Day 30: Bangkok to Victoria

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After last night’s late to bed, we all needed a couple of extra minutes of sleep this morning but woke up feeling a lot more refreshed knowing there would be no lizard visitors for this evening!! And the bed was actually a pillow top – first one we had in a month of traveling. Them Asian folks sure do love their hard mattresses…
After a quick repack to fit in last night’s purchases, it was off for breakfast. Again, the Best Western came through in spades with an excellent full buffet breakfast included with the room… Even better, they were the only hotel we stayed at that didn’t charge extra for Caitlin! Then it was time to board the shuttle van for the trip to the airport. After that it was the usual travel related stuff – checking in, security, etc. Everything went smoothly at each step of the way with no problems to speak of although one security screener in Hong Kong did take a second look at the pack with all the weird little items we’ve picked up along the way…
The flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong was on a 777 so was pretty comfortable and dinner was pretty tasty – definitely a cut above Royal Thai Airlines mystery meet sandwiches. The flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver was on a 747 and was definitely a little more cramped and noisy… Caitlin didn’t even try to sleep, Marie dozed off in the middle of Kung Fu Panda 2 for a little bit and I tried but couldn’t get comfortable… But they did have the first season of Walking Dead on their entertainment system so was able to watch all of that! Was very weird to leave Hong Kong at 4:30 in the afternoon on August 23 and arrive in Vancouver at 1:15 in the afternoon on the same day… Time changes are discombobulating! I don’t know how people do those long haul flights on a regular basis – between cramped seats, loud air conditioning and crying kids I’m surprised more people don’t try to open a door in mid-flight just to preserve their sanity… But we arrived safely. Marie didn’t leave any claw marks in my arms or hands (8 flights in thirty days may have dulled some of the fear… Or else the lala pills worked like a charm!) and we’re all still talking to one another!
As we were heading to the baggage carousel in Vancouver, we heard Caitlin’s name being called over the PA system… Never good news. Seems they left one of our bags behind in Hong Kong – no big deal as it was a small bag we bought to put clothes (mostly dirty ones) in to make room for souvenirs – they’ll be couriering it to our house tomorrow morning at some point… Hopefully. After collecting our remaining luggage (which took forever) we discovered that our Air Canada flight to Victoria had been cancelled… Again, not a big inconvenience as they just put us on the next flight leaving a half hour later…
So now we’re sitting at the gate waiting for our last flight. Caitlin hit the Tim Hortons right away and both Marie and Caitlin are complaining about being cold… I’m reveling in the cooler temperatures and enjoying hearing all the public announcements in English…
Not looking forward to getting back into the hustle and bustle but looking forward to a soak in the hot tub and sleeping in my own bed… And seeing Ladybug of course!
Will post up some final thoughts and some accumulated funny English errors and whatnot in a couple of final posts tomorrow or the next day…

Day 29: Koh Lanta to Bangkok

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Just a quick post as we have about 8 minutes to make it to our hotel shuttle to get to the airport for our flight home…
Yesterday we were woken by crashing booms of thunder and the sounds of light rain on the rooftop but things had improved considerably by the time we had packed and had breakfast so we threw on the trunks for one last play in the surf and sun… The waves today were the best yet!
After a swim and quick shower it was time for a light lunch then to pile into the van for the drive to Krabi Airport… Things went well. We ended up sharing the van with one of the owners of the resort so didn’t have to pay full freight for the private charter.
We made the airport with time to spare, had an uneventful flight to Bangkok (although Thai Airways food is always an adventure) and arrived in Bangkok to a waiting shuttle to our hotel for the evening (thanks Thaylin – two big thumbs up for the Best Western Amaranth Hotel)…
After checking in, we decided to take a cab to the infamous Night Bazaar at Silom (otherwise known as Patong Night Bazaar) for some last minute souvenir shopping for Caitlin…. As we didn’t get to the hotel until after 9, we didn’t get home until after 2…
Will write more in our final post ’cause it’s time to go now…

