The reason that the final week or so my trip to Thailand is packed into a single post is that this week was pretty uneventful. After two weeks of go-go-go, now it's time for a week of relaxation - it is, after all, our honeymoon.
The hotel we stayed at was quite nice, right on the beach and across the street from a great restaurant called Kwan's Cookery. The cooking courses that were on offer were extremely expensive but the food was delicious. Aside from the first night we ate here every single night, getting there right after they opened (a must otherwise tables would disappear really fast).
Koh Lanta itself is a beautiful island but we only saw most of it on Sunday when we went on our snorkeling trip with Freedom Adventures and drove around in the back of a songthaew picking others up for the trip. This trip was so much fun - I'd never seen so many fish in my entire life and seeing so many species up close was surreal. Jumping out of a long tail into the water of a coral reef? Feeling the tiny fish nip at your skin? Their fins and skin as they swim around you? Indescribable. Our guides were beyond nice even though, again, we couldn't communicate with them with speech.
The tuktuks and scooter rentals on the island were quite expensive and aside from the beach there simply isn't much to do. We'd honestly had enough exploring in Chiang Mai and Bangkok and just wanted to spend as much time together with as little stress as possible.
During this week I also hardly touched my camera. I made a few snapshots during the snorkeling trip and photographed the sunset a few times at high and low tide (the changes in ocean depth between low and high tide were massive!) but that was it. We really just spent most of the time reading, swimming and getting massages - it was brilliant!
After a week of lounging around we had to return to Bangkok, though, and catch our flight back to Vienna. Although we were sad to leave our little island paradise we were also happy to leave and get back to daily life. You can only be on vacation for so long before you want to do something constructive again.
Our van trip from Koh Lanta to Krabi Airport was something else, though. Apparently it's tradition in Thailand that these van drivers are the most dangerous drivers on the road (as we found out later) - once we got onto the mainland we found ourselves in a small "convoy" of 3-4 vans that were racing each other back to the airport. Let that go through your head again. These vans that were all full and can seat 14 passengers were racing each other. Roads in Thailand are usually rather smooth but they're small and littered with other bad drivers and motorbikes. There were times the two-lane road was shared by 2 motorbikes, 2 vans and another car/truck - all driving alongside each other. There were a couple close calls where we thought we were surely going to crash.
We got back to Krabi Airport safe and sound, though, and flew to Bangkok's DMK airport. It turns out there is a free shuttle service between DMK and BKK that we found purely by chance (the one thing we didn't actually check first was how to get between the airports aside from using a taxi). I tried flagging down a few taxis but no one wanted to use the meter and instead tried charging me almost 1000 THB for the trip. The shuttle bus was free and in rush hour Bangkok traffic just as fast and comfortable as a taxi, so it worked out perfectly.
Our stay at BKK was also uneventful other than the ridiculous prices vendors were charging. My tip: Avoid duty free shopping in BKK. Things are surely cheaper wherever you're coming from and any foodstuffs you want to buy should be purchased outside the airport. There is a small shop in the departure hall before passport/security controls that sells everything much cheaper than duty free. If you need water or drinks you're also better off going to either the Boots pharmacy after security or one of the food shops at the start of each concourse (you'll see once you're there). The shops at the outer edges of the shopping in the international terminal where the concourses began were much more affordable than anything closer to the main area. There are also couches and plenty of places to grab some shut-eye at the outer edges whereas the areas immediately outside the gates only have uncomfortable chairs.
This entire trip has been nothing short of amazing, though. Although we're looking forward to returning home, we're also sad to leave because Southeast Asia really is a world apart from Europe but so interesting. While neither of us could imagine actually living in Thailand, we've decided that we will be coming back again in the future - there is just too much to do for a single trip.