So I expected my visa to run out in a few days, did some research on doing a Koh Lanta visa run to Malaysia: Koh Lanta to Koh Lipe to Langkawi, Malaysia via ferry 7800baht, local tour company’s “Visarun Tour” by van 4500baht, make my own way to Krabi and two day car rental to Hat Yai split two ways with Antony 3300baht each. Naturally I decided on the latter. It took us about 5 hours from Krabi Airport to get to Hat Yai and another 1.5 hours for me to drive down to the Malaysian border. Once there I prepared to initiate my border bounce; however the Thai border officials pointed out that my visa didn’t actually expire for another month, and advised me not to leave Thailand or I’d only have 15 days to leave the country. So I got back in the rental car and drove back to Hat Yai in the dark.
The border road was completely blocked by a line of semis extending for some ways, so the GooMaps took me on a deserted, twisty mountain road along the Thai-Malaysia border that felt distinctly like no mans land. I half expected to come upon a tree laid across the road and a confrontation with highway robbers, but nothing except the occasional oncoming motorbike for miles. Even though it turned out I didn’t have to do a Koh Lanta visa run, it was great to tour a good chunk of southern Thailand by car. And my two day crash course in driving on the left side of the road while weaving between slow and fast lanes to avoid tuk-tuks, motorbikes, pedestrians, and maniacal traffic thankfully did not involve any insurance claims. On the way back we took the scenic route along the east coast and stopped for a while on an endless, garbage strewn, deserted beach. Most of the drive was through banana, coconut, pineapple, palm oil, and rubber tree plantations.
Some kid back in town…traded me 200baht for this scooter…straight up. Anton still had room for one more, so Rakel from Portugal, him, and I biked down to Aspen, er I mean the southern tip of Koh Lanta. I was a little nervous, having never ridden a hog before; but Anton hadn’t either so we decided to just take it slowish. Rakel already had an open patch of road rash on her leg from early and was dumber – er, braver I meant – than me to get on the back of a bike with a first time driver.
Shortly into the trip I was feeling a little over confident (ok, just plain dumb) countersteering into a hard left corner. My traction felt good, but I hadn’t accounted for sand on the pavement, and my rear tire kicked out hard at ~50km/h! Only the swift and solid planting of my left foot, completely of its own volition, saved me and Hello Kitty from getting real intimate with the blacktop! But just when I thought I couldn’t be any dumber…I went and did something…and TOADLY REDEEMED MYSELF!!! by wearing steel toes rather than flipflops; else, I’d certainly have left a few of my own toes there on that corner. Considering ourselves extremely lucky, Hello Kitty and I decided to take it easy for the rest of the ride and had no further incidents. However, the lack of rules of the road and the traffic whipping past our elbows were definitely of concern. #dumbanddumber
I moved into a private room at the Koh Lanta Baan Nok Resort which is an absolutely perfect fit for me. It’s a small, family owned and operated, 6 room, brand new (2.5 months old) complex, 5 minute walk to the beach, away from the street noise, with tasteful tropical landscaping, immaculate housekeeping, morning coffee, reliable wifi, AC, and hammocks. The owners are such nice people and show obvious pride in maintaining their property at the highest level – the father is constantly working around the property tending to its mechanics/landscaping/carpentry, the mother and another woman clean the rooms and porches daily, and the daughter works the front sales desk.