Monday, 31 January 2011

Khao Lak A Long Beach A Long Walk Day 4

Breakfast was included in the price of the rooms, that is more a preference of the Other Half than mime.
Hotel Breakfast
This is the typical style of food that I often try to avoid. We can have this in most places in the world but its not the flavours that we come to Thailand for.
Suwan Palm Swimming Pool
The sun was up shining and it looked like it would be a beautiful day. The restaurant the setting was nice. With the hotel pool on once side and the garden on the other side leading to the beach.  The names here are slightly misleading.  Khao Lak beach is further south and out side our resort is Nang Thong Beach.
Khao Lak TownBreakfast  over and out in the town of Khao Lak to have a look around in the day light. The sea was far behind and it was quite different from Nai Yang.
Last night while we were looking at out map we decided to walk north to the next village and return along the beaches. We should have realized the tourist maps can deceiving in their scale.
Lost On the Road
It never looked far to go. Actually turned out the be quite a few kilometres walk. Most of the road was populated by various restaurants or stalls selling a bite eat.  It was looking a slightly bit more cloudy than this morning which made the , um, long walk bearable.
Trip Advisor Recomended Closed
This place boasts that it is recommended by a travel site called Tripadvisor. Unfortunately for anybody taking that advice the place was closed. Low season sees a lot of places shutting up for lack of customers, but luckily down the street there are enough places open for food and/or a cooling beer.
Thai Beer Chang
On our leg down the the beach signs of rain were felt and the idea of taking cover seemed best. We popped in to a little eatery and the monsoons broke with rain pouring down outside, it was nice timing and nice food. Along with our bottle Chang we had a snack of some chicken sate.  The rains lasted for maybe 1/2 an hour. Just about he same time for us to finish our drink and carry on to the beach.
Bang Niang Beach
The beach here is called Bang Niang an further north is Khuk Khak beach. It seems like it just a never ending strip of paradise. Even with the clouds still greying the sky, we stripped off our clothes an enjoyed the waters. It was amazingly warn both in and out.
It was a long way back, but the scenery made up for it. Lots of curves on the beach and the waves added a bit of fun as they suddenly rushed up further than we expected.
Khao Lak Surfing
The day went quick. I guess it must have been that underestimating the distance we had to walk.  Sunset saw the skies still overcast but a hint of a beautiful tropical sunset just managing to peek through.
Khao Lak Pancake Stall
The evening saw us back out in Khao Lak town.  The while place was quiet for its size but a little congregation was surrounding the pancake stall and they had a good reason to smile. They were quite tasty.
Restaruant Khao Lak
Another empty restaurant for dinner. It seemed like mother and daughters, they were all sitting outside expecting us to walk past. It got a little bit excited as we started to walk in with everybody springing in to action.
The menu was extensive and somehow we managed to settle for a few dishes that had that mouth watering Thai style and enough spicy heat to keep us happy.
Running Deer Bar Khao Lak
After a walk around town in the warm night and seeing most of the shops close up we decided to head back to the resort. Unfortunately the Running Deer seemed still to be open and we just had to pay it a visit.
It is located just a couple of hundred meters from our beds so it wouldn't be far to go if anybody spend a bit of time here.  The day was over and time to retire. The sun kept itself hidden today but it was still warm and the temperature of the sea hardly changes.
Maybe tomorrow would bring a bit of skin burning sunshine.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Goodbye Nai Yang, Hello Khao Lak Day 3

The last day started with the warm sunshine and a nice morning swim in the resort pool. It was pleasing but still never made up for missing out on getting in the clear blue sea.
Sea View From Nai Yang

Checkout was quick and a short walk for breakfast at a place called. The was nobody there except a young boy sweeping the decking. He quickly said “I get Mamma”, I guess they were not expecting anybody. We had a western style breakfast freshly cooked that would make any hotel envious. This with a great view of the beach too.
Thai Taxi
Heading over to the tourist booth for our transport  the call of “Taxi Sir” was head and instinct was to shake my head indication “No”. Somehow I turned around and asked how much, he nicely came back with 200THB which was 50 less than our quote last night and 100 less than the hotel. Naturally we took his offer. The road back to the highway revealed that we missed lost of  places to explore and eat if we had more time here. Arriving at night kept us in the dark about this. Next time maybe.
The short ride too us to the bust station or more likely it was merely  a bus stop.  Good fortune set in again with a coach about to pull out and our taxi driver getting us on board. No idea how long we would have waited for the next one.
Bridge To Phuket
 The bridge connection to the mainland reminded us that Phuket is and Island. The coach nearly empty it seemed not many people were going on this trip. It was comfortable and took  around an hour with a break for the drivers, there were three of them. Price was 150THB for each of us.

