After almost 24 hours of travel, the sun broke over the dark curve of the earth. It was a dazzling display of color against a black sky at forty thousand feet. I could barely contain my excitement as the plane began its descent to Phuket International Airport. We had arrived in Thailand, Land of Smiles.
The long journey from Boston took us across the Atlantic to Dubai, then on to Phuket on Emirates Air. The taxi driver, arranged by Phuket Ferry Service, met us outside the airport for the hour-long drive to Rassada Pier. Too early for the express boat to Koh Lanta, we opted to depart earlier and change boats on Koh PhiPhi.
Ban Saladan Pier is a crowded, buzzing place filled with touts jockeying for tourists to fill their taxis. The ferry service arranged our transfer ahead of time. After some confusion we found the driver and zipped off to Twin Bay Resort. Located on the north end of the island, Twin Bay is low key. Since it was March, the hubbub of peak season passed and the beautiful beach was practically ours. The spotless garden bungalow with excellent air conditioning provided a respite from the tropical heat.
Twin Bay offers a breakfast buffet each day with both Thai and Western selections including fresh fruit, pastries, yogurt, cereal, toast, eggs, rice, noodles – even spaghetti and sauce! The lovely infinity pool overlooks the powdery sand and crystal clear water of the Andaman Sea. A palapa bar serves cold beer, wine, cocktails and soft drinks. The coconut shake, served in a fresh coconut, was my favorite! You can order appetizers and snacks served poolside.
Koh Lanta is one of the “quieter” Andaman Islands. The fact that it was off-peak made it even quieter. With all of the beautiful beaches on the west side of the island, it’s prime real estate for sunset viewing. There’s a cool, local bar about five minutes walk from Twin Bay Resort that offers unobstructed views of the sunset, decent food and local cocktails. The Rock Bar must surely be a hopping spot in high season with its open air walls, sand floor and gorgeous ocean view. On this night it wasn’t crowded, just the way we like it. We had a delicious vegetarian meal, yummy cocktails and a front row seat for sunset. Watching the sun sink into the sea, I felt such gratitude in bearing witness to this spectacular show of nature half a world away from home.
If you go:
Emirates Air flies into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Phuket International Airport via Dubai. Stopovers in Dubai can be arranged. www.emirates.com
Phuket Ferry offers service to Koh Lanta, Koh PhiPhi and more from Rassada Pier in Phuket. They can also arrange transfer services to/from the airport and hotels. www.phuketferry.com
Twin Bay Resort has garden and beach bungalows at incredibly reasonable prices. The staff here are gracious and exemplary at making your stay a pleasure. Lovely pool, beautiful beach, beach bar and hour-long Thai massages on the beach make this a perfect spot to spend your holiday. They can arrange a motorbike or car rental for exploring the island. (Driving is on the left here!) It’s close to the pier in Ban Saladan and bars, restaurants and hotels on Pra Ae (Long Beach) but far enough away from the din. Prices start at 1800THB (about $55 USD). www.twinbaylanta.com