On the ferry to Koh Lanta (day 7 of our trip) we started chatting with a local woman, and asked her if she knew any great cheap hotels in our destination, and she immediately pulled out her booklets, phoned a few friends and cousins, and by the end of the trip we had an amazing deal on a hotel, elephant trekking for the next day booked and the ferry tickets back to Phuket, everything including free pick up & return service!
This is probably one of my most important advice for travelling in Thailand: Always book with locals at the pier, at a restaurant or on a boat, their cousin always owns a hotel or something you want, everyone is related to each other! We got some incredible deals on accomodation when doing this.
The beach in Koh Lanta was nothing special, but we had known that beforehand and planned to explore the island the following day. First, we did an hour of elephant trekking, which was quite cool, and I was happy to see that the animals were treated well to. At lunchtime we rented three scooters for 200 baht a day (~5€) each and had so much fun cruisin around exploring the island and stopping everywhere we found something interesting 🙂
Koh Lanta was really cheap in general, and we had lunch for about 3€ including drinks, which was great! We drove to see the Old Town and the Mangroves, where we rented Kayaks and explored the countless trees and wildlife.
(Do you spot the monkey on the picture?)
In the evening I had the best burger of my life (no kidding, those I had in NY or elsewhere could not compete with this one!) for about 2€ in a restaurant beside the street running from the pier southwards.
This active day left us really tired and we headed to bed early because we would leave for a small island called Koh Ngai (speaking: Koh Hai) just south from Lanta the next day.
Our Longtail- driver was a cousin from a woman at the tourist office, and he took us to that quiet, nearly deserted island. We were a bit dissapointed, because travel guides had described its beache as the loveliest and whitest ever seen, but it was just average and the beautiful coral reef could not be explored so easy due to not really clear water.
There were about 10 hotels or guesthouses, all but 2 of them closed and deserted, as it was low season. The owner of our bungalows really just opened them up for us! It was called Koh Ngai Sea Food, and the first thing she told us was that food was only available further down at the larger “Fantasy Resort”.
We enjoyed the quiet of the island and stayed for two nights.
While reading at the beach we could watch funny Indian an Chinese snorkelers which had arrived on speedboats wearing life vests like diapers and floating around in the ocean like orange cornflakes in a bowl of milk!
One lunch at Fantasy Resort we met an extremely nice Australian couple and kept on chatting and telling stories until it was dinnertime again and had that together as well. In total, we spent about 7 hours there without even leaving the table once between lunch and dinner! This was so much fun 🙂
Our next Longtail took us to an island further down, called Koh Kradan on day 11 of our journey. Again, the accomodation there we simply booked with the owner of our bungalows in Koh Ngai! We arrived in a lovely bay with no buildings exept 7 bungalows owned by a guy and his Mama, and we were so surprised to see they even had two more guests in addition to us! 😉 😉
This incredibly beautiful beach offered a really lively coral reef to, which we explored snorkeling for hours.
Our two hosts cooked tasty and cheap dinner for us and let us try the food they had just prepared for themselves as well! It was deep-fried freshly caught squid, the best seafood I had on the whole trip!
The only downside was the bungalow, which was smelly and all the pillows and blankets were somehow moist…and it had an open-air bathroom. The best thing though was the third “bed” added to a double- room, which consisted in two blankets being laid on the floor. Wow.
We decided that it was best if us three girls simply shared the double bed…but agreed that one night in Koh Kradan was definitely enough 🙂
So the next day, after a morning snorkeling round and a breakfast cooked by Mama we organised a Longtail to go back to Koh Lanta.
Back in Lanta, we explored a huge food market for locals and tried every strange kind of food we saw, which was amazing! We also rented the scooters again and explored the norther part of the Island. Us three girls also found it was time to spoil ourselves just a little and have a Thai Massage at the beach, which was AMAZING! And costed us only 350 baht (~8,50€).
The same evening, we found out we had made a mistake in our plans, as we thought our plane to Bangkok would leave in Phuket the following day, but we checked again and saw it would be in two days time…this way, we had to spend some time figuring out where to go, as the ferry to Phuket was already booked. So we agreed we’d give the city another try and spend a night there, which my next post will be about.