Day 28: Koh Lanta

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Today was our last full day on Lanta and Marie and Caitlin made the most of it by heading to the spa for 4 hours (a little more expensive than some places we’ve been this trip but they both had a facial, eyebrow waxing, manicure, pedicure and oil massage for 3400 baht total or about $120… And the woman who ran the place was awesome) while I did some last minute souvenir shopping and hung out at one of the local restaurants for a while. Then it was back to the resort for some beach time.
The weather improved as the afternoon wore on so by the time we hit the beach, we enjoyed full sun and downright hot temperatures… Marie was in heaven while I was very grateful to get in the water… Although it wasn’t much cooler. It’s hard to believe their ocean is only about 10 degrees fahrenheit cooler than our hot tub… We played around in the surf for about an hour then hit the pool for another hour before retiring to our deck for a drink.
Our not-so-subtle hints that we weren’t impressed by last night’s poor sleep must have resonated with someone ’cause the free stuff started showing up. As soon as we sat on our deck Wacheco pranced? (you really have to see this guy in action to appreciate him) over to ask us what we’d like to drink… We were able to sip our free cocktails on the deck while watching the start of another spectacular sunset… Once we’d finished our drinks we headed down to the beach to grab some pictures of our last Lanta sunset then as darkness set in went for a walk along the beach… In order to understand how this walk progressed, you need to imagine handing a very bright flashlight to someone who shows decided ADD tendencies and who read the section about wild animals in the national park at least three times… We’d take about 3 steps then Caitlin would flail about wildly with the flashlight convinced that trees were giant man-eating something’s, that ant dark shadow on the beach must be a panther and that something was going to crawl out of the surf and devour us… Alternating between complete blindness and moments on serene tranquility, we saw fireflies dancing in the trees and every variety of hermit crab imaginable…. But no tigers, monkeys or other dangerous denizens of the forest, alas.
On returning from walk, we were greeted by last night’s lizard’s cousin hanging on our front door just chilling and waiting to say hello… We greeted him by trying to shoe him away but he was determined to find out what we had done to his cousin and refused to move… We encouraged him but he was back after dinner as well… After making the room secure against lizard intruders we hit the restaurant for dinner and after placing our orders were treated to a very nice appetizer platter courtesy of one of the waiters who professed his profound apologies for the noise the night before. Gotta give credit to the staff… Much as we were pretty irked by the two noisy nights, their service and general good nature made it pretty easy to forgive and forget.
After dinner it was early to bed as we were all worn out by a full day in the sun…

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Day 27: Koh Lanta

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On this day, we did nothing. Well, okay, Marie and I started our day off going for a swim in the ocean – at 8am so those of you who know Marie can imagine how warm the air and the water would have to be for Marie to do such a thing. (I learned from one of the local shops that the water is about 31 degrees Celsius at this time of year… By comparison, Victoria’s ocean is probably about 8 degrees celsius). Then we swam in the pool. Then we woke Caitlin up. Then we had breakfast. Then we swam in the ocean again. And played in the surf. Even did some snorkeling around the rocks at the west end of the beach and saw a nice variety of tropical fishes… Then had lunch. Then Marie and Caitlin booked spa appointments for Sunday while I tried to firm up a dive trip to Hin Deuang that might or might not be possible for Sunday (turns out it didn’t work out so no diving for me this trip… Not a big deal, really as their trips are pretty pricey at almost $200 for charters and rentals and would have eaten up the whole day). Then we retreated to the cool of our bungalow to watch a couple of movies. Then it was time for dinner. And dessert (their banana fritters are really quite tasty). Then for a walk on the beach in the dark – glad I brought my flashlight so we could spot all the hermit crabs motoring around on the beach. Even saw some fireflies – a first for all of us. And there must have been some large factory fish boats offshore ’cause there were lights all along the horizon… Was very cool. Then back to finish our movie.
From there on the evening went a bit downhill… It began with the discovery of a very large Tokay Gecko (he was about 10″ from tip to tail) in the bathroom which prompted Marie to utter squeals of outrage and sent Caitlin running from the room. Fearing he would disappear somewhere into the recesses of the bathroom only to reappear and attack them in their sleep, Marie and Caitlin insisted on getting the staff to take care of it… I was tasked with watching him and making sure that I didn’t lose sight of him… I think there may have been threats involved. In a couple of minutes Wacheco showed up, threw a towel on the poor little guy, wrapped him up and took him somewhere to release… On the other side of the island according to Marie’s explicit instructions. Marie was done at this point and I have been checking the bathroom and other spaces carefully before either of them will venture in to use the facilities… Finding out that this particular gecko is nicknamed “the pit bull” because they refuse to let go when they bite (they’ll clamp on for over an hour) did nothing to allay their concerns… Eventually the hysteria died down and we resumed watching our movie…
Unfortunately, it turned out to be party night at the restaurant again… Now, it’s important to note that they’re not going crazy but given the complete silence in the evenings (other than the sound of the surf) every voice/sound easily carries across the less than 50′ to our room. And they were up talking, singing, etc. until 5am… Like I said, they weren’t being intentionally obnoxious but it was unappreciated and was an unwelcome addition to the evening… We contemplated changing resorts but we’ve just got the one night left and wanted to spend the time relaxing rather than packing up and moving rooms, etc. This time, though, we let Wacheco know we were a little put out by the noise and hadn’t got much sleep because of it… He was appropriately contrite and hopefully he’ll pass the message along to the right parties… Otherwise there may need to be some adjusting when it comes time to the pay the bill…
All in all, this day was a lot like many of the days we’ve spent out at Otter Point over the years – didn’t accomplish much but enjoyed the downtime and the proximity to the ocean… Only here we can jump in any time we feel like it without 2 layers of neoprene to keep our hearts from stopping from the shock of the cold.
Oh yeah, the weather today was a bit of a mixed bag – sunny and hot until early afternoon then overcast with a cool onshore wind and a couple of spatterings of rain and then getting nicer again as the evening wore on (saw a few stars on our walk around 8pm). Should probably mention at this point, if I haven’t already, that it gets dark early here at this time of year (sun sets around 6:15 and it’s full dark by 7:30)…
Can’t believe we’re coming to the end of our time here…

