Settling into Khao Lak

Trip Start Nov 06, 2009
Trip End May 28, 2011

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Where I stayed
Walker's Inn

Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, January 9, 2010

Khao Lak is a beautiful town, but suffered really badly in the tsunami of 2004 and there's still a lot of work going on to rebuild it – the volunteer teaching we're starting tomorrow being a part of it.

Last night we met Ken, who runs the project, and a girl called Marie who has been volunteering for with him for a while, so they filled us in a bit on what to expect and now we’re really excited about starting tomorrow. It’ll also feel good to stay put for a while and unpack our backpacks a bit in one place and do something constructive after two months of pretty constant travelling.

We’re feeling quite settled in at Andy’s Walkers Inn already. He’s given us lots of tips, and when we mentioned we were thinking about doing a Muay Thai boxing camp in Phuket after our time in Khao Lak he told us he knows a British guy called Tommy who is a Muay Thai fighter, has a boxing gym down the road in Bang Niang and offered to run us down there to take a look and meet Tommy.

So Andy drove Chris and I down there and were introduced to Tommy who was training his Thai wife and little girl (aged about 2) when we arrived. He set up the gym 3 years ago after working as a volunteer English teacher in Khao Lak, as a place for the local kids and community, and now  trains local kids, fighters, and sometimes total novice travellers like us. He runs sessions Monday-Saturday 4pm-7pm so if we can fit it in around our lessons  we’d like to train with Tommy rather than join a camp in Phuket.

Andy also gave us a quick tour in his car of the surrounding area and places that had been completely devastated by the tsunami. We saw White Sands beach – a beautiful and completely deserted beach – even though it’s peak season here. Also a police boat which has become a bit of a landmark in the town as it was one of two police boats overseeing Khun Phum Jensen, son of former Royal Princess Ubol Ratana’s holiday. He was jet-skiing when the tsunami struck, and he and the whole crew of one of the boats died. The other boat was swept inland and has been left where the wave deposited it as a memorial and historical landmark.

Later Nat, Chris and I went out to find the beach (100m across the road from us) and explore the local area a little, and got caught in a tropical rainstorm on the way back. It only lasted about 10 minutes but was enough to give us a damn good soaking, so we decided to stay at Walkers Inn for dinner rather than venture out and risk another drenching.

The following morning Chris and I woke at 8am and ambitiously decided to go for a short run, but soon realized we’d left it too late as the temperature was already rising rapidly, and we hadn’t brought any water out with us either doh! We ended up jogging down to the police boat we’d previously seen from the car, had a look around it and had a leisurely walk back. Next time we’ll set the alarm for 6.

The rest of the day was spent on the beach, soaking up the rays and dipping in the bath-warm sea. Gorgeous. Finished my book, A Changed Man, by Francine Prose (about a reformed white supremacist who ends up working for a human rights foundation set up by a Holocaust survivor, pretty good) and have just started Lance Armstrong’s Every Second Counts now. We were going to go to Tommy's for a session in the afternoon but Chris was feeling poorly with a bit of a dodgy tummy all morning so decided to leave it til he feels better.

It's now sunny Sunday morning. Chris' tum is still a bit ickey but better than yesterday. We've just breakfasted and are planning what to do with our day - we'll try to stay out of the sun as we're all a bit tender today, and possibly visit a nearby waterfall which we've heard is very pretty and you can swim in its plungepool.
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