A Travellerspoint blog

4 Island Tour

sunny 35 °C
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March 15
So at the end of my diving day yesterday, I got a message from one of the ladies in my dive group asking. If I would like to join her
and her friends on the 4 Island snorkel tour today.

After breakfast, I went to meet my pick up. We got to Lanta Old Town to board our long tail boat. Corinna was the only one of the group there.... apparently Nick and Maria (a couple) were not coming because Nick was ill. The group was a fun group.... people from Germany, France, Italy, and even the USA.
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Our first island was Koh Maa where there was lots of colourful fish. We then headed over to the largest island Koh Mook. It is best know for its Emerald Cave (also called Tham Morakot) a hidden lagoon in the centre of the island. The entrance to the cave is only accessible during low tide. The cave winds 80 meters onto a white beach with an emerald pool surrounded by steep cliffs.

Once I saw the headlamp on our guides head, I knew I wasn't going in!
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My group headed off to the cave while I stayed behind. There where five or more other boats there and this is what I saw. large_IMG_1740.jpg
People forming a snake line heading inmand out of the cave! There must have been over 100 people! Yikes!!! Sure am glad I passed on this trip. Corinna said that she will send me a few pictures of the cave. I will post them once I get them.

Another snorkel stop was Koh Chuak, a small karst islet with sea caves. Koh Ngai was our last island. We were treated to a delious lunch of steam rice, fried mix vegetables, Massaman Curry with chicken and seasonal fruits. Koh Ngai is a beautiful island with a spotless sandy beach.
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Back to Old Lanta Town and then to our hotels.

Corinna and I had made plans to meet in Saladan for dinner because they leave for Phuket tomorrow. What a wonderful dinner we had.
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Posted by Samchow58 08:24 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Scooters, turtles, bat fish and dolphins

sunny 36 °C
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March 13
Decided to rent a scooter to drive around the island. With map in hand, keys in the ignition, and my heart beating a mile a minute.... I headed out.
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I assumed I was going to visit the waterfall and the National Park first. Only to realize, as usual, I was lost..... landed up visiting Koh Lanta Old Town. Located on Koh Kanta's east coast, it was once the island's main port for trade. Now Lanta Old Town is a charming old to visit and it feels like it's stood still in time. There are many shops, restaurants, and homes that are built on stilts above the sea level.
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Stopped at the Viewpoint restaurant for a refreshing coconut
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Khlong Chak Waterfall is a small waterfall accessible by the same trail that will lead to Khlong Jak Cave. The trail crosses a smaller water stream few times and ends at this small waterfall. During the dry season there is very little water flowing down...very disappointing.
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Mu Ko Lanta National Park was established in 1990 as a marine park, situated in southern part of Krabi Province. The biggest islands in the park are Ko Lanta Noi and Ko Lanta Yai. The park’s highlights are its twin beaches that stretch out on either side of a high rocky peninsular cliff, known as Ta Noad Cape, with a picturesque old lighthouse at its highest point. The climb to the lighthouse was a tough one in the sweltering heat, but it is a must for the beautiful views of both beaches, surrounding cliffs and several islands.
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On the way back to my hotel, I found a market. It sold everything....fish and meat, veggies, clothes, and also dinner buffets.
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March 14
Went diving to Koh Haa today. It is a collection of six islands – Koh Haa Yai and its five smaller islands. Diving in Koh Haa is breathtaking.
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We did 3 dives today. Saw turtles, a few bat fish, shrimps....and I even went into a cave! That was pretty scary.
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Posted by Samchow58 08:17 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Koh Lanta....backpackers and gypsies....no more

lol not

sunny 34 °C
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March 10
Headed to Tonsai Bay to Nick and David (did my two dives with them). They are both from South Africa. I originally told my kids that they were gay....a couple. Apparently, they have been friends for many years. Oops! They had a great laugh when I told them

We boarded the ferry 9 am ferry.
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Crazy hair
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We walked around Tonsai Bay looking for a top up to our cell phones. After scouring all the Seven Elevens and Fresh Marts, we hit jackpot! Nick and Dave decided they need refreshments.
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There are cats all over the place here
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Leaving Tonsai Bay
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I spent the rest the day around the pool. Nick and David joined me to watch the sunset .
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All the divers and dive masters met for dinner and drinks.
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March 11
Today is a travel day. The long boat took me to Tonsai Pier to catch my 11:30 am ferry to Koh Lanta. In true Thailand style, the ferry was over sold and crowded. It was a short 1 hour trip.
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The hotel is beautiful. My room is a suite... very spacious! When you open the sliding door, the pool is right there!
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Koh Lanta used to be full of backpackers and sea gypsies. However Lanta has morphed Into luxury getaways for mostly-European tourists. Klong Dao beach is made of white powdery sand and stretches 3 km. The crescent shape of the bay provides extremely calm waters making it a favourite choice for families. About 90% of Koh Lanta's population is Muslim, making it the most Islamic part of the country.