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Marie and Caitlin want me to assure you that he was much bigger than he appears in these photos…

Day 26: Koh Lanta

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Another relaxing day on Koh Lanta. Weather was not as nice today – very grey and overcast with a couple of periods of light rain/drizzle but still pretty warm. Guess it was a good thing that our driver didn’t have an accident today so we could spend most of the day exploring Lanta Old Town – not much happening there. Just a bunch of stores and restaurants on the waterfront – the buildings are pretty old and it’s cool how they’re built right out over the water but a fair number were closed for the low season and the ones that were open didn’t have much of interest. Although the hammock store was pretty cool…
After Old Lanta we headed back to Saladan (the main town on Lanta) for lunch and some souvenir shopping. Stopped along the way, first, to play with some elephants on the side of the road (seems a couple of enterprising folks have brought some elephants to the island to run jungle treks for the tourists… The elephants seemed okay but was a little too exploitative, and expensive, for our tastes). Once in Saladan, found that lots of stores and shops are closed down for the low season so not much happening. We had lunch at some restaurant built out over the water and we were the only people there the whole time. Did some souvenir shopping but found prices pretty high and most of the shopkeepers pretty disinterested in making a sale… Had one girl watch TV the whole time we were bargaining with her… Ended up not buying the stuff after all… I would have thought they’d be working hard to make sales at this time of year but doesn’t seem that way. Popped into an optical shop (once again can’t figure out why a small town needs 5 optical shops) and was swamped by the whole staff trying to find me a pair of sunglasses – brought cold drinks, the whole nine yards. Felt bad when I left without buying anything but really not into big blingy sunglasses…
Stopped at Scuba-Fish on the way back and talked with them about doing some diving as it doesn’t look like anyone will be doing Hin Deung or Muang while I’m here so will look at doing something more accessible and run-of-the-mill, I guess. Will probably end up diving Ko Haa which offers a variety of dives and is supposed to have great visibility… It’s the 2 hour boat ride each way that’s keeping me undecided. Would like to do some diving but I spend enough time on boats that 4 hours putting to and from the dive site doesn’t sound that appealing… Maybe they’ll let me throw a line out as we putt along 🙂
Marie was pretty thrilled on the way back when we stopped to watch a monkey sitting in the tree… Caitlin tried out some of her monkey gestures but the monkey pretty much ignored her… Kid’s got no game 🙂
After we got back to the resort around 4 we watched a movie or something, once again it was a such a difficult day I can’t remember exactly what we did. Also spent some time chatting with Wachiko – the defacto manager/jack-of-all-trades at the resort. The guy could write his ticket anywhere – he’s a real character and works his rear end off for the resort… And has never used their beach in the two years he’s been working for the resort… He hates the heat, doesn’t like the sand and doesn’t like the ocean…
Eventually it was time for dinner followed by free desserts (we would have had a couple of scoops of ice cream but didn’t want to be rude and turn down freebies) then time to finish our movie. Again, after such a difficult, action-packed day, we were worn out and turned the lights out by 10:30. There were no loud parties and we must be getting used to the air conditioner because we all slept pretty well…
Can’t believe we only have two more nights here and will be back in Victoria on Tuesday afternoon… At least we still have a couple of weeks of holidays left when we get back…

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View from the front deck of our bungalow.

