28.01.2017 33 °C
We left Koh Samui on the East coast of Thailand after a few days and travelled west to Khao Lak, on the other side of mainland Thailand. we arrived a couple of days ago after taking a taxi, a ferry and three buses, the whole journey was a little challenging! Thunderstorms, flash floods and a bus that leaked like a sieve was all part of the travelling experience. Trying to avoid the water literally pouring into the bus was fun, in fact I gave up and cupped my hands to collect it before throwing it on the floor. I also had my main bag broken into on the ferry from Koh Samui to the mainland and several items stolen, despite it being locked, a combination lock of no consequence to the scammers working the Donsak Pier area. Still my bag was a little easier to carry around after that I guess.
We arrived at Bang Niang Beach, Khao Lak and are staying at a hostel run by a beautiful Thai lady who gives out hugs like they are going out of fashion. Shoes are left at the entrance door and the various smells of the downstairs laundry, insence and Thai street food pervade the nostrils. Our room is basic but spotless and we don't have to share!
Khao Lak was one of the hardest hit areas during the 2004 tsunami, Bang Niang beach in particular. There are few signs of it today, but they are there, the tsunami warning signs, the building work still going on along the beach, mangled iron and brickwork once part of a slipway to the beach. The area was completely flattened and to look at it now is an absolute miracle, of course life has gone on but the memory is never forgotten. We visited the tsunami memorial, a huge concrete 'wave' like structure and the museum running loops of footage from that Boxing Day morning. We saw the police boat, number 813, which had been thrown 2 km inland by the wave from its petrol on the sea and has been left where it came to rest, testament to the sheer power of the waves. Haunting stuff.
The beach itself is utterly beautiful, a typical Thai beach lined with trees, torquise water and golden sand. The wind whistles through the trees, wind chimes chant and piles of pebbles like little temples are dotted on the rocks. The beach is huge so there is something for everyone, peace, Thai massages and little street food kitchens nestled in the trees producing the most amazing snacks like garlic spicy squid, barbecued barracuda, fresh mango juice of just an iced Thai coffee.
Do we look bronzed and beautiful yet? Sadly no, still red, peeling and covered in mossie bites, yes we are itchy and we hurt! A visit to a pharmacy today to purchase boxes of antihistamine, bite cream and super strength sun cream. A Singha beer or two continues to smooth these weary travellers however, so we are happy.....
PS: photos to follow x