Thursday, 31 March 2011

Goodbye Kamala Goodbye Holiday Day 17

Our final and last day had arrived. We would be leaving Phuket and Thailand behind in a few hours time and jetting off back to concrete, skyscraper and pollution.

First port of call was the hotel restaurant for breakfast. There were a few other holidaymakers staying and the resort put on a good selection of food. But on the whole it was typically a international flavour. That is just something to expect from hotels I guess.

Packing bags Kamala

Not enough time left to take in a swim in the pool or a last look at the beach. Just packing bags and looking under the bed for anything we might have left behind.

Kamala Beach did not seem to provide any easy transport to the airport while we were there. We could have easily hopped on a bus and headed down to Phuket town and catch an airport bus from there. I`d guess during the high reason more routes would open up. So our last journey would be by Taxi. Yea we were splashing out.

The drivers were conveniently lazing out side the resort waiting for some trade. It was a hefty price we though, THB 600 to go to the airport. During the last few days we had made a few little enquiries about transport and the price always came back same. Maybe we could have haggled and tried to get a price a few THB 100 cheaper, but it was the end of the holiday and why stress.

Taking a couple of bottles of water from the 7-11 close by we jumped in our quite luxurious taxi and headed north. We passed quite a few built up areas that might be worthy of a visit next time but most of the trip was in silence. both of us were secretly crying inside realising it was time to go home.

Subway Sandwich Phuket

The taxi ride was quick, I guess less than an hour, and we were dropped off at Phuket International Airport. We had a few THB left rattling in our pockets and that was exchanged for a couple meals of a sandwich at Subway.

Departure Board Phuket

It was the end of a good holiday. My camera was full of memories that would just give a little bit of a reminder of the places we had visited. We usually just jet in to a resort and stay for the whole trip. This time we took in 5 locations and it somehow worked. The travel times were quite short but did take away a little bit of extra time on the beach. On the positive side we found some fantastic locations to visit next time.

Nai Yang and Kamala in Phuket had changed my mind about this island. Both were quiet and had good stretches of clean sandy beaches. Khao Lak was just beach after beach. If we had to have one bad choice it would be Ao Nang in Krabi. The town felt quite a bit more of busy tourist location but it was still a great visit and we would probably go back. Koh Lanta, this trip was much shorter and quieter than our last. I think we should have pencilled in a few more days on Lanta but there is always next time.

Air Asia Inflight Novelties

The green season trip was extremely cheap with the resorts costing up to 1/3 of the price during the high season. No matter what season it is the beaches never close. We had a few rainy monsoon days but nothing to spoil our trip. The sun was never far away.

All that is left to do is look at our photographs and think of our next trip. Visiting a few resorts seemed to work and for that we needed 16 days. Maybe a quick long weekend might not be far away before we have the time for another holiday.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Sunshine and Monsoon Kamala Beach Day 16

Our last full day on holiday but not time to look back yet. The sun was up and there was a beach we needed to enjoy. First port of call was the inclusive breakfast in the resort. I supposed typical hotel international breakfast but they did have a good range of foods on offer.

Armed with bottles of water and hats we headed across the road to the sea and it looked twice as beautiful as yesterday. The waves were rolling in and crashing on the slope of the beach with hardly anybody there to enjoy it all.

Kamala Beach Sun Loungers

It was a good morning a few clouds but plenty of sunshine. We took to the north of the beach again, passing the sun loungers and massage tents. Here is was just really us, the trees, the sand and the waves.

Kamala Beach

After a good couple of hours splashing around and having a bit of youthful fun there was a noticeable darkness in the clouds and a stronger wind starting to blow.

Kamala Beach Monsoon Clouds

We thought about it for a while and reluctantly decided to move back down the beach.

Kamala Monsoon

Not quite fast enough, we got caught in a heavy monsoon downpour and managed to find some shelter in a restaurant located on the beach. The tables began to fill up with other holidaymakers seeking refuge from the storm.

Kamala Monsoon

For us it was convenient,  a bit of food and a couple of beers while we waited for the rains to stop. It was a long wait, it just seemed to get heavier and heavier. It took a couple of hours and a couple more beers before we thought of chancing our luck.


The rains did ease slightly or so we thought. Hurrying in the direction of the hotel, not more than a couple of hundred meters we got completely soaked. All part of the fun I guess, at least it was not freezing.

Sadly that was our day, we did manage a few hours on the beach but the rains kept up from venturing out for the rest of the day except for an evening meal close by.

