Koh Lanta, Days 3 and 4: cycling, swimming and snorkelling

On our 3rd day in Koh Lanta  (read about Day 1 and Day 2 here) we went cycling and switched accommodation after we got back late in the afternoon. We had a couple of nights booked at a bungalow rather than a room, because it’s nice to explore different kinds of options on the housing menu. Since we were after a basic place, we specifically looked into the ones with mosquito nets. We’re not at all fans of creatures that have an exoskeleton, multiple-part body, multiple pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes or antennae. Thanks, Wikipedia, for making me sound smart!

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So we stayed in a bungalow of a good size, with a net, en-suite bathroom, and a porch, right next to the beach…for only 400 baht (about £8). They had a restaurant right on the actual beach offering cocktails from 99 baht, pina colada’s for 150 – crazy. We had meals there, enjoyed beautiful sunsets and it just felt like a dream. Whenever we have to switch accommodation or catch a ferry, it takes up so much time, sometimes even the whole day, so we can’t enjoy the day to the fullest, however this time we asked the owner at Hostaria 239 to watch our stuff until late, so we could enjoy our bicycle rides around the island.

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We cycled pretty much the whole day. The weather was perfect, but the best time was in the morning, so we left early to avoid the tropical sun. It’s Thai summer you know! I had also brought a long-sleeved jumper to the islands to learn from my mistakes of just wearing a t-shirt all day. (We got sunburnt anyway and used up 2 bottles of suncream). Cycling around the island was extremely fun, as it gave us a chance to notice the little things usually missed when on a scooter. We saw some poor little monkeys chained to a pole at somebody’s property, they were grabbing the chains and pulling them with their tiny little hands, and it was just sad. My thought was they see monkeys as some people see dogs in some parts of Europe and just chain them to a kennel. I don’t know.

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We had another full day to spare before changing hotels again, and we couldn’t wait to see more islands. That’s why we went on a 4 islands tour, which was definitely worth it, I’d recommend it to anyone, just beware that the name ‘4-island tour’ is operated by different companies, and the one we went on was arranged by Mr Claudio from Hostaria 239. I think it was only around 1000 baht per person. This included snorkelling at Koh Ma and Koh Chuak, swimming through a sea cave leading to a hidden beach at Koh Mook (that place was amazing), and lunch at a quiet beach on Koh Ngai (I would consider this island for a long-term stay as a chilled-out spot with pristine white beaches).

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Koh Ngai

The tour was so relaxed, the locations chosen were away from tourist crowds (although in one snorkeling spot there were several huge boats loaded with tourists, but even then our boat stopped far away from the others and we could enjoy snorkeling with plenty of space just for us), snorkelling was fun, and the crew were amazing! The water was incredibly clear in the snorkelling spots and there were loads of beautiful corals, fish and sea creatures to admire.

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Emerald Cave, also known as Morakot Cave or Tam Nam at Koh Mook

The leader was so passionate about what he does, and while in the water he was  grabbing our hands and pulling us down to the bottom of the sea to show some weird creatures and fascinating formations. I was like, “Come on man, I can’t hold my breath for even 5 seconds!”. And then he laughed and laughed because I was so crap at diving haha. He also caught a sea hedgehog or something spiky, and he was showing that it’s poisonous if you touch it with your fingers, but harmless if touched with a forearm or other part.

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The steering wheel of the boat was slowly falling apart (noticed only by the cautious), so me and this small kid were constantly observing the ‘captain’, thinking what if the boat flips over or something. I was fine, but I could see the kid was very frightened… But it was one of the nicest tours we’ve had in Thailand. There were only about 20 people in total on the boat (it was a longtail boat, so you can’t really fit any more than that on it), so it didn’t feel overwhelming. And when the crew really love what they do and love the places they take you to, it makes a world of difference. Even if they don’t speak much English!

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Once we got back, around 6 PM we rented a Fino motorbike. I had never driven one before properly, so I did my research online – thank you youtube! We signed some papers, sat down on it, and we were like “How do we start this thing??”. I’ve been watching the wrong videos apparently. The guy approached us, started our bike by pushing one bloody button, and let’s just say I didn’t feel very intelligent at that point. But driving a bike was awesome, can’t wait to do it again. And its easy too, I’ve learnt how to do it in two minutes. This was after two full days of exploring the island on bicycles, though, so we were pretty sure the roads were safe enough for us to move at a snail’s pace. You don’t wanna go crazy when you’re riding a motorbike for the first time! We checked-out of Hostaria, and parked our baby Fino in front of our nice Green Chilli Bungalow for the night. The story continues here: Day 5.

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