Before heading to Koh Lanta on this trip we’d read some blogs of what to expect, especially as it’s currently low season and my phone app had reported rainy days every day for the past few weeks. We read that it’d be quite quiet because it was “such a trek” to get to. We read to expect rain, and we read that the beaches could be quite dirty. Despite all that, we decided to spend three nights here anyway. We liked the sound of somewhere quiet, especially after our trip to Gili Air last year.
Honestly, everything discouraging we’d read couldn’t have been more wrong. There might have been no express/speed boats from Railay Beach because it was low season, but it was easy to book our transfer; a boat to Ao Nam Mao pier, a mini-van to Krabi, two car ferries to the main island of Koh Lanta and then a drop off (in the same minivan) at our hotel. Being the only two in our 15 seater minivan gave us our first taster of just how quiet it would be! And if anyone thinks sitting in a van for a couple of hours and arriving at the door of your hotel is “a trek” then they’d get a bit of a shock doing an actually trek through the jungle…
Our resort (Chalaroste Resort) was made up of nine cute little villas, each with their own roof terrace, all surrounding a decent sized swimming pool and a mountainous backdrop. They even serve a pretty tasty breakfast on the roof of the reception building. During our stay, one other villa (max) was occupied and we never saw the people inside! It felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. Even the whole day we spent lounging on the roof and around the pool, the only person we saw was staff.
We spent our first evening taking in our beautiful surroundings at a beachside restaurant. We just couldn’t believe how little people there were around. Of course, there were locals and bikes but only very occasionally did we see another tourist like ourselves.
After food, we took a walk and found the “Reggae Bar”; our home away from home during our time here. Here we met our new friend – Ole. He’s the friendliest person you could ever meet and genuinely enjoyed spending time with the people that came into his bar. Needless to say a few too many drinks were had and we stumbled back to our villa at around 4am, but not before taking Ole up on his offer of a bike tour around the island the next day.
With sore heads, we made it to the Reggae bar for early afternoon the next day. Ole spent the day scooting around with us, showing us some of the best places in Koh Lanta. It’s clear he really loves this place and it’s obvious why.
Ole had also, very kindly, arranged for his friend to come to the Reggae Bar that night and show us some of his fire skills! There were no more than ten people there watching the show and it was incredible. It really must take a lot of skill to play with fire like that.
The next evening, Ole had prepared a mighty fine massaman curry (my all time favourite Thai curry) for us to eat before accompanying us to a quiet beach bar to watch the sun go down. I say it was a quiet beach bar because we were the only group of people there and besides the occasional dog walker the beach was empty.
We spent the rest of the night watching Ole’s brother’s band play before Harry took the opportunity to take to the stage and perform for us.
Anybody looking to chill out and go to Koh Lanta in the low season should definitely go. I can’t compare it to high season as I’ve not been but from what everybody has said, there’s a very noticeable rise in the number of visitors.
We’d also like to take the opportunity to thank our new friend Ole. You showed us the very best of times. It definitely won’t be the last time you see us.