We manages lots of monsoon free days it was just a shame we had just a few days to spend in Kamala.  Tomorrow would be traveling back to Phuket Airport and home.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

First Look at Kamala Beach Day 15

We checked in at the Print Kamala Resort and had been allocated a garden hut. The room was big with a decking out front to sit and relax. All this was raised above the ground and set in a tropical forest complete with pond.  It was quite an exotic and relaxing setting.
Print Kamala Resort
The resort is not directly on the beach but it’s just a short walk to the sand. For us we decided to have a look around town and get some food. We should have done a bit more home work here as we set off the wrong direction away from town. Food was, um, pizza and chicken sate with a cool beer.

Having our hunger satisfied we jumped down on to the beach and took in the views. Kamala Beach sits in a little bay and  it would be an easy late afternoon walk up the sand.

Kamala Beach Looking South

The southern end just near out resort seemed to be the busiest part of  the beach, not that there were many people around. The sand was nice and soft as we headed north.


Tuned out it was a bit too soft to walk on properly. Luckily a track parallels the beach and we walked a bit more firmly. Quite a few massage tents and beach restaurants. Some were tempting but having just eaten it was not for us. That was until a pancake seller on his motorcycle came alone the path – not something we could resist. A few minutes later and a freshly cooked banana pancake was in our hands.

The north end of the bay was quiet, nothing near as touristy looking as the southern end. The waves looked challenging as they broke on the slope of the shore.

Sadly, time was not on our side and darkness was beginning to fall. We sometimes forget how early and quickly it arrives. Saying that we headed back to the resort and took to the hotel pool. I know there were other people staying here but we had the pool alone.

Resturant view

For the evening we just took a restaurant just outside of the hotel. I have to admit we were a little bit lost here and not much time to explore but it was a nice place one flight up that allowed us to dine while looking down at the road.

Ton Yum soup and a Green Curry. Both were very tasty and enjoyable but not ranking up with the best. Could we be getting a little bit too fussy with our Thai Cuisine.

The night was pleasingly warm and we sat for a while watching and finishing out beer. We could hear the occasional sound of thunder in the distance.

End of the evening was set sitting at the edge of the beach watching an amazing lightning show far out in the ocean. Too far to hear any nose but the constant bolts of electricity were illuminating up the sky. There were a few locals sitting near but it looked like there were more interesting in their mobile phones.

Kamala Ligthning

Kamala Lightning

The lightning is not something the camera could pick up easily and doesn’t really show how fantastic it looked.

End of a nice day, a little bit long in the travelling and not much time to explore. Kamala Beach was not a disappointment  but with just two nights here it`s not enough time.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Trip from Koh Lanta to Kamala Day 15

An early morning departure for our next and last destination, Kamala Beach in Phuket. The weather was wonderful with a few white clouds high in the sky and the temperature was getting hot. The minivan arrived on time and we departed, from our nearly exclusive resort, Royal Lanta.
Koh Lanta From the Ferry
As we were near the north of the island there was just one more stop for tourists before we were on our way. We were quickly on the ferries connecting the island of Koh Lanta with the mainland and there seemed to be a quietness in minivan.

Maybe everybody was just as sad as us to leave the island or more likely everybody was still half asleep.
Krabi Transfer station
The route to Kamala took us back to the transfer station just out side Krabi where we had breakfast. A couple of bowls of chicken noodle soup which tasted much better than I'd imagined.

The transfer station started to fill up with travellers waiting for onward transport. We noticed a few departing going in our direction but it seemed to more popular beaches in Phuket. Kamala did not seem attractive to our fellow holidaymakers and infact we were the only ones heading there.

We were spotted by a driver and he didn't look to happy to take us initially. He was on the hunt for other destinations. Eventually he gave in and we piled on board with others heading to the west side of Phuket and we were off.
Thailand Route 4 Scenery
There was some quite stunning scenery along the route but the driver had his foot down and we were on the highway. Everything was flashing past really too quick to admire the rock formations and jungle forests.

After a couple of hours we were back in Phuket Island and left the highway to road that took us at a slight slower pace, a kind of follow the contours of the land road. It was still quite quick going and Kamala came in to view.
Kamala Thailand Taxi
Down there was Kamala Bay hidden behind the, believe it or not, red taxi.

The whole journey from Koh Lanta to Kamala Beach took around 5 hours and that was including the stopover in Krabi.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Lazing on Klong Dao Beach Day 14

This would be our last full day on Koh Lanta. The time passed too quick and we would be leaving tomorrow heading back to Krabi. We still had today to enjoy and the long golden sandy beach was all ours.

Klong Dao Beach Koh Lanta

At the North end of Klong Dao Beach, near Kaw Kwang, we remembered there was a semi-secret beach from last year. Going there would give us a long walk along the sand along with the occasional splash in the water.

