We made our way from Krabi to the island of Lanta, or Ko Lanta as it is called. Ko means island in Thai. There are two Lanta islands. Ko Lanta Yai and Ko Lanta Noi. There is no tourism on Ko Lanta Noi.
It was a 45 minute ride from Krabi to the first ferry that would take us to Ko Lanta Noi. The ferry was only about a ten minute ride. The landscape quickly changed as we got out of Krabi. It became very lush and tropical. We drove a short distance on Lanta Noi to get to the ferry that would take us to Lanta Yai. This ferry ride was barely two minutes. They could easily build a bridge between the two islands.
The Devastation Of The Tsunami
Ko Lanta island was one of the places hit by the tsunami. In fact where we stayed was right on the beach that was hit. It was kind of creepy sleeping after we found out the tsunami hit there. The main road through the town has signs that read tsunami hazard, they point out the evacuation routes should it happen again. There is supposed to be a plan in place for the next time. Phuket now has a warning device. The nearby island of Phi Phi was very badly hit, apparently a lot of the damage is still visible. Parts of the rich resort areas of Phuket were rebuilt within months, other areas have not been so lucky.
Many beach front properties were flattened. Twenty people lost their lives in this area and many others were injured. It was shocking for us to learn that many peoples lives could have been saved if there was some simple communication during the tsunami, or any communication at all.
Many places that were hit hours after the original waves did not receive notice that the tsunami was coming. We met an American couple who live in Sri Lanka. They told us about what happened when the tsunami hit there. The water from the beach was sucked out so fast before the first waves came in that it left hundreds of fish flopping on the sand. Many people on the beach started running to collect the fish. They had no idea what was coming! This is where educating people about tsunamis could have saved lives. Experts say another one could happen at anytime, maybe tomorrow, maybe years from now, who knows?
We spoke with one restaurant owner where we ate in Ko Lanta. His place was totally destroyed. The government promised that some of the relief money would be given to business owners to help them rebuild. He said none of the people have ever been given anything. This particular restaurant owner had a couple from North America personally give him $10,000 out of their own pocket. They have been coming to the Ko Lanta for years for holidays and felt they wanted to help in someway.
Andaman Lanta Resort
We decided to treat ourselves to a nice resort. It was called Andaman Lanta resort. Everything was wonderful about the resort except the night we both got very sick from our dinner.
Go figure we spend six weeks traveling around Thailand eating from street vendors and some questionable restaurants without getting sick. Then we treat ourselves to a nice resort and get sick there. Oh well, I guess it can happen anywhere. We informed the manager of the hotel and he phoned the restaurant immediately. The staff all knew about it and a waitress continued to ask us everyday if we were okay, she felt really bad.
It was unfortunate because we ended up in bed for two days and didn’t feel that well for the rest of our five day stay. We had planned to rent scooters and tour the rest of the island but we never got a chance.
Our resort was probably the equivalent of a 4 star resort elsewhere. We paid 1600 baht per night,(about $48 Canadian) you can certainly get accommodation a lot cheaper than this. We had a large room with a wall to wall window that had an ocean view. The resort had a very nice pool and jacuzzi, it was all set in a tropical beach front property. A breakfast buffet was included in the price as well.
Exploring The Town And Beaches
We took a few walks into town from our hotel, it was about a half hour walk in each direction. The small town had a few shops and restaurants. Some of the restaurants were out on piers into the ocean. You could sit eating your meal and watch the fisherman bring in their catch for the day.
One evening we decided to walk back to our hotel along the beach instead of the road. We didn’t estimate on how much sunlight we had left. It was starting to get dark and we realized that the peninsula of land we could see in the distance was still not our beach. We got off the sand and into some muddy trails hoping we could cut through and get back on the road.
We ended up coming across a small village of locals living in huts. They directed us to the way back to our beach, it was down the muddy road, but at least we knew we were headed in the right direction. Finally we made our way out of the trees and mud onto our beach. It’s a very long beach and we still had a good walk ahead of us to get to our hotel.
We passed by some very fancy resorts and restaurants. One open air restaurant had very high ceilings with beautiful white columns. It had fancy lighting and white linen covered tables. We assumed it would be very expensive so we didn’t go, but I’m sure we would have got great service as we would be the only ones there. The poor waiters were just standing around in formal wear waiting for someone to show up. It is the end of the tourist season here and there are just too many places and not enough people to support them all.
Another evening we decided to venture down the beach and see if any nightlife existed on it at all. Our resort packed it in sometimes as early as 9pm. There is some nightlife on Ko Lanta, but not much in the area we were in. We found one small bamboo bar that had some funky music playing and a younger crowd sitting around. We stayed for a few drinks and chatted with some of the other travelers. We met two Canadian girls both from Saskatchewan of all places, where I was born.
The rest of the time we just relaxed and thought about the plans for our next travel destinations. We made our way back to Krabi on the ferries and took a flight back to Bangkok. This would make it the 4th time we have landed at Bangkok airport within 6 weeks!