It’s 6:39am. I’m sat on the terrace of our room in Koh Lanta, my only company the nearby birds and crickets that are chirping away. The sky is a pure baby blue – the kind of pure that you only witness on an early morning sky. A few faint white swirls of clouds dot the horizon, some turned pink in response to the recent sunrise. The palm trees that surround me in the distance are utterly still, telling me there’s not even a hint of wind in the air. Every so often, I hear a car drive past, but I cannot see a single person. Everything smells fresh, new, clean.
We’ve now been in Koh Lanta for almost two weeks. Before returning to Thailand, we knew we wanted to head to the islands to witness some of the stunning beaches but to also catch up on work. There are so many islands to choose from, but I knew for a fact that I didn’t want to end up on another Koh Samui; I was there in 2011, and while I had a great time, it was way too busy and commercialised for my taste. We’re both past the phase of insane partying, so being somewhere where we’d have to be in close proximity to 18-year-old backpackers getting trashed every night was not what we had in mind.
Koh Lanta sounded like the perfect place for us.
It’s developed enough to have the one thing that we definitely needed – a reliable WiFi connection, but in comparison to Koh Samui or Phuket, it’s beautifully quiet. There’s only one main road that runs around the entire island – a two lane road at that – and you can easily sit and count the cars that pass by each hour, as there are that few. From my research, Koh Lanta was described as ‘laid back,’ and ‘quiet.’ I also found out that there’s little to no partying on the island – score.
Many travel bloggers had also sang Koh Lanta’s praises – Nomadic Matt, Adventurous Kate, and Never Ending Voyage all wrote posts waxing lyrical about how this Thai island was still paradise. So we booked seven nights at Pinky Bungalows on Khlong Khong beach and hoped for the best.
Turns out Koh Lanta was everything we had hoped for and more.
For the first few days, we didn’t leave the 1km stretch of Khlong Khong beach and it was glorious. We spent our mornings working, our afternoons by the pool and our evenings watching the sunset at the beach and eating at one of the many restaurants. After five weeks in India, a place that I loved but that was undeniably difficult to get around, this was the perfect antidote.
There is little other to do than to enjoy the beaches, which was also exactly what we needed. When you find yourself in an amazing city that has loads to see and do, you invariably end up trying to do all of it, which can get exhausting. Here we can get up every morning with little other on our schedule other than ‘see the sunset’ and still feel like we’re completely making the most of this place.
Because the beauty of Koh Lanta is its laid back spirit.
All the locals are extremely friendly and have seemingly permanent smiles slapped on their faces. No one is in a rush to go anywhere, and it rubs off on you (that and the fact that there’s nowhere to go). We’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone here; just yesterday the owner of our hotel invited us to a Muslim celebration of her business – they said prayers and then fed us loads of authentic Thai food.
The sunsets here are breathtaking and unlike any that I’ve seen elsewhere in the world. We’ve come at the end of the rainy season, so most evenings there are still some clouds in the sky, which results in an explosion of colour and shapes as the sun says its final farewell. Our ritual has been to head to the beach, which is a five-minute walk from where we’re staying, order a juicy coconut, and watch the sunset.
It’s the main thing I’m going to miss.
Koh Lanta really is the perfect place to relax in and we’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for the idyllic beach getaway on a budget. It’s one of the few Thai islands that has both the modern necessities such as WiFi and convenience stores, but no rampant development as seen in Phuket, for example. There are plenty of other even quieter islands, but right now we had to be connected and have all the mod cons. So Koh Lanta definitely was the right choice for us.
We’re leaving tomorrow and I feel deeply sad. I’ve realised that I’ve found peace in Koh Lanta. I’ve barely been stressed from the day I got here, which is unusual for a neurotic lunatic like me. Everything here is so calm, so it’s difficult to be stressed. I’ve been reading more than ever, soaking up some rays, and enjoying the free spirit of the island.
I’m going to miss taking a trip to our favourite bar on Khlong Kong beach, laying on the floor seating and working as the waves lap against the shore four metres away from me. The thought of being anywhere other than Koh Lanta right now is filling me with dread for some unknown reason. It’s like this place is a little cocoon of peace away from the rest of the world; I’ve barely read the news while I’m here, that’s how disconnected I am.
We’re reluctantly making our way back to the real world, but I know where we’ll be heading the next time we need peace.
Our next post will be a guide to travel on Koh Lanta so keep your eyes peeled for that. If you have any specific questions you need answering, please leave them below in the comments section!