The Travel Diaries: Ko Lanta, Thailand
ASIA THAILAND TRAVEL

The Travel Diaries: Ko Lanta, Thailand

Ko Lanta wasn’t originally on our itinerary, but we had some time free at the end of the trip whilst on the west coast of Thailand. When I’d first looked at a map I’d thought Ko Lanta was much further away, but actually when I properly looked I realised it was really close to Phi Phi so there was no reason for us not to make the short journey. Before we came away I put a post on Instagram asking for people’s recommendations for places in Thailand, and a girl had said Ko Lanta was her favourite. I had a look on Pinterest and could see why, it looked beautiful! It seemed as though it was less known than the other islands such as Phi Phi, which was super touristy. It would make a nice change!

We got a boat across to Ko Lanta from Phi Phi at 11.30am, which cost us 350 baht each and took just over an hour. On the boat we also booked a minibus down to our hotel for 200 baht each, as it was about a 30 minute drive. We booked to stay in the Lanta Sabai Hotel & Bungalows through booking.com. We’d both decided against bungalows after the rat in Otres Beach, so went for a standard queen room with AC – only £6! The place also had a pool, so we were looking forward to relaxing by it. When we got to the hotel we checked in and headed straight for the pool. We had it all to ourselves! It was so sunny so was nice to be able to keep ourselves cool and have a swim. I think we were probably in there about two hours! I decided I’d do 100 ‘lengths’, though from the size of the pool they were more like widths. At least I tried!

After a swim we had showers and got changed. This was the first good shower we’d had in a while, it felt so nice to have freshly washed hair! We were really hungry but it was only about 4pm, so decided to go on a walk and find somewhere to eat along the way. We saw that Khlong Nin beach was really close, so headed in that direction.

We walked along the shore, narrowly avoiding the waves as they came crashing in. It was pretty windy, and the sea was nothing like the calm turquoise waters in Phi Phi. I don’t know if it’s always how it was, as I’ve seen pictures of Ko Lanta beaches looking the same as the other Thai islands – but today it was rough. It did make a nice change though! I love the sound of waves crashing on the shore. We carried on walking up the beach, where we passed lots of restaurants but most of them looked closed. They all had steps down to the beach, but many looked like they’d been destroyed by the sea. I wondered how far the tide must actually come up, as it seemed to cut it pretty close!

We thought we might have more luck walking along the road, so found a path back to it (it only ran parallel to the beach so wasn’t far). In the end, we came across Andalay Restaurant, which was right on the seafront. We sat on one of the tables meters from the sand, but far enough from the waterline!

James ordered a Massaman, but me trying to be healthy had decided I needed to cut down on the curries. After 2 months away and with only 2 weeks to go, it was probably a little late to change my eating habits now, but I’d give it a go! I went for the Tom Jeud Moo Sub, which was a clear vegetable soup with pork and glass noodles. Seemed much more healthier than anything else!

Healthy choice or not, my soup was delicious! As was James’ curry, though I wasn’t envious.. I’d had enough curry by this point. We finished our food but decided to stay at Andalay as it had such a beautiful view and the sun would be setting soon. Sure enough, the sunset was incredible.

After a few drinks it had gone completely dark, so we asked for the bill and headed home. We stopped at ‘The French Bakery’ on our way back for a game of pool – I won, again! It wasn’t very late, so we considered going for some more drinks but we weren’t really sure. There was a 711 near our hotel so we stopped there and got some beers to take back with us instead. We sat down by the pool with them, where a few other people had also had the same idea. I was glad we hadn’t gone out, it was much nicer to just chill with drinks here! As we’d had dinner at about 4.30pm, we started to get hungry around midnight, so went out on a food hunt. Most places were closed, except a restaurant next to us down a little lane. It would’ve been very easy to miss! We headed here and ordered to take away – James got a chicken burger and I went for potatoes and salad (still kind of healthy?!) – though asked for the potatoes to be mash as it’s my favourite. The lady was so friendly, telling me this wasn’t a problem at all. Our food was ready after a short time, so we took it back with us to eat before going to bed. I went to bed very happy that night – isn’t mash just the best?

