I can’t believe how fast Koh Lanta has come and gone! Tomorrow we leave for Singapore!
Koh Lanta has been a wonderful stop on this journey and just what we needed after a few busy weeks in big cities. There is something about being at the beach that makes us relax immediately…..maybe it’s because I’ve been wearing a bathing suit and flip flops everyday instead of 2 jackets, a hat, a scarf, and wool socks! Getting dressed in Thailand has been much easier than Japan.
We went diving a total of 3 days (2 tank dives each time). I really enjoyed all of our diving trips. The dive shop, Dive and Relax, was very organized, safe, and professional. I would highly recommend them to anyone coming to this area. The first couple of days, the water was rough, but once we were in the water, we didn’t have any trouble. Our dive guide, Pan, did a great job at pointing things out under the water and made us feel very comfortable.
Today, we went scuba diving. It has been a while since the last time, so I was a little nervous. Actually, I’m always nervous before I dive, which is not good for air conservation!
There were 8 people on our boat and almost an equal number of staff/instructors. They split us up in small groups. Justin and I were in a group by ourselves with a guide. We left the resort around 9 am. It was about a 45 minute boat ride to the dive site. We dove one of the small island of Thailand called Koh Bida. It is near Koh Phi Phi. Apparently, this is near the islands that they filmed the James Bond movie and the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, The Beach (neither of which I have seen).
The water was uncharacteristically rough and there was a little bit of a current, but not too bad. Also, the visibility wasn’t as good as it normally is. Our maximum depth was about 18 meters (60 feet) on both dives.
Disclaimer: The following is thorough…extremely thorough. I write so much on my trip reports (and always have – I’ll probably post some retro reviews when things get slow) for several reasons: As a journal/report for myself, to help others who may be planning trips to the same destinations, and (now) to benefit anyone who finds our blog while searching for specific terms (I know I relied on others’ blogs in planning). The point is, the post is long. If you don’t feel like reading, scroll through and find the pictures you like then read about them…there will not be a quiz when I return…unless that is a trick. So here it is, the Japan wrap up:
Arriving in Japan after a 2 hour 45 minute flight in Cathay Pacific business class (which was excellent), it quickly became evident that we were not in Hong Kong any longer…The country’s respective cross walk sounds do a better job of describing the difference than I could: Hong Kong was like an old time bell/ringing fire alarm going off when it was time to cross the street; Japan was like a pleasant, occasional intercom chime.
We arrived in Koh Lanta yesterday evening around 7 pm. It was a pretty long day of traveling. We took a flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok then from Bangkok to Krabi. Once we go to Krabi, a car picked us up from the airport, and we had a 2 1/2 hour car ride (that included 2 ferries). We were pretty tired when we got to the resort. Koh Lanta is one of the southern islands of Thailand. We are staying at the Lanta Castaway Resort on the beach.
Even though it was dark by the time we got here, the sound of the water and the breeze was so nice. Our room is pretty spacious with a separate sofa/table sitting area. The bathroom is not the best, but it has everything we need. Also, we have WiFi. It doesn’t seem like all the rooms have it. I’m glad that we do so that I can keep up with the blogging!
For our last full day in Chiang Mai, we hired a tour guide to drive us to see some of the main attractions in the city. It seems like this would be an expensive thing to do, but the whole day with the tour guide only cost 50$. This is almost what we paid the taxi drivers in Japan to take us to dinner!!
The temples in Chiang Mai were pretty different from the temples in Japan. They were much more crowded and louder than Japan (although, I think anything would be louder than Japan!)
The first temple we saw was Wat Chedi Luang. It was a local Buddha temple that had many people praying. The tour guide explained to us that their religious days were based on the moon. There was an area where locals brought food offerings to the temple.
We just got back from the Patara Elephant Farm!!
This was an incredible day that gave us a wonderful and up-close experience with elephants. There are many many different “elephant encounter” type places in Thailand; however, many of those places do not give the elephants the care and attention that Patara provides. They focus on the health care, breeding, and conservation of the elephants. Most of the elephants at Patara have been rescued from circuses, log rolling camps, or from the streets of Thailand. This experience is pretty much the reason why we wanted to stop in Chaing Mai.
We just go back to our hotel room after a really fun day!
One of the popular things to do in Thailand is to go to a cooking class that teaches you how to cook local Thai dishes. There are many many different companies that do this, but Justin’s extensive research led us to “Alot of Thai: Home Cooking Class.” It is a family run business. The chef, Yui, spoke wonderful English and was a pleasure to spend the day with. Her husband, Kwan, picked us up from our hotel (in an adorable light blue VW bus), along with the rest of our group.
Here are our Tokyo pictures. I took a good bit of Mt. Fuji/the sunset…probably uploaded too many of that. The link is below, and I’ve also included some pictures in this post.