I guess the thing about travelling is that not every day is going to be a perfect, Kodak moment.
Sometimes you’ve got to get some life admin done, the weather might be a bit rubbish or the hotel you find isn’t up to scratch.
Sadly – after an amazing first two weeks – it was in Koh Lanta that things briefly took a turn for the less-than-inspiring.
It’s not really the island’s fault; granted it’s probably not the most stunning in the Andaman Sea, but the weather was cloudy and wet throughout, and our second bungalow at Rann Chalet Beachside was terrible, even at modest prices (James didn’t hold back in his TripAdvisor review… think springs coming out of mattresses, questionable stains on bed linen, that sort of thing!)
It was such a disappointment compared to our first bungalow at the peaceful and charming Andaman Sunflower. Hammocks for lounging in, lush gardens for spotting butterflies, it was a little oasis. But alas we only booked for two nights.
The weather wasn’t entirely on our side either, but we tried to make the most of the grey days. A short walk from or first hostel was Lanta Animal Welfare, a rescue home for stray cats and dogs set up by a Scandinavian woman 13 years ago who saw the number of strays during a holiday and vowed to do something about it.
The free tour was fascinating and it’s great to see something being done about the stray dog and cat problems we’ve seen on so many holidays recently.
It’s run by volunteers, most of whom end up adopting dogs when they leave! Chris was obviously tempted as well…Dycie was his favourite!
Our other highlight was renting a cheap motorbike (ubiquitous all over the island), and searching out some of James’ previous haunts when he last came here in 2010.
We bombed down the length of the island, helmets on of course. After two failed attempts to find a waterfall, and a bit of off roading, we decided it best to head for somewhere back on the coast.
The perfect spot was Banktiang Beach right on the southern tip. We loved the chilled out Why Not Bar and the sun finally poked through the clouds for a knockout sunset – some silver linings eventually!
We also got chatting to a lovely lady called Julie on the beach who’s living in Koh Lanta for three months and gave us a great recommendation for a traditional home stay on the mainland near the Ao Phang Nga national park where fewer tourists tread, and the dazzling limestone stacks Thailand is famous for are at their most spectacular. Far from escaping the tourist trail in the meantime – we are about to embrace it in its fullest form.
Next we head to Phi Phi – here’s hoping for better weather.
Koh Lanta probably won’t go down as a highlight amongst the myriad we’re likely to experience but hey, it’s always darkest before the dawn!