I’ve been staying near Klong Khong beach on Koh Lanta since Saturday, and this morning I moved to a beach bungalow on Long Beach (real name: Pra Ae beach), the next beach to the north. The main reason for the move is the superior beach with an absence of rocks!

My new accommodation is called Lanta Palm Beach Resort and was recommended by Abu, the front desk guy at my previous hotel. I think I got a good price ($40/night) given that this resort is right at the beach, and that the room has both A/C and hot water. But still, this one is blowing my budget (which is $50 a day). However, given the cheaper accommodation on Koh Mook, and in Krabi Town next week, I think it will all average out within budget after all.

I suppose I could have stayed the extra nights at the hotel (cheaper) and taken a tuk-tuk every day to Long Beach, but the six-kilometre tuk-tuk ride is very bumpy and not really pleasant. The road is paved but full of potholes, and tuk-tuks have no suspension. A word of advice: wear a proper bra and not a bikini top when riding a tuk-tuk!

My new favourite sunset bar

I will not miss the rocks, but I will miss my new favourite sunset bar on Klong Khong beach: Meeting Point. What’s better than 80 Bahts mojitos? All cocktails for 79 Bahts! The owner, Mrs Oy, was also very friendly and always greeted me with a loud “Sawatdee ka” (hello). I saw the best sunset of the trip so far on Sunday but didn’t have my camera with me to capture it. (Still sulking from loosing the lens cap, I left my camera in my room all day.) The sky turned beautiful shades of pink after the sun was gone. And then a group of cows came walking down the beach. Cows?!

I lounged on my mat until the sky was dark, and then decided to partake in the “beach BBQ” that Mrs Oy’s husband was preparing. It cost me $5 for four big prawns and a side salad. That didn’t really fill me up though.

The following evening I was back again to sip a Gin Fizz while the sound track from Amelie played on the stereo and the sun sank into the sea. And then again last night when I enjoyed a cocktail called “Sax on the beach”. LOL!

So-so food

As far as food is concerned, as I’ve mentioned before, the restaurants along the road have cheaper and better food. Of course you don’t have the sea views and breeze, lounging mats, and decorative lanterns found beach-side, but it’s a good trade-off.

I went back to Cha Cha for dinner on Monday and was served a huge plate of wide noodles (my favourites) with bits of squids and veggies, and a lonely shrimp. I got extra banana shake because she had “made too much”. And then a complimentary plate of fruits! It was only my second visit. I couldn’t eat it all though.

Last night I had dinner at a different roadside restaurant called Thung Ngern. Except for the fact that I got chicken green curry when I ordered shrimp green curry, it was good.

For breakfast I usually stuck to my hotel to take advantage of the well priced and pretty authentic lattes and cappuccinos (only $1.70).

It seems that as a general rule, the touristy Thai beaches have rather bland food in order to please all the palates (from Swedes to Argentinians). The towns, where more Thai people live, have more authentic food. In that respect I’m looking forward to Krabi Town on Monday.

An unflattering observation

Here’s one interesting thing I’ve noticed about restaurants and bars in Thailand: you order something, they bring it to you, and you consume it. Then nothing happens. The waiter never comes back to ask if you want something else (never mind about asking how the food was). Your empty plate and glass may remain on the table for hours while you read a book. And when you want to pay, you often have to get up and go to the counter yourself. It seems so weird to me, especially at the bars. When you’re half-lying on your cushions, with your sandals off, do you really feel like getting up, putting on your sandals, and going back to the bar to order another drink? They could make so much more money just by asking each customer “if they’d like another one” as they pick up the empty glass. But they don’t. Even as I was eating my prawns, nobody asked if I wanted to drink something with them.

This strange attitude also extends to many guesthouses/hotels. At least for the budget properties (I don’t know about luxury hotels), rooms are not made every day, or even every three days, unless you ask. Sometimes there is a convenient sign you can hang on your door knob if you want your room cleaned, but other times (like on Koh Mook) you have to ask the staff for every single little thing: more soap, toilet paper, new towels, taking out the garbage (especially when you have to throw the toilet paper in the bin because the toilet doesn’t flush) and of course “cleaning” the room (which consists mostly of making the bed and leaving clean towels – my hair was left on the shower floor). Every day I had to ask somebody for something because they basically had zero initiative.

First real Thai massage (I think…)

Yesterday morning I also had a one hour head/shoulder/back Thai massage at the beach (less than $12 for an hour). Unlike the better known Swedish oil massage, the Thai massage involves kneading you through a towel (instead of direct contact with the skin) as well as some pulling and twisting that is a little disconcerting at first. Nevertheless it was a pleasant experience, since I could see and hear the sea (instead of staring at someone’s feet through a hole). I definitely felt looser after it. The masseuse demonstrated her above-average command of English by regularly asking me “How do you feel Madame?”.

Hippies and Muslims

The atmosphere here on Long Beach feels different than Klong Khong, less hippy-ish. I didn’t dare try a Happy Shake on Klong Khong in the end. Some bars were definitely straightforward about their offerings. The Mushrooms Bar (seriously that’s its name) had a sign that proclaimed “Smoke Here Joint / Happy Shake/ Bang Lassi & Joint” (see photo) . Needless to say, its bikini-clad customers looked overly relaxed. And this was happening 200 metres from the main road where the Muslim locals, covered from head to toe, went about their business. A puzzling dichotomy.

 

 

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