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Day 25: Koh Lanta

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Whew. I’m beat. These days in tropical paradise are grueling. First we had to pack all our stuff up so they could move it to our new bungalow. Then we had to eat breakfast… Which may have required a 20′ maybe even 25′ walk. It was touch and go for a while there but we made it… After a light breakfast of pancakes for me, scrambled eggs and toast for Marie and toast and bacon for Caitlin, we set up a taxi to take us around the island to do some exploring and some shopping. He wasn’t going to arrive until noon so we were forced to relax by the pool for a couple of hours… That sitting in the blazing hot tropical sun reading books and sipping cold drinks really takes it out of you. After about an hour of intense lounging our concierge/waiter/Tattoo-clone came up all flustered and with his hands on his hips lisped “we have a problem.” We thought they were going to boot out us out of our new digs or something but apparently our driver “had an accident… Maybe you go tomorrow?” okay we go tomorrow… Ummm was the driver okay? Never did find out…
Which left us with a whole day to lounge around in the sun, swim in the pool and play in the surf. That was our whole day. We moved into our new beach bungalow – awesome views of the sunset and the beach but a little less “sealed” so a few more spiders and lizards than Marie and Caitlin would like… But they must be acclimatizing – I still have to hunt down the spiders (these guys move like greased lightning, jump 6-8″ at a time and know when you’re out to get them so spider hunting takes some effort) but the lizards have been left alone… They chatter at us occasionally to let us know they’re around but are otherwise a non-issue… Although Caitlin does cringe a bit every time she sees one and may whimper a little…
After moving into our new digs, it was serious relaxing time. Marie was into the sauce before noon, claiming all we had to drink were Bacardi Breezers. She did only have the one all day but that doesn’t sound nearly as scandalous but she threatened me with bodily harm if I didn’t set the record straight… Caitlin spent the day lounging like some Hollywood starlet baking in the sun… I spent exactly 29 minutes on the lounger in the sun before retreating for the shade and still managed to get a sunburn… That’ll teach me not to use sunscreen. We perfected the art of body surfing – at least I did, Marie was doing some weird “wave” thing where she threw her arms up over her head and just let the waves smash into her… Caitlin tried her best to actually surf but spent most of her time getting knocked butt over teakettle and having her face slammed into the sand… There was apparently loss of bikini parts for both Caitlin and Marie… Mine stayed firmly in place the whole time 😉
After exhausting ourselves in the surf for about an hour it was time to retreat to the relative coolness of the resort’s pool and some more lounging time. There was lunch in there somewhere but the day was so draining I’ve lost track of where it fell in the day’s events. I know my Panang curry with chicken was fabulous – although I was careful to request “not spicy.” After my first experience with a supposedly mildly spiced dish I was fearing for my life trying this one which was a 2 chili dish… But, they dialed it down to mortal levels and all was good. Marie went way out on a limb and had Japanese gyoza while Caitlin had garlic bread and fries… Although she did sample a mouthful of my panang curry. She was not impressed. I think she may have stopped breathing for a minute or two.
The rest of the day passed in a blur of relaxing, reading, and general lounging around. Around dinner time the skies darkened and a couple of peals of thunder announced the arrival of a light rain (not being sarcastic, it was actually a normal light rain instead of the tropical deluges we’ve been having). So we lounged some more. After the rain let up and a spot opened up on the comfy couch in the restaurant, we made a dash for the restaurant/bar and settled in for dinner. A couple of hours later we headed back to the room to watch a movie and so some more reading. And so ended another day in paradise. A lot relaxed, a little sunburned and exhausted by a tough day at the beach… I was being sarcastic there for those of you who don’t know me very well…
All was going well until we woke up in the middle of night to the sound of a very noisy air conditioner and somebody having a really good time at the bar – seems one of the owners and his Thai friends and some of the guests were tying on a good one… They continued until just after 4am although the air conditioned cutting in and out drowned out most of the sound… Things are definitely a little subdued around the resort this morning and everyone seems to be moving a little gingerly so it must have been a good time. We’d probably be more bent out of shape if we weren’t so completely relaxed… a repeat this evening, though, will probably not go over well.

