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Thailand 23/02/02 - 09/03/02

The Pimalai, Ko Lanta - Day Two and Three - Snorkelling Excursion to Ko Rok

Our American friends have been a bit more active than us and have cycled the 20 km to the town in the north, so spurred on I take out a very dusty bike (which, like everything else you have to sign your life away for first) and discover big time dust, horrendous slopes, wild monkeys, and the real Ko Lanta. Shanty huts and poor hygiene are just around the corner, and up the end of our bay is the real Thai beach setup: beach bungalows for hippy American back packers; a seriously cool treehouse-bar; a very basic local store; and local kids running around half naked. Oh I forgot the wild monkeys up the track the other way.

Ko Rok snorkellingOur snorkelling trip to the island of Ko Rok will only run if the party is of six or more. We are the fifth and sixth of the group, and at 9 am we meet at the jetty, and us, a Russian couple, and a couple from Brussels (all more mature than us) disembark on the Pimalai's own speed boat - which is more boat and less speed.

We sit there on deck expecting to be whisked the 47 km due south to Ko Rok, and end up enduring a rather boring hour and a halfs' undulation before tying up 30 metres off a beautiful coral beach in the narrow stretch between Ko Rok Yai and Ko Rok Noi. Here we are given 2 hours to snorkel, and wisely wear long sleeved T shirts to protect the exposed parts, as we are treated to some stunning underwater action. There's slightly less visibility than Ko Similan, but a much more colourful display of coral, and a much greater choice of fish. We hover over brain and sponge coral, we mimic brightly coloured clams, and we dive down with Angel and Parrot fish. All you really need to do here is hover and watch in amazement, as a whole community goes about it's daily business below you in it's other-worldly type environment.

Again the two hours pass in less than half that time, and we return to the deck of our boat to eat a picnic lunch, and suddenly our vessel seems much grander as we are waited on hand and foot, while the other day trips have to swim from their speed boats to the shore, to what must surely have been an inferior snack!

No sooner is lunched downed than we truck on round to our second of three dives, two and three being in shallow bays on each of the opposing islands. Here there are spectacular black and purple star fish, clown fish, stripey fish, cadet fish, tuba fish, huge sea cucumbers, a sea snake and red snapper to name but a few. It's an underwater paradise, and very unspoiled as yet - partly due to it's remoteness. We cruise back enjoying our relaxing passage back to the hotel.

Same Same But Different, Ko LantaThat evening we went back to the lovely beach restaurant we had discovered along the bay to the south. To the north there are two lots of beach bungalows, some perched on the hillside, and two very cool bars, in one of which we enjoy a Singha beer and listen to Zero 7 on MP3 from the G3 Mac laptop they are surfing with on the bar (very modern day surf dudes!) Our restaurant is called Same Same But Different, and for anyone who has played the computer games Myst or Riven it will take them back to those islands. Here everything is placed correctly. The tables and lights are all of bamboo and carved varnished drift wood (and even the menus), there is deep soft sand under your feet, soothing music in your ears, and delicious food on your plate. We are convinced this place is funded by the Pimalai as it is just too pristine and clean, and literally a stones throw away, and dispite the fact the prices are very reasonable you get the feeling that it's a very clever game plan by them, although we are told this isn't the case, and mysteriously when we arrive although we recognise some of the other customers as staff from the hotel they quickly disappear! We are not complaining as we while a couple of hours away under the masses of twinkling stars on more than one occasion.

Summary | Bangkok | Bangkok Day Two | Khao Lak Bay Front Resort | Khao Lak Day Two | Ko Similan Islands
Turtle Conservation Festival | Leaving Khao Lak for Pimalai Resort, Ko Lanta | Ko Rok Snorkelling
Pimalai Resort and Ko Lanta Driving Tour | Leaving Thailand
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