Excursions in Thailand

This holiday was intended to be an adventure away from the norm and so far, it hasn’t let us down. The first half was meant to be the most relaxing and laid back, with little activities or plans. The second half, while still relaxing, was meant to be a bit more on the adventurous side.

The resorts on Lanta all have pamphlets on display advertising the various trips available to guests, which range from diving to ATV’ing to hiking in the jungle. We had grabbed a handful of those which looked interesting and took them to dinner to look over and pick out which ones we wanted to try and do. We landed on two of them.

First thing to note- neither of us have ever ridden an elephant. I know you’re probably wondering why Imention this. Well, the first trip we decided to go on was a trek in the jungle to see some bat caves, waterfall, and wildlife, then head over to go on an hour-long elephant ride. It was certainly an experience to say the least. We wore sandals, which was a huge mistake with the jungle trek. Not remembering that this was Thailand and not the UK/US, the trails were…less than lacking. There basically were none and we were at the mercy of the guide to get us to and from each sight. The climbing and manoeuvring made me wish I had stayed in gymnastics just a little bit longer in life.

We went with a german couple that appeared to be about 40, and in pretty good shape, although not necessarily on the venturesome side when it comes to nature and critters. Now, I’m no fan of spiders or anything with more legs than a two year old can count, but when in a cave in Thailand…c’mon! Our first stop was the bat cave, which had a few bats to be seen up close and personal, as well as a few spiders that might have been large enough to take a finger off, but far enough away that we didn’t mind stepping further into the cave. The next stop was a gorgeous waterfall in the middle of nothing and offered a cool resting point for a few minutes. With the kind of climbing required during this hike, the break was much welcomed too.

The guide pointed out a few things along the way too, one being a lizard and another being magic mushrooms. There’s a mix for you right there. The guy was actually really nice and tried his best with english and German, chatting about sports and Football(Soccer) for a while. And then he tried to sell some of the magic mushrooms… Thank god it was time for the elephants!

We actually felt bad for the animals after seeing the seats on top of them, but they appeared to be well looked after and cared for, for the most part. They were well fed and plenty of water was available to them to sit under and cool off. We got on and followed a path through the woods for about an hour, seeing a few monkeys along the way and stopping for photos a couple of times as well. As we neared level ground again, they let us ride on the elephant itself rather than the seat too, in a fashion similar to riding a horse, but not quite. Fact- Elephants have hard, prickly hair.

Overall, the experience was a lot of fun and not something we commonly get the chance to go, especially in the UK. The entire trip, including resort transportation, for two people cost the equivalent of about £35.
Our next experience was an all-day trip. We decided against diving, as I wasn’t completely sold on it and Joe’s been before. So we chose to try something a bit different instead. We kept hearing about a couple of islands and places that were a must-see, so we booked a 4-island boat tour that took us all around to snorkel, then to see a hidden cove called the Emerald Cove which requires swimming through an 80-metre long pitch-black tunnel to get to. The cove was beautiful inside, and really made us wonder- who was the first person to discover it? Who would think- “Hey, I see a tunnel that’s completely dark and filled with water. Let’s see where it goes.” Not really something that comes to my mind everyday.

After the cove, we headed to lunch on another island for an hour before heading back to Lanta to be transferred back to our resorts.

Along the way we met some awesome people too. An American from Oregon, and a couple from Glasgow, Scotland, all who made the whole experience that much more fun. After hearing about their adventures leading up to Thailand, it made me realise how much I still want to do. So many things, such little time!