Day 24: Koh Lanta

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Our first full day in tropical paradise began with breakfast… More fried eggs, scrambled eggs, or omelette with bacon, sausage or ham… But wait. They have pancakes! Pancakes with honey, even. Life is good.
After breakfast, we hitched a ride into town with one of the staff who was going in to get the day’s groceries. We poked around a little in some of the shops and, most importantly, stocked up on some cheap beer, pop and snacks as prices for that kind of stuff are a little steep at the resort (not so much by Canadian standards but definitely by Thai standards). I also put my name on a list with one of the dive shops to go out to Hin Deung and Muang – supposedly the second best dive sites in Thailand… Diving is relatively expensive here (about 5000 baht – $160 cdn for two dives, weights, tanks, etc. and is mostly of the cattle boat variety and conditions are decent but not stellar at this time of year so I’m being a little picky. This dive is only for advanced divers as there’s fairly strong current and they only take 10-12 divers instead of 30 on the other boats… It’s a 90 minute speedboat trip each way to the dive site so it’s pretty weather dependent and they need at least 6-7 divers to make it worthwhile… If they get enough people to put a charter together it’ll happen, if not, no big deal. I might relent and do one of the regularly scheduled dives if i get bored later in the week but for now it’s not a huge priority.
After a couple of hours poking around in the little shops, we piled back into the van for the 40 minute drive back to the resort.Then it was time to change into our swimsuits and hit the water. We grabbed a couple of the little sit-on-top kayaks and played around in the surf for a while then ditched the kayaks and just body surfed and played around in the waves for an hour or more. I haven’t taken my dive computer down to double check but I think the water temp is definitely in the high 80s – considerably warmer than commonwealth pool and it’s 84 degrees… After a couple of hours, we were played out and headed to the restaurant for some lunch and a couple of fruit smoothies. Then it was read some books time, play some games, walk on the beach, take some sunset pictures, then eat, watch a movie, read books, sleep, etc. The workload here is crushing.
We only booked a couple of nights here originally as we weren’t sure about the resort, the isolation, etc. and wanted to leave our options open. While I’m sure there are lots of nice resorts on the island, we decided today to spend the full 7 nights here… Mostly because it’s so quiet and serene – there’s a few other couples/families here but the resort’s only about half full (and they only have 20 bungalows to begin with) we have the beach more or less to ourselves and the staff are very cheerful and friendly. We’ll be moving to a beachfront bungalow for the rest of our stay – same layout but full view of the ocean and sunsets. We had tried to book one at the start and they were full but this might have worked out better as we’re now able to get the one truly beachfront bungalow they have…. That’s pretty much it for our first full day. I suspect the next few days will read much the same – eat, play in the sun/surf/sand, read, sleep… Although we may rent some scooters and do some exploring – there’s another little town on the east side of the island that’s supposed to be pretty cool and has some good shops, etc. So we’ll try to check that at out at least once and we may wander down the beach to the other resort and see what their food is like for a change of pace but otherwise looks like a pretty relaxing few days on the horizon…
For Thaylin, here’s some pictures of the room and the grounds. Things are pretty laid back at this time of the year and the grounds are a bit rough around the edges. It’s sort of funny too how everyone’s (meaning a few of the posters on trip advisor) bent out of shape about the rubbish on the beaches… I guess in high season they have some poor saps walking up and down the beach collecting everything that washes up during the night… Having spent a lot of time on beaches, this one is pretty clean and the bits of flotsam and jetsam that do wash up each night are a lot less than you’d see on many of the beaches on Vancouver Island… The grounds are definitely a little rustic to begin with and could use a bit of grooming but I’m not really much of a manicured gardens person anyways so it works for me… The whole thing sort of feels like camping but with comfy mattresses and really good food… And cold beers.

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Day 23: Krabi Town to Koh Lanta

