We left Phuket by ferry from Phuket Town headed for Ao Nang, I’ll own up now and say that I actually booked the hotel thinking it was in Krabi Town, not realising that as it was in Krabi Province most of the hotel websites treat it as an outlying area of the main town. However it was one of these fortunate occurrences where we ended up in a beautiful town. There was a lovely beach and it was very much a holiday resort but much less seedy than Patong. While we were there the festival of Loi Krathong was being celebrated which coincided with the ”super moon” the locals spent much of the day creating the krathongs from banana leaves, flowers and candles. As soon as it started to get dark people made for the beach to launch the lit krathongs, along with their hopes for the future, into the water thus creating a memorable scene of light on the water. The limestone karsts that we had sailed between in Halong Bay also exist in lesser numbers on this part of the coast line and give much of the drama to the views. This is particularly true of Raillay where we visited on a day trip, accessible only by boat it maintain a very backpacker hippy vibe despite also having a few very expensive hotels, The beach is what most people go there for and it didn’t disappoint. We took the day trip to Raillay from Krabi Town which was a pleasant enough place but fairly functional. It serves more as a hub for the area but does have a good night market and also a weekend market that was a cross between a fairground and a jumble sale.
Many people had suggested visiting Ko Lanta as it was a lot quieter than most of the other Thai islands but equally, if not more, beautiful. We decided to travel by minibus so ended up sharing one with a bunch of unhappy Poles who thought they were getting it to themselves. We decided to stay on Long Beach and had a hotel on the main road booked for the first few nights. After that we decided to stay there longer and found a bungalow on the beach. 16 pounds a night for AC own bathroom and cable TV – we could have stayed there for months quite happily! As well as being long the beach was relatively quiet the resort not quite developed but still having enough restaurants and locations to stay to make it interesting. We discovered the ‘backpacker village” which had the benefits of very cheap food and travel agents. Meals there were some of the best we have had, we would go to the stand outside the min market and ask what was good today. This usually depended on what they had got from the market, one day we had mackerel which on first thoughts didn’t sound all that exciting but this was a thick mackerel steak like nothing I had seen before with a garlic and pepper sauce that was insanely good. Ko Lanta had the right mix for us of affordability, desirability and just a lovely place, we would go back in a heartbeat!