Its hard to believe that today marks 4 weeks left of our trip. When i think back to Iceland and Europe, its honestly all a blur. It feels like a lifetime ago that we were there or that it was a completely different trip all together. So many things are running through my mind these last few days. I am really craving structure and routine. Working in the oilfield, you become accustomed to that type of lifestyle. You wake up, work your 12+ hours, go to sleep and repeat for 3-4 weeks. You get your week off and you basically catch up on sleep, seek out food you’ve been craving for the last month and just relax. Now don’t get me wrong, i could go another 10 months without working no problem. Its not the work i miss, its that balance i crave. I’m already stressing about whether my clothes will even fit me when i get home. Thank god for hoodie weather. I keep thinking about that steady paycheck coming in as Mark and I stretch all of our accounts to the brink. I’m looking forward to eating properly again, getting my will power back when it comes to food. Its been an absolute blast eating our way around the world but I’m not sure i could stand much longer, mentally and emotionally its hard on me.
I am not looking forward to waking up at 5 am every day again, working a stressful job spending hours sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen and dealing with spoiled oilfield workers. But i cant complain too much, its because of that job that we got to do this trip. Its because of that job that we will be able to quickly pay off the debt we accumulated and begin saving for the next trip. That is the lifestyle i chose and i couldn’t imagine doing anything else. So ya, I’m a bit torn when i think about the next 4 weeks. All i can do is enjoy it to the fullest. Soak it up, don’t take it for granted (which is surprisingly easy to do after 9 months of backpacking) and get everything i possibly can out of each experience cause before eventually it will have to end, i’ll be done with camp and hopefully doing a job i adore that involves photography and/or animals. One step at a time.
This last week in Koh Lanta with my parents and Jesse has been so great. There is no shortage of things to do here on this beautiful, quiet little island. We rented scooters so even when we have nothing planned for the day, we end up hopping on them and ripping around looking for new roads we haven’t driven and shops we haven’t visited. We brought up the top 10 restaurants on google and put all of them in a hat and we take turns drawing one every morning for that evenings dinner. So far we haven’t had a bad meal, one average and slightly expensive meal but other than that its been great.
See below for the list of restaurants we have eaten at so far
Mark even found a pizza place run by an Italian man that is comparable to pizza we ate in Naples. Both of my parents got their tattoos as well at a highly rated shop called “Lady Luck“. My Dad got his King Elephant and my Mom a small origami elephant on her wrist.
A great place to visit while here is at Mu Koh Lanta National Park, which is only a 30-40 minute drive on the scooters from where we are staying in Khlong Khong. If you’re looking for a beachfront bungalow resort without breaking the bank, check this resort out. Although the rooms need some serious upgrades, the beds are fairly hard (the mattress is literally a box spring) and the doors don’t seal (which invites lots of bugs) I personally think the setting, atmosphere and views make up for it. We spent every evening sitting by the water, playing cards and bringing our own drinks to save some money. We occasionally order an appy or two to keep them happy and they don’t seem to mind us taking up a table and yelling at each other over an intense game of golf or yahtzee.
Ok, back to the national park. Be prepared to pay a tourist price of 220 baht per person to enter and park one bike. The beach there is pretty amazing, not a lot of rocks and mostly soft, white sand to dig your toes into. If you walk to the opposite end of the beach (furthest point from the light house) throw on your snorkel and follow the rocks around the corner. You will see a pretty beautiful variety of fish living along the coral here. I would highly suggest NOT bringing any food with you so that you do not attract the monkeys living along the beaches treeline. These guys are incredibly intelligent and aggressive. If they smell any food, they will actually ambush you from behind, attempting to steal any bits you have. They do NOT back down, even with 4 of us banging sticks and shoving kayak oars aggressively in their faces they still stood their ground. My Dad and what must have been the troops leader were in a 20 minute stand off before the monkeys finally left. After celebrating our victory these tricky bastards came back with more monkeys and won their territory back from us as we packed up our things, cutting our beach trip short. Its not worth the possibility of a rabid monkey bite, plus the weather was getting crappy.
Right now (November) is a great time to visit. Its just at the end of the rainy season and just before the peak of the tourist season. You do get the daily downpour of rain that usually only lasts about an hour or less. This rain can be quite nice though when it breaks the humidity and you get that cool breeze off the ocean. Just don’t get caught walking around or even worse, riding your bike in it.
Make sure you head to Old Town and do some shopping. Its a small little walking street lined with tourist shops and restaurants sitting right on the edge of the water. Although most of the shops along here have a lot of the same items you see everywhere in Thailand, there are a few original shops with handmade crafts and beautiful jewelry. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon and grab a bite to eat. I highly recommend Apsara for lunch or dinner. On your way back from Old Town (heading to Khlong Khong) there is a cute little mini golf place where you can do some wake boarding, fishing and some water activities.
Khlong Chak Waterfall is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a hike to kill part of an afternoon. They guy working at the parking lot will tell you you need a guide and that its ‘cobra season’ but its a fairly simple trail to do on your own. The only tough part is right at the beginning but as long as you get through that and follow the river, you’ll have no issues. There’s a pretty interesting cave on the way where you can spot some spiders and bats hanging from the roof. The waterfall itself was little mundane for me, although it’ll take a lot to beat the ones we saw in Iceland but its a great way to spend a few hours. Please don’t get hooked into the elephant trek there. You will inevitably pass one on the corner when you turn towards the falls who is chained up. Just remember, that is their entire life and they are emotionally, physically and mentally broken down so that you can ride them for 20 minutes.
Its been a pretty amazing week here so far and we still have so much more planned. I am trying to do everything i can to slow down time cause before you know it, my parents and Jesse will be on their way back home making our time that much closer to the end.
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Our Favourite Restaurants in Koh Lanta