Escape to Chiang Mai and Ko Lanta

Arriving on Ko Lanta on the ‘Harry Potter mini-bus’ from Krabi, just off the ferry and wondering why places look a bit shabby when you first arrive. The towns we drove through looked shambolic and scruffy and it didn’t help that it was bucketing down and when we were dropped off at our guesthouse the road outside was all dug up and a big digger right outside. It all changed when we were met by the owner and given fresh juice and shown to our lovely clean and spacious room with a tropical garden just outside our little patio, now it’s looking better.

The beach is a few minutes walk away and is a long sandy beach. We wanted a quieter beach, some are party central with new moon, old moon any old moon parties all the time. This beach has more families and is more chilled. Lots of small bars line the beach for lunch or a sunset cocktail and the water is warm and shallow for a long way out. There are surprisingly few people around, lovely.

We have rented a motorbike. The roads are full of holes and the first bike we rented had no front brake or suspension so we changed it. The new bike is marginally better, it has brakes but is a bit ropey, we will go slowly. Yesterday we went half way round the island it took 30 minutes, it’s not very big. The capital, The Old Town is charming with lots of cafes and places hanging over the water on stilts. The shops have lots of handmade leather goods and different things to your average holiday wares. We watched a couple of fishermen on the long pier throwing round nets out and catching handfuls of small fish with each throw, very skilful. There were fish eagles who were also fishing, we watched them for ages rising and falling majestically.

On our way back we passed a couple of tourists down a side road, one girl lying on the floor so we turned around and went back. She had fallen off her bike and had injuries to her foot , legs and arm and looked really shocked. There was a hospital a few miles back and when we asked if we could assist in any way they said they needed help taking her bike to the hospital. She then got on her boyfriends bike and I followed Chris, very tentatively, on our bike. It brought back our accident a few years ago, it’s the law of averages, you will fall off at some point. Out here the scars you end up with are called a ‘Thai tattoo’. We drove really slowly…..

However far you are away from home you always meet someone from Manchester. We met 3 guys on the beach, 2 from Whaley Range and one from Gatley all looking up at a darkening sky saying it looks just like Manchester…but not really, it’s mostly sunny on a lovely beach!! We have been swimming most days, well floating really, it’s fab.

We have been to a jungle party. It has a DJ, a bonfire and a bar that sells alcohol and all manner of things. It’s called the Mong bar and the guy that runs it does extreme knife tricks, he is just mental and so are his bar staff. He does the trick where he stabs imbetween his fingers very quickly with a big knife. So far he has managed to keep all his fingers, I don’t know how. It is very entertaining but worrying…..

We have booked a flight back to Bangkok on Friday. We then get a train to Ayutthaya which is 80 miles out of Bangkok and was the capital city of Siam and a prosperous trading port from 1350 until it was razed by the Burmese in 1767. The ruins now lie in a historical park and contain Buddhist temples, statues and monasteries between 3 rivers. We will be there for 3 days exploring the site before we return to Chiang Mai on the train.

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