw Kang Resort

Whatever the reason it didn’t last long once we were out on the veranda gathering the heat and the occasional pop back inside to pack another t-shirt. Somehow the bags became full and the beach hut returned to the tidier condition in which we first found it.

Kaw Kwang Sea View

Pool towels returned to the reception and turning for a last look at the resort we sat down to wait for the mini-van to arrive. And we waited…And waited. After about half an hour later it arrived fully laden with other passengers that were scooped up from all corners of the island. I guess waiting in the shade of reception was probably much better than waiting inside the stuffy hot bus for other passengers to arrive.

Bags loaded and we were soon off to the first ferry crossing. There was very little waiting to get on here but a little wait for more vehicles to fill up the vacant spaces on the ferry. The second ferry was similar with just a short wait. The longer stretch of water gave a little time out to take some pictures of people taking pictures.

Koh Lanta Ferry

Koh Lanta Ferry

It was a busy little strip of water with at least four ferries chugging back and forward. Fortunately the water would be warm and the distance to the shore looked swimmable, I mention that for no particular reason.

Krabi Lanta Mini Van

Weather – Monsoon

About 15 minutes after crossing the two Koh Lanta islands the heavens opened and the rain came down in buckets. You could say we were lucky with the weather apart from the first few days. The journey of a couple of hours, which felt more like four, gave a little bit of time to remember the things we were leaving behind on the island but Krabi Town was nearing and soon we would experience a little but more of Thailand's hospitality.

Monsoon Passengers were dropped off at the airport and some at a ferry terminal in town, we were getting dropped off at our hotel. One passenger had booked an onward journey only to find there was no onward connection. The driver offered to take him to a tourist agent to buy another ticket so we all piled back in the bus expecting to go at least a few blocks. Unexpectedly the driver just did a U-turn to the opposite side of the street and there was the destination. We all looked at each other with smiles that indicated we were laughing out loud inside. Here we were asked where we were going and offered a taxi to the airport tomorrow – we declined (can`t fault them for asking for the business).

The excitement over and dropped at our hotel and while checking in the reception asked where we were going and offered a taxi to the airport tomorrow – we declined (somehow that sounds familiar).

There was still some light so after a shower it off to do some adventuring in krabi Town.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Sun Down and Arnee Food Gets Spicy - Day 9

With our time on Koh Lanta nearly over it was back to our hotel to arrange for transport. We were heading back to Krabi Town by minivan again and asked at reception to make arrangements for pickup the next day. The price was around 200THB each which was a little bit more than the cost of the outbound leg.

Still very quiet but the view here was good, looking past the table and chairs towards the pool and the beach in the background.

Kaw Kwang Resort

We were hoping to see lots of brightly coloured fish, sadly nothing came our way. The long sandy beaches were probably not ideal for tropical fish with no place to hide from preying sharks or the heat of the sun (no sharks either). Probably if we tried harder we would have found them, but as a consolation the Kaw Kwang hotel had a few carp swimming around at the doorway.

Fish Kaw Kwang Resort

Tickets booked, morning pickup arranged and as the sun going down time for a last dip in the pool. The last Lanta sunset was showing for us and that secret beach was still being elusive. Maybe it was just a myth made up by somebody looking for more than paradise. I`m sure somebody could make that idea into a great movie!

Sunset Kaw Kwang beach

The evening started with the usual long walk along Klong Dao beach. We were beginning to know all the bumps and curves having walked across here many times. To be honest, we were really a bit far from things, especially with the whole off season quietness. Probably next time we venture here a resort a bit closer to food would be better, for peace and relaxation it’s prefect. During the peak season with more restaurants open it should be even more desirable being slightly away from the crowds.

Food is always a good place to end the day and a bit of Tom Yom would go down nicely, Our host was Arnee`s again, it seemed like we lived there. As with Sanuk Bar it was really at the right location for us, not too far but close enough.

Along the beach, along the strip and all in-between were hotels, resorts and restaurants but it was hit or miss to find some open and serving food. Night was probably not the best time to go wandering around the jungle, I’m sure there are a few creatures that you wouldn’t want to startle lurking in the bush.