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We didn’t have the greatest sleep – mainly because the air conditioner was cranking out glacial temperatures but it was too hot without it and because a good portion of the frog population of the entire world was serenading us through the evening – so we slept in a bit again this morning. Which is not a bad thing because daylight revealed Krabi town to be a sort of dull, dreary place… Very much like Hope or maybe a larger version of Spuzzum… If Spuzzum had 80,000 people living there… All of whom needed eyeglasses… Couldn’t believe the number of optics stores in this town… It was weird. But I digress… First came breakfast… Included with the room which meant, wait for it… Yes!!! Scrambled eggs, fried eggs or omelette with bacon, ham or sausage. The same breakfast that has been included with every room we have stayed in (with the exception of the Westin in Bangkok… We actually ate at McDonald’s for breakfast those days… Don’t judge us… A man (or woman) can only eat so many fried eggs in a row. And did we mention the sausages bear an uncanny resemblance to a small, pale wiener… Not those kind… the kind you put in hot dogs… And they taste exactly like them… So breakfast frequently consists of fried eggs and bacon (usually undercooked), cocktail wienies or processed ham… It does the job but we’re reaching the point where we might sacrifice Caitlin for a decent pancake… I know I’d sell Marie for a decent waffle…
After breakfast, we had a couple of hours to kill in Krabi Town so we went wandering. The first thing we noticed was the preponderance of optics stores… This strangeness was followed by without a doubt the strangest city centre display imaginable… Imagine a four way stop with huge statues of cavemen as traffic lights. The pictures truly don’t do it justice… When we reached the waterfront (don’t think this was some epic trudge through the tropical heat or anything, it’s only two blocks from the cavemen) we were assisted across the busy street by a very helpful gentleman who, you guessed it, wanted us to go in his . In this case, he ran long tail boat tours to some caves and other features around Krabi… Realizing that even 8 more minutes of Krabi Town would be minutes wasted from our lives, we quickly worked out a super-quick one hour itinerary for 100 baht each (after 800 baht each for the wax museum, this seemed like the deal of the century). We ended up getting great value for the money – toured the mangroves and explored a pretty cool cave system with prehistoric archaeological significance – hence the town centre cavemen… Also got to see the way a Thai long tail operates compared to the Cambodian ones. The Thai ones definitely make a little more sense and are reasonable and practical – especially for shallow waters like mangrove swamps and such…but I’m still convinced an outboard motor dealer could make a killing here. As I watched this guy swinging around a 6 cylinder chevy engine attached to a 20′ drive shaft – especially when it was time to turn us around – I figured the long tail system is more about image and tradition than any form of efficient marine propulsion… The boat hulls, however, are awesome…
The cave system is very cool, although the recreations of the Paleolithic burial sites are a little cheesy… But not nearly as cheesy as the Japanese soldiers’ campsite replica complete with khaki colored mid90s backpacking tent… The bats were pretty cool, though, but nothing compared to the expression on Caitlin’s face when she realized there were hundreds (thousands?) of bats above her 🙂
After our little tour, we grabbed some drinks for the trip from 7-11 and waited for our minivan to arrive. Unlike many forms of transportation, this one arrived on time (more or less) and made good time to the first little ferry crossing to Lanta Noi… Which was good because we weren’t the only passengers and despite a couple of Gravol, Marie was looking a little green around the gills having to sit in the back. From Lanta Noi, it’s a short drive across the island to the next little ferry crossing which takes you to Lanta Yai. It was very much like taking the ferry to Hornby Island…
Once on Lanta Yai, our driver switched into courier mode and made a bunch of stops along the way before dropping us at our transfer point to be picked up by the bus from LaLanta Hideaway Resort… We were surprised to find a couple of other couples in the van with us as Lanta is pretty dead this time of year and this resort is way at the end of the island. Turns out that the were just wanting to check out the resort before deciding to book a night or not… Nope. No can do. Resort is full says the voice on the other end of the line… So back to the transfer point it is to return a couple of bemused couples to grab a pickup to someplace else… Funny thing is that we didn’t make our reservation until last night and there was plenty of space… I suspect they get a lot of people looking at the resort as a way to bum a ride to other places on the south island where the taxis cost a bit to get to… The resort is definitely not full… We continue on past all the other resorts on the island, onto the winding gravel road, past the last markers of civilization before finally turning onto an even bumpier gravel road before arriving at LaLanta Hideaway Resort… Otherwise known as the southernmost place on the southern most island in southern Thailand… When the Dohertys decide to get away from it all, we get away from it all.
We quickly got checked in and were escorted to our bungalow and started having second thoughts – it was clean but this place is really in the middle of nowhere… So we had lunch and discovered that the prices are a bit steep for Thailand and it’s not like we can walk to the next restaurant… But the food was good. And the staff are excellent. Then we went swimming and body surfing in the 88 degree water and it was good. Then we retired to our bungalow for a bit of reading and relaxing and it was good. Then it was time for dinner… By this point Caitlin was firmly ensconced in her bed reading a book and was not interested in eating… So Marie and I went without her… Whoo hoo party time. No kid 🙂 we ripped it up. Actually we had a very nice meal and enjoyed a cold drink… Marie had chicken satay with rice (very good) while I had minced chicken stir fried with holy basil. It would be appropriate to mention at this point that the restaurant includes a warning to diners that they make their food Thai spicy and you should choose appropriately… Not minding spicy food and having an idea of Thai spicy, I thought I would be safe with the 1 pepper food choices which are mildly spicy. Uh no. After the first bite blew the back of my head off, I quickly slammed back the remainder of my giant sized Singha beer and contemplated drinking from the pool and/or ocean… Marie, showing a profound lack of self preservation, sampled a mouse sized portion and proceeded to see god, angels and demons simultaneously while praising the sinus clearing qualities of my dinner (and drinking a goodly portion of my beer). I ate the whole plate… And it was good. As we were thinking of winding things up and heading back to our child (don’t worry, we sent a plate of fried rice up to her), the resort’s social coordinator (think of a tall, flamboyantly gay, Thai version of Tatoo from Fantasy Island) insisted on buying us each a drink to welcome us to the resort… While snapping his fingers and swaying to imaginary music… I had an excellent mojito while Marie tried a Long Island Iced Tea… Their drinks may be expensive but what do you expect when your glass contains about 15 ounces of booze – I tried one sip and, while it was excellent, decided that any drink that strong should come with some kind of warning attached…and for those who know me from my younger days I am pretty familiar with strong drinks 😉 For the first time in our life together, Marie did not complain how about how much ice there was in her drink…
Eventually we remembered our child alone in the bungalow on the edge of a national park which is apparently home to about a dozen large mammals – including tigers. She was exactly where we left her two hours earlier… Albeit stuffed with really good fried rice…
I read a bit, Caitlin read a bit and Marie finished the movie she’d started before dinner… Then she crawled to bed and fell fast asleep 🙂
And so ended our first day in tropical paradise…
The pictures below are of the hotel in Krabi, our tour and the cave and the van/ferries. I’ll tease Thaylin a little longer and leave the resort pictures for the next post…

