Island hopping in the Andamans. Thailand

Hannah sits in the back of the minibus icing Amy’s ankle as we speed up the highway into the pelting rain.

Amy has gone pale. Her leg swells and has started to bruise. We all fear the worst.

Half an hour earlier we arrived in Thailand. The rain that welcomed us would set a precedent.

As we’re loading our bags into the our transport, Amy slipped and rolled her ankle.

Google tells us that nothing is broken but it’s a nasty sprain. This will make the next part of the journey a little bit trickier.

Koh Lanta

We reach the town of Krabi on Thailand’s south west coast in the evening and rest up.

It’s low season in this part of the world. Things are pretty quiet except for the odd popular backpacker hostel. Like us, hopeful travellers are preying that all the talk of ‘the rains’ are a fabrication.

The next day we take an hour long boat ride to Koh Lanta in the hopes of swimming in turquoise blue waters and maybe even some diving.

For the next 3 days it rains solidly. Solidly.

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The dark skies on the ride over to Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta is empty except for a few stragglers and as the island is essentially one long road of guest houses, restaurants and beach shacks the people that are here are spread out.

We try and make the best of the situation by eating good food and shooting pool with locals in an Irish pub (The Irish Embassy). But on an island famous for diving and water activities, ‘the rains’ are well and truly pissing on our bonfire and are now laughing at us as we shiver in the cold.

On our last day me and Hannah hire a moped and the sun actually breaks the dirty grey clouds.

For a few hours the island is transformed and you can see its appeal. In the sunshine the beach shacks and bars come alive.

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Joyous sunshine

People smile again and on the beach at dusk we witness the sun disappear between two distant islands. The sky spreads like an oil painting.

It doesn’t last long though and by the next morning we are racing through the rain in a cab to the port. We’re getting off this rock and heading to Phi-Phi.

Heart of darkness

The boat ride from Koh Lanta to Phi-Phi was without doubt one of the scariest experiences of my life.

With a rough sea, and the tragic news of a speed boat capsizing fresh in our minds me, Hannah and Amy huddle together with 2 other passengers on the bottom deck of the death machine.

The cracked Windows and gaffa-taped hull gives little confidence as we speed through the waves. The boat rocks and sways. This is not the time to be hungover.

Arriving on Phi-Phi is an automatic welcome. Unlike Koh Lanta, Phi-Phi is small and compact. A younger, more attractive sister.

The streets are clean and freshly paved and even in low season there are people, mostly backpackers and exp-pats. We’re glad to see some faces and devour beers and pad-Thai to take the sting off the boat ride.

We gather our bags and head through town in search of cheap accommodation. By now Amy’s foot is still swollen but she soldiers on determined to not let it break her.

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The dozy cat in our Guest House sleeps off the rain

We pass tattoo-shops and tattooed clans of twenty somethings, bar hopping with buckets of cheap Thai whiskey and red bull clutched in their testosterone fuelled hands.

Backwards baseball caps and vests crowd the street and cheap flyers advertising cheaper drinks are soon thrust on us.

Its great to be around people again but something about this place doesn’t seem real.  The younger sibling seems vain and shallow under the surface. Perhaps it’s an age thing.

We try and plan out some activities and even book in a boat ride to visit the famous ‘James Bond island’.  The rain forces us to cancel and instead we find an outside pool with a bar.

The afternoon is fuelled by Jägermeister and Connect 4 with two Swedish doctors on holiday. Me and Hannah piss around in the pool whilst the rain and wind hammer the island. We laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation.

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Amy scores serious Connect 4 in the background of Hannah’s rain dance. 

After one more day it’s time to cut our losses. A ferry, this time bigger and far more seaworthy, takes us to the island of Phuket, our last stop before Bangkok.

By now Amy’s ankle is still swollen and hard to walk on. Little did we know that our bad luck was only just beginning…

 

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