We left Bangkok excited, full, and (almost) fully vaccinated! Whoo hoo! Now for the daunting, yet exciting task of where to wander off too next. We weren’t sure if we were going to head up north or down south to kick off our Thailand travels until we found cheap tickets on Thai Airways ($40 each) to Krabi. The decision was made: southern Thailand, here we come!
I was completely overwhelmed when trying to figure out which of the 1400 or so islands to visit in this southern paradise. And once again, I had a very specific vision of powder white sand beaches and turquoise, still waters. An idea I realized was becoming more unattainable with every beach we visited. One of the easier decisions was picking one of the islands on the west coast of Thailand, which face the Andaman coast since we knew we would eventually visit beaches in Cambodia which share the same body of water (the Gulf of Thailand) as the eastern coast.
We finally decided on Koh Lanta, Koh Lipe, and Railay Beach. The plan was to head to Koh Lanta for a few nights, then down to Koh Lipe, before ending in Railay Beach. We had been traveling pretty open ended up until now but when a flight to Chiang Mai showed up for $35 we decided to go for it. The only downside was it put us on a stricter timeline than we were used to. Unfortunately, after making our decision, the rain also decided to travel in the same direction. As soon as we stepped foot on Koh Lanta, the rain clouds casted a net over the island and it stayed there for what felt like an eternity. I felt like a cartoon character walking around with a storm cloud constantly overhead.
We checked into our hotel, The Lanta Marina Resort, and settled into our thatched roof bungalow for the next couple nights. We knew the beach directly in front of the hotel was rocky, but we read that you could walk up to Long Beach within five minutes and find yourself on a beautiful waterfront paradise. Well…that never happened.
We did end up walking to Long Beach but that dark blanket of gloom that was following us finally caught up during an evening stroll. We were on our way to meet up with some friends from the States who also happened to visiting the island. We noticed several people running down the beach and at first glance, we assumed they were on an evening beach run. That was, until, we noticed they weren’t dressed for running at all. And they looked completely frazzled. And it was at this exact moment when we realized we were too late. Within seconds the wind picked up and sheets of rain started pouring from the sky. Brian bolted down the beach expecting me to be right behind him. Except, when he turned around, what he found, much to his disappointment, was me doubled over, gasping for air, wheezing from the crippling pain in my sides. If the day ever comes where we are in actual, serious danger, I pray that whole adrenaline thing actually kicks in.
I motioned for Brian to go on without me as he was carrying all of our electronics. Unfortunately, we found ourselves on a particularly expensive part of the island, where all the restaurants were way out of our price range. UGH. Brian just kept running. Which meant I had to keep running. I felt like Forest Gump. But without a box of chocolates.
Finally I saw Brian turn in from the beach and I noticed plastic chairs and fluorescent lights ahead. Ah hah. Something that looked more in line with our budget. As I finally huffed and puffed my way to the restaurant, something caught my eye. A black square like object sticking out of the wet sand. So I decided to pick it up. And you know what it was? OUR PHONE! Brian was running so fast (and frantic) trying to SAVE our electronics, he DROPPED one! We still can’t believe I found it. See! There ARE benefits to being a slow runner (and completely out of shape).
Sadly, we had to cancel on our friends Andy and Alex while we waited out the storm. We did meet a great couple from Norway and ended up sharing a couple beers and many laughs before finally braving the weather to make the trek back home. And this is where we stayed. For the next two days. Without any power. The storm was so bad, we had to extend our stay as all the ferries were cancelled. We kissed Koh Lipe goodbye and literally waited out the storm.
I should mention that the day after we arrived, there was a brief dry period (however no sun) when we rented a scooter to get the lay of the land. This clearly turned out to be useless since we never left the hotel afterwards, but made for a really fun day. It was on our scooter ride, when we randomly ran into Andy and Alex and ended up having dinner together at our hotel. We ended the night with a friendly game of Heads Up on our front porch awaiting the storm.
We decided we were all going to check out Koh Phi Phi together for a night since I had never seen it and there were rumors of sun and dry land! Afterwards we would still have time to spend a couple of days on Railay Beach. A whole two days after our originally planned departure date, we all re-booked our ferry tickets for the following afternoon; however, as we were still without power and the storm wasn’t letting up, our hotel advised us to switch to the morning ferry so we would have a better chance of getting off the island. Brian, reluctantly agreed (he seriously isn’t a morning person) and we urged Andy and Alex to do the same. But they decided to take their chances with the afternoon ferry. We escaped the typhoon early that morning to find beautiful sunny skies in Phi Phi (I mean, I really think it was a typhoon. Brian and I agreed it was the craziest storm either of us have ever experienced, and Brian is from Louisiana!). We sent a picture to Andy and Alex only to receive a response that they were, once again, stuck on Koh Lanta, as the afternoon ferry was cancelled! Yikes! Sorry guys! We'll have an extra beer for you on the beach!
While Koh Lanta wasn’t the island vacation we had dreamed of, it was still great to spend time with friends from back home. Even if we all left with less color than when we arrived. Sadly, we weren’t able to catch up on any work, or reading during our stormy beach vacay since we found ourselves with two dead kindles and no power for two days. Thanks universe.
So the moral of the story is: when it rains, it pours. Especially in Koh Lanta!
(And if you need more proof, you can check out the video below! )
Next up, sunny skies and beautiful beaches in Phi Phi!