Beaches, beaches and more beaches: Ko Lanta, Ko Phi Phi islands and Ao Nang.
A hop, a skip, one boat, a mini-bus and a jump and we landed on Ko Lanta. The mini-bus journey was “interesting”, the driver was clearly making the most of having been on the main land and as such was depositing goodies throughout the island as he took us towards the southern point; at one point he disappeared entirely on a motorbike returning after ten minutes- ah Thailand!
On the first night there was thunderstorm which was pretty cool. Ko Lanta was one of the most touristy and developed islands we’d stayed on, and we were glad that we had opted to stay away from the resorts on the south-west coast. It was quieter on this part of the island, apart from the singing ice cream man whose song went something like this “ ice cream good for me, ice cream good for you too. Buy ten get one free”. You have to hand it to him, it worked.
After two nights we decided to head for one of the main events: Ko Phi Phi islands, home to “The Beach” beach and probably about a million tourists. We had dithered about whether we were going to take the plunge and go, given we expected it to be busy and it was decided that we couldn’t miss it.
The Ko Phi Phi islands are made up of two main islands: Don and Leh. One is the national park (Leh) and one is where all the tourists are based (Don). Thankfully Leh has been saved to the extent that you can only visit for the day-though billions go every year. The coral was also damaged by the tsunami.
When we landed, we knew it was going to be expensive so we decided that if we were going to do it, we should do it right and booked ourselves into a pretty swanky hotel for the night. It was LOVELY and totally made up for the smelly dorm we had to stay in the next night (Ying and Yang of travel!). The sea and the sand were incredible and even on the developed island the snorkelling was great- sights included Shark point so as you can imagine, Katie did not take a dip there.
We hired our own long-boat and tour guide (Kai, who says if you go there in October it is good weather and very quiet-hint for anyone interested) and headed to the National Park where we swam in a lagoon, did some awesome snorkelling and went to visit the actual beach where the film was made. Spectacular day out!
Although the islands were lovely, after two nights we had enough of all the people, most of whom were getting tatoos, and decided to head north to area of Krabi on the mainland. Krabi is also famous for its beaches and limestone rock formations rising out of the sea. We visited Railay beach which is one most postcards of thai beaches and enjoyed the local street food in Ao nang, our base for Krabi. We also had thai massage which is basically someone assaulting you for an hour- we were definitely two inches taller afterwards, which was ideal as our next activity was a cramped night bus to Bangkok!