Tom Yum Spicy Soup

So soup and extra spicy was requested, I`d guess this about the level a Thai baby reaches when they go on to solid food. For us it was hot. Apart from the great combination of flavours the feeling of getting a roasting red hot poker stuck in your mouth is somehow very pleasantly addictive.

With the day closing we try not to think of leaving Koh Lanta, the combination of spice and a few more beers than usual helped to sedate those thoughts. The knowledge of all those bumps and curves of the beach became very handy on the wandering winding way back to the resort. From this point on the rest of the night seems like a blur and I think we behaved …. hopefully.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Kaw Kwang Beach For The Last Time – Day 9

Weather – Brilliantly Hot

The Lanta Holiday is nearly coming to an end with our last full day here on the island. The beaches are still quite deserted which is quite unbelievable, I guess in a few years time the beautiful views of desolation will be hard to capture as the tourism industry becomes more commercial. But for now this seems to be the place to be for anybody that wants a few days of quiet relaxation.

Deserted Beach

Deserted Beach Lanta Deserted kaw kwang Beach Today the weather was hot, nearly unbearable without a few attempts at cooling off in the sea. The low tide exposes a huge stretch of sand down to the sea and once in the water there is still quite a distance for the coolness to reach a depth over your knees.

Kaw Kwang Beach It really probably was a day to take cover under some sensible shade, but as it’s all nearly over for us we were out trekking along the sand. Suitable amounts of bottled water along with hat for survival but for me I had already been exposed too much to the rays and my skin was peeling off like paper.

There were more signs of preparedness happening in the resorts. Storm nets were getting removed and a bit maintenance on the grounds, but still relatively few guests around to be seen.

Royal Lanta Resort Golden Leaf Restaurant Lanta The empty Golden Leaf Restaurant and Royal Lanta Resort sitting empty. Both places, along with all the other resorts and restaurants, looked just as quiet as the beach. It might have just been the heat keeping everybody indoors, probably where we should have been as the temperature was getting too much for some and any cool place was a welcome relief.

Taking Shade Lanta Food and shade for a while, then off on our travels again. Getting away from the beach front there are quite a few buildings that are not quite what they used to be. Maybe once the high season picks up these places will be buzzing with life, just maybe.

Lanta Deriliction Lanta Bar Late afternoon, it was still just as hot, there was a little bit more life on the beach. It was hard to find but it was there. Time moves slowly here but for us the past 8 days seem to have really been a flash.

Looking For Life On Lanta

Runners and Baby Kaw Kwang Beach Not everybody’s perfect holiday but one of our most enjoyable. Secretly, I think this is because we just took each day as it came without sticking to any schedule. Spending a day on a touristy trip might have felt like a day wasted. Maybe next time we will see the elephants, caves, forest, monkeys, island trip and all those other things that you spend 2 hours getting there , half an hour watching and 2 hours getting back from. If that is your style then it is available here on Koh Lanta if the quietness is too much for you.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Thailand Food and No Lanta Monsoon – Day 8

What do people do on holiday, get herded like sheep on tourist outings or relax and take it easy. We mostly fit in the second category of letting life pass slowly at its own pace which is quite a contrast to normal life being run by the time of the clock. What ever speed we take our holiday at there is one thing we all have in common and that is food. The time to eat gets us moving again across the long deserted beach.

Kaw Kwang was not the best location during the off-season to grab a meal. The resort still running at low capacity can be forgiven for not providing a constantly open restaurant for just a few people. No doubt they could spring in to action if the need arose and source a tasty meal for guests that wanted to feast close to home. For us it was a regular and pleasant walk along the beach even at night to satisfy our hunger.

Klong Dao Beach Night

Where Kaw Kwang beach joins on to Klong Dao there is a length of undeveloped jungle which is completely dark and all we can see is the lights in the distance and the sound of waves lapping on the beach to guide us. Occasionally we came across other life, a family pushing a pram or a local couple just having a bit of together time. There wasn’t much fear of anything horrible happening, maybe we were being too carefree.

