Ko Lanta is the largest in a group of islands that make up the Krabi province of Southern Thailand, and the perfect place to seek refuge from the unbecoming pseudo-culture of Koh Phi Phi, or the brash, gaudiness of Patong Bay’s holidaymakers.
After navigating these charmless isles for a few weeks, something strange struck me as we departed the ferry from Krabi to Ko Lanta…Thai people, everywhere. What a relief. Still a popular destination on the southern Islands circuit, Ko Lanta just attracts a nicer crowd, perhaps it’s the lack of all day happy hours or beachfront sound systems pounding out that same old drivel you can only get accustomed to on the Southeast Asia main trail.
Just listen to me, I am 33 as fuck aren’t I?!
Ok, positivity. We arrived in Ko Lanta with two close friends from home, and all four of us absolutely fell in love with this place. There is a quieted way to life on Ko Lanta, the bars stay open late but you would never know it, the two roads on the island both lead to sand, the traffic here barely exists, the jungle holds water treasures, and the people are the friendliest we encountered in all of Thailand (we flagged down a taxi one night, the old guy looked at me with an assailable expression when I enquired about the price, turns out he was just a guy driving home, saw us waving down what we thought was a cab, and picked our stupid white faces up anyway out of the good of his heart).
The only way to explore Lanta is by motorbike, and they are readily available to rent everywhere, the four of us drove 40 minutes to the national park, the coastal road littered with monkeys, little bars, and viewpoints. Where the town ends, jungle takes over, ascending from the roadside, apple green hills exhale over the land and shelter the jungle we were headed towards.
Where elephants roam we trekked for thirty minutes to an opening in the trees, a great waterfall tumbled from the sky like the flowing locks of the most beautiful bride. We bathed in the waters, watched ephemeral rainbows dance in the falls like quantum particles blinking in and out of existence, then wearing our most sincere smiles we walked back through streams and caves to our bikes. Ending the adventure eating seafood and curry on the beach, marvelling at the nightly show put on by the enduring cycle of the heavens. Truly a day without a yesterday.
On our final day we headed to the southernmost point of the island, at Bamboo beach, where the green hills meet their demise and sprawling white sands stand on the felled chest of the jungle. Jagged stones mark the end of exploration, so what better to do that perch yourselves as we did, facing the majesty of the Andaman Sea, and let it all hang out. Giant eagles surveying the land from overhead, we stayed a few hours before heading back to pack up and seek adventure elsewhere in this country.
So long Ko Lanta, it was right good meeting you.