Another relaxing island before I head further north into a colder climate. Looking at Thai islands there are plenty to choose from. Full moon parties and mushroom shakes on some, Muay Thai camps on others, climbing on a few and many other little idiosyncrasies to help you pick one. After Koh Rong Samloem in Cambodia I was feeling that the quieter more reclusive island was for me. I was advised that Koh Lanta had a vibe similar to that.
That advice was incorrect. Whilst it probably is more relaxed than other islands on offer it’s still pretty busy all along the coast with hoards of bars offering parties, ‘buckets’ of alcohol and every other thing you would expect to find on party islands. Whilst it doesn’t have the heavy banging music all the time and does seem to shut a little earlier than any club-goers would want. It certainly doesn’t match the serene quality found on KRS.
However all that being said I have mostly had the opportunity to stay away from that being about a 30 minute walk away from the coast in the middle of the island at a lovely little eco-stay. I am being hosted by Anke (from Holland) and Aoi (from Thailand) and their little girl Asa. They’re great people and have a goal to live sustainably, from the earth, all that hippy shpeel but without the pretentious nature that tends to come as part of the package. Whilst I am staying here there is also a 3 month natural building workshop going on with 1 instructor and 4 students. This is where I found the more pretentious side of things coming from some of them. Their intentions are good but they seem very ‘mightier than thou’ despite the fact from what I gather they have led very privileged, sheltered lives. A lot of conspiracies without any attempt to see the possibility that maybe they are just conspiracies. A general close-mindedness that I feel is inherently against what their goals and ‘purpose’ aims to be.
I’m not one to say I love the machine and that I’m happy with the way humanity is going, but I do constantly try to read about some of the great things we ARE doing. We’re far from perfect and I find it very easy to focus on the negative but as I’ve said I’ve met nothing but good people on my travels and I’m reading stories of how we’re exploring areas of science and technology that we never thought we would be near. However I digress these feelings and notions will hopefully be discussed later as I am engaging in more and more research in these areas (admittedly all from the internet).
Koh Lanta is a decent size but can be navigated in a couple of hours. There’s a national park to the south which contains various types of plants with information about them and how they’re used in medicine or building. Not that I have been to these but there is; a butterfly farm, an animal sanctuary, an elephant ride/bath place, an ‘old’ town plenty of resorts and bars. I feel it caters more towards honeymooners, families and slower paced party people. Everyone I have met is incredibly friendly and they don’t seem to bother you too much trying to get you to buy their wares which makes me happier as well. A generally more laid back attitude helps me relax for these 2 weeks while I’m staying in one place. Due to my camera being a little on the fritz I haven’t got that many photos but here are some of the national park.
Going back to Asalanta (the name of the place I’m staying) they very kindly let me get involved with various aspects of their day to day living. We have a cook who prepares lunches for working days and I was able to grab a couple of recipes from her. The people on the building workshop are currently working on a house for a friend of the family who is from Australia but currently lives on the island. I’m learning how to use clay for various things (almost everything in the house in varying ratios of clay, sand, fibres (dried grass) and sometimes cement), learning a little about structure and creating strong foundations. Oh and getting very soft feet from stomping around in mud all day.
Now I’m just taking it easy, working on stretching out my leg, and psychologically preparing myself for South Korea.