It was hard for us to choose an island to stay at while in Thailand. We knew we wanted to stay on an island. Something remote, untouched and ideally, close to Phi Phi island. When we researched accommodation near Phi Phi, we found that the number one place to stay at on Trip Advisor was at a place called Layana resort. It had an infinity pool, it faced the beach and it looked like the kind of place we could do some serious winding down in. Layana resort was situated in Koh Lanta – and it was indeed a tropical paradise, untouched by the western world and very remote.
The first four days were spent shuffling between our room, the pool, the bar and the spa. Complete bliss! It was only in the last three days, we decided to leave this oasis and see more of Koh Lanta.
The Snorkelling trip: We organised a snorkelling trip via the hotel to the island of Koh Rok. Koh Rok is well known for it’s unbelievable snorkelling, clear waters and colourful fish. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get to Koh Rok because of the bad weather, but there was a backup and so we headed to the “Four Islands”. We jumped off the boat and got straight into some snorkelling, the water was warm and perfect conditions for some fish spotting. That only lasted 20 minutes though and soon enough we were whisked away to a mystery island in the middle of no-where for some lunch. Lunch was followed by a stop to Monkey Island, where wild monkeys roam free. We were lucky in that Gus got close enough to feed the monkeys.
The Fishing trip: We organised a fishing trip to take us out to Boo Boo Island. We were the only two people on the tour and along with the longboat captain and crew /pool guy, we headed out onto the bay. We caught a couple of fish early on, which we initially thought were goldfish. Not big fish, but plenty of them to reel in. The highlight of the trip came when our crew guy told us that we had to head back because there was a storm approaching. Instead of turning around and heading away from the storm, we drove right into the storm.
The sea looked like it had turned black and grey clouds surrounded us. This quickly turned into fog and rain. The fog was so thick we were completely blinded and the captain lost his bearings. He couldn’t continue the journey so he had to anchor and wait for the fog to clear. While Gus maintained his composure, I was looking for the closest island to swim to and was reasonably calm until I saw the captain barrelling water out the boat. Let’s just say we survived the experience unscathed. Later that night the chefs at the restaurant prepared our catch – 12 deep fried fishes! A Thai delicacy – how could we resist.
The Cooking class: Gus warned me about the dangers of a resort:
“You’ll see the same people everywhere and you can’t avoid talking to them because they’re always THERE”.
We were lucky in that we did meet some peeps, an American and a Canadian couple who were super cool and lovely enough to organise a cooking class for us at a place called “Time for Lime”. Time for Lime also supports the cause against animal cruelty and part of the proceeds for the cooking class go towards their animal shelter. The class itself lasted five hours and was great to get some tips when Thai cooking!
I think the main tip we took away from it was that you don’t eat everything on your Thai dish. There are “Eat Me’s” and “Don’t Eat Me’s”. The basic rule was that if it’s bigger than the protein (chicken, fish etc) in your dish then you shouldn’t eat it. Apart from that the preparation of the dishes is very complex, the cutting of the vegies and other ingredients make a BIG difference to how the dish tastes. And while the preparation took about an hour for each dish, the cooking was extremely quick – we cooked one dish in 20 seconds! It was extremely delicious and while we would love to replicate some of those dishes, I think we’ll just go out for some Thai the next time we have a craving!
The Scooter tour: Our Canadian friends were lovely enough to take us around the island on our last day! We hired a scooter and cruised around the island. Our first stop was the Lanta Animal shelter, where we hugged some kittens and volunteered some time to walked some dogs in the forest.
Our next stop was a couple of trees down on the side of the road, where there was an elephant farm and a lovely elephant strapped to a massive tree. We fed it some bamboo leaves and cruised onto our next destination the pier! The pier was where Gus & Shauna jumped off the boardwalk and into the ocean for some heat relief, only to nearly be attacked by massive crabs sitting along the bottom of the bridge.
Our second last stop was at a place we called the “Postcard Shot”. Let’s just stick with that name for the sake of the blog :). It was at the end of the main road in the Old Town of Koh Lanta and was just amazing – peaceful, there was no one there except for a hot Canadian and Aussie couple and was the most perfect setting for a postcard. Which is why we called it the postcard shot! Lots of little crabs running on the beach and the water here was just translucent. This area had been hit by the 2004 Tsunami and you could tell from all the signs everywhere. It was the only place we came across while in Thailand where we saw the “devastation” first hand. A lot of places along this shore are still being rebuilt and some were even for sale. This sign said it all!
The last place on the awesome tour was a Monkey school. They had Monkey shows twice a day and you were allowed to interact with the Monkeys afterwards. It was a great place and Gus enjoyed playing with them. These monkeys were used for gathering coconuts, but have since retired and live a life of leisure and seem to enjoy being in the shows. So it was a great place to finish the day!
Koh Lanta was quite the retreat. There are plenty of things to do, if you want to get out and about and it is peaceful enough in that you can relax and choose to just lay by the beach/pool if you so desire. We went in the off season which meant the beaches were dirty, but we used our pool and were told that in the high season the waters are incredible. Compared to Samui, this island is untouched and is what makes it so charming. We loved Koh Lanta and will most certainly be back one day![vimeo http://vimeo.com/28962728 w=600]