Ko Lanta…last day?

Our last day in our new-found paradise, Ko Lanta and on to the story of the “secret” beach.  The night of the beach party, Malik the TukTuk driver asked us what beaches we’ve been going to on Ko Lanta and since we haven’t really felt like renting a motorbike or paying for TukTuk’s we’ve been sticking to our local beach-it has some ‘okay’ snorkelling but the reef is dead and it’s just rock and not swimmable at low tide.  Malik started telling us about this beach by his house down the road which is basically around the rocky outcrop from where we had been swimming.  We’ve seen a couple of people swimming around this outcrop and have wondered what’s around the bend and where they were going.  He offered to take us in his TukTuk the next day as it is not visible from the road.  After breakfast he took us about 5 minutes drive up the road and wouldn’t take any money for taking us there.  We pulled over to the side of the road to a small pathway that went into the thick jungle.  The path was very overgrown and very narrow and I couldn’t help but think of cobras or poisonous spiders or something.  I didn’t think about Malik leading us into the jungle in the middle of nowhere, however, as I had seen him with Pon and Pheat for days now and I knew he was good friends with them and he obviously loves Nong Pheat very much.  He was always carrying him around anyway, I felt fine.  After about 10 minutes of walking through tall jungle shrub the path opened up into a massive clearing of coconut palms and a large bay of freaking unbelievable private beach.  Actually, almost private-at the time of our arrival there was one other German couple on the beach who immediately started asking Malik how to tell the difference between the young coconut and the ones with the harder dried meat we are more accustomed to in the west.  He had already opened up two coconuts and drank the coconut water but he had thrown away the rest.  Malik took out his knife and fashioned a spoon out of a piece of the coconut and gave it to me to eat and left us to the beach.  We chose the other end of the bay and left the Germans on the other side and after about 2 hours, they left and we had the whole entire beach to ourselves.  A huge bay with a soft break of waves and all white sand.  Behind us the grove of coconut trees and beyond that the jungle and the path back to the road. 

At the edge of the grove where it meets the sand, a mango tree with a rope swimming and actually the only downside to this was the garbage from groups of partying Thai’s including syringes!! Actually one big disappointment in otherwise beautiful Ko Lanta has been the garbage on the beach.  When I mention it to local people they seem reluctant to admit it comes from the locals (all the garbage is not the kind of stuff tourists buy, although you do see some plastic water bottles), and instead they blame it on the last full moon period where the tide was exceptionally high but I don’t know.  Anyway, a near perfect secret beach and we spent the afternoon here, M living out his Robinson Crusoe fantasies by attempting (and failing) to make fire.  We swam and watched the coconut palms sway and 3 muslim fisherman and their little boy pulled their boats up and disappeared into the jungle path. 

I feel pretty lucky these days. 

We leave Ko Lanta early tomorrow morning and tonight we must say goodby to Pon, Pen and Nong Pheat although Pen has told us she is waking up early to open the restaurant so we can grab breakfast from her before we go.  We hope to come back to see them again.  We’re already talking about doing so when we reenter Thailand from the North later to go to Chiang Mai but at the moment I’m not sure. 

That’s the problem with travelling is you make really intense friendships in a short period of time but then you have to leave.  At home you already have those really intense friendships and all you do is think about leaving.  I suppose we just have to make the most of all of them each day. 

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