Without an agenda we arrived in Phuket, an island in the south of Thailand. We knew we wanted to visit some of the beautiful islands that Thailand had to offer, but the difficult choice was choosing one. There are so many to choose from, however, on a budget we needed to keep it simple and affordable.
While in Phuket we rented a Motorbike for $6 USD/24 hrs and took a tour of the island. Earlier that morning we met a very nice American couple who were also traveling SE Asia, and they let us borrow their snorkeling gear. So off we went to the south of the island to snorkel and explore. We went to Kata Beach and started snorkeling directly off the beach. It is so magical to see all the colorful fish underneath us. There were angelfish, trumpet fish, parrot fish and many others. After snorkeling, we decided to soak up the sun by renting two sun chairs and an umbrella. The next day we took the motorbike to the Big Buddha which was 15 kms from our Guesthouse. This landmark sits atop a gigantic hill and is 45 meters high. It is made from Burmese marble that shines in the sun. It was quite breathtaking once we arrived at the top of the hill. The view from atop was incredible.
After much thought, we decided to visit the island of Koh Lanta, Thailand. It seemed to suit our needs of what we wanted from our island retreat: quiet, not overly busy, good food, etc. We just wanted to relax. After two days we decided to book 5 more…we didn’t want to leave. We made a deal with the owner of the Funky Fish to stay at $13/night, in our own little bungalow, 2 minutes walk from the beach. We slept in our porch hammock, read on the beach, walked into town, ate at our favorite restaurant three times a day…this was the quintessential beach vacation.
Our last day on the island before we left we booked a longtail boat to visit/snorkel the Four Islands off the coast of Koh Lanta. The boat ride out to the islands was extremely funny looking back, but it was miserable at the time. The water was spraying us in the face/bodies and we were soaked within minutes of setting off. This continued for one hour till we arrived at our destination. I am not sure if it was the construction of the boat, or the waves or what, but I guess that is what you get when you take the “cheaper” option. Once we arrived, it was all worth it. There were fish swimming everywhere. We even had fruit that we hand fed them underneath the water. It was a bit nerve-wracking having one hundred or more fish staring at you and trying to take nibbles of the fruit. The views surrounding the islands were marvelous and untouched. Our two favorite islands were Koh Mook and Koh Ngai. Koh Mook has a secret lagoon called the Emerald Cave hidden inside. Once you swim the dark, narrow tunnel of 80 meters you reach this secret bay of limestone cliffs. Apparently, this cave was used by pirates in times past, to store their treasure. It was am amazing experience to emerge from this dark tunnel to the emerald waters and soft white sand. The beauty of Koh Ngai (our other favorite) was that it was still very quiet and uninhabited. The water was turquoise blue and the sand was soft like powder. This will definitely be our next beach holiday destination. Next stop: Bangkok.