Secret Beach Koh Lanta

The secret beach was no so secret any more. Last year there was a new resort on top of the hill but they might have missed the beach. Now they seem to have found it and built a set of stone steps leading down to the sand. It was never our beach but we couldn't help feel a bit of sadness finding other people swimming in its waters.

Sanuk Bar Koh Lanta

Sanuk Bar offered an opportunity for a cool drink on the way back along Klong Dao before heading down to the south end. Here it was a bit more rocky and there were a few fish trapped in pools but all quite small.  The beach and road nearly join at the south end of the beach so it was an easy cross over.

Onion Rings Thai Orchid

The Thai Orchid Restaurant provided another nice place to stop off from the heat of the day and a bit of something to eat. Our host was praising his brother the chef and how great he was but were were just looking for a little snack and a cool drink, maybe next time we are in town we could pop in for a meal.

An so it as back to Royal Lanta and the beach for the rest of the afternoon. We did not have the whole resort to ourselves now, another couple had arrived so that made two rooms for the housemaids to tidy in the morning. I wonder how they felt about getting a double workload.

Our time was running out and it seemed the the weather was getting better and hotter. The few showers mostly came at night and did not last long before they were gone and dried up by the next morning. Taking in the last of the beach and watching the last of sun go down we reluctantly left.

Thia Food At Arnee

Our last meal had to be at Arnee`s. We had become quite comfortable eating here and her Spicy Tom Yum soup was quite excellent.

Back at the resort we packed what we could and got ready for an early morning pick-up to go back to Krabi before heading off to the last resort on our holiday. This would be Kamala Beach on the west coast of Phuket Island. It was another new beach for us and we hoped it would just be as fantastic as the rest.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Around Koh Lanta and Ban Saladan Day 13

Another beautiful morning on Koh Lanta. And it was going to be another hot one. Along with no plan whatsoever. Still some things need to be taken care off and breakfast first.

The German Bakery was close by and convenient so that the first port of call. For some reason I can`t remember what we ate here although it was taste. It must have been a western style of food and something we were ashamed of consuming in Thailand.

Further up the road, North, was Ban Saladan and it was worthy of a walk. Maybe it is our memories  but there seemed to be much more buildings and shops along here. One thing we did notice there was much less calls from taxi drivers than our last trip.

The main town of  Saldan looked much the same, just a lot lot quieter. Shops were still open and restaurants serving but quite a lacking of tourist. Wherever everybody is going too it is not Koh Lanta. I feel they might be missing something.

Tropical Fish

Not much for us to see in town, we never needed to buy any supplies and we had just eaten. Everything seemed to be resting, even the dogs we passed hardly raised an eye. Around the ferry piers we did catch a glimpse of some fish swimming under the boats and the houses built out in the the sea. Without going on a dive or snorkelling trip I don't think we will get much of a chance to swim with them. The last place swam with tropical fish was in Kota Kinabalu when we had a trip in Malaysia.

Wandering on the Beach

For the afternoon we just had to settle for our paradise beach. Still mostly having it all to ourselves and the sun just to warming to want to do anything else. It just felt quite perfect apart from the occasional need to cool down.

I wonder if the other beaches further south on Koh Lanta would be as quiet as ours. Maybe one trip we might take a resort in another place but would the range of restaurants be as accessible as they are here.

Sunset Koh Lanta

By the time the sun was setting we were back in town on the search for some tasty food to eat. The skies looked like they would bring some more monsoon rains for the night and were laden with water. This gave us a spectacular sight with the sun setting. The hills became a wonderful reddish orange colour with the light. I know there is a name for this but I can't remember it now.
Showers did arrive along with some lightning but it seemed mostly out a sea and we managed to avoid a torrential downpour.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Koh Lanta an Island to Ourselves Day 12

Our first night in Royal Lanta and the monsoons had brought the rains. There were patches of water still on the ground but the sun was already up and drying things up.
Royal Lanta Resort

The resort which was situated in its own little tropical forest was not serving breakfast. Low occupancy during the low season means some staff are seasonal. What we soon discovered is that we were the only guest staying here. That came as quite a surprise considering how luxurious the resort was and well the weather was not really a problem.

Our tropical forest cabin, which was said to be a traditional Thai design, had a roof was so high I`m sure we could lie on bed and see stars.

It was just a couple of hundred meters walk up to the road for food and we stopped in at Arnees again. The food was good and the heat was starting be turned up. We relaxed for a while sitting under the shade with a couple of taste servings for breakfast and watched life go past up and down the road.

