Relaxing at Koh Lanta and why I’am not going to be an astronaut

Koh Lanta is one of the quieter and more relaxed among all the neighbouring islands. Not yet as popular among young backpackers as the other islands, it’s muched more chilled out and have less beach parties. It’s a great place to relax after busy but otherwise lovely Koh Phi Phi. We were supposed to stayed there for 3 nights but we stayed for 6 and it was totally brilliant! We’ve managed to completely unwind in our magnificiant swimming pool with a stunnig view on the whole Kantiang Bay and shared some time and meals with a lovely couple: Galia & Mark, who we’ve met at our resort and who btw moved to Thailand from UK and has been leaving in Bangkok for some time.

We also decided to do our first steps in diving at Koh Lanta. Read more to find out how we did.

image

26/03
The boat trip from Koh Phi Phi was only about 1 hour to the south. We are now the furthest from home we’ve ever been!
We haven’t really managed to book the place for the night at Koh Lanta, so with big reservations but we’ve agreed to book one night stay at the Moonlight Bungalow from one of the agents on the boat. Specially as he promised – all inclusive – to take us in the taxi down to the south of the Island close to the Kantiang Bay which was the beach that we wanted to stay on. It was also close to the Scuba Fish, a diving centre that is own by sister of Jakub’s London friend. So we wanted to pop in and say hello. This is apparently also the best diving centre on the island so we were considering to do our PADI here or perhaps at Ko Tao. Read up to see on how that went 🙂

The Moonlight Bungalows, wheren’t actually all that bad, with a lovely garden and a restaurant with candle lights. The only problem was the bathroom and the fact that water was mostly of a brown colour, which lets just say we aren’t very used to. So we’ve only staid there for a night but in the meantime, managed to see and feed bannanas to a real size, totally real elephant!!! What a treat! Absolutely beautiful annimals! I’m totally in love with them!

We’ve started reading up on the elephant safari straight away but apparently the best places to do it are in Pucket and Chiang Mai, where elephants are treated the best. In Chiang Mai there is a reservoir that allows short and long stays to help out with elephants and spent some time with them. Oh I’m really looking forward to spending some time there!

27/03
Because we are nuts and run out of cash we’ve decided we will walk 3 km to the next village where we could find the ATM and our new bungalows: Cape Cafe Lanta. Well that was stupid. 35 degrees, huge backpacks, up and down the hill. Insane! At the point of exhaustion – mainly on my side – we managed to get to the town.
Luckily we had a great surprise this time as it turned out our new hotel has lovely bungalows and a swimming pool!!! Yeah! We didn’t expect it to be that cool! Obviously we’ve spent the whole afternoon and the evening at the pool, chilling out and meeting a lovely couple Gaia and Mark. They both lived and worked in Bangkok and were now on holidays on Koh Lanta. It was so nice chatting and drinking by the pool, that we also went for the dinner together. We went to a lovely Thai place by the road, cheap and exquisite! Cheers to good times and new friends!!!

28/03
We had a good rest, woke up late, relaxed writing the blog and went for lunch by the beach. Loved the view but food was just ok this time. Funny enough the most dirty and basic the place looks like the better the food and this one looked to nice 🙂
In the afternoon we finally managed to say hello to Saffron, sister of Jakub’s friend from London. She came over to Thailand about 13 years ago, did her diving training, loved it totally, decided to stick around, moved to Koh Lanta and open diving centre called Scuba Fish.
We went out for drinks that night and spend a lovely time meeting some of Saffron friends. If you ever get to Koh Lanta visit the bar behind the Drunken Selior restaurant, the barman there is called Tad otherwise known as Totally Awesome Dude 🙂

We are very very tempted to try diving but we are very scared so we thought it would be nice doing it at the centre that we kind of know and one we can trust. Saffron organised a little trial for us for the next day, small session at the swimming pool in the afternoon so we will give it a go and see what happen. Jakub never tried it before, I did a pool session once in London and  remember two things from it: that I was surprisingly scared of getting under the water and that it felt good in the end. So we both wanted to give it a shot.

image29/03

Geckos make me sooo happy!! The big ones which are about 20-30 cm make this great sound imitating a word gecko (that’s where the name is from) gek-koo – I love it! The smaller one can be about 15 cm and we usually have them inside the rooms we are staying in. They make the sound I say it back to them and we repeat that few times 🙂 They looks so cute and just make me very happy!

