We have travelled through central and south Thailand for over 6 weeks. We have seen amazing places in the Gulf of Thailand, midlands and Andaman Sea. Each place had something unique to offer and at the same time something surprisingly disgusting. We were struck by the invasion of tourists and the damage they have made to most of the country. Thailand relies on visitors, they drive the economy and Thai do all they can to keep the money flowing. They build and destroy to build even more. They will do anything to keep going and growing. Chopping trees and hills is not a problem at all. Polluting rivers and sea is a normal thing to do. No one pays attention to it. Government, apart issuing fees for breaking the rules, doesn't do anything about it. Why would they stop the spinning wheel from turning over large piles of dosh? In most of the places we have been to, we saw people coming to just get wasted, get tanned and get wasted again. There is little sense in coming here to experience something spiritual. Why would you if the booze is cheap, weather is great and entertainment awaits you at every corner.
Prior the travel we had an image of this country as something exotic and enchanting. We found it as some point but the complete picture was ruined by “human traffic”.
We have skipped most visited Phuket and stayed only three nights in Krabi. On the way south, we popped into the Phi Phi Islands. We left the place quicker than we entered it. Then, we hopped on Koh Lanta, our final stop in Thailand and to our surprise we felt in love with this piece of land. Only two hours on the boat from the famous DiCaprio’s beach always filled with drunk youngsters (but not only), we found peace. Peace dancing to rhythms of Bob Marley, Morrison, Hendrix and Joplin.
When we landed there we didn't know where to stay or what to expect. So we asked a German local for some tips and directions. He told us about this hippie village not far from the harbour. We hired a scooter and hit the road.
When we got to our destination we realized what they meant by “hippie”. Our eyes were greeted by names like “Rolling Stoned”, “The Veg Place”, “Chill House” , “Gipsy” and “Tree bar”. Posters of Marley’s mottos and Rasta colours where visible on each place built from uneven wooden planks and pretty much anything that could work as a “brick wall”.
Just like Leonardo, we found our beach. The hippie, happy and friendly community living and having fun together. Sharing skills and running free classes of yoga, capoeira, dancing on the silk rope and many more. The mentality we were looking for. Here was the first time in Thailand where we saw locals interacting with travellers. White people working in local food shops, “restaurants” and as cooks. In the evening everyone was gathering outside MiniMart which was a perfect spot to exchange travel experience and knowledge, meet and talk to new people, have a beer and something else for those interested, grab a Pad Thai from the Thai that was coming with his own kitchen to feed hungry backpackers every evening, or try banana and chocolate pancake. Around 10pm there would be a mini concert playing either at the Three Bar, Gipsy place or Ozone Beach bar. They would take turns, one night here, second somewhere else. Everyone had their chance to lead the night and earn some money and make everyone happy. Our personal favourite was the local band of Thai and Malay performing at the Tree Bar. A such charming event focused on a bar built around a massive tree, raised on the platform and decorated with many colourful lights.
Apart the village, the island had many wild and beautiful beaches to offer. We could stay on the Long Beach or take a bike ride down south and stop at any random place to find quiet and beautiful stripe of white sands and turquoise waters. It was almost a paradise, especially after all the disappointment we experienced so far. Definitely coming back soon. Koh Lanta, we will see you later ;)
“When the power of Love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace” – Bob Marley