All the guidebooks say that Ko Lanta virtually closes down during the low season (May - October) but we just thought they were exaggerating. When we found out that only 2 other rooms from the hotels 52 rooms were occupied and that 80-90% of bars and restaurants were closed, we regretted paying for the 3 nights up front. Anyway, on the first night we did find a decent western style bar with LCD TV's and a pool table and the girls found a really nice bakery so we were happy enough.
We got up early the next morning and went for a walk on the beach, the sea was really rough so we decided to set up by the pool for the day. Had our breakfast and met Doug and Erin. We decided to rent motorbikes for the day and we went for a really long drive to the south of the island. Saw two elephants and a few nice beaches before we drove up to the more commercialized north of the island. Here we saw a really promising looking Irish pub owned by a gut from Tullamore and one from Leixlip, we thought we'd have a good night in there one of the nights until we found out that it was closed for the season. Great! While driving around we realised for ourselves just how abandoned the island was. Rows and rows of shops and restaurants were boarded up and closed down. There was also a lot of building work going on, obviously trying to get new hotels, bars and restaurants ready for the new season. Anyway we thought we'd have a few days of forced relaxation and make the most of it so we spent the rest of the day by the pool and then the rains came! We ended up spending the evening in Erin & Doug's room playing cards and drinking games while floods build up around the bungalow. Me and Doug made a run up to the bakery at one stage for take-away baguettes and cake for dinner washed down with a few tequila shots.
The next morning it rained all morning (wonder why people don't come here in the low season) so we played cards in the hotel lobby for the morning and afternoon. It cleared up a bit later on so we went for a walk and found a karaoke bar and decided we'd give that a go in the evening. Had a really nice but spicy curry in a local restaurant then made our way to the karaoke bar. When we saw what the girls who worked in the place were wearing and the look on their faces when they saw Lydia and Erin come in we knew the "Karaoke Bar" was just a front for a brothel. Nevertheless we stayed for a beer and a few song before making back to the hotel for more cards and tequila!
The sun made a welcome return the following morning so we made the most of it and spent the morning and afternoon by the pool. In the afternoon we packed up our stuff and booked our ticket to Ko Phi Phi for the following morning. We heard from a few people that Ko Phi Phi is much livelier so we are looking forward to that. That evening we returned to the same restaurant as the night before and all four of us ordered the exact same meals (Red Curry for me & Erin, Chicken & Cashew Nuts for Lydia & Doug with Chicken Satay Skewers to start.... delicious!). Across the road after that for a few cocktails and games of pool, Team Ireland Vs Team Canada, the standard was atrocious and I think the scores ended up -1 each (don't ask!). I don't think any of us will be sad to leave Ko Lanta!
The journey from Ko Phangan to Ko Lanta went something like this: left the hotel at 6am into a tuk-tuk which brought us to the port, onto a ferry which brought us to the mainland, onto a bus which took us to the town of Surat Thani where we got onto another tuk-tuk which took us to the tour operator, then onto another tuk tuk which took us to the public bus stand, then a 4 hour public bus journey to the city of Krabi, then a mini-bus and two ferry crossings to the island of Ko Lanta and finally a tuk-tuk to our hotel. It was pitch black when we got to the hotel but when me and Doug went to check out the rooms we were pleasantly surprised, nice big rooms with TV, Air Con, fridge, nice big swimming pool and breakfast included. The hotel manager said if we paid for 3 nights up front he's throw in a fourth night for free so we took him up on his offer (he knew what he was doing!)