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Day 22: Bangkok to Krabi

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Today we were scheduled to fly from Bangkok to Krabi at 4:45 so we still had a little time left in Bangkok…so after a short swim, packing and breakfast, we went to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum!!! As I am not in charge of finances for this trip, Caitlin embarked on a three day plan of sucking up to Marie in order to convince her to go… I argued for a nice culturally relevant activity or maybe another temple or a trip to a gogo bar or anything but a tourist trap like a wax museum… I was overruled. Violently. Turned out to be the most expensive activity we’ve done thus far at 800 baht per person but Caitlin had a disturbingly great time getting her picture taken with various celebrities (Marie may have had a little fun too) while I kept wondering if there would be at least a house of horrors section like ours had… Alas, no house of horrors but it was sort of interesting to see some of the Thai politicians and to see who they value from our culture… And I have to admit there was something… Pathetic? Funny? Tragic? about realizing that Caitlin had more fun wrapping her arms around a wax statue of Leonardo DiCaprio than exploring the ruins of a thousand year old temple… Not to mention watching Marie get all giddy about getting her picture taken with a wax effigy of George Clooney… Now if they’d had a Megan Fox display I could maybe understand their enthusiasm. Gotta say, though, I’m a little concerned about the Thai people’s music celebrity choices – Brittney Spears, really?? – but what can you do, eh?

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After the wax museum we wandered through the mall for a bit before grabbing the sky train back to our hotel. Then it was into a taxi for the 45 minute trip to the airport (no taxi scamming, thank you very much)… We were surprised by how many people were flying to Krabi but when we arrived, saw all the passenger pickup signs and realized they were all heading to the resorts at Ao Nang…. We arranged our cab ride into Krabi Town and had them drop us off at the Krabi Cozy Place – a budget hotel right in Krabi Town with decent Trip Advisor ratings… By this point it was full dark out and Krabi is not a particularly picturesque town so we were a little sketched out by our decision to stay in Krabi proper rather than at one of the beach resorts… Especially when the cab driver drove us through the seedier part of town. As we didn’t have a reservation, we asked our driver to stick around while we checked out the room. Luxury it isn’t but for one night it more than gets the job done. It’s clean, has Internet access, has a glacially efficient air conditioner and includes breakfast and costs $40 a night so no complaints. The owner? working at the front desk pointed us in the right direction for dinner and arranged our minivan pickup for the 2 hour trip to Koh Lanta and likes dogs so Caitlin and Marie figure he’s okay.
Our choice for dinner tonight was the open air food market… A good choice. Food was a little greasy and wasn’t the most authentic but was tasty and cheap at $8 for an appy, 3 entrees, a large Singha, 2 soda waters and a fanta… We poked around a little in Krabi town – lots of little bars but not much else going on as most people are on their way through to someplace else but we’ll take another look in daylight before confirming my impression that it reminds me of Hope, BC and places like that where people are just passing through.