The next morning I woke up feeling a little guilty about my midnight mash hunt, so went and did 100 ‘lengths’ in the pool. When I say lengths, the pool wasn’t huge, so this isn’t such an impressive feat… It was much windier today! We decided today we’d explore and find a beach to go swimming. We headed off on our moped down south, as I’d read that this is where the best beaches are and it’s less touristy. It seemed like the best place to explore! The drive down really reminded me of Koh Phangan, as the roads wind around the cliff. We stopped for lunch at Sunset Cliff restaurant, which was so beautiful!

The tables each has their own individual wooden hut built into the cliff, so all you could see were the waves crashing beneath you. There was also another deck below these with tables, but it was quite windy so we went for one of the huts. James went for a Pad Thai with Chicken wrapped in an omelette, and I had vermicelli noodles with chicken. Both were amazing! The food here was a bit more expensive (120/150b a meal) but the view was worth it. And that’s still super cheap anyway!

We then spent the next hour or so just driving around the island. We’d originally planned to go to the beach, but because of the wind the sea was pretty rough. We planned to drive down to the beach at the very south of the island, but this was actually past the national park ticket office, so we’d have had to pay 200b entry each to go through. We decided to turn around and head to one of the other many beaches on the island! We were having a lot of fun just driving around the windy roads through the forest and along the coast. Each beach we drove past just looked really windy, so we kept driving!

We drove the whole length of the island from the bottom to the top, which didn’t even take us that long. We stopped at a couple but decided against going for a swim. We didn’t actually see anyone else in the water anywhere! We decided we were having fun driving around, so we’d explore some more. We headed down to the east side of Ko Lanta and saw lots of houses where the locals live – which was much different to all the resorts and hotels on the east side. We then looped back around and headed towards Lanta Animal Welfare.

I’d read about Lanta Animal Welfare on someone else’s blog when reading through pins of what to do in Ko Lanta. I love dogs so much,  so I didn’t want to leave the island without visiting the centre and helping out in any way we could. We should’ve read up more, as by the time we got there we’d missed the last tour (which was at 3pm). I’ll be sharing another post with more detail into my visit – but whilst we were there we met lots of beautiful animals who’d been mistreated and ended up walking a lovely dog called Andreasj!

We left the shelter so happy we’d gone but feeling sad to leave all the animals behind. It was such a wonderful place doing incredible things for animals, and I had so much respect for everyone there doing what they’re doing. We decided to head home and get on with some work before dinner. We’d had lots of new ideas over the day for a project we’re working on, so went home and got stuck into that.

For dinner, we had a look online for the best places to eat in Ko Lanta and decided to go to El Greco Greek Taverna. It had so many good reviews on trip advisor, and we both love Greek food. It isn’t something you find a lot of out here so we couldn’t resist! It was about 10km from our hotel but we still had the bike so drove up to the north of the island again. The restaurant itself was modest, with picnic tables painted to match the blue and white Greek theme.

The menu wasn’t huge, but had enough selection to suit anyone! We were still torn for choice as to what to get – I wanted to get it all! In the end we both went for souvlaki – James had chicken and I had the minced beef. I think I made the best choice! It was absolutely delicious, with really yummy tzatziki. The other thing – the portions were absolutely huge!

I struggled to finish mine, but it was so good that I couldn’t bring myself to waste any. I was glad we were only drinking water with this meal – I wouldn’t have been able to drink it with a beer! After our food we headed back to our room for a night of work. We were heading to Railay beach the next morning, so wanted to get some stuff done and everything packed before we went to sleep!

Ko Lanta, our trip wouldn’t have been what it was without the visit to the Lanta Animal Shelter. I urge anyone going to please check the place out! Ko Lanta was a lovely place, as it was large enough that it never felt touristy anywhere you went. Everyone we met was really friendly and helpful, and as an island it genuinely seemed like a happy place. The beaches weren’t what we’d expected but we had plenty more beaches to come, so it was nice to take time to explore. I’d recommend just hiring a moped and going for a drive, seeing the amazing viewpoints and eating great food. I was glad we had a hotel with a pool, as we hadn’t had this luxury for a while. And for £6! Many tourists stay in Khlong Khlong beach but I’d recommend where we stayed at the Lanta Sabai, as you have restaurants nearby but can drive anywhere else. There isn’t a main bustling town or anywhere on the island, so it doesn’t make much difference! The hotel was great. I can see why people say Ko Lanta is their favourite, as it is so much more relaxed than Phi Phi or any of the more popular islands. We’d definitely go back!

Charlotte Rick x

 

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