After a day on the road, in the air and on the open sea, I finally arrived in Koh Lanta where I was to meet up with some friends for a few days of birthday celebrations. The ferry over gave spectacular views of the island and neighbouring ones, and I couldn't wait to hit the shores. Koh Lanta is stunning - when you think of paradise, golden sands, clear blue waters, beautiful shells littering the beach and lots of little shacks with hammocks - that's basically Koh Lanta. The beaches are beyond beautiful and absolutely deserted. Although this place is paradise - many travellers don't make it this far and so the lucky ones who do find empty beaches and an amazing, chilled out atmosphere helped along by the fabulous bars along the beach. It's a diverse crowd who make it here, so far I've seen quite a few families with young children, honeymooning couples and holidaymakers - but there are also a fair few backpackers.
My first night on the island, I was hoping to stay at Bee Bee Bungalows but found they were full on arriving, but it turned out to be a blessing because I then found a lovely little hut on the beach instead. It was less than 10 metres from the beach and the sea, so I could hear the waves crashing on the beach at night - perfection. I love the bungalows, they give such a fabulous experience I can't imagine you get in a hotel - although the cockroach in the toilet was a rather funny experience, thank god for a flush! I spent my first night eating and drinking at the Reggae Bar just down the beach - this is my favourite place on the island. The music is amazing, the people there are fantastic - I made a great new group of mates that night and partied together, I even moved closer to the girls so we could spend the week together. That night we went to an awesome party we found in the woods with the guys who run the Reggae Bar - it was amazing.
After just one night, I woke up early and walked miles to the next few beaches to see what else was along there - lots of yoga, massages and food. Then I spent the morning swimming in the sea spotting fish and sunbathing until my friends arrived so I could join them at their villa which was pretty lush and had its own pool and jacuzzi! The guys had been living in some pretty awful hostels for the last three weeks so they were really excited to have a bit of luxury for my friend's birthday. The next few days were spent sunbathing on the beach, exploring the island, having pool parties and something very special for her birthday. We booked to go visit elephants and to feed them before going on a jungle trek to a bat cave and then on to a waterfall where we sat on rocks and pretended to be mermaids. It was an amazing way to celebrate and we were all so excited to see the elephants - they were so beautiful and gentle. It got me really excited for when I spend a week volunteering at the elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai in March.
After one more night together celebrating Stav's birthday with a BBQ, beers and a fire show, and letting off some fire lanterns - we parted ways the next morning and I returned to the beach. I definitely missed sleeping on the beach - it was strange to have air con and to not hear the sea each night but I had so much fun with the guys. Now, after meeting up with my Austrian mates from the first night, I have moved into the bungalow next to them at the Reggae Bar and plan to stay a few more days before moving on to Koh Phi Phi for some shopping. We're having a great time and spent a day on this beautiful tiny beach - the best one on the island is Noi Beach - where we swam and watched the sun set after lunch at a viewpoint restaurant high on the cliff. It was amazing to finally see a sunset, I kept missing them all week! That night, we meta group of French travellers, an American girl and two guys from Switzerland and Holland - it's a diverse crowd who are attracted to the island. We had a great night laughing around a huge fire on the beach and dancing salsa in the waves.
The next few days were a blur of yoga, food, sunbathing and swimming. After hearing the water at Koh Phi Phi is full of sewage - one girl even ended up with a lump of poo in her hands, nice! I will get my fill of the ocean before I head over just in case I have to refrain from swimming there and will save myself for Krabi and Koh Tao where I hope to do diving. It's going to be so hard to leave this place, I seriously love it here and could happily stay here forever. I've lost all track of time and don't want to find it again. But I will force myself to move on in a few days, safe in the knowledge that I plan to return before I leave Thailand. Highlights from the week had be all the friends for life I made, the scooters and exploring, finding our own private beach and playing mermaids. If you go to Koh Lanta, stay av gone Blue Wave Beach Bar, dance to reggae, watch the sunset from the viewpoint over dinner, go trekking through the jungle to waterfalls and chill out.
Have you been to Koh Lanta? What was your favourite part?