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Today we’re on a noon minivan to Koh Lanta (2 hours including a couple of Mill Bay type ferry rides) where we will be picked up in the little town of Saladan and transported to our beach villa at LaLanta Resort – right at the very bottom of Lanta Yoi and right beside the national park on the island so we should find plenty of piece and quiet… Now if we can do something about the weather ’cause while it hasn’t been bad for temple exploring and shopping, it has been overcast pretty much everyday since we left Chiang Mai and it has rained for at least part of everyday for 15 days in a row now… A couple of sunny days would be nice at this point.
Koh Lanta is pretty laid back at this time of year (hence the reason we’re paying 1/3 of the high season rate for a villa) but we are hoping to spend some leisure time on the beach and around the pool and they’re a boat ride away from the second best dive site in Thailand for me, and there’s scooters to rent, cooking classes, a really old Muslim village, surf lessons and a bunch of other stuff to do (much of it weather dependent but we’re prepared for movie and veg days too) so we’re all pretty excited about this part of the trip…

Additional comments from Marie

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I think a bit more information is required regarding our little faux pas with Miss Caitlin at the genocide museum. You see this place was very depressing, had multiple real photographs of people being tortured in addition to them having left some of the rooms with remnants from those who were tortured….ie blood on the walls, floors etc. So after having walked through multiple cells, group prisons, having read many personal testimonials that helped one just begin slightly to get a picture of what life was like there 30 years ago, one can now understand why my mom instincts went into overdrive when we enter a new block of cells and Caitlin was no where to be found. I moved like the wind from cell to cell, having watched far to many abduction movies, calling her name whilst imagining some long lost Khmer Rouge cadre had stalked us from the moment we entered the museum plotting the most opportune time to make his move on my poor unsuspecting daughter, who most likely was at least one foot taller than him and outweighed him by 20 pounds! When a few hours had past, ok a few minutes but seemed like hours, we look up and see Caitlin waving at us from behind barbed wire fencing on the second floor. The relief consumes my over-active imagination, having already worked through how I would need to alert CNN and the Canadian Embassy to create a task force and put out an alert on the worldwide web…….but all is good now. Whew!

So now let’s turn to the real reason I am now sporting the totally funky tropical braided look. You see when your husband tells you your current hairstyle “isn’t your best look” or that “it’s too severe” and “it really ages you”….you don’t have many options when traveling in developing countries…that thought actually will ring true for Kirk who will bear some rather creative consequences for such comments! Yes, I chose not to bring my straightener and waste 1/2 an hour of my holiday each day ironing my hair, however, one would think that said someone would have mentioned this rather profound revelation much sooner than week three! Very little time elapsed from those very memorable words passing through his lips to me sitting on the side of the road in monsoon rains in an alley in downtown Bangkok for an hour and a half getting the new do…..it passed inspection….I got the “it’s now the Bo Derek look”….considering his age…I’ll take that as a compliment. Oh, the whole experience was worth it as I was sitting through one of their torrential monsoons a rat tore across the street in front of me trying not to drown in the river of water flowing down the street. He headed straight for an unsuspecting Caitlin, who Kirk said afterward cause I couldn’t see it, did a great jig on the side walk as the rat ran through her legs. I wish I could have seen that!

Food wise Caitlin and I are doing well….although both Thailand and Cambodia will need to import additional rice this year to make up for the four meals a day, two each, that we consume….with the odd pizza and grilled cheese sandwich thrown in for good measure when we can find them.

As you will have read from Kirk’s previous blogs we are back in Thailand now and although it is also a good experience again, so far we have only endured two colds that Caitlin and I are now nearing the end of, Cambodia is the hands down winner from my perspective for a place I will look forward to returning to……fried tarantulas and all (those were on the menu in Phnom Penh). And although they have the craziest drivers ever (they are not only deficient in rules, guidelines and suggestions, they truly just make it up as they go along and amazingly it works) they have some of the most sincere and pleasant people we have met so far.