Friday, January 18, 2008

Leaving Ko Lanta

The day we left Ko Lanta we were up early to catch a 7:00 mini-van. On the way to the ferry we made several stops, picking up other passengers. We caught a 5 minute ferry to the next island over (also called Ko Lanta) and then another 15 minute ferry to the mainland. From there it was an hour long ride to PP Travel, in Krabi, where we were to catch another mini-bus to take us the rest of the way to Khao Sok National Park, our destination that day.

It was a bit of a wait at Krabi, and while we were standing around waiting for our luxury van to arrive Colleen got to talking with a German couple who were also waiting for the same van. They were Thomas and Bridget, a very friendly pair who we got along well with. When finally our mini-van arrived, not surprisingly looking nothing like the van that we'd been shown pictures of and promised, we climbed in with the two of them. Thomas got first pick of seating, due to his size. He's 6'9" and over 250 pounds, so cramming him into a mini-van is a little challenging. Our mini-van then made it's way over to another pick-up spot, where we filled the van with several others. It was unpleasant, particularly for Thomas, but not unendurable, and nothing compared to Indonesia, so we couldn't complain too much.

When we arrived in Khao Sok we teamed up with Thomas and Bridget to go to a guest house that they'd heard about, Bamboo House, which had tree houses. Unfortunately, when we got there all the tree houses were taken, and their only rooms were not so nice. Colleen and Bridget sat down in the Bamboo House restaurant while Thomas and I went in search of accommodation. We looked at a few places, but they were far apart and it was extremely hot. When we got back to Colleen Bridget was no longer with her. She'd gone to look at a place down the road that she'd heard about. I'd read about the same place, and it sounded interesting, so I followed after Bridget.

When I got there they showed me to a room. I'd just been venting to Thomas about the lack of decent accommodation, and how travellers would be willing to pay a little more for something just a little nicer and slightly different. These people had been listening. It was called Art's Riverview Lodge and it was perfect. Big guesthouses with balconies overlooking the river that flowed through the national park. Clean and with a bit of personality. Perfect. It cost a bit more, but we were happy to take it. S0 were Thomas and Bridget, who became our neighbours.

That evening we dined at our hotel with Thomas and Bridget (to be called T&B from here on) and then went down the road to book an adventure at Bamboo House for the following day. Our hotel may have been nice, but they overcharged for trips, so we were looking for an alternative and had heard that Bamboo House had good reviews. After much debate we decided to sign up for the full-day 10-hour trek through the forest the following day.

We returned to our nice little hotel for evening drinks on our patio, then to bed in preparation for a big day.

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