I headed into Saladin for dinner and signed up for a dive in a few days. Laying in bed while working on this blog, the power kept going out, numerous times. I called the front desk only to find out the whole island was out of power. Power finally came back on about an hour later.

March 12
I'm using a new travel agent for this trip. My original one, Talia, is on maternity leave and may not come back.... yikes! My new travel agent, Clarissa, is young and not as experienced. Unlike Talia, who has been planning my trips for the last 10 years. Anyways, before I left home I had asked Clarissa to please give me all my ferry schedules so that I could prebook my ferries. There was some confusion on the Lanta to Phuket ferry for March 17. Upon meeting the travel rep when I arrived in Krabi I asked for clarification, only to find out that I was going to take the ferry from Lanta to Krabi and then get driven to Phuket....about a 4 hour drive. I asked the locals here about the drive and was told that it could take up to 6 hours, depending on the Lanta/Krabi ferry. Long story short....after many emails and lots of time on Google, I cancelled the drive to Phuket and booked a ferry instead (3hours).

I spent the rest of my morning looking at this view....swimming and relaxing
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Then I walked Klong Dao beach, 3 km and stopped for lunch.....
Two of my fav foods....
Papaya salad and a mango shake
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I've booked a scooter tomorrow... Lanta has many caves, which i will not go to...looking for a waterfall, a lighthouse, and some amazing beaches.

Posted by Samchow58 16:00 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Kled Gaeow Wreck and Maya Corner and a Wedding

sunny 33 °C
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March 9
Off I went for another two dives with the same group form yesterday..... was disappointed when I found out we were not diving Shark Point due to the wind and ocean conditions. Instead, we dove two different sites.

Meet Lou... she was our dive master. A very entertaining and lovely lady. In her 27 years of life, she has worked in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and now Thailand as a dive master. She is originally for Hong Kong.
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This was our boat for the morning
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Kled Gaeow Wreck is a gunship 47 m of length, resting on the sandy bottom in front of the Viking Cave. The depth on the bottom reaches 26 m and the top of the wheelhouse is 14 m under the sea surface. The wreck is surrounded by huge schools of big fish. We saw schools of small Barracudas, Stone Fish, and Lion Fish. I was very excited to dive this site as this was my very first wreck dive. We didn't go inside, just explored around it.
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Our second site was Maya Corner, a title past Maya Bay. Maya Bay Maya Bay has become the main tourist attraction of Phi Phi since The Beach was filmed here in 1999 starring Leonardo Decaprio. We went into the bay for lunch but didn't go to Maya beach as there is a 400 baht ($16) charge.
Instead we stopped at a little beach directly across from there.

Maya Bay, just jam packed with boats and tourists
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Our little bay....lunch stop
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Diving Maya Corner
A cute turtle
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I was also lucky to watch a wedding. It's a traditional wedding for the Sea Gypsy village. The groom and his family walks down the beach, bearing gifts, with lots of singing and drumming.
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They arrive at the wedding site
The bride and groom meet and watch the grooms family present gifts to the brides family.
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Gold and money are given to the brides family.
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Posted by Samchow58 05:25 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Hin Daeng and Him Muang

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March 8
Sunrise at breakfast
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Headed over to go scuba diving.
The boat
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I went to book the dive a few days ago. While I was there, there were 3 experience divers trying to book Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. They talked me into it as I have my Advamced Diving Cert. Did some reading on oth the sites....says it's for experienced divers. So needless to say, I talked myself into not being able to do the dive.

Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are two World class, top 10 dive sites. The Internet states that both these sites are advanced dive sites and you need recent diving experience (within the last 2 years). They always have currents, waves on the surface and can be challenging. We were all hoping to see whale sharks and manta rays.

Hin Daeng (Red Rock) has a submerged boulder pinnacle where, looking at the bare rocks above water you'd never know the beauty below. This is where we saw the manta ray.
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Got stung by jelly fish at this site
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The dive masters poured vinegar on it...this stopped the stinging.

Hin Muang (Purple Rock) has Thailand's highest vertical wall, dotted,with beautiful purple soft corals. IMG_1610.jpgIMG_1609.jpg

Had so much fun I'm going diving again tomorrow.

Posted by Samchow58 05:45 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

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