Passing a few resorts in semi-darkness, where we might have sampled the food if there were open, it was Sanuk Bar that offered the hospitality of something hot to fill our bellies. It is a regular spot for us, the food is great and the hosts friendly but the main reason was it was the first place after the long walk and the last place before when we were heading home.

Sanuk Tom Yum Soup Tom Yum, oh how we love that, very spicy – that is very spicy on the non-Thai scale but probably still at the bottom on what the local can tolerate. Along with the customary bottle of beer and two glasses produced a satisfying starter. Sitting practically on the beach with the sound of the softly waves in your ears we thought of family and friends back home. We laughed as we guessed they would be rushing home after a hard days toil. it made us quite happy that we seemed to be in a little paradise, at least for a few days before we joined the other world outside again.

Sanuk Bar Peaceful

It was still monsoon season, and while a monsoon is really a wind, the rain that it brings is what we normally associate with the word. Far in the distance out in the Andaman Sea someplace a storm was brewing and the occasional large orange glow in the clouds could be seen on the horizon. The lack of thunder sounds made is all so much more beautiful to watch. All through the holiday, the few days we had rain they were short lived and very light showers.

Andaman sea Darkness

There were a few more places that we thought of trying some food so reluctantly finishing out drinks we left Sanuk and wandered along the sand for a little while before heading inland. As it turns out our tentative plan never worked out, we were passing Arnee’s (mum’s) and the smell of barbecue outside caught our attention. Either we were over powered by the smell of chicken and sausage or Mum talked us into eating, but we were seated and had ordered faster then we could think.

The chicken tasted wonderful, it might have been slowly cooking for hours but it ended up so soft and brittle but still amazingly juicy. Now I`m not sure what was in the sausages and I probably do not want to know but these excelled the chicken. Sweet and juicy made us want a few more, unfortunately there were no more and no time left to get them to the same cooked perfection. Rice and a spicy vegetable stir-fry was the accompaniment along with a range of spicy sauces. A bottle of Ketchup was included for some reason.

Hot Chili Face

A little word of caution here, careful what you eat. The innocent looking bit of green vegetable may just be a super hot chilli in disguise. Waiting for somebody not paying enough attention to give it a big chew. It’s one of those looks you cant help bursting out laughing about, the O.H will never forgive me.

A second good helping of food and the time seemed to fly past, we never made it to where we had initially planned and headed for home.

All the foods we sampled the few days on Koh Lanta were very delicious. Some requests, and particularly fish, were unavailable which is probably due to off-season stocks. The restaurants were extremely quiet and I guess it would be silly to have lots of fresh food hoping customers would arrive. Still there was enough variation and extremely good quality Thailand meals to keep us happy for a long time.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Saladan and Sunset at Kaw Kwang, Lanta – Day 8

Weather – Would you believe it`s hot.

The morning was spent at the pool in Kaw Kwang. We could say we had it all to ourselves again, but not today. There was at least one other person taking a cooling dip although the whole resort was virtually deserted. All the sun loungers were untouched with the mats laid out to dry and the gardens remained empty apart from a few brave animals risking the sunshine. Here I caught a little bird taking a bit of shade under a sun lounger.

Bird in shade

Kaw Kwang Jungle

The bay here has its own little bit of mangrove and coral reef along with the coconut filled jungle. The secret beach still seems to be keeping its location hidden.

The afternoon was started with a trip to Saladan, well its such a small town we have seen it all before but we might have missed something along its two roads. Getting a little feel of town life after the remoteness of the beach does actually feel good, even if it’s a few minutes in a town as basic as Saladan.

Saladan Koh Lanta Noi

Looking over to Koh Lanta Noi from Saladan Town

Saladan Road Koh Lanta

Down the empty streets of Saladan, I guess when the high season starts and the ferries begin their runs the town will become much busier.

It does have a few places to eat although and even if quite a few were still closed for the season the opportunity arose to sample the food again and how could we refuse. Butter fried chicken with peanut satay along with some deep fried onion rings. The O.H. delved in with fish and chips, no beer this time but a couple of cooling coconut drinks.

