We started our tropical beach adventure by cramming onto an Air Asia flight to Krabi. I would not recommend Air Asia to anyone over 5’5, as our knees were literally jammed into the seats in front of us. Thankfully it was only a 2-hour flight. Krabi’s weather was a monsoon. Not a great start to our tropical vacation. After an hour-long bus ride, we arrived in Ao Nang, our destination for the next two days.
Ao Nang is beautiful. Jungle, unfathomable cliffs, sandy beaches, clear water, etc. This also makes it extremely touristy. Suit shops, “massage” parlors, ladyboy shows, subpar food, high prices etc. The “massages” weren’t even good! We chose Ao Nang since it’s supposed to be more low-key than the other big beach towns, and were generally unimpressed. The two days of nearly constant rain probably didn’t help.
Koh Lanta is a two-hour ferry ride from Ao Nang/Krabi and is much more low-key. There are tons of resorts and tourist attractions near the northern pier, but as you ride south it gets more and more rural. The island is generally more…wild than other places we’ve visited. Examples: Chickens running between my legs at the ATM, gasoline is only available in old liquor bottles, and needing to avoid monkeys, zebu, and the occasional goat while driving down the road. Our cozy beach bungalow, complete with air conditioning and WiFi, was $30/night and was less than a minute walk to the ocean. Not bad.
The highlight of this trip is the four island snorkeling tour we did via longtail boat. The water is ridiculously blue with 15+ feet of underwater visibility and marine-life straight out of Finding Nemo. One stop on our island tour was at the Emerald Cave, which is an 80m cave that’s only accessible during low tide. On the other side of the cave is a hidden lagoon surrounded by massive cliffs, and it’s f***ing magical. Since we were unable to take pictures of it, please watch this 1-minute video.
Another great stop in Koh Lanta is Mu Ko Lanta National Park. We stumbled upon it by accidentally riding too far south, and are thankful we did. We spent nearly 5 hours walking the beaches, climbing cliffs and hiking 2km through the jungle. The pictures are way better than my words here.
We’re back in Chiang Mai now and leave for Bali on the 18th. The volcano continues to be a threat, so fingers crossed that it doesn’t erupt again and cancel our flights!