from putrescent phi phi we were herded onto the live cattle ship, i mean ferry, that was to take us to ko lanta. i’d tried to visit ko lanta in ‘00, but the sea was too rough being monsoon season. this time around the sea was like glass, and in fact i swear i saw someone skiing behind a longtail. perhaps it was the heat. i said it’s been hot, didn’t i? sweltering.
anyway, not to be convinced by the touts on the boat, we independently found our own tuk-tuk driver and set off for some bungalows an embarking tourist had recommended. like ships in the night, gangplank aquaintances pass quickly, but can be very useful… anyway, we ended up at a cheap place (after paying 4 times too much for the ride, pun intended) on the beach with a surly innkeeper and some old wasted macbethian witches on the hammocks. ko lanta is shaped like a huge teardrop, and is probably about the size of phillip island, stretched. this place was about half way down, on the western (andaman) side.
after a couple days lying about not achieving much except a tan, we decided to get off the posteriors and do something…
speliology is usually conducted with hard hats, sturdy boots and powerful lamps. well, we had the lamps at least. crawling through muddy limestone caves on hands knees bellies in shorts t-shirt thongs was pretty cool, if slightly surreal to say the least. jo had a skirt on! accompanying us were a german/czech couple and their 7 yo son, christoph. if he can do it we could, so despite low levels of oxygen and stifling humidity, we made it. to enter the cave you had to climb a steep (like ladder steep) mountain, then enter through a slit in the rock. when you emerge, you’ve dropped all the height and emerge from the base of the climb. pretty cool.
tiring of the grumpy manager, we moved south – to the last beach on the island before the marine national park. an absolutely gorgeous stretch of coastline, very much like lorne or broken head in it’s layout, but with 30 degree water. we had the most amazing bungalow, cheap(ish) because of the low season and absence of tourists hotwater airconditioning. but the sea breeze blew through in the arvo, cooling things off considerably. the beach was mostly rocky, but had a perfect little break about halfway along, through which some nice glassy 3 ft swell rolled in – nice little waves to teach the english tourists to surf on. god or lifesavers help them when they get to tamarama or gunnamatta. we spent a great week at last beach, sometimes heading into town (a 45 min drive on unsealed roads) to stock up. feeling lazy once more, we headed up to the waterfall, tracing a winding creek upstream through the rainforest. unfortunately there hadn’t been much rain, so while the "fall" was technically a correct description, " dribble" might have been more accurate.
tiring of the good life, we set off for bangkok. more on that later…..