After my (too short) visit to Koh Tao, it was time to hit up the west coast and do some diving in the Andaman sea. Friends in the area warned me that Phi Phi was insane at the time, so I skipped over the famous “Beach” island and headed to the lower-key Koh Lanta for three days. Three days of very interesting scenarios.
Valentina and I rented a beach bungalow on Khlong Khong beach. What I didn’t realize is that the beach is really rocky, and not quite swimmer-friendly during low tide. Which meant we needed to move further up the island for some good beaches. The only issue was how to get there.
After Koh Tao, Koh Lanta seemed massive; an endless stretch of cafes, bars, shops, restaurants, and tourism agencies. It’s not walking-friendly at all which means you need to a) get a motor bike or b) use a tuktuk.
Being Italian, Valentina had no problem getting a motor bike since she drives something similar at home. Being well, me… I do not drive something similar at home. I have never driven a motor bike in my life, but hey I was in Thailand so may as well rent one and give it a shot. Right?
“Have you driven a bike before?” the girls behind the counter asked me as I handed over my passport.
“Hmmm. Canadians can’t drive bikes.”
We’ll call that strike one.
Then came the time to actually get on the bike and try to drive it. The man showed my how to turn it on and rev the engine to get it going. Then my turn: click- sputter- stop.
We’ll call that strike two.
Then, in mangled English he tried to show me how to drive the damn thing. I will be the first to admit that I am clumsy as hell, and probably needed a professional lesson to start with and this guy was all over the place. Which meant I was all over the place. Which means after less than 3 minutes he yelled “ YOU WILL DIE!” and refunded my money and my passport.
Thank god for tuktuks.
While at the beach we met another traveller, a girl from Finland. We chatted, swam, got lunch, and then got soaked in a storm. Wondering what to do Valentina mentioned she wouldn’t mind getting her legs waxed to which our new friend mentioned she needed a brazilian. So we wandered the beach and found a spa and enquired inside.
I wish I had a video of the man’s reaction when our Finnish friend told him what she wanted.
Of course, it was available. But not on the beach. While the tables on the beach with flowy curtains were lovely for massages, I’m pretty sure no woman wants to spread her legs for the world to see. The guy with the price list seemed to agree with that assumption so said he would take us to the shop. Figuring it was around the corner we agreed and followed him.
To his truck.
Three young women in a truck with two Thai men so one girl can get her legs waxed and another could get a Brazilian.
I think I laughed the whole time.
An hour or so later we emerged, one definitely sorer than the other. For any women looking to go the brazilian route while in Thailand be warned: there is no sugaring option, and the waxing (for legs as well apparently) is much more painful than most places in the western world. Consider yourself warned and proceed with caution.
We finished the day at an Irish pub. There was a soccer match on so the place was packed, making it easy to find a tuktuk back to our bungalow when the night was over.
Our second full day on the island was dedicated to diving. Valentina and I were up and ready to go at 7am for our three dives of the day. Seeing as it would be my last dive trip of this adventure I was convinced that this time I would see a whale shark. I told everyone that it would happen, and they laughed at me but I kept it up.
And guess what? There was a whale shark. 10 minutes after we descended.
I think if I met anyone on that later boat that saw it I would have killed them with my angry stare- I was so jealous.
After our busy day of diving we decided we needed an easy night. Skipping the big party at Mushroom Bar we headed for a quieter beach bar Valentina knew of. It was low key with a few people and music and we spent a few hours drinking and dancing in the sand. But at the clock crept towards midnight we decided to call it a night and looked for a tuktuk back.
Only problem? There were no tuktuks to be had. Not a single one. They were all at Mushroom Bar where everyone usually goes. Slightly worried we asked pretty much everyone at the bar how to get back, finally the DJ said he knew someone and made a call. Of course though, being called, the driver charged us an arm and a leg for the ride: 200 baht, and he wasn’t going to consider anything lower. Figuring it was pay up or sleep on the beach with the mosquitos we both forked out 100 baht and climbed in, making my last night on the island a bit more expensive than planned!