Our departure from Phi Phi for Koh Lanta ended up being rather protracted (langwierig). Despite all the tour shop signs offering multiple boats per day, it turns out that at this time of year there are only two boats running – one at 7am and one at 3pm. We decided that we shouldn’t stress ourselves too much and so we took the 3pm option, naturally. Having to check out of the hotel at 11am, this meant we had quite a bit of time to waste before our boat so we wandered round the island, had some lunch and wandered some more.
Come boarding time, we hoped that, being a smaller boat than the large catamarans we’d taken around Koh Tao and Koh Samui, everything might be a little more organised with regards to luggage. How silly of us! It was much worse.
The boat had two enclosed (geschlossen) levels of seating – one above-deck and one below-deck with two sets of stairs at the rear. However, all luggage was stored at the front of the below-deck section meaning that everyone has to climb the steep stairs downstairs, walk down the centre aisle (Gang), put their bag on the pile at the front and then turn around to find a seat. I’m sure you can see the problem coming…
By the time we got onto the boat, the lower section had no more seats so everyone who had already deposited (abladen) their bags was trying to come back up the steps at the same time as we were trying to go down! Typical Thai chaos! We bumped into Alex and Clement who we’d met on the Happy Boat the day before and they very kindly saved us two seats at the front of the upper-deck seating section to settle in for our 1.5hr journey to Koh Lanta.
Those of you with some foresight (or those of you who have travelled in Thailand!) may be able to see the next problem – all the people who put their bags on the top were now likely seated on the upper deck. This meant that when we arrived in Koh Lanta, the people on the lower-deck were pulling (ziehen) their bags out from the bottom of the pile and the bags on the top were chucked (schmeißen) wherever there was free space! Good old Thai organisation at it’s best! Fortunately, not everyone was getting off at Koh Lanta otherwise I think we’d probably still be on the boat now!
After fighting our way off the boat and through the crowds of waiting taxi drivers, we grabbed a ride to our accommodation at Khlong Nin Beach; Clean Beach Resort. Living up to it’s name, Clean Beach Resort was very clean indeed and we settled into our bungalow accommodation across the road from the beach.
Unfortunately, on the boat journey over I had realised that I’d left my necklace in the hotel in Phi Phi. Seeing as I’d made the necklace myself from a stone I picked up from a beach on the west coast of Ireland, I was rather keen to get it back and immediately contemplated (überlegen/ erwägen) spending the next day getting a ferry back to Phi Phi. Fortunately, Tessa suggested (vorschlagen) posting a message on one of the backpacker Facebook groups she is a member of and, within a few hours, a very nice French girl called Heger said she could go and pick it up and bring it across “either tomorrow or the day after”. Feeling hopeful but still a little nervous as we were only due to stay on Lanta for three nights, I spoke to our hotel on Phi Phi and arranged for Heger to pick it up.
We awoke the next morning to a now familiar sight; rain! Unfortunately, the rain didn’t really abate (nachlassen) all day so after venturing out (rauswagen) to have lunch at a beach bar up the road, we watched some Netflix and got an early night. Not much to report!
Fortunately, the next morning was awash (überflutet) with blazing sunshine so we hired a moped – which was definitely the shittest one of the trip so far; quite often through the day, we’d hit a bit of a bump and the engine (Motor) would stop and require a kick-start – and set off for a tour of Koh Lanta island. A large island compared to many others on the southern Thai coastal regions, Lanta’s tourist areas are almost exclusively on the west of the island with only two small roads crossing over to the Old Town on the east of the island.
We set off towards the port town of Saladan, where we had arrived the day before to have a look around. After wandering around the local shops and turning down the one thousandth offering of a tailor-made suit (Anzug), we tucked into a street food lunch of spring rolls and doughnuts which was decidedly delicious!
