Koh Lanta lacks the stunning karst scenery of the aforementioned islands, but it makes up for it with long, sandy beaches and a laid back vibe. We stayed at a beautiful resort on Koh Lanta, continued to recover from our bout of illness, and rented a motorbike to visit the National Park at the south end of the island. We really enjoyed Koh Lanta, but it was time to move on.
We crossed the peninsula and went to the Gulf of Thailand side, where it was high season and supposedly better weather. On the Andaman Coast, we had wonderful weather, little to no crowds, and cheap accommodation, during its shoulder season. In contrast, we found rain, massive crowds, and booked and expensive accommodation on the Gulf of Thailand side. We decided to spend very little time on the Gulf side of the Thai peninsula.
We stopped here just for a night on our way to Koh Tao. We disliked the rain and the loads of people walking through the strip malls near the beach. (I am sure there are nice quiet beaches on this island, but we didn’t stay long enough to discover them, due to bad weather.)
We had planned to take a scuba dive course in Koh Tao, but we were met with more bad luck. Our chosen dive operator, known for their safety, refused to take Jen diving due to her asthma without a note from a doctor in the US. We were unable to speak to our doctor in the US on the phone, and later found out that no note of good health could be signed unless Jen had a physical within the past year. Which she hadn’t. We were bummed out about missing the SCUBA certification, but did manage a bit of snorkeling, so all was not completely lost.
We will be back for our final doses of Thailand in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai (where Jen taught English seven years ago) after China, but excited now for the next legs of our trip in Cambodia and Vietnam.