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Ko Lanta, Ko Lipe & Ko Tarutao

Thailand

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Ko Lanta
After our diving Safari, we spent a couple of days planning our next move in Thailand. It is low season, so our transportation options were limited. We decided to go to Ko Lanta, which is supposed to be less touristy than some of the other islands. It was alright, but not exactly what we were looking for. However, after staying one night in a dingy bungalow, we found an awesome room at a resort overlooking the bay. It had AC and a refrigerator, luxuries that we had yet to experience during our travels. We have Marcel & Tanja Petschek to thank, a wonderful couple from Germany. In addition to a great snorkeling trip, spending time with them was the highlight of our time in Ko Lanta.

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The full day snorkeling trip in Ko Lanta was fantastic. Edward worked on his wildlife photography while Francis absorbed the beautiful scenery. As part of the trip, we had to swim through a dark cave for 5 minutes in order to reach an internal beach surrounded by cliffs on all sides and lush jungle on one side. In wilder times, pirates used it as a hideout.

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Ko Lipe

Because it is near the Malaysian border, the trip to Ko Lipe from Ko Lanta required two minivans, and three ferries. We eventually got there, only to spend 1 hour looking for a decent place to stay. Unfortunately, tourism has picked up briskly over the last 5 years, and once pristine beaches are starting to show the effects of mass consumption.

The view from our bungalow in Ko Lipe was amazing. At night, during the lightning storms, we could see the reefs illuminated by lightning as if it were daylight. It was an awesome site.

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The beaches were full of cute little crabs. We caught of few, but contrary to the picture below, did them no harm.

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During one of our afternoon swims, we gained a new friend. A tiny fish mistook Edward's shorts for a coral reef and chased him, seeking shelter. If Edward outran the little guy, he would seek shelter with Francis. This whole event lasted a couple of hours, until we were forced to abandon the poor little orphan.

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The snorkeling around Ko Lipe was also pretty good. You can find clown fish, sea anemone, clams and even sting rays in the vicinity of the beach.

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Ko Tarutao

Ko Tarutao was the least touristy of the islands we stayed in. It is a protected national park and only 5 miles from Malaysia. We stayed at a bungalow, near a secluded beach, but only had electricty from 6-10 pm.

The park is inhabited by crab eating macaques. We saw a few during our jungle hike. It's a beautiful island. We just wish we had more time to explore. Unfortunately, we were only there one day and one night.

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While waiting for our ferry back to the mainland, a tour group of Muslim girls got off a boat and, from what we could tell, we were the only foreigners they had ever seen. We had to take pictures with all of them. First as a group, and then individualy so that they could show their friends back home. This is the only time that we've ever been celebrities.

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Our train to Bangkok was a pleasant ride, at least for the first 16 hours. Unbeknownst to us, the train was 6 hours late and we were going to miss our flight to Cambodia and the connection to Siem Reap. We had to think fast and ended up getting off the train at the next station, where we found someone to drive us to Bangkok for a hefty fee. The effort was worth it, but only because our flight was delayed by an hour. Otherwise, we would have still missed our flight. We lucked out...

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This was our second stop at Bangkok International Airport and we were still impressed. It is a sprawling complex that combines modern architecture and chic western boutiques to give it the feel of a high end mall.

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Posted by edcastano 23:51 Archived in Thailand

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