Family and work events have taken Barry and I directly between Australia and the UK in recent years, without exploring any of the many places in between. This year we were lucky to have a bit more time on our hands. I finished my contract at the University of Edinburgh in September. With the deadline for Australia set at Christmas 2019, it meant we had a few weeks between leaving Edinburgh at the end of November (after some work and Barry’s family things).
We were last in Thailand in 2014 so it made sense as our ‘on the way to Australia’ destination. As you know, I love a tropical island. As you know, Barry stresses about the quality of the internet, especially on tropical islands. Luckily, Kohub on Ko Lanta takes all those worries away. It didn’t take us long to agree on our 3 week tropical working destination.
We’re also trying to be a bit more conscious of our carbon footprint. Being an international couple, we’re never going to be able to cut our air travel entirely (I’d love to go by boat from the UK to Australia but we just don’t have that kind of money) but we’re more aware of how many flights we take.
So, on Saturday 30 November, we found ourselves on a train from Edinburgh to London. Delays meant that the 4.5 hour journey took 6 hours but that’s just getting us prepared for Thailand. From there, it’s a direct flight to Bangkok with Eva Air (Taiwanese, gets good ratings with the Airline Safety folk). A few (??) hours later we were in the Land of Smiles. It was really nice not to immediately get on another flight south.
Bangkok was very much like we remembered. A big, noisy Asian city, with excellent food, cheap hotels and smiley people. Actually, maybe cleaner than I remember. We had a free night in our www.hotels.com account so we even got a place with a pool. Quite a bit different from our shoestring travel of five years ago.
We had enough time for a swim and the gym (yes, we actually used a hotel gym – it was the first day of the Marcothon) and some food before jetlag got the better of us and we crashed out. All good intentions on getting up early the next day and slipping into the timezone were out the window when it was 11.30am when we woke. Oh well.
That night, we were on the Sleeper train heading south to Surit Thani. The last time we did that we were forced into a first class AC cabin because it was so busy. Now, it’s possible to buy tickets online and collect at an office opposite the train station. Super easy. I think I found the second class AC sleeper more comfortable, even though I didn’t sleep much. We arrived in Surit Thani about two hours after scheduled. Not bad. From there, it’s an easy bus ride (the Phantip folk meet every train) to Krabi and another bus ride to Ko Lanta, via a very short car ferry that covers the few kilometres between the mainland and the island.
We pretty quickly settled into our beach bum lifestyle. We stayed at Blue Sky Bungalows (cheaper if you book direct or extend your stay). A clean and basic beach hut with direct access to Long Beach.
Most mornings, we run along the 3km long (Long) beach, have a cold shower (cold water only, it’s much warmer at about 11am), and chill out in the hammock. Sometimes we fight over whose turn it is for the hammock. I think it’s big enough for two but Barry thinks not.
To keep variety in our Marcothon (and because I brought a chest infection and a cold with me from Scotland) I tried swimming in the sea instead of running. Unfortunately, I got stung by sea lice, which are actually jelly fish larvae. Very itchy and looked like I had the measles. At least I didn’t have measles. Dips in the sea don’t seem to cause too many problems but actual swimming means I got stung more. Oh well. I took a few days off and now I’m very slowly plodding along the beach.
Around lunchtime, our ‘schedule’ had us strolling along the beach, then up to the main road for some cheap eats, then onto coworking at Kohub. We were definitely quite productive thanks to the lovely garden, fast Wi-Fi and air conditioned office.
Phone calls take Barry into the evening (sometimes me too). A stroll along the beach in the dark took us past loads of restaurants and back to our bungalow home.