Khao Lak McDonalds

Khao Lak appeared and we were deposited on the side of the road with the bus driving off we were left to gather our directions. Somebody spotted a familiar logo and grabbing a map from a tourist box we headed to McDonalds. Sadly I admit we had fries.
Suwan Palm Resort Khao LAk

We soon figured out where we were and where we wanted to go. The Suwan Palm Resort was on the beach but the town was inland so we had a short walk this time in daylight and remember placed we might go back too.
The resort was one of a few down at the beach but here again everything was quiet. Not an island but it seemed quite deserted with not many tourists or locals around.
Suwan Palm Beach View

The hotel is not quite on the beach, a few meters back with the trees keeping the building hidden. Although we did have a sea view and a balcony to sit out on.
Suwan Palm Beach Side

Unpacked what little we brought and  it was outside and just a few steps to have a look at the beach. Unfortunately the monsoons were bringing clouds and the skies were beginning to look grey. The beach was empty, looking up and down we never seen anybody.
The grey skies never kept out of the water. It felt like a warm bath which was still refreshing from the heat in the air. The added addition of great waves made us act 20 years younger.
It was still early and up the beach we went for a walk. It felt like the beach would go on forever. Deceiving  with lots of curved bays and just as you reach a headland another bay appears.
We must have walked a good few kilometers with mostly nobody to be seen and nearly nothing human made jutting on to the beach.  Just as we were about to turn back we came upon a few bamboo huts. Need a massage or some food then this was the right spot.  We shared a bottle of Chang and sat on the beach while watching the waves.
Suddenly the trees started to scream! The wind had picked up and there was a chance of a downpour. If it was dark and alone then even I would have been scared of that noise. It passed quickly and better safe than sorry we headed back down the beach to the resort.
Sunset Khao Lak

The sun was setting and although a bit of sunset was showing the skies were clouded. I guess life can’t be perfect all of the time, we can settle for it being brilliant.
A walk around town in the evening. Khao Lak settles itself on a wide road with everything on either side. The obligatory Tailor shops were here. What I seemed to need most was “getting a new pair of glasses”. It felt like opticians had overtaken the Tailors in looking for trade.
Ga Restaruant Khao Lak
We passed a few restaurants some empty some a bit more full. Our general guideline here is we see a lot of western people eating then we move on to the next place. We are looking for Genuine Thai Food to eat and while it’s not perfect it has worked well for us.
We came up on a place called “Ga” and we did strike it lucky here. The host was extremely friendly and the food was second to none. There seemed to be a bit extra service that made it and extremely pleasurable place to eat.
The first day in Khao Lak was over and while some people may like a bit more excitement and tourist trips, the atmosphere of a place is the pleasure for us. Exploring along with long walks on a deserted beach with the waves lapping at your feet is hard to better.
Khao Lak does have 7-11 so naturally we stocked up the way back to the resort.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Time in Nai Yang and The Beach Day 2

We woke early and refreshed which I guess means the hotel room was on the better side. Our bellies were hungry for some genuine Thai food it seemed we had to do the obvious.

Nai Yang Resort Swimming Pool

Alas breakfast would have to wait, outside our room was that hotel pool just begging for somebody to take a dip in its cool waters. How could we resist. A quick swim turned in to a couple of hours relaxing beside the pool with the feeling of that tropical sun warming our bodies. Eventually the need for some food and wanting to get out in Nai Yang won. We would only have one day here and sitting beside the pool was not the best thing to do.


The resort was quite large, lots of 2 or was it 3 storey buildings spread around the grounds which felt like a well manicured jungle with the amount of foliage spread around. The slight downside, our quest for lower cost rooms had us placed far from reception and the beach. Still it was only a few minutes walk.

Nai Yang Town

Once outside we had our first views of Nai Yang. It turns out really to be one road running down the side of the beach with the resorts hidden on the landward side. Straddling the road were shops and restaurants, the beach side being most free from any large buildings. It felt like a nice compromise between nature and development with trees growing through roads and inside shops. It was small, not much to see, which for us meant looking for a place to eat wouldn't take long.

We sat down in a beach front cafe, open ended on to the sea and we had a good view of the long sandy beach. It looked remarkably clean and free from any signs of human flotsam washed up along its length. So food was ordered, Breakfast was chicken and noodles with the necessary bottle of cooling Thai beer.

Nai Yang Beach Looking South

Nai Yang appeared to be near the south side of the beach with a headland blocking us going any further so we chose head in a northerly direction. The further up the beach we went the more natural it became. A few sparse buildings, no deckchairs cluttering the beach, just the sun, the sea, the beach and the trees. Very few people, local or tourists, which made it feel like a personal desert island.

Nai Yang Beack Looking North

If we kept going at some point we would have reached the airport. Not that we knew it was there. We only noticed one aircraft and that was late at night, only giving itself away by its lights flashing in the distance. After an hour or two of sitting around under a tree and feeling the waves tickle our feet we headed back to Nai Yang. Tanking the road and soon we were back at the resort. As were were travelling tomorrow finding out about transport would be a good idea.

