Last week I wrote about our brief Bangkok experience, and this week I`ll tell you about our last leg of the Thailand trip.
I left you in a cliffhanger just when we were about to depart the Krabi bus terminal. We did fend off the swarms of hustlers trying to overcharge us for the ride to Koh Lanta, but in the end we figured there are NO LEGITIMATE bus lines to get us there so we negotiated a fair price for the three of us. 300 baht / person with drop off at our resort, the Lanta Riviera Resort.
From here on out there were 8 days of pure joy and relaxation.
I`ll try not to ramble on too much about how beautiful the island is, but I`ll do my best to give at least a few good tips on eating and things to do.
When I was looking for places to spend our week in the islands I came upon hundreds of articles about Thailand`s famous Koh Phi Phi. Not all of them were favorable. The most common downside newer articles are telling us about is that this group of islands is receiving more and more tourists every year and that “they are not what they used to be”.
The next piece of information that I extracted form the tons of articles I`ve browsed is that the southern you go, the better this experience gets.
Now, don`t get me wrong. Koh Phi Phi is still gorgeous but it`s getting the attention of teenagers and early 20s youngsters and we wanted to have a more relaxing week without dumb drunk dip-shits screaming at 4AM near our bungalow.
Koh Lanta was close enough to Krabi and we could get there overnight from Bangkok. SOLD!
The next step was to get accommodation and we got that through TripAdvisor. We chose Lanta Riviera Resort due to it`s central position (Klong Khong beach) on the sunset part of the island. The choice was made easier by the presence of a nice pool and (as the travelers say) a very good restaurant and the nicest beach-bar on the island.
From here we were able to get around by Tuk-Tuk for around 50 bah / person (one way).
Some of the restaurants we enjoyed:
The Red Snapper (Prae Ae)
- Very good food, big plates and nice decor.
- Don`t bother with the cocktails because they were watered down.
- Reservations are a must.
- Restaurant opens at 5PM.
Time for Lime (Klong Dao)
- This is a restaurant that has a daily special fixed menu.
- Food is delicious.
- Reservations are necessary.
- Also, they have Thai cooking classes here. Worth every penny.
Loy Sod (Klong Khong)
- Easy to miss restaurant near a Tattoo shop on the side of the road passing through Klong Khong. Thai food is delicious here and they have seafood barbecue almost every night.
- No reservations needed. They only have 3-4 tables and it`s a 1st come 1st serve rule.
- Eat here for lunch.
- It`s relatively cheap.
“El Greco” Greek Tavern (Klong Khong)
- Family owned restaurant with the best greek food you can get this part of the world.
- Prices are very good and the food (in general) is outstanding.
- Don`t miss the Musaka, a side of Tzatziki with pita and Souvlaki. These 3 are a must.
Living Room (Prae Ae)
- Nice atmosphere and friendly people.
- Don`t bother with western foods, altho good, they are not something to write home about.
- Do try the seafood and the Thai specials.
The island is full of restaurants and I`m sure there are at least 50 that we didn`t get time to try, with outstanding food.
Get the free pocket guide and flip a coin, chances to go wrong are very slim.
I can`t really recommend bars because there are far too many but I`ll say this: I`ve tried the mojito everywhere we went and the best one is at the Freedom Bar (Lanta Riviera Resort). I`ve also tried other cocktails there and I was never disappointed. That`s not something I can say about some other fancy places on the island.
Do try the Chang Classic beer. It`s tasty and strong.
Now that I got you fed and well hydrated my job is almost done.
There are massage parlors on the beach every 150m or so. Prices are the same no matter where on the island you are and the outcome is almost the same. Do try the full body aloe massage and the thai massage. (500 baht and 400 baht)
This Thai area is world renown for it`s magnificent underwater scenery. I had to try at least snorkeling and scuba.
I searched TripAdvisor for a good company to do snorkeling and my Open Water Course with and I stumbled upon Dive and Relax (Prae Ae) and Freedom Adventures. (They do send a car for you every morning and they get you back to the resort as well)
We got on the island on Friday morning and my scuba classes begun Tuesday so over the weekend we booked trips with Freedom Adventures to Koh Rok and Emerald Cave.
The Koh Rok trip was a 45min. speed boat ride that I didn`t enjoy but once there I couldn`t complain anymore. The two islands are the definition of paradise. Snorkeling was ok but I had problems with the mask / mustache combination.
The Emerald Cave trip was with a slower boat and overall a better experience. We hit 3-4 snorkeling spots and we went through a cave to get to a isolated beach surrounded by very tall rocks. Worth the trouble but I was expecting a tiki hut with cold beer, and there was none 🙂 . Sometimes the tide is high and the beach is only accessible with scuba gear or if you can freedive for 2-3 minutes. (not advisable)
On Tuesday morning I took my written exam for my Open Water Certificate. A very nice gal guided me throughout the 3 days of training. The first day i got my paws all wrinkled up in 2m deep water. The current was so strong that we constantly had to swim 20-40m back to the buoy after every chapter. If you can do all the maneuvers in such a strong current and 2m visibility, you won`t have a problem doing them again the next days.
The next two days were spectacular. I got hooked on this scuba thing more than I got hooked on shaorma (delicious food) and pizza when I was in college.
I highly recommend it to ANYONE. If you don`t want to go through all the hoops of learning a 300 page book, try the Discover Scuba (1 day) package. It does count as two dives so if you want to get the Open Water Certificate in the future, you`ll get it done faster.
Overall Koh Lanta has amazing things to offer and it`s a pity not to spend at least 2-3 weeks here. There are so many things to try that one could stay here for 6 months and still find new stuff to eat / drink / pass time with.
The prices are about 65-80% of what you would pay on Koh Phi Phi or Phuket for just about anything.
If you want more detailed info on this island, leave a comment and I`ll do my best to answer all your questions.