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Khao Lak, Thailand

Finally made it to the Thai beaches!

sunny 35 °C

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And finally we have made it to the Thai beaches after travelling for four and a half months. Khao Lak is situated to the north of Phuket and was completely devastated by the tsunami on Boxing day 2004. Other than the place looking very new, you would not know the destruction seen from that awful day as the whole place was completely rebuilt within about 2-3 years.

Unfortunately, our accommodation, set about a kilometre back from the coast, appears to have survived the tsunami and had not received any attention since much before. The staff, probably in their early twenties at most really could not have cared less even if they tried. The whole place had a rundown feel and almost a joke between management, assuming there was any, of how long can we leave it before people stop booking their holidays with us? When we asked if there was breakfast, the guy laughed as he said no. Later we noticed a new looking sign advertising breakfast but there clearly was not.

In our bungalow, the bathroom had a decent tiled floor and the lower section of the walls were painted a deep midnight blue. At some point though, someone apparently colour blind must have been asked to give it a touch up, and instead of blue, picked up some watery yellow paint and slapped it all over the blue creating a snot green smeared layer on the walls. I would dread to think when the off-white room last had a lick of paint. To finish the room off were some pretty ghastly frosted coloured small windows.

On our room at least they might need to replace the amber glass as there was quite a hole in it by the time we left. Let's just say my washing line could have got caught in the roof during a failed installation. It might have then pinged out of the roof into the window. (Much to my surprise.) I allowed Chris to deal with that one. We would have informed reception; however if they weren't asleep in their hammock, they were glued to their laptop screen. And even then they didn't speak English. I'm sure they will notice it soon....

Khao Lak town is one straight through road with a few lanes and alleys off of it, solely existing due to the coast. If I were writing a holiday brochure, I would describe the beach as 'a long stretch of palm trees overlooking golden sand beaches containing elements of mystery.' On arriving, you would quickly realise 'mystery' was the not so picturesque unlikely to feature in the brochure black sand. Fortunately for those seeking that image, the blank sand is well contained, creating a stopping point for interested tourists. Not for us though, for we are partial to the odd black sand fight, on more secluded beaches. (Paraty, Brazil.)

The remainder of the day was a challenge, spent lying on the beach reading our books and going for a quick dip when it got too hot. I'm sure there was probably the odd power nap as well for good measure.

Although the beaches here are very pretty and the sea is marginally warmer here than on Phu Quoc island in Vietnam, we preferred Phu Quoc as the beaches were completely empty and slightly more picturesque, particularly when there were locals fishing just off the coast. We shall have to see how the other Thai beaches compare over the next week. It's a hard job, but someone's got to do it.

Khao Lak is mainly used as a base to go snokeling to Ko Similan and its surrounding islands. The following day we embarked on one of the many speedboat trips to these islands, located 70km off the coast of Thailand. The journey took an hour and a half, and would not have been complete without a bit of sea sickness from some of our new found travel companions. Some people can be so antisocial! With my stomach made of metal, I was absolutely fine and quite enjoyed it on the way back as we bounced through the air. Chris was OK, but clearly pleased when it was over.

The snorkeling was brilliant! The coral was better when we snorkeled off of Phu Quoc, but the fish here were so colourful and varied and some of them were a good foot long and really colourful. There were your usual smaller striped fish, but some of the larger fish were turquoise with lilac scales, another was an aquamarine colour with dark blue and gold. A couple of our best finds were the 6ft long barracuda, which slithered off and tried to hide under a rock with its black dog like face sticking out. The other best find was also hiding under a rock and was about 6 inches long with a black and white striped body and yellow fins with black dots.

Our trip on Phu Quoc was more of a relaxing boat ride, whereas the boat was a means to an end on this trip. There must have been about 10-15 boats carrying 30 people out that day, and on the first stop, everyone snorkeled yet by the third stop, Chris and I were the only ones who snorkeled any distance from the beach and as we got back, there were only about 10 other people snorkeling by the water's edge. Not really sure why you would bother with this trip if you weren't going to snorkel? At least it meant the water was empty for us!

We returned that evening feeling incredibly tired, as we had spent over 2 hours swimming without even really realising.

Next stop, Krabi town!

Posted by Roaming Rolts 04:59 Archived in Thailand Tagged sea islands beach snorkeling

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