No bus service that we could find serves Nai Yang directly so it would have to be a taxi ride to the nearest bus stop to catch some transport heading north to our next resort, Khao Lak.

Our Enquiries at the hotel indicated that it would be 300THB for the trip but over the road at the taxi stand we were offered 250THB. 50 Baht cheaper but its really only a few pounds or dollars. We had said we would come back tomorrow for the ride and headed for dinner.

Nai Yan Beach Restaurant

Another restaurant on the beach again and you cant get more on the beach than this. Luckily the monsoons were not bringing rain which made it a pleasant evening.

Tom Yum soup was needed and quickly served up. It was tasty but not the best we have had. It could be we are setting our standards a little to high.

Nai Yang Town Nightime

A little walk after dinner and with Nai Yang being quite small the walk was short. Back to the hotel and a night time swim in the pool which we still had to ourselves.

Looking back at Nai Yang there is not much there. Nightlife and life in general seemed very quiet with not much happening. There are enough places to eat and drink to have something different every day for maybe a week. The beach was fantastic, clean and not busy. It’s location near Phuket Airport gives it some points as a place to stop off for a few days.

The one thing that we missed out on was actually getting in the water. I guess we never realized how short one day can be and time soon ran out. The waves were quite large and red flags were flying but it was still a missed opportunity.

Maybe Next time.

Tomorrow would be travelling to destination 2. Khao Lak, north of Phuket Island and with a 4 night stay, maybe I’ll get to swim in the sea.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Arriving at Nai Yang, Phuket Day 1

The first stop on our trip would be Nai Yang. We didn't really know much about this place and it was really chosen for connivance.


We left for the Airport with the darkness closing and the rain falling constantly. With that feeling it would be nice to wake up the next morning in a different country with sunshine and a exotic sandy beach nearby.

Landing at Phuket Airport, Thailand, we had no luggage apart from our carry on backpacks which meant getting through customs and immigration was quick.

Our first hurdle, apart from being slightly tired and hungry, was getting to Nai Yang Beach. We were spotted by the local taxi touts and somehow gravity pushed us together. The price was 300THB initially which I thought was a little bit too much. I kept standing on my toes and pointing “look I can see Nai Yang from here”. The other half was meanwhile looking in her purse and complaining about the exchange rate. Final price was around 200THB by taxi to the resort.

It was a short trip, maybe 10- 15 minutes to the hotel. Standing before us at the hotel check in were another couple from the same flight. If we had found them at the airport then we could have split the price of the taxi between us.

Checked in and after what felt like a mile walk to our room, time to relax. It was around 1 a.m. now and our first bit of pleasure was sitting on the porch out side the room feeling the warm air and listening to the sounds of geckoes.


Across a path and no more then 10 steps away was one of the 3 pools in the resort. A dip in the water was tempting but going to sleep won in the end.

First day over, not sure if it can be counted as a day of the holiday, but at least we had landed, had a roof over our head, a bed to sleep in and the rain was not pouring down.

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Andaman Holiday Resorts List

The trip planning began to show some sign of coming together. Flights times were looked at and commute times between the resorts were arranged to allow as much beach times as possible.

We settled on 5 different locations that we thought were worth visiting. For me the beach was the most important factor while the Other Half thought about the quality of the hotels. I would have settled for a bamboo hut with a trickle of sea water for a shower but I had to give in and accept that some comforts were needed.

The flight would land on Phuket Island to start us off. With the landing around midnight a resort close the airport was chosen.

Map North West Phuket, Nai Yang Beach

Nai Yang on the west of the island looked good and it was just for two nights. I was not really very happy about going to Phuket but it all turned out much better then I expected. We would have two nights and one day here then catching transport to the second beach.

Khao Lak around 50 kilometers north of Phuket was a hopefully short commute and we had planned 4 nights here. This was an unknown for us but it turned out to have an absolutely fabulous beach or rather beach after beach.

Ao Nang took us back into Krabi Provence. This was a longer section of the journey but we had hoped not to waste more than 3 or 4 hours travelling.

The fourth stop was Koh Lanta. The island was so near that we just couldn’t miss out spending a few days here.

Lastly is was back to Phuket and this time we picked out Kamala to spend a few days before catching the plane back home.

That was our list and as it was really off season we managed to get most of the hotels quite cheap and extra offers of stay 4 nights and just pay 3.

Long Tail boats on River, Thailand

Getting transport between the sandy beaches was still largely unconfirmed. We had a vague idea of connections, a mix of bus and mini van routes. If we got stuck we could always fall back on getting a Taxi although that was not really in the plan.

Hoping for some good food, long quiet sand beaches, warm clear water and tasty spiced food we were ready. All the locations were unknown to us apart from Koh Lanta, so excitedly we set off for the first resort on our list at Nai Yang.