23.01.2008 - 29.01.2008 30 °C
Been a few days since our last update. We were setting off on our 3-day, 2 night snorkelling trip on the Koh Simillian islands. Reputed to be some of the best snorkelling in the world. When we arrived at the main departure center for the snorkelling trip we soon realised we were going in a large group. We were given stickers to put on our shirts which denoted which type of trip we were on. No matter, it was to be an adventure! We zoomed off in a speedboat with 2 x 200Hp motors – no slouch! – the sea was quite choppy – enough for us to get airborne a fair bit – landing with an almighty thud. All the while I’m recovering from the trots.
After about an hour or so we reached our 1st snorkelling spot. After being briefed about not stepping on stonefish and watching for sea snakes we took the plunge (at last! – I can use that expression!) – it was pretty cool – plenty of colourful fish and some not so exciting coral. I got stung to hell by remnants of jellyfish tentacles (K has already been through the same experience).
It seemed every other tour boat went to the same bays at the same time. You’d be looking at some lovely fish when someone would swim right across your face, through the fish. Bit like swimming in Oxford Circus.
It doesn’t take long to get exhausted snorkelling, so after about 10 mins we got back on the boat for a smoke and a soft drink. No sooner had we relaxed than our guide started blowing his whistle, “30 minutes up! Come come!”. Off we shot to the next bay. Same thing. Snorkel, rush, whistle, go.
We stopped at an island for lunch – a few noodle and chicken dishes which had clearly been sitting in the sun waiting for us. Within the hour I had the trots again, sigh. Not being able to fart freely for me is akin to not being able to breathe. Any fart is a HUGE gamble.
A bit more average snorkelling (always accompanied by the whistle – even after lunch we were “whistled” back onto the boat) and then off to the final island where we were to sleep. We were given the clear impression that we’d be camping on the beach – you know, romantic idea of tent on beach, open fire, BBQ etc. It was a camp site much like in the South of France. A camp sight absolutely dominated by mozzies and loads of rats! There was 100%, totally, completely, nothing, nada, zero, to do in the evening. Nothing. I really mean nothing at all! So we got pissed chatting to a totally crazy Spaniard who was hilariously animated when he spoke, then crashed in our tent, fearing for our lives.
The highlight of the evening – Hermit Crab Racing. Honestly.
By the morning we decided that we could not do 2 more days of the whistle tour and one more night of the rat-tent, so we jumped on a boat and went back. It was a good experience to a point, but not for us. The sea, however, was the clearest I’ve ever seen, and I did some independent snorkelling and saw some stunning coral up close. (Don’t touch they said, so one girl cut her fingers open in the very 1st dive lol ). Oh I didn’t mention the toilets and showers. If we end up in the Bangkok Hilton I think we both are well prepared after that experience.
Did I mention the sea was clear?
NO, this is not a sunset. It’s a Moonrise. Never seen that before!
At this stage we were hankering for a good wash and some air-con. We stayed in a hotel in Khao Lak and it was bliss – they even had a fridge and TV! – I went to see a pharmacist and she explained that I had a tummy infection (maybe bowel) and gave me 5 days worth of anti-robotics (only £1.50!) – I was cured within 12 hours and can now resume my farting. Ahhhh.
Off then we travelled in a local bus to Khoklong where we switched to a minibus to go to Koh Lanta – it was only 200Baht each for aircon minibus and ferry transfer. We found out why. Instead of catching the high speed ferry to Koh Lanta we got two very small car ferries 70Km further down the coast. It was a good experience overall – lots to see and the van was very comfortable. The ferries were the size of the ones I used to catch in the Scottish Highlands.
At Koh Lanta we just wanted to stay somewhere easy to get our bearings for one night so we let them take us wherever. Long Beach Resort. Quite pricey but aircon with a pool etc. We’d been told by several people that Long beach is known to many as “Stockholm” as it’s been taken over by the Swedes. They were right. Not a bad place at all but expensive and felt much like a holiday resort. We never thought we’d say it, it’s funny, but we both immediately found ourselves hankering for a more “backpackery” location.
We found a cool bar and watched our 1st proper sunset.
We hired a scoot this morning and checked out, off in search of more suitable accommodation and bingo, we’ve bloody found it! Took a few tries. Some places are simply too basic, some are too plush and expensive. The one we have found seems like heaven. We are sitting drinking cold beers about 20ft from the water in a very chilled environment. The hosts could not possibly be more friendly. The more we travel through Thailand, the more we can confirm they are truly lovely people.
It’s peaceful here and our host, Kun, has explained that mainly UK travellers stay here (they are still on their way back from the Koh Phangan full moon party) – and when there are about 20 or so guests, he hosts small beach parties where everyone gets to chat to each other and have a chilled time. (here is the Fisherman’s Cottage).
You can order a seafood BBQ and you have to give them 3 hours warning. They sail out, catch it, then cook it. WoW! : - )
A place we sit to eat and drink. Funky stuff like this is everywhere.
Slavvy and Chris are on their way down to meet us as I type and we’ve reserved them a room (Slavka has got the same botty problems as I had so I’ve been playing the role of doctor Roger recently – giving advice on antibiotics that is). It’s very funny – they have much the same taste as us and we get on like a house on fire. Can’t wait to see them.
It also looks like Matt and Justin will be coming over to join us in late Feb – if you are reading this chaps – we have found heaven again ! - oh and Matt- don’t frigging call me at 1am doh! K nearly killed me!
We also popped out today to investigate more upscale options should we need it and we found an awesome place on the beach with aircon and internet etc – 1800 Baht a day (800 more than we are currently paying). We are happy where we are for now but it’s nice to know there is comfort round the corner if need be.
This is our new home in Koh Lanta
Having a super time and glad to have settled again.
Small Update – 29th Jan, we’ve been here a few nights now and it’s blinkin’ fab! – wake up at about 8am to the sound of songbirds (Kun has several in cages he peppers around the garden so they sing to each other all day) – grab a coffee from 10 paces away, then sit in the hammocks and watch the day begin. Learning some Thai too! – and I’ve got my mobile working on the Internet so I’m online now, albeit amazingly slowly.