As adviced by Saffron the night before we went for the b’fast at the Drunken Sailor and spent some quality time in hammocks 🙂 Good start to a good day ahead! Had a nice stroll around, cooled down by our swimming pool and showed up at the Scuba Fish for our test scuba class.
We were picked up by a driver and had been taken to a resort with a swimming pool where we were joined by another couple and welcomed by Hime our instructor. This is where the stress began- at least for me.
Hime is a great guy and a great instructor he took us through the exercises that we will do at the pool. Talked us through the gear etc. We headed for the pool fully geared up! We get into the water – cool, we get under the water I freak out a little bit. I try to keep it together and try to do all the exercises; getting out of the water from your mask, half way, full, removing the regulator (that thing that you have in your mouth that keeps you alive), swapping regulator with your buddy etc. I’m terrified but manage to push myself through it all and even manage to kind of enjoy the final we minutes swimming freely around the pool. I mean OMG I am under-the-freaking-water!!!
So we got a bit excited at the end and instead of going for the full Discover Scuba Diving and spending the next day at the sea we thought that it would be better to do the Scuba Diver certification that allows you to dive until 12m. We figured that one more day at the pool and getting to know a bit more theory will put our minds to rest and get us settle with the whole UNDER WATER thing a bit more. So we did. We should have know better.

30/03
Ok, this will be short and straight to the point. We did the morning theory training and actually felt really good and confident – this is not that difficult!! Passed the theory test and after lunch we’ve put all our gear on and moved to a deeper swiming pool. Straight away my panic kicked in… I mean what the hell? Why? We tried to do couple of excersises, I chocked on water but managed to just about to do it after few tries. We needed to deflate the safety jacket and then sink underwater. Immediately when I went under I was so scared! I knew what I needed to do but some irrational fear kicked in. I tried to maintain it… it wasn’t working. Time for taking of the mask completely underwater… right! That freaked me out totally. Not to mention that one of the coming exercises was supposed to be instructor cutting of the oxygen and you showing him you are out and asking him to share his. OMFG! No freaking way!! How? Ok – I am taking everything step by step, I can do this… I feel like crying. I’m scared and angry with myself. Instructor was very nice and saw my distress, said that it supposed to be fun that maybe I should not push myself that hard if it doesnt feel ok. I’m in tears. I’m done. I can’t do it. I get out.
Jakub is doing much better, he is taking his mask off but has some trouble getting it back on and not chocking. Obviously me freaking out is not really helping him to focus. He tried number of times, every time it got a bit more diffucult so he decides he will stop as well. Looks like diving is not really for us, well at least not for me.

There is a chance that if we would have an unlimited time and could get used the whole underwater thing then maybe with practice we could do it. But speaking for myself only – I highly doubt it. I must say I was heartbroken and really angry with myself but in the end I’ve wanted to try it, I did and it’s just not for me.

What depressed me even more is the realisation that came in the afternoon. If I can’t be a diver, there is no way I’ll ever be an astronaut! No way I’ll ever pass the training, no way they will let me into the spaceship or in space! That’s like childhood dreams crushed to ruines! 😉

image

31/03
The place where we stay is so lovely! It’s run by this nice Thai family of three. We spent some good time chatting with the owners about Thailand and neibouring countries that try to make it easy for all the tourists to travel around without visas etc; trying to do something similarly to European Union. We’ve talked about number of animals here compared to living in big city and how the owner herself is scared of snakes! 🙂 It’s a beautiful place they have here. Especially with the pool and the view from here!
We’ve asked how to get to the old town from here and it turns out that the cheapest and the best way is to rent a motorbike. Right, we have no driving license. We’ve been reading about the fact that no one here asks if you have a license or not, kids rides the bikes, people carry anything on bikes, woman feed their babies while ridding bikes – honestly, I have seen that with my own eyes!!! We’ve also read about all the scams when they try to get you to pay for damages that were already there etc. So we were not too keen on renting a bike. But it gives you the freedom, our hotel owners were actually very nice and good people and it was very tempting… Oh well let’s do it! Like we hadn’t had enough stress the day before!

OK, it’s not too bad as Jakub had been driving a bike before for about 3 years in London so he’s got some experience and hopefully Koh Lanta should be quieter. We start really, really slowly and are very concious and scared! That was just the begining, it took only some time to get use to the new way of traveling but it was wanderfull. We had a lovely time relaxing and shopping in the old town! Jakub loved the bike completely and didn’t want to give it back! 🙂

1/04
Today we start our journey to Koh Tao. It will take us from 11AM till 6AM the next day and we’ll be traveling by minivan, bus and night ferry. Wish us luck 🙂

Fun fact; these are a few lines used to advertise restaurants around here 🙂

– Leonardo Di’Caprio – wasn’t here!
– Fat people are harder to kiddnap – eat here.

 

Leave a Reply