Koh Lanta Take Two

1 May

Now that we’ve been in Thailand a while, we’re starting to revisit some of our favorite places; some beaches are too amazing to only see once! For April break this year, we went back to Koh Lanta, the island we visited with my mama last year. Koh Lanta is delightfully relaxed and completely gorgeous, so it’s a great place to get some R&R. We spent the first few days of break enjoying the infinity pool and midday mojitos with Sean and Shorna in a classy resort near the top of the island. We also sampled the Songkran festivities, much to Sean’s dismay. Unfortunately, on the main day of the celebration, the uncooperative weather decided a torrential downpour was in order. It’s not nearly as much fun throwing water on one another when it’s already raining, and the wind is making you freeze. Turns out Songkran is celebrating the return of the rainy season for a reason!

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For the last few days of vacation, we headed down the island to Hat Rim Lay, the long, empty beach we stayed at previously. We had both intended to do some diving, but Orestes found himself a bit under the weather. Congestion and diving are not a healthy mix, so he graciously stayed behind and encouraged me to dive on my own. It was a little sad to dive without my diving buddy, but I did enjoy myself. On the first day, we went to Koh Haa, the dive site we’d visited last year. The lagoon at Koh Haa is truly lovely, and I saw a reef octopus, a creature I’d never seen before. Octopuses (yes, that’s the correct plural form), can change color. The one we saw went from navy, to mottled brown, to green! They are also fascinating to watch when they unfurl their arms and swim about.

* Koh Haa – look at the water color!

IMG_1175On the second day of diving, we traveled out to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, two rocky outcrops in the middle of nowhere. Fun fact: daeng means red and muang means purple. The rocks are named after the colorful soft coral that cover them. They are reputed to be some of the best dive sites in Thailand. I had wanted to visit Hin Daeng and Hin Muang last year, but the currents are rather strong and Scuba Fish, the dive company, wanted us to be more experienced. You could definitely feel the current during the dives, but it wasn’t unmanageable. More importantly, we saw manta rays!! The rocks are a cleaning station for whale sharks and mantas. The giant creatures hover over the shallow portion of the reef, and little cleaner fish come do their work. The manta we saw had a wingspan of around four meters. I thought it was enormous until my dive master said they can grow to double that! Like the octopus, the mantas areIMG_1211 captivating to watch. They move silently through the water, slowly flapping their wings but managing to move quite quickly. They also blend with the color of the water so well that you don’t see them until they’re fairly close and then all of a sudden, boom!

* The tippy top of Hin Daeng

Aside from diving, we enjoyed some gorgeous sunsets, and the relaxation that comes with sitting on a nearly empty beach with a cold beer in hand. Orestes also did some zooming and exploring. Great way to spend a week off!

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Hat Rim Lay

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Gorgeous sunset – clearly my use of the panorama setting is a work in progress

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