The Moped Life: Koh Lanta
Hello friends! It has been awhile. The mysteries and amazement of Thailand has kept me away from my blog. Today, however, the wind howled and the rain fell so I decided to take the time and catch up on some outstanding items.
Anyway, after Koh Phi Phi, I took a ferry to Koh Lanta, an island twenty or so miles southeast of Koh Phi Phi. The journey was maybe two hours and after the arduous passage, I took pleasure in residing in my fantastic hotel and going to bed early. The next morning I had a big day planned. I was going to rent a scooter to drive myself around Koh Lanta.
I awoke the following morning and started my journey sharply at nine. My helmet barely fit, and I was given no instruction whatsoever on how to operate my moped. Worst, I didn’t even know how to start the thing. The hotel front desk had to do it for me. Regardless after about fifteen minutes I was ready to go!
The island is rather large, roughly 131 square miles. There is one main road around the island and two roads that cut across the center. I spent the majority of the day on the outer road stopping at small little eateries and beautiful beaches. The highlight of the day was going to the national park on the southern tip of the island. The focal point was an old lighthouse up on a bluff surrounded by two desolate and serene beaches. I spent about three hours on this beach, taking time lapse video on my GoPro, watching monkeys, chasing crabs, and pretending I was Tom Hanks in Castaway. I have become so good at entertaining myself.
The most embarrassing and interesting part of my day was on my way back from the national park. While going downhill, I noticed a beautiful beach on the left. There was a little spot on the left to pull off the road to view the beach with maybe a fifteen foot spot to stop my moped. On the other side of this fiftteen foot flat was a small drainage ditch. Unfortunately while pulling off the road onto the the flat, I had some trouble making the sharp left turn. In a moment of panic, I accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake and rolled right into the ditch.
The accident itself wasn’t any faster than probably three mph, and it didn’t really hurt that badly either. I bruised my arm and cut my knee. The embarrassment actually hurt much more. At the time of my much announced arrival, there was a French couple on the other side of the cement flat. When I crashed, they came sprinting over to see if I was okay. I told them I was fine and that I did not need to go to the hospital. Thankfully they then helped me pull the bike out of the ditch. I was really embarrassed and just wanted to get out of there, though in hindsight I wish I would have taken a photo of the moped in the ditch. It would have been a classic. I’ll be sure to next time I crash my moped. THANKFULLY there was no damage to the moped. Still it is a good thing that I have travel insurance.
After that, I spent a full afternoon driving around the backside of the island, that night (yes I drove my hog at night too), I drove to a beach and watched an amazing sunset.
The itinerary for the next day was scuba diving. Koh Lanta is known for some of the best diving in Thailand so, of course, I had to check it out. The diving was fantastic, arguably better than the Great Barrier Reef. The dive boat was also a lot better. Instead of two hundred people, there were only about twelve.
I briefly mentioned this in a previous post, but it is low season on the west side of southern Thailand. Combined with the coup, most of the island is dead. Shops and restaurants usually close around this time of year until till November. Most hotels are empty and the there are only a couple of dive boats running per week. Other than the coup, the reason is mostly the weather. Around this time of year the wind changes direction, the sea becomes rough, and the rain falls daily. Diving and beach conditions deteriorate so tourists don’t come. Luckily for me, I had beautiful weather my entire time whilst in Koh Lanta. It was like having my own personal island. Overall, I had a blast in Koh Lanta. It was a much needed reprieve from the debauchery of the last few days.