From KL to KL by air water and road

Trip Start Jun 01, 2010
Trip End Mar 11, 2011

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Where I stayed
Pilanta Spa and Resort

Flag of Thailand  ,
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Off we go again, to the tropical paradise of Ko Lanta, Thailand. When we leave KL the gloomy weather has given room to blue skies and a warm sun, a good sign of what lies ahead. We take a blue taxi from the hotel to the airport. There are different color coded taxis in KL. The blue ones use a meter, and for the red ones, usually 20 year old small Toyotas, you need to haggle to determine a price. One of the things we really don't like to do as you have to get into some kind of argument before you can obtain the simple service of transportation. Not worth the headache. So our blue taxi brings us to the KL low cost carrier terminal. I have been to the international terminal before, and this one was very nice. marble, glass, modern and clean. The low cost carrier terminal hosts all the Air Asia flights and probably local flights as well. This looks more like a bus terminal or KL Central station, chaotic.

We find our check in terminal and make it through check in without any fuss. This Air Asia airline is really efficient so far. Before we catch our flight we spend our last Ringits on peanuts and other nice little snacks. We found the crisps that we liked so much in Singapore. The flight leaves on time, and it takes us a short ower to get to Krabi international airport in Thailand. We had a Scandinavian couple with the brain the size of a shrimp in front of us. The woman did not seem to understand that the seating space was not that big and kept pushing her seat back against my knees. Luckily the back of the plane was empty so we moved to the back and had a row to our own, far away from the shrimp brains.

Krabi airport is small and therefore very quick. Within half an hour we got through customs, and stood outside with our luggage. At the exit gate there were many drivers from resorts with signs picking up their guests. But ours was no where to be found. We had to call back to the resort to inquire about his whereabouts, we were told it would take him another twenty minutes to get to the airport. These twenty turned out to be thirty. When he arrived there was no apology or explanation on why we had to wait. The drive to Ko Lanta turned out to take about two hours. This was quicker than that we expected, as many sites speak about a two and a half to three our transfer from the airport. We had to take two car ferries to get to the island. These ferries are interesting., They are just pontoon floaters with a big engine and sort of a welded on top of it. From the last ferry stop it was a short ride to the 'resort', the Pilanta Spa & Resort, sounds good doesn't it? The description on the booking sites caught our attention. “rooms with private Jacuzzis, free internet, just 200 metres from Klong Dao Beach, Thai massage and a yoga center,Some rooms feature private outdoor swimming pools and gardens” This sounded like a perfect place for us to spend our anniversary. So we got ourselves a Spa room, or Pool Villa, some booking sites call it the first other than the latter. We were looking forward to our private villa, with private pool in a classy resort, that is so 'us'.

Well it turned out quite different from what we expected it to be. The resort is tucked away a few hundred meters from the beach, which is a big mud plane at low tide. The villa was not much bigger than a hotel room. The Spa part of it consisted of one massage bed in the corner. Only one bed, so no cozy couple massages. The private pool was a joke. It would have better use as a pawn for koi fish. It was about 2 meters by 1,and a whopping 1 meter deep, just enough to get my toes wet. The water was freezing and covered with leaves and other debris from the vegetation above it. As our room was the first one of the reception building we were in a high traffic area, so we had to close the shutters on the only window in the room, making it a dark cave. At first we were thinking about changing rooms and asked the guy behind the reception to get the manager to contact us, as he did not speak any English. The manager never contacted us, but after inspecting the resort a bit closer we figured the rest of the rooms were not any better, so we gave up pursuing the manager.

We figured we would not spend much time in the room anyways as we would be spending most of our time exploring the island. But if you happen to read the following in Lonely planet : “Living in a wooden hut on the beach, listening to the waves at night, seeing the sun set over a beautiful beach. Watching the school children piled three or four on a moped whizzing to school. The fishermen browned by the long hours at sea. I love this way of life on Ko Lanta.” and think this is what I want to experience, then don't go to the Pilanta Spa and Resort. On the other hand, if you want to experience a small colony of Scandinavian people, an overpriced massage studio and dark no privacy hotel rooms that are advertised as villas the Pilanta is the place to go. But enough about Pilanta for now, we did not let this disappointment spoil our adventure on Ko Lanta. We unpacked our suitcases and Linda went to the Spa to get a well deserved massage. We wanted to go together, but one of the massage girls had a bike accident, so unfortunately there was only one girl present.

The massage at the spa was good, but quite overpriced. As the resort is tucked away in a small residential area there were not many options for dinner. There was the restaurant in the resort which did not have many good reviews and did not look like an attractive place to have a nice Thai meal. And across the street there was a nice little restaurant operated by an Austrian lady and her Thai husband, it looked cozy but could end up to be just a tourist trap. It turned out to be quite good. We sat down on one of those patios with a low table. The restaurant was very busy, but all the clientèle was Scandinavian. Probably eighty percent of them came from our resort across the street. The food was good, and probably half the price of the resort. After dinner we headed back for an early night as tomorrow we have a dive trip planned for tomorrow.

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