Excerpt from the Journal of Olds – Day 128-137 – Koh Lanta

We chose Lanta in the hope we’d find a nice beach and less tourism. We got the former though it was far from spectacular and the latter is hard to say; relative to Phuket/Krabi probably so but relative to Otres Beach in Sihanoukville it was busy.

The journey there was brutal and required emergency pizza to keep the troops going. We arrived much later than we were supposed to thanks to a very poor transfer company so our plans to sort out our accommodation on arrival left us searching in the darkness on the back of a couple of tuk-tuks.

As often tends to be the case Rob & Gilly’s efforts researching and indeed managing the journey once again saved us and we found a really nice spot on Long Beach when we were beginning to think all hope was lost. After much needed food and beer we crashed.

Koh Lanta was great. We had beach days, table tennis matches, keepy-uppy challenges and bat & ball efforts. We ate well – baked chicken with Thai herbs is vying for best meal in Thailand – and enjoyed many an evening beer over numerous card games.

One particular day we set out to rent kayaks. Colin’s always keen to row and collectively we figured it was something different to do, a bit of exercise, and a chance to explore the mangrove forests on the north of the island.

On the plus side we got the exercise, negotiated a good deal on the kayaks and saw crabs, monkeys and flying fish amongst the winding streams we negotiated. We were, however, roasted by the midday sun, fairly poor at navigating and often reminded of how poor we are at kayak control.  My favourite part of the little adventure was when we found a shaded spot to recover for 20 minutes, ligged out, feet in water, wondering why we’d done it at midday. Despite the challenge I really enjoyed being out with the gang.

The time for departures arrived too soon as it always does when you’re having a good time. First to leave were Rob & Gilly, off on a journey through Malaysia. At least we knew we had plans to reconnect in Oz if not before. We had one more day with Colin & V which we spent mooching around the local town Saladan. We tried, unsuccessfully [which is much rarer these days], to negotiate deals on some clothing including some awesome shorts I fell in love with but could get no movement on the sky-high price tag.

In the evening we moved out in search of beachside seafood – Colin & I were still smarting about missing out on the biggest Tiger Prawns we’d ever seen on Koh Phangan. While the prawns were neither as impressive nor as affordable we scored some incredible Blue Marlin fillets and saw the best fire-show we’ve seen on our travels. The gents were so fast they put most others to shame.

The nest day we said a sad goodbye to our companions for almost three weeks and resolved that if we were still away when they next fancied a jaunt abroad we’d sort out a reunion.

We’d also had the pleasure of bumping into another British couple, Jeremy & Anna, over the course of our stay. We enjoyed both beach time and beer time with them and even managed to introduce them to the magnificent baked chicken with Thai herbs [though for some reason it wasn’t up to its usual standards – sorry Anna!].

They’re both lawyers who upped sticks from their London jobs and are travelling prior to taking up residence and work in the Cayman Islands. A spectacular adventure eh?

We outlasted all of our friends, old & new, and saw out our remaining days on Koh Lanta doing our best to do very little. I returned for the shorts and after some tireless negotiating and a good chat too managed to pay little over half the previously immovable asking price – result. Eventually our itchy feet made for a plan to learn to dive on Koh Tao so a transfer was arranged and we left Lanta behind.