Asia 2016: Khao Lak and The Similan Islands

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DSCN1122Getting to our accommodation in Khao Lak was easier than expected. The tourist minivans would stop in central khao lak only leaving us stranded, so we opted for public big bus so walked to the main road where there is a “bus stop”. Within seconds a public minivan turned up and said they’d take us where we wanted to go. So somehow he squeezed us in and true enough dropped us at the end of our road. Result.DSCN1069

On our previous trip we went to Khao Lak and stayed a week in the northern part, but we hated it. We only stayed a week as I was too ill to move. The beach was naff and shops were the annoying sort trying to drag you in. This time we are only there to get access to the Similan islands and this means overnighting before and after, though this time at the far southern end. DSCN1081

And what a difference! Lovely sandy beaches, non pushy cheap bars, really quiet and rather very pretty. Result! Had we known we’d have come here sooner. The shopkeepers are still a pain though but in our private cove and 1km upwards there are no shops. Our accommodation is basic but good enough, nice restaurant and pool, but many posh resorts close by. So we take it back from our last trip, Khao Lak isn’t a total dump, just the northern side. DSCN1073

A 7am start (eek) sees us heading out on our major treat of the trip 3 days live-aboard on a boat visiting and snorkeling around the uninhabited and, apparently, beautiful Similan islands….

(Apologies for any typos, it is the Similan islands, not Similian as we thought!)

Anyway, 7am start at to the boat, 17 people and the staff, and the boat is cozy as its only 16m. Fortunately people are all nice and most speak DSCN1262English (though no natives except us, they are Germans, Argentinians, Sweedish, Swiss, Moldovian and Taiwanese so quite a mix).

So for the next 3 days and 2 nights we visited different islands, bays, coral reefs and beaches and swam and snorkelled. We saw lots of fish whose names we forget but pretty much had a time. We also saw turtles from afar and dolphins joined us on the way back which was lovely, and some weird other creatures and even flying fish actually flying!  And also the undersea tsunami memorial which should never be forgotten as it devastated this part of Thailand and killed loads ofDSCN1321 people.

The trip was organised well and was just about timed right, but the food was plentiful and rather good – a large selection of tasty dishes for lunch and dinner, and even bacon sandwiches for breakfast. Impressive in a tiny kitchen.

Our bunk was next to the generator so a bit noisy on the first night, so the second night we slept under the stars on the sundeck! Very nice but the moon was a bit bright for a perfect stargazing night. DSCN1342

Excellent if expensive trip, though worth it. Neither of us were sea sick, though when back on solid ground I was quite dizzy and had to take motion sickness pills! Weird…

And sadly the last big outing as we  fly back to Bangkok for our last couple of days before flying home.  The flight is only an hour and a bit, so their use of a Boing 747 was a bit overkill at about 1/3 full.

The Bangkok airport train as simple and efficient as normal and our hotel quite good and well placed in a different part of the city near the HUGE malls.  Probably not our usual “traveller” part of town, more a “rich tourist” with big chain western restaurants.  Hmmm.  Nice to see but not what we came for. DSCN1264

But that’s the end really – bags packed and 2 months in Asia come to an end.

Shame the parents didn’t last the distance, but apart from that disappointment, overall a nice and fun trip with some exciting bits and dramas thrown in!

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