As exciting as this extended honeymoon adventure is, at times it has felt more difficult than my corporate day job. Stick with me.
Decoding foreign public transportation systems, studying travel guides, memorizing key phrases in the local language, and navigating cultural norms is thrilling yet simultaneously exhausting. We’re a month and five countries into the trip and we’ve already taken eight flights, spent countless hours in taxis, and checked into six accommodations. I lost count of the number of bowls of rice consumed after the first week.
Of course I’m grateful for the chance to travel and explore more of the world. I recognize this is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s just that the logistics of travel are anything but glamorous. More than once I’ve yearned for the former comfort of my air conditioned office and predictable daily routine. That was the last emotion I expected to feel on this trip.
Thankfully Beau had set aside ten days for R&R after Hong Kong, Hanoi, Bangkok, and Siem Reap. That’s right, these travelers needed a vacation from our vacation. Talk about high-class problems. We found our paradise on the island of Koh Lanta, Thailand.
Beau gets all the credit for researching and choosing Koh Lanta. It was the right mix of tourist-ready infrastructure and laid-back local lifestyle for us. The majority of fellow tourists on the island were Chinese, French, German, and Scandinavian. I think most Americans venture to Phuket or Koh Phi Phi. I doubt you can go wrong with any beach destination in Thailand. We’re just biased towards Koh Lanta now. Beau practically had to drag me out of the hotel on our last day. I’m fairly sure I could have convinced him to stay longer, too.
We spent our days driving our rental motorbike all over the island, eating freshly cut papaya and mango from roadside stands, trying every possible variation of Thai curry, and debating beach versus pool. I would hate me if I wasn’t me, too.
One day we ventured out to Mu Ko Lanta National Park on the island and spent some time on the beach with the resident monkeys. They were so tame they kept trying to steal our backpack. Another day we went on a snorkel excursion to Koh Haa, which means “Five Islands” in Thai. We loved it so much we booked another day trip later in the week to the island of Koh Rok.
Thailand won me over in a big way. Of course I loved Koh Lanta, who doesn’t love an island paradise. Yet even before arriving in Koh Lanta I was convinced Thailand was my favorite Southest Asian country after our stay in Bangkok. The Thais are welcoming and funny people, the food is healthy and delicious, Thai massages are a game-changer, and the country is budget-travel friendly. We often had meals for as little as $5 USD including drinks. Thailand holds a special place in my heart, and I can’t wait to return for more curry and island-hopping.
Know Before You Go:
- The closest airport is in Krabi, about 2-3 hours by car and ferry from Koh Lanta. We arranged an airport transfer with our hotel in advance.
- We stayed at Chaw Ka Cher Tropicana Lanta Resort. IT WAS SO GOOD. I hope we can return for a future anniversary trip. Hint, hint, Beau.
- Currency is Thai Baht and there are plenty of ATMs on the island.
- We had lots of tasty meals, but two notable places were Tan’s Restaurant across from this 7-Eleven and Happy Veggie. Order the mango smoothie and yellow curry. Also, Happy Veggie was the only place in Thailand I’ve been served brown rice, a very welcome sight after so much white rice.
- We spent a few hours visiting Lanta Animal Welfare, a non-profit on the island providing veterinary care and adoption services to local cats and dogs. Tourists are encouraged to visit for the free tour and then spend some time volunteering with the animals. You can also donate money or purchase something from their merchandise shop to help the cause. I was really impressed with the shelter and I’m glad we took time to visit. Also, I held a kitten.