Thai Lunch

Today seemed to be an eating day and somehow we ended up down the strip and outside the German bakery. The lack of coffee the past few days seemed not to be affecting me at all, no caffeine withdrawal symptoms, short tempered outburst or aching sore heads. It must have been the thought of nice fresh cake that took us here and to justify it more, we never has dessert after out late lunch.

German Bakery Koh Lanta

Like most of the places here, the bakery is open ended to the road and the local Koh Lanta life can be watched passing by as you sip your drink. The coffee did taste good and the cake reminded me of something my mother would make. The O.H enjoyed her slice just as much and never even voiced any concern that it might make her fat.

Popping across the road to the 7-11 to get a few more snacks and drinks then we headed back to Kaw Kwang Resort to laze beside the pool and catch a bit of the sunset. Nothing really seems to be happening, eating and sunbathing and eating more, the days seem to go fast and I think the long walks make up a lot of our day time are not really noticed. It`s a funny feeling not being bored while really doing nothing for over a week.

Kaw KWang Lanta Football The football seems to be a regular thing and I`d guess with a few more holidaymakers that are a bit fitter than myself a few larger teams would be playing on the beach.

This would really be our first sunset at Kaw Kwang with the few days of cloud and catching the sunsets at Sanuk bar it seems we were never here at the right time to witness the scenes.

Kaw Kwang Lanta sunset

Kaw Kwang Lanta sunset Kaw Kwang Lanta sunset

Kaw Kwang Lanta sunset

The rocky jungle outcrop here means the sunset comes a bit earlier and sets behind the trees rather than descending on the horizon but the site is just as beautiful to witness. The day is not over yet and I guess it will soon be time to eat, again and actually again. Luckily we have a long walk to burn up those calories. Koh Lanta, Thailand in the low cost monsoon season is turning out to be very nice indeed.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Day 7 – Koh Lanta Thailand Sunsets at Sanuk Bar

Sanuk Bar provides another welcome relief from the heat and refreshments just in time to catch the Koh Lanta sunset over the Andaman Sea. Having lived for many years in a very northerly part of the world, I am used to long slow sunsets that last for hours and it really only goes dark(ish) after 10p.m. Here down in Thailand it comes much earlier and much quicker, not quite blink and you will miss it, but fast enough.

Having the usual nice cool drink, that salt water does make you a bit thirsty, and a little bit of a snack. If I remember correctly and I am ashamed to admit that the O.H had “Toast” , a not very Thai Choice.

sunset koh lanta

The time was around 5.30pm when we sat down to watch the skies and the Islands of Koh Phi Phi can be seen just on the horizon.

sunset koh lanta

I`d like to think that the animals of the jungle came out to watch the sun with us, bit of a Disney moment there.

sunset koh lanta

It was actually a Childs toy, a family was having dinner in Sanuk and the hosts provided something for the kids occupied with in the sand.

sunset over koh phi phi

I`m really hoping for the best with my photographs. The Canon G10 thankfully takes care of most of the settings automatically but it’s still up to me to frame the shot. I have no idea. Fortunately, snapping 100`s of photographs costs nothing with digital (except battery power) and maybe a few will look good.

sunset over koh phi phi

sunset over koh phi phi

Just before 6.10pm and Koh Phi Phi catches the sun.

sunset klong dao koh lanta

The beach was not quite empty, a few other diners mingled with the Thai football players on the beach.

sunset over koh phi phi

Koh lanta, kaw kwang

This was our destination, Kaw KWang, along the dark beach. By now we had travelled back and forth a few times and could really do it with our eyes shut. In fact it was so dark eye open or closed made no real difference once the sun went down.


6.30pm and it`s gone for another day.

Watching the sunset go down on Koh Lanta along with the atmosphere of the island was just as enjoyable as, if not better, than any all star cast blockbuster movie. Not everybody will enjoy it, but I know many that once it`s been experienced then you will want more.