Relaxing on Lonely Beach
18.03.2009 - 30.03.2009
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Recommended by so many people, we had to check out Lonely Beach. Due in Bangkok in just over week to meet Alice, we couldn't stray too far from the capital, and as we would be heading down to the islands in the south after that, this seemed like the ideal opportunity to see what all the fuss was about. Our quick check on accommodation led us to Paradise Bungalows for our first night. Fairly basic, they seemed overpriced, and we were faced with another room without a plug socket, so after dumping our bags we went on a hunt for something better. Unfortunately we were distracted somewhat and spent the rest of the evening in a Rasta bar, convincing ourselves that finding a good bar was far more important than accommodation.
The local tipple - SamSong
The next morning was more successful, and Brads found a really nice room for pretty much what we were paying, surprisingly at the back of a dive shop, usually meaning the accommodation is way out of our price range. The place was run by a French and Mexican couple, Julian and Marianna. The atmosphere was amazing, very relaxed and inviting. The room was bright and the back garden had a dramatic landscape. The restaurant was a little out of our price range, we always stick to the cheapest most local place we can find, and Mexican food is always really expensive. However, after being tantalised over a few days by the lovely looking food, and knowing that Marianna was Mexican, we decided to push the boat out and spend a tenner on dinner. It was amazing - really, really nice. Their full English probably tops the list as the best one we've had since we've been away. Added to all that, there was an infinity swimming pool, shared with the dive shop, BB Divers.
Anna in the pool
The stretch of beach in front of the village of bungalows and bars, was rocky and looked dramatic. A 10 minute stroll down the road leads to the pretty long stretch of sand, overlooked by the dense jungle of the island. The water was as warm as bath water, and fairly clear, and strangely really salty. The sun goes down front of the bay, giving some pretty impressive sunsets.
The sunset at Lonely Beach
There is a fairly active nightlife in the village, with a different bar hosting a party each day of the week. Along with the happy hour on drinks, there is free barbeque food. We found ourselves each night sampling different mixes of meat and veg on a skewer, the bar tenders amazed at how much Brads could eat. The best thing about our room was the proximity to the jungle. We saw monkeys quite a few times, playing in the electricity cables or high in the trees. Whole families, with the tiniest babies clutching on to their mother. Our room quite often contained some strange caterpillar or bug, and even a huge black scorpion Anna found in the bathroom. We through down a razor to give the photo some perspective, and it scurried into combat, attacking the blade with its pincers! Apart from the unexpected visitors into our room, we also had a little black and white cat called Maow Maow, who belongs to the dive shop owner.
Maow Maow looking very relaxed
He kept us very entertained, and made himself at home on our bed. We fell into a relaxed routine on Lonely Beach. We got to know the locals, chatting late into the night. We spent hours playing in the sea, and relaxing on the sand. We read a few books, but tried not to read too much. We spent time thinking and reflecting and chatting.
With our stay in Bangkok looming, we shared a taxi to the port with Julian and Marianna, who were leaving to spend low season in the South of France. Soon enough we were on the boat and bound for the mainland. As it was daylight we were able to see the amazing scenery, with moody looking blue tinted islands overlooking a deep grey sea. Curiously, a service offered on the boat, was to have your photo taken and then transferred onto a plate. This seemed very popular with the locals, who really know how to pose appropriately. It seems South East Asians are a lot more comfortable having their photo taken, and their much practised pose can be whipped out almost instantaneously. For some, the pose is very serious, perhaps a little too serious for some shots, for instance in front of a beautiful sunset. Some are a little too over the top, with overly exerted peace signs, whilst having their photo taken at the bridge over the River Kwai.
Getting onto a bus once on the mainland was littered with problems and false starts. A guy at the port told us there were seats available on the next VIP tourist bus, saving us the taxi fare to the main bus station but when we arrived at the office, the bus was apparently full. We then had to wait around for a taxi to take us to the Government bus station, where we caught a bus more than two hours after the boat docked. If we had come directly there we would have caught an earlier bus. We had to mark it down to experience and did a good job of staying happy. Our patience was tested pretty thoroughly with quite a few stops, once because the air conditioning was broken and the passengers were starting to cook. We finally arrived in Bangkok at sunset, and after we headed to the skytrain station, realised that neither of us had any idea how to get to the Kho San area. We had made the classic mistake of thinking the other person had worked it out. We spent a while in the station working out different routes, until we finally decided to get the skytrain as far as we could, and then get out and hail a taxi. The skytrain was very similar to KLs monorail, all very clean and modern. We got off at Siam Square and were immediately faced with enormous malls. We soon found a taxi, sitting in the stationary traffic. Miraculously, he agreed to put the meter on without even a blink and we were soon on our way, just sitting with him in the infamous Bangkok traffic. It wasn't too long before we were moving again, with help from the traffic police. The Bangkok traffic police do a brilliant job of trying to keep the traffic moving. They ride around on motorbikes, seeking gridlock, and with their whistle and massive glowstick, they put common sense into practice and ease the traffic back into motion.