Saturday, January 3, 2015

12/25/14 Day 343 Merry Christmas from Ko Lanta, Thailand

With one week left on our Thai visas we decide to spend our last week relaxing by the beach. What better place to do this then Ko Lanta, a chilled out island in the very southwest of Thailand. Shaped more like a peninsula divided into three with two ferry crossings separating the main, larger island, Ko Lanta Yai from the mainland. The entire west side is beaches on beaches with accommodation on beaches. The majority of places are clustered closest to the ferry port and Klong Dao beach where the weekly Monday market is held. Continuing down to the 4 kilometer expanse of Long Beach or Phra Ae, to the tiny Relax Bay (holding Thursday markets). The next beach Klong Khong or backpacker central is where we spent our week. It is smaller and the accommodation is more tightly clustered but the vibe is chilled out and the whole area has a similar ambience radiating from the colorful lanterns glowing across all of the bars on the beach. Further on towards Klong Nin (holding Tuesday and Friday markets) the beaches become less populated, less built up and are piled with great sand. Towards the Southern tip of the island: Kantieng Bay, Nui Bay, and Klong Jaak (Bamboo Bay) are laid out in succession before becoming National Park land at which point a 400 baht fee will be charged for entry. Old Town is on the southern end of the east coast (where there is a Sunday morning market) and a handful of classic wooden homes with not much else situated among the mangroves. Feeling exasperated after a torrential downpour we agree to pay 400 baht for a nights accommodation wherever the tout in the truck insists on taking us, he brings us to a low key bungalow just up the road from where we want to be for the rest of the week. The bungalows are still being constructed, and everything in ours was new, right down to the plastic on the light switches. After dropping our bags off and strolling the beach free from the weight of all of our belongings we put in the real legwork for finding accommodation for the week. After maybe an hour of inquiring we settled on the Silaley Bungalows, right smack in the middle of Klong Khong beach and just 100 meters (300 feet) from the sand. For 5 nights we are able to strike a deal at 400 baht a night, and that is not only in high season, but peak season (Christmas week). A fantastic deal for us to be grounded for a week. We spent most our our days just laying at the beach taking in the sunshine and eating a lot of rice and noodles. With a limited amount of funds of baht remaining and attempting to avoid another 6$ ATM fee; we alternate our 50 baht meals with two for 20 baht Mamas Noodles (the premium spicy version of Cup Noodles). For beverages we stick with Siamsato, a 32 baht rice wine, (probably would be the bums first choice on bang for your buck) and the 10 baht Thai version of Red Bull, we manage to keep ourselves drunk caffeinated and full 90% of the time for less than a tall latte at Starbuck's. The three of us enjoyed Christmas dinner at Kwan's Cookery, an amazing restaurant/cooking school that for the price of 120 baht served us, as a fine dining restaurant: an appetizer of fried rice, dessert of sugar and coconut dusted baked pumpkin and our entree Khao Soy noodles, a Chiang Mai dish with sweet and spicy chutney and coconut noodle curry topped with crunchy egg delicious! 

Map of Ko Lanta
Our single night bungalow, just off the main road near Klong Khong Beach

The beach of Klong Nin
Hotdogs, chicken, Krab, fish ball, anything you could want grilled on a stick
Quail egg omelette 
Our home away from home this Christmas holiday for our five nights at Silaley Bungalows

The minuscule and quiet bay of Relax beach

Merry Christmas from Ko Lanta
Khao Soy Noodles in the red bowl and Tom Kha soup from Kwan's Cookery, a favorite meal
Beautiful lanterns draped along every bar on Khlong Khong Beach


Taking a moment to pose at the Where Else? Bar's ship

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