A Secret Oceanside Oasis – Koh Lanta, Thailand

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When people talk about beaches in Thailand, everyone always talks about Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Koh Pha Ngan, or Koh Samui. When we landed at Koh Lanta, we had found our own little perfect Thailand beach oasis. The landscape is a bit rocky and we wound up staying in a place on a dusty dirt road, but let me tell you, if you are looking for a place to walk around barefoot for a week or two, sitting by the beach, sipping a beer and chilling out, Koh Lanta is the place for you.

Local kids playing on Long Beach, Koh Lanta.Local kids playing on Long Beach, Koh Lanta.
Local kids playing on Long Beach, Koh Lanta.09-Feb-2012 00:26
 

After we settled in at our hotel, we headed to the beach just in time for sunset. We snagged a table in the sand steps from the water. A nice, cold beer felt great after a long day of traveling.

The westward facing beaches of Koh Lanta treated us to absolutely amazing sunsets.The westward facing beaches of Koh Lanta treated us to absolutely amazing sunsets.
The westward facing beaches of Koh Lanta treated us to absolutely amazing sunsets.07-Feb-2012 00:37
 

Since the first hotel we stayed at only had a room for two nights, we wound up scoring a beautiful cement bungalow at Funky Fish, a cool beachside bar/restaurant which is busy most nights. The bungalows there were amazing!

Our concrete bungalow at Funky Fish.Our concrete bungalow at Funky Fish.
Our concrete bungalow at Funky Fish.13-Feb-2012 18:01
 

Although we weren’t right on the water, we were just a few steps away, in a nice cinderblock bungalow, which meant nice cool, QUIET, nights. (A big plus for me). Our place had a cute patio, air conditioning, Wifi, our own bathroom & hot water for just 700 baht per night (under $23USD!). You can’t get that in the Hamptons!

The (nearly) beachfront bungalows at Funky Fish.The (nearly) beachfront bungalows at Funky Fish.
The (nearly) beachfront bungalows at Funky Fish.10-Feb-2012 19:49
 

One night, we managed to make our way to a cool backpacker bar called Chill Out, which we found out is also a hostel. The vibe went along with the name and was very chilled out. Backpackers working at the bar for accommodation served up beers and we played cards with some fun people. We even got to speak Spanish with a traveler who spoke very little English, and Erik even got to play a didgeridoo! (Except we did get a thousand bugbites there that night!)

It's hard to appreciate from this photo, but Chill Out House is made entirely out of driftwood.It's hard to appreciate from this photo, but Chill Out House is made entirely out of driftwood.
It's hard to appreciate from this photo, but Chill Out House is made entirely out of driftwood.07-Feb-2012 03:43
 

Our days were spent chilling on the beach underneath some palm trees reading a book or having a beer. The ocean water was absolutely magical. Magical may seem like a strange way to describe the ocean, but it was incredible. The perfect temperature, soft sand underfoot, no waves, not a lot of shells in the water to step on, no sea lice (ouch!) and the water was a beautiful shade of turquoise. It was by far my favorite beach in Thailand. Not only that, but the season we were there was off season, so there weren’t very many people on the beach. And I even got ah hour-long massage right on the beach for about $8!

Clean white sand, crystal clear warm water, no waves, no crowds, and no beach merchants? Perfect!Clean white sand, crystal clear warm water, no waves, no crowds, and no beach merchants? Perfect!
Clean white sand, crystal clear warm water, no waves, no crowds, and no beach merchants? Perfect!13-Feb-2012 17:59
 

At night, we would have dinner at one of our favorite spots. Mr. Wee’s actually cooked up some delicious pizza. Good pizza in Thailand? Yes – it’s possible! I had a chicken and onion pizza at least twice while we were in Koh Lanta, and it was amazing. I highly recommend it. Somewhere Else, ran by a sweet family, also served up some good food, and as a bonus, they have free WiFi.

Surprisingly good pizza at Mr. Wee's beachfront eatery.Surprisingly good pizza at Mr. Wee's beachfront eatery.
Surprisingly good pizza at Mr. Wee's beachfront eatery.07-Feb-2012 02:55
 

One night, a few doors down from our cabin, there was a huge party, complete with lasers. We stopped by for a wild, good time on the beach.

P-a-r-t-y!!! Just about as crazy as it gets on quiet Koh Lanta.P-a-r-t-y!!! Just about as crazy as it gets on quiet Koh Lanta.
P-a-r-t-y!!! Just about as crazy as it gets on quiet Koh Lanta.10-Feb-2012 06:37
 

One of the most memorable things about Thailand is the food. Growing up, I wasn’t exposed to spicy foods, but since meeting Erik, he’s opened up my world of tastes and I have actually grown to like some spicy foods! Thai food is spectacular, and you haven’t really had Thai food until you’ve had it in Thailand. The spices, the vegetables, the ginger, the lemongrass. They are all so fresh and vibrant. It’s like nothing else you’ll ever taste in the world.

Thom Ka Gai - chicken and coconut soup. One of our favorites!Thom Ka Gai - chicken and coconut soup. One of our favorites!
Thom Ka Gai - chicken and coconut soup. One of our favorites!11-Feb-2012 22:00
 

Since we loved the food so much in Thailand, we were itching to learn how to make it properly. While in Koh Lanta, we signed up for a cooking class at Lanta Thai. The setting was nice in an airy open covered kitchen.

Have wok, can cook.Have wok, can cook.
Have wok, can cook.11-Feb-2012 21:26
 

The instruction was a bit basic, but we got to learn how to prepare a basic curry sauce, make tom kha gai (our favorite spicy coconut soup with chicken), pad thai and just explore the authentic ingredients of Thai food. (If you are looking for a good Thai cooking class, we highly recommend taking a class in Chiang Mai, which will be discussed fully in a later post). Although I did get slightly sick after eating the food at the class, it was still a fun afternoon and we got to chat with some like-minded travelers.

Making curry paste. Yes, a food processor can do the same job, but it will taste different.Making curry paste. Yes, a food processor can do the same job, but it will taste different.
Making curry paste. Yes, a food processor can do the same job, but it will taste different.11-Feb-2012 21:03
 

We had heard some varying stories about diving in Koh Lanta, as much of the surrounding reefs have sadly been destroyed by coral bleaching. Erik went out on a dive to the famous Hin Daeng & Hin Muang pinnacles. While he didn’t see the mysterious and rare whaleshark, he still had a good time.

While in Thailand, everyone will no doubt see advertisements for Muay Thai boxing events. One night, we decided to go see what it was all about. Although they charge much higher prices for tourists (which is often the case), it was interesting to see. The youngest competitors were only around 10 years old!

Young Muay Thai boxers.Young Muay Thai boxers.
Young Muay Thai boxers.13-Feb-2012 04:39
 

We had only planned to stay in Koh Lanta for a few days, we ended up staying for eight. Koh Lanta is a beautiful beach oasis, and for Thailand, relatively unknown. We absolutely loved it there and found ourselves wanting to go back time and time again. Until next time, Koh Lanta…

About Heather

Heather and Erik set off on a round-the-world trip in April, 2010, travelling overland through Central and South America before getting engaged in Antarctica. In 2011-2012 they tackled Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

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