After leaving Long Beach Krabi Villas, we decided to head to Koh Lanta. Unfortunately, getting to Koh Lanta in low season at the last minute turned out to be an adventure. After the well organised public transport in Malaysia, where you are informed of every step of getting from A to B before purchasing your ticket and no one tries to scam you, our journey from Ao Nang to Koh Lanta was a shambles.
Our taxi, an open back cab with bench seats took us into Ao Nang to a flash looking mini bus with a driver who spoke minimal English but assured us that his was the bus we had purchased a ticket from through Long Beach Krabi Villas. Hoping for the best, we piled in and the driver headed off to pick up his other passengers. So far so good we though – half full, air-conditioned mini bus and we’re on the road on time!
Unfortunately 10 minutes down the road the driver dropped us off at a tourist bus stop and told us to wait for the next bus. We spent half an hour there eating ice blocks and getting convinced by the local travel agent to book another hotel in Koh Lanta that was cheaper for the same facilities than the one we had booked, had WIFI and was right in the middle of town. Normally I don’t like being talked into things without researching them but the pamphlet looked good and the guy seemed genuine so we thought we’d give it a go. We paid a two night deposit, fearing to pay the full five night amount like he asked. Better to be safe right!
Eventually our next bus arrived – a “bus” that looked surprisingly like an old red ute. Col ended up in the open back with another passenger and the bags whilst the kids and I crammed into the cab.
Another 10 minutes down the road we stopped at another tourist travel agent/bus stop and were told to get out. Another 10 foreigners all crammed into the ute saying they were heading to Koh Lanta too, while we were left bewildered at the side of the road.
A Thai lady inside told us our bus would be along in an hour so we sat down with some snacks to wait.
Two hours later, having seen the red ute drive past 6 times, Colin went back in to find out what was going on. She just kept promising another 5 minutes and the bus will be here.
Finally a decent looking mini bus arrived to take us to Koh Lanta. Of course our adventures weren’t over yet. The bus driver stopped every 5 minutes for the next 2 hours picking up groceries, washing or just to generally chat to friends along the way. Eventually we made it to the two car ferries to Koh Lanta and arrived at our accommodation 6 hours after we started out. A journey that should take just under 2 hours.
Ahh the joys of low season travel in Thailand. It’s an adventure!
The accommodation we’d been sold made a good first impression (although that didn’t last… ). Lanta Riveria looked just like its brochure and the rooms looked great. Of course as a fitting end to our travels its had nothing that we were promised – the resort was nowhere near town, the hot water in the shower isn’t working, it’s not on the best beach like we were told and does not have WIFI. Turns out our original accommodation that wasn’t supposed to be in a great location is actually in one of the best spots. That will teach us to be so naïve!
Still we now have a swimming pool and AC all day. And we are on Koh Lanta enjoying beautiful sunsets … life could be worse!
The beach is beautiful and shady, although rocky at low tide and the kids are enjoying their sand castle building. Last night we sat at the hotels rustic beach front bar watching a storm pass by out to sea. Tonight we visited the reggae bar next door – right on the beach with groovy music, cushions on the floors, hammocks and disco lights. A little crazy but the staff were wonderfully friendly and the food delicious. Unlike Riveria that specialises in grumpy, characterless staff, the staff here were so happy and enthusiastic it was impossible not to enjoy yourself.
Of course the night ended on a slightly less happy note when Noah got electrocuted by a wire hanging off the balcony over the beach. He was unlucky enough to be playing near it just after a storm so the wire and sand was wet. Thankfully it was just a small shock and apart from a dead arm for a few hours and many tears he’s OK.
So far we’re not enjoying Thailand as much as Malaysia. The amazing melting pot of foods and cultures in Malaysia was a lot more appealing to us. Instead of walking out onto the street to choose between Chinese, Malay, Thai, Indian or western foods you can choose from Thai or bad western imitations. The Thai food is fantastic but we’re missing the variety of Malaysia and our ridiculously cheap Indian breakfasts. Still the Thai curries are lovely!