Monday, November 23, 2015

VSTR Day 7-9. Post Cycling Adventures in Ko Lanta and beyond

Time did not allow us to cycle to Krabi some 80km away and we all wanted to visit the famed Emerald Pool as well.  Since Plan A to ferry to Krabi did not work out, Plan B involved hiring 2 minivans to do the job through the Mook Lanta. Their charges were reasonable and the slight detour to the Pool was a bonus. 

We spent the next day exploring Ko Lanta on a Toyota Hiace double cab pickup and had so much fun. Everyone wanted to sit behind, and it was a good break from cycling. The rental divided by 10 of us really made this peanuts!

We so wanted to see the Lanta Animal Welfare sanctuary for George's sake but somehow, that proved too illusive. VT volunteered to drive and did so ever so careful. We explored the island clockwise and stopped firstly at a beach. The weather was not in our favour, all wet and windy but that explains the low season. Still, that did not dampen our spirits!

Driving around the island to the eastern side, we came across a lovely village selling satays!  The smell and smoke captivated us and we had to stop, park and sample the delicious sweet, skewered meat. 

We were also mesmerised by the Lanta Old Town which had quaint shops all facing the sea. It is possible to take a ferry to go to Pak Mong Beach from here. The Hammock Shop captivated us with its colourful offerings and many of us parted our bahts in exchange for such comforts back home. 

One highlight of Ko Lanta was Diamond Cliff where we enjoyed coffee/tea/ice creams at the restaurant there with the amazing view. They have rooms here and certainly, it is a place I would like to stay next time I come.

We went down to the beach and had wonderful time like children. We were all catching hermit crabs and soon, the thought of having a hermit crab race came. Lining all these lovely creatures, off they went and it was great that my particular crab kept winning!

Dinner that night was at May's Kitchen. A Melissa recommendation and it seemed all the long stay expats were there. They were doing a thriving business and for good reason. Food prepared from the heart, how can you go wrong?

The next morning we tucked into our hearty British breakfast of bacon and eggs, with the works! Although it was pouring cats and dogs, it didn't affect our appetite one bit. Papa finally got his order correct this time unlike yesterday - nothing would do but the one with all options ticked! It was a well deserved breakfast as we all had cycled 400km!

Our 2 vans came and we were all packed and ready despite an earlier fiasco. The heavy rains had raised the water level and that in turn had raised the sewerage level. Without going too much in detail, let's just say we were glad to leave!

It was strange re-routing the journey through the 2 ferries and the familiar terrain to Highway 4 inside the comfort of an airconditioned van with the heavy rains blasting. But in my heart, I would not have minded cycling back. 

Emerald Pool lived up to its expectations and the beautiful green coloured waters were too inviting not to jump in. And we all did, and did a jump out picture too. Lots of local tourists were there and it felt a bit too crowded for me.

We all pulled into Krabi at about 3pm and checked into the Lada Hotel. There what awaited us was the 10 bike boxes I pre-ordered from Champion Bike Shop. Very grateful that they delivered on their promise. 

Lada is excellently located smack in the heart of Krabi town and night markets abound. The team went on an own-time-own-target exploration trip predominantly checking out the billions of food available. VT and Claudine went in search of an optician and successfully fix his broken glasses for nearly next to nothing. Dinner was at Le Gateau French restaurant facing the river and the food was really magnifique.  Coffee/tea was enjoyed at a nearby road side stall where truly, they do the most amazing brew.

Nobody wanted to sleep that night and after packing our bikes into the boxes and sealing it, some of us went for a massage while others went for more eating till the wee hours of morning.

On our last day, we had breakfast at a Roti Chanai eatery before heading to the riverside for one last hurrah. Before our eyes were a grand procession for the Queen's birthday and hundreds of school children all dressed up in colourful and shining costumes and dress, got ready for their performance. As much as we wanted to stay and watch, we had a flight to catch.

Tee and Na from Champion Bike Shop came promptly at our agreed time. One tuk tuk for 10 of us, and a pick up to take our bike boxes. We had to of course dropped into Champion for last minute bike parts shopping and Tee was kind enough to give us "special" discounts.

Checking into the airport was less troublesome than I expected especially with our 10 bike boxes. We soon found ourselves in our $80 one way flight back to Singapore in disbelief that our Very South Thailand Ride has come to an end. As the song by Eurythmics goes, "sweet dreams are made of these" kind of moments and I couldn't agree more. My hearfelt thanks to VT, Claudine, George, Wendy, Ying Chang, Lance, Papa Mike, KC and Celia for an amazing 9 days of fun and laughter on our small wheels! See you guys at FSTR in Aug 2016,

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