Island hopping in the Andaman Sea
Monday 3 March 2014 - Monday 24 March 2014
Somewhere Over The Urals.
on stuartfinch's travel map.
After the hectic late nights of Bangkok, I was looking forward to some relaxing time on the famous Thai beaches. There’s been plenty written about the choices people have when it comes to beaches in Thailand and mostly it’s true. The beaches are lovely, some of the best I’ve ever experienced but you can, and should, choose your location to suit the ‘beach vibe’ that you’re after.
We decided to avoid the east coast entirely – mostly due to time constraints but partly because we had no inclination to join a Full Moon Party. Our first island stop was Koh Phi Phi. We made this choice because we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Personally, it didn’t appeal and still doesn’t, although I think I’m probably too old to be jumping a skipping rope on that’s fire.
We quickly made our way to Koh Lanta.
Traditionally much more a backpacker hangout, recent development has meant that Lanta is much busier than friends had remembered. Still, much quieter and more conservative than Phi Phi, Lanta provided us with the few days of nothing that we required. Empty beaches, some good restaurants, cheap accommodation and a friendly beach bar.
We then decided to try ‘upmarket’ for a while and caught the ferry to Koh Ngai. An island that, apart from the resorts, is uninhabited. It provided the four star luxuries that you’d expect (even if they were a little frayed around the edges) and a pristine coral sand beach that was picture postcard perfect. Delightful, if a little soulless.
A lengthy and bumpy speedboat ride away was Koh Lipe, our final stop in Thailand and the up-and-coming / already ruined (depending on who you asked) southern-most Trang island. I imagine this was like Phi Phi was a few years back, a mix of drinking and diving that catered for most tastes from families to gap year backpackers. I liked Lipe the most. With a small amount of effort you could walk to the far side of the island, away from the bars and boats crowding the shoreline and find a cove which you could have to yourself.
Our next port of call was across the border in Malaysia. Langkawi is a world away from the hedonism that you can find in Thailand but as a duty free zone life is a little more liberal than mainland Malaysia. The beaches are just as beautiful with a fair amount of development but here it was our guesthouse that made our stay. An incredibly social place, Zackry’s provided us with several late nights of fun and all just a short stroll from yet another stunning beach.
Finally we headed to Penang, not an island famed for its beaches, instead it has a renowned food scene. It has served as a great introduction to Malaysian food and became a stepping stone back to the mainland from where we headed into the jungle… Currently listening to the sounds of thunder rolling around the world’s oldest rainforest.
Posted by stuartfinch
Archived in Thailand
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