Barefoot in Koh Lanta
Life on Koh Lanta was precisely on our wavelength. It was super chilled out, it centred around the beach and had a family vibe which came as a surprise to us.
We were expecting a hoard of backpackers on Lanta, so specifically chose Klong Dao beach as ‘on paper’ it sounded really family friendly. What we didn’t expect was that this beach was FULL of families. It was alllll about family. Laid back adventurous families, the type that had wandered far from the package holidays of Europe. It felt that (like ourselves) many were backpackers long before kids, and now with children, we continued to journey on far flung adventures to now show them the world we had previously seen for ourselves.
We had booked a special little beach bungalow that was set in tropical gardens with a swimming pool that was everything we could have hoped for. It was simple, perhaps basic in places, but we are generally easily pleased and it was the perfect base for us.
Located right on the beautiful stretch of beach, there was so many things for us to love here. It was the perfect playground for Fin. A sweeping bay of flat, clean sand. Shallow and gentle waters that were as warm as a bath. Sunsets to die for every night, and a lovely selection of bamboo beach bars that gave us somewhere new to eat out every meal.
Each morning, we would go to breakfast by the beachfront, enjoying pancakes, fresh fruit and coffee. 7am was always a busy part of the day at the beach as this was the best time to make the most of the morning before the sun cranked up the temperature to ‘baking hot!’ There were football games with the local Thais, people swimming in the sea and running on the beach, and speedboats coming to shore to pick up passengers to whisk them to other islands for the day.
Throughout the day we’d hit the pool to cool off, put in some swimming practice and generally mess about! Fin was growing in confidence in the water. He was gradually developing his swimming technique and loved the extra independence in the water. We’d often swim 3-4 times a day! Perfect.
Just a twenty minute walk away was Saladan, which was a vibrant little town that lined the waters’ edge with restaurants on stilts over the water. This place was good for shopping and dining and had a little walking street with hawker food stalls with the best banana pancakes!
To get home, we’d treat ourselves to a motorbike tuk-tuk ride, which was one of Fin’s favourite things to do! He would giggle all the way home and have the rider in stitches most of the time too!
Generally though, we would hang out by our local beach. We would go for days without even wearing our shoes! There was no need. Our bungalow was steps away from the sand, and everything we needed was right there, minimarts, restaurants and ice cream shops.
Just before sunset, we would head out onto the beach. At this time, the beach burst into life again, people paddling, taking photos and playing in the setting sun.
We would choose a place to eat, sit and enjoy a sundowner and then watch the electrical storms out to see which seemed to occur almost every night.
After dinner, we always went to our favourite spot ‘So Good’, where each night they had a fire show. This was completely family friendly - it was on nice and early and Mr Nui, the fire dancer was absolutely brilliant with the kids. This was a definite highlight for Fin, he had never seen anything like it before in his life!
Some of the best memories were made here. We bought Fin some glow poi, and he soon picked up the swirling and spinning of the balls. Mr Nui would put on a show, then everyone would applaud as he would nip off for a quick break. This is when Fin would run to the front and start his own little ‘act’. He had the attention of the whole of the restaurant and got rapturous applause as he put on his very own show! He would race back to his front row seat as soon as Mr Nui reappeared, which everyone found hilarious! He was becoming a right little performer. The fire-dancer took a real shine to Fin and they became sidekicks over the next few nights.
A few days drifted by, and we were completely in the rhythm of island life. We’d discover the local wildlife; hermit crabs on the beach, millipedes, enormous snails and feisty monkeys. Fin was in his element. Every day was an adventure for him. He’d made friends with some of the children at the resort and we had fun doing the simplest of things.
We had some unforgettable meals, with unforgettable sunsets and electrical storms. We met some of the most friendly and welcoming local people and Fin became well known and well loved with everyone he met.
Barefoot life by the beach was heavenly. And we would highly recommend Koh Lanta, and in particularly Klong Dao to our friends with children for a special Thai island experience.