Spicy Thai Food

Having eaten which was one of the main pleasures for us being on holiday it was time to take in the second pleasure. Hitting the beach. Back to the resort to change and as we walked from under out canopy of green the beach came in to view.

Deserted Beach Koh Lanta

I could say there was a scramble for some place to sit down but like the other beaches we had visited this trip the whole length was nearly deserted. It was just as we had remembered it from out last trip but just a little bit more messy. A lot of driftwood had been washed up on the shore and there were a few lines of refuse near the high tide mark.

Royal Lanta has two swimming pools one near the entrance and the other just off the beach. The first one was a bit out of the way and the beach side was getting renovated but we had the sea and that was big enough.

Klong Dao Beach Koh Lanta

Klong-Dao-Beach stretched into the distance to the north and to the south, we were practically in the middle. In front of us the sand slowly sloped into the sea and that kept the water shallow. No need to say it felt good especially in that heat. There were few clouds in the sky to keep the sunshine at bay so cooling down in the waves felt quite fantastic.

Wattery Sunset 
Next door was Sanuk Bar which we spent quite a few days watching the sunset while drinking something cool but it looked like nobody was home. Luckily we were wrong and took up position with a cool beer, 2 glasses, and watched the sunset on the horizon. It was paradise again.

With darkness making us reluctantly leave the beach, the evening took us on a short walk around the town. Well that was the idea, the monsoon rains put a stop the that and some how we ended up in Arnee's restaurant again. It was quite a downpour with thunder and lightning illuminating the skies around us.

That would put and end to our day, but we stayed and ate casually for a couple of hours with the storm torrents outside. The whole experience seemed quite exciting in a way.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Travelling back To Koh Lanta Day 11

A day of travel and heading back to Koh Lanta. We had fond memories of the island and we just had to include the beaches on our itinerary for this trip.

Destination Koh Lanta

We were getting picked up around 10.30am. That left us with enough time to take the early morning with ease. Breakfast, included with the room, was over and our bags packed. We waited out side sitting at one of the table of the restaurant having a view of the street.

The skies were looking a little bit more clouded this morning, still incredibly warm and not a hint of rain. That was fortunate as our wait took a bit longer then we had anticipated. When the minivan arrived it was nearly full of other tourist, so we have them to blame for the delay.

We waved goodbye to Ao-Nang and we were on our way down south to Koh Lanta. There was a couple of stops, first at the transfer station out side Krabi Town and in Krabi Town itself as we waited for passengers. I guess picked the wrong transport company for this leg of the trip.

Koh Lanta Road Ferry

After enough time for a leg stretch we were back on the road again. The trip down to Koh Lanta was reasonable quick and a couple of little waits for the two car ferries to dock. Luckily there were no long queues of traffic waiting and before we knew it we were on the island.

Like our journey from Khao Lak, we just had one other couple in the van with us. We ere all staying near the north end of the island which means there was not a lot of driving around dropping people off.

In the short time it took us to get off the car ferry, past Ban Saladan and over to the west side of the island the heavens opened. Monsoons had brought the rains and it was heavy. It rained the first day of our trip last year, did we bring it with us?
Royal Lanta Monsoon

Hotel check in was quick and the whole place was quiet. The Royal Lanta has a bit more quality than we usually make do with and we have my Other Half to thank for finding this treat. The resort looked quite stunning even if the rains were pouring down.

The Royal opens up on to Long Beach but that had to wait. It was getting late in the afternoon and the good food was in the other direction towards town.
As well as opening on to he beach, the Resort was not far from the road. Armed with a pair of hotel umbrellas we headed to find a particular place to eat. When we stayed a Kaw Kwang we had quite a walk but this time it was on our doorstep.

Arnee Restaurant, a place we visited so often last time with a particularly good chef who we kept calling mum. Good food was eaten and the rains eased off. It was getting to late to take in the beach so we had a wander up and down the road seeing what we could remember. The whole place felt a lot more built up, outlets and restaurants that felt like they were new or maybe we just were forgetful.

We took and early dinner with the monsoon opening up again and settled down for another meal, this time with a Muslim flavour. That says no beer but the food was tasty and thoroughly enjoyed.

With the rains having a break we took the chance to head back to the resort. Stocking up at 7-11 with snacks on the way. The dampness brought out the frogs and we were serenaded by their croaks along with a sight that was quite awesome.
Fire Fly

With the streetlights behind and nearly complete darkness the air was filled with specks of light passing between of the trees. Flashing on and off, we had entered the firefly zone. Every place we looked they were flying around, flashing in front of our eyes and then vanishing into the darkness.

It turned out to be a wet first day but we still had a few more days here to get some warm beach time.