Ko Lanta

Trip Start Feb 18, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  , Krabi,
Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 15- May 18
We spoke to a woman on the plane to Thailand who is from the island called Ko Lanta and she told us it was a very laid back place, with not as many tourists as the famed Phuket or Ko Phi Phi island, with some great snorkeling along the base of the krasts jutting out of the sea. We were sold so we traveled by air con. minivan and ferry to this beautiful island.

The beach is enormous and empty and the water is almost too warm to be refreshing.  Almost.  We take long walks down the isolated beach and climb over the rocks around the edge of the bay only to discover another small isolated beach. The sand is so fine and perfect for dribble castle construction!  Our bungalow is very rustic and we're fine with that.  We had a large gecko keeping us company most nights and a hammock on the porch perfect for reading and relaxing during the day.  Unfortunately paradise is not perfect and we both got stung by jellyfish (at exactly the same time) while swimming in the sea.  Man, does it hurt!!

There is not many places to eat outside of tourist restaurants (you know, the ones that have to advertise "Thai Food" along side "Western Dishes" and everything is double the price with half the flavor), but we do find one place where the locals go and we eat there every night.  The food is amazing and SPICY!  We are sweating and enjoying every second.  We try some Thai "whiskey" with the guys there and it's actually pretty good! We bring them a bottle the next night and take a bottle we bought to the beach.  Whew, we had a good time!  The place we were staying was having a little party on the beach that night with fire twirlers and a live band.

We take a "4 islands" snorkeling trip with about 8 other people on a "longtail boat" with a captain who looks like a Thai Brad Pitt, and his wife (who doesn't look like Angelina but is ten times more awesome).  We all get on the boat and head out to sea, after about an hour we arrive at our first location, Koh Ma, a huge rocky cliff rising straight up out of the water and towering over us like a building.  At the base of it we all jump in and snorkel around.  Right away we see a whole bunch of black-tip reef sharks.  They are not all that big and pretty shy to begin with so there's nothing to be afraid of.  Sharks are pretty graceful though, with the way they swim so effortless and smoothly through the water.  About 10 minutes later I spot a small octopus being bothered by some black and brown fish.  I am screaming into my mask to try to get Jon's attention (sound doesn't travel so well underwater), when he hears me he swims over and we spend the next 10 minutes just watching it.  Seeing an octopus is always a special occasion since it is quite rare to spot them because of their amazing camouflage abilities.  As he propels himself away from the fish he is the color of the sand he is gliding over.  He then stops at a rock and assumes the exact color and texture of the grayish bumpy surface.
As we are about to leave a large bought filled with Korean tourists donned in orange life-jackets arrive and they get in the water all attached to a long rope!  It's a very funny sight.  We visit the islands Koh Chuek and Koh Ngai to do more snorkeling and have some lunch. 

After lunch we go to Koh Mook "Emerald Cave".  When we arrive, captain Thai Brad Pitt tells us to leave our masks and snorkels, wear only our fins and a life-jacket, and put our cameras in his dry bag. We have no idea what's in store for us and jump into the water somewhat confused.  We follow him to an opening in the rock that leads to an underground cave.  The water is a bright emerald color and as we go deeper into the cave it becomes pitch black.  Thai Brad Pitt has brought a tiny flashlight and is yelling for us to stay close and follow his light.  The water is rising and falling inside the cave bringing us close to the rock above our heads. It is a bit scary but mostly exciting.  Before long, light at the end of the tunnel makes the water turn emerald again, and we emerge from the cave into a small blue lagoon!  The water breaks on a small beach and we are completely surrounded by towering cliffs.  There is also an enormous purple jellyfish, probably 3 feet across, washed up on the beach.  We splash around in the water and take pictures (Thai Brad Pitt pretends like he has lost my camera, very funny!)  As we are about to leave, who emerges from the cave opening but the 30 Koreans-attached-to-a-rope group, going "Ohhhhhhh!!!! Ahhhhh!!!!"  There is danger of drowning we are laughing so much.

On the way back to the mainland we are outrunning a huge storm cloud when the boats engine flops out.  Luckily there is a large catamaran speed boat passing by and we transfer boats leaving Thai Brad Pitt and wife behind :(

The next day we rent a motorbike for a couple of hours and drive around the island.  Along the road there are two elephants (Mama and 2 month old baby) being cared for by some locals.  We stop and feed them bananas.  The baby elephant is so cute and the mama loves the bananas.  Their trunks are extremely strong and maneuverable.  The baby elephant likes swinging her trunk all around in circles and sticking her back leg outside the pen.  The lady who cares for them (who is also wearing an ivory bracelet and ring...) feeds the baby tiny pieces of banana.

Soon we will leave Ko Lanta for Ko Phangan and begin a new island adventure.
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