Slow travel: generally, we do this by exploring local neighbourhoods and attractions, on foot when possible, with tips from locals more often than guide books or websites.
We really worked on this during our recent visit to Koh Lanta!
Upon arrival to our temporary island home, our hosts asked whether we wanted to rent a car. No, not really. How will you see the island? Um, well, we’ve actually got our sights set on your pool, the beach, repeat.
Sticking to the plan was hard work, but we did our best!
Our hosts, Norm & Lory, have been long time family friends. After three decades of living and working around the world, they’ve settled into their “forever home” on the island of Koh Lanta, off the southern Andaman coast of Thailand. It is our very good fortune that these Canadians-cum-citizens of the world generously invited us to soak up a bit of their island lifestyle.
Each morning, I would open the drapes to check on the sun rising over the tree tops and the pool. It was truly spectacular every single morning.
After breakfast, we generally piled into the car to be whisked away to beautiful Klong Dao Beach. Here, we had long walks, admiring the beautiful blue water, the shells, and the long tail boats, watching as other boarded boats for tours and diving trips.
Eventually, we’d move on to one of the many coffee shops where a very serious judging the best latte or iced latte ensued. Exhausting work!
Dips in the pool happened morning and afternoon. If we were lucky, Chewy would come for a visit; sometimes he even joined us in the water.
Chewy and his sister, Chai, (the blonde beauty in front) were rescued from living on the streets of Bangkok. They had the very good sense to adopt Norm & Lory.
I had to fight the impulse to get out there and do things. That was not the goal of our island time. Our goal was to NOT do things, to enjoy the magnificent surroundings, breath the fresh air, and watch the monkeys play in the trees. After a few days; however, I found myself getting twitchy.
Would you like to go for a Thai massage? No thanks, I’ll do that another time.
Would you like to borrow our gear and go snorkelling? No, thanks. I’ll just laze by the pool.
Resistance was difficult. Time for a new goal.
I had been lugging around a book from the fabulous used book store in Comox, BC. I normally don’t carry real books while travelling, but I saw a Maeve Binchy I hadn’t read, and knew it would be the perfect holiday read. Time to get that weight out of my suitcase. Goal set.
From time to time, I slipped. The lure was too great. Not far from the house is a company offering long tail boat tours of the mangroves. Karen managed to resist; I was weak.
I’m a sucker for a beautiful forest, a vibrant swamp, or a mangrove teaming with life. Birds, startled by the boat, flew out of the trees, putting on a show just for me. The driver pointed out interesting trees and birds along the way. Either that or he was calling me names in Thai. I have no idea, but he was very enthusiastic about whatever he was saying.
In setting up the tour, Norm specified that I didn’t want monkeys in the boat. Regardless, the driver eventually cut the engine and pulled over to the trees. Before I knew what was happening, monkeys were jumping aboard, grabbing pieces of papaya. Eventually, I managed to convince him to move on and leave the wild animals be. Even though I’m against this sort of animal tourism, I couldn’t resist a few shots.
On a few evenings, the six of us ventured out to one of the countless restaurants for dinner. If Chewy & Chai were lucky, a swim was part of the excursion.
Sunset dinner with our hosts.
Another evening: a stroll around Old Town before dinner.
You can see how all of this was rather exhausting. Fortunately, at the end of another hectic day, we had visitors to wish us sweet dreams.
Did I ever finish that book, you ask? Not until our flight north, to Chiang Mai. An island holiday isn’t as easy as you might think. We may need more practice.
We’ve since spent a few days in the ancient cities of Chiang Mai and Lampang. Today, we move to Chiang Doa. No agenda. No checklist.