10.01.2012 28 °C
Our original plan was to explore some of Southern Thailand and then head back to Bangkok on January 12th to catch our flight on the 13th to Bali. I'm not sure what we expected of Thailand or what we hoped to find, but the hordes of tourists and the 7-11 on every corner was a little disappointing and we were dreading heading back to Bangkok as it would mean seeing the same stuff all over again. Nat's friend Dave gave us the idea to island hop south checking out some smaller islands along the way, then cross the border into Malaysia and fly to Bali from there.
We headed out from Aonang to take the 100km ferry ride to our next stop, Koh Lanta, we are counting our blessings that the seas are so flat here as that could have been one miserable trip. The crew left all the luggage on the top deck without tying anything down so you can imagine how smooth it was. The cabin was air conditioned, seats were very comfortable and the bar was fully stocked with Singha beers, my new local favourite so it was a great trip. The Thai people seem to be good at underestimating everything, whether it is the length of a bus or ferry ride (always twice as long as advertised) or the spiciness of the food (don't ask for medium unless you are ready to sweat!) So it was mid afternoon before we were ready to explore the island. We rented a scooter and went to find some lunch. The boat ride had worn us out more than we thought so we saved the island tour for Sunday.
Sunday morning we organized all of our flights from Malaysia to Bali and the hotels, before we put some gas in our "hog" and went for a ride. Almost every tourist here seems to be sporting bandages or scabs from some kind of scooter incident so I made sure we looked both ways before we crossed the street. I don't even know how far we went, but we covered every kilometer of pavement on the island. It was beautiful, lush and green with pretty smooth roads that were made for scooters, we didn't see many other vehicles so that works out ok. There are still some remnants of the tsunami and beach front is still available and pretty cheap on the one side of the island.
As good as the road trip was, we did not have a perfect time in Lanta as our hotel was a little rough. I won't dwell on except to say it was the worst hotel we have seen so far on our trip. If you ever happen this way, sleep on the beach before you ever give any of your hard earned cash to the Moonwalk Resort, we left feeling royally robbed. On top of the under construction room and horrible food, we were there for the full moon which we found out at the last minute would mean an all night trance party...super duper...
Today we moved on to Koh Lipe, apparently a three hour ferry ride. We are getting far enough south that the ferry's don't just go from one point to another, it is more like riding a bus that pulls over at every corner or island. The trip was twice as long as planned and this time we hadn't booked anything after the mishaps of Lanta. I was a little nervous as the internet would have us think that everything was either booked or $400/night. We found a place without too much trouble all in all looks pretty amazing, not sure how the internet works, so we will get some pictures posted as soon as we can.