After a teary goodbye to Kelsey at the pier on Koh Phi Phi, we boarded a small ferry to Koh Lanta. Our room was at Lanta Nice Beach Resort on Klong Nin beach and we were determined to 1) Update the blog and 2) Chill on the beach. After a week on Koh Phi Phi, we were thrilled at the prospect of a quiet area. Quiet it was! Apparently the high season was still a good month away, so most guesthouses around us weren’t even open. There were several restaurants within walking distance but never had anymore than 10 people in a night (and that was “full”). Down the road from was a small French restaurant, Shanti Shani, a picturesque wooden bungalow with vintage tables and chairs out front. Owned by a lovely French/Thai couple, their menu featured one pasta special and a rotation of extraordinary homemade ice creams. Maybe because it was so quiet on Klong Nin beach we found ourselves there for quite a few meals and I was accused of having a serious ice cream problem. After several days of writing at the pool overlooking the ocean and eating ice cream I was ready to head out to livelier island.
Where better than Koh Samui? Located on the other side of the Malay peninsula, it took a day to get there by van, bus, ferry and cab. Koh Samui is a large island and each area has its own reputation, spanning from crazy party zone to golf course and country clubs. After much research, I thought La Mai beach would be a good balance for us. We arrived on the full moon so everyone under 35 had headed over to Koh Phangan (a half hour ferry away) for the monthly and world famous, full moon party. We had no desire to go to the party of mostly college age people getting as wasted as humanly possible. So once again we were on a quiet island but Alessandra, a friend and former coworker at Giorgio Armani, also happened to be on La Mai beach so we all met up for a not-so-wild and crazy night at the bar adjacent to our hotel. Alessandra recently moved to Singapore for a new job and she is exploring SE Asia on weekends and holidays.
The next day after watching the sun set over La Mai beach, we headed out for a yummy Thai dinner. On our walk from our guesthouse to the main street we passed several bars that were empty, except for a small group of older women (I assumed they were Thai) in short, tight dresses who called out to us. As we made our way and sat for dinner the other tourists that I observed appeared to be primarily American/European/Russian/Arab men and their Thai dates. On our way back from dinner some of the bars were now going for a go-go bar vibe and stripper poles seemed to emerge out of thin air. It was a shame cause it really killed any desire to further explore the neighborhood. From our room we heard a live band playing the Cranberries song ‘Zombie’ for hours on end, not sure why but this prompted us to go find the band and we made our way down the beach. At the other end was a Thai music festival and the locals, who must have been partying for a loooong time, were dancing and singing along. We were befriended by a group of Thai women and partied with them till the festival ended. I’m still not sure if they were playing the song Zombie or all of their music just sounded like that particular song.
Curious to find out what Koh Phangan would be like and ready to escape our seedy area, we boarded yet another ferry. The first night we stayed at ‘Lime n Soda’ on the beach and while the staff was phenomenal, it was a long walk to any restaurants and our “bungalow” could barely fit us with our 2 bags in it. After a brief search on Agoda, the Salad Beach Resort looked promising, so off we went to another part of the island. What an upgrade… Our balcony was overlooking a waterfall (manmade) that runs through the center of the resort. Frangipani trees lined the walkways and the scent was heavenly. The icing on the cake was a clean crystal blue pool and beautiful Salad Beach! Thank you low season!! With plenty of restaurants and bars lining the beach we had everything we’d need for the week. Ahhhh beach life!