We next headed to Sunset Viewpoint which, as the name suggests, appeared to be a beautiful spot from which to watch the sunset. Slightly less nice was the squelchy (ähnlich wie Matsch) sand on the beach and, after coming a cropper (sich auf die Nase legen) and getting laughed at by Tessa, we headed back to the moped. At this point, I noticed that the road to the viewpoint was very wide and very quiet so I suggested to Tessa that she should try riding a moped for the first time on this trip. After some initial hesitation (Zögern), she commanded (kommandieren) me to “get off and show me what to do”. After testing the biting point of the twist-and-go throttle, she zoomed off (abschwirren) up the road into the distance and round the corner. Wondering if she would ever turn around or if that’s the last I had ever seen of her, I started walking up the road after her. At some point she must have turned around because she started coming back towards me and, upon reaching my position, slammed on the rear brake (Vollbremsung) and skidded round (sowas wie driften) perfectly in position for me to hop on (ok, maybe a little artistic license there). Therein followed a very pleasant and not-at-all terrifying (furchteinflößend) five minute journey with me on the back of the moped with Tessa continuing to point out the scenery as though she didn’t have any steering (lenken) or braking (bremsen) to worry (sich Sorgen machen) about. As we reached the main road again she decided I’d better take over steering duties again because there were now other cars around.
Back on the road, we headed southwards and across to Lanta Old Town. Consisting of one main street with large two-storey wooden houses with open fronts, the place had a bit of a wild-west feel to it and it certainly wouldn’t have looked too out of place if there were horses tied up outside each of the buildings. After buying three month out-of-date (abgelaufen) cans of Coke (and, fortunately, getting them exchanged for in-date ones) we decided to check Facebook to see if Heger had any update on when she’d be heading over to Lanta. We logged in to see a commentary of how she now couldn’t pick it up, then she might, then she had it and now was on the boat over to Lanta and would be arriving in one hour! Seeing as it took us about 45 minutes to ride from Saladan (where the pier is) to Lanta Old Town, we immediately headed back to the pier post haste!
We met Heger off the boat and by-golly she delivered the goods! What a lady! I had my necklace back and now she – because we had enough time to stop at a shop on the way to the pier – now had some good old British Walkers Shortbread as a reward for her good deed. Thanks Heger!
By this time it was about 16:30 so we decided to head to the most popular (berühmt) beach on the island; Long Beach, to watch the sunset. As we pulled up, we spotted our French friends Alex and Clement practicing on a slackline with a friend of theirs. We chatted to them and I – very unsuccessfully (erfolglos)- tried the slackline before enjoying the breathtaking sunset over the clear water. The few clouds in the sky provided a canvas for wonderful reds, yellows and pinks and was a quite lovely end to the day.
Next morning, and with a few hours left until we had to return the moped, we headed to the Khlong Jak waterfall in the south of the island. This proved to be very sweaty work which was made only slightly easier by the many crossings of cooling streams we had to make. The waterfall itself is only about ten metres high but is surrounded by beautiful rainforest to make quite a tropical scene.
After returning the moped, we spent the rest of the day on the beach in glorious sunshine. That was until we heard a roll of thunder (Donner) and looked behind us, towards the centre of the island, to see a very menacing (bedrohlich) jet black (rabenschwarz) cloud heading our way. “It’ll be fine”, I said, “I’m sure it’ll blow over”. And blow over it did; right over us. So it was either pack up and head back to the hotel or safely stow our bag and go swimming in the sea. Being the sensible people we are, we took the latter (letztere) option!
It was a quite unique (einzigartig) scene with clear blue skies one side of us and low black clouds on the other, bullying the sunny afternoon out of the way. As the rain started to pelt down, we swam around and rode the waves, laughing all the while, having a shower and sticking out our tongues to catch the pure rain drops whilst stood in the salty sea. Our fun was halted when a huge fork of lightning (Blitz) struck down into the middle of the ocean and a crack of thunder (Donner) followed a second later. We didn’t fancy getting electrocuted (wir wollten keinen Stromschlag bekommen) so we packed up and headed home, smiling back at the grinning faces of the beachside bar staff as we went.
Tomorrow, we’d head back north to Ao Nang.