Trip to Thailand – Part 1, Khao Lak

I’ve just come back from my very delayed honeymoon! Did you miss me? Why do you mean, you didn’t notice I’d gone because I’m a wildly inconsistent blogger? Rude.

Like almost everyone I know who got married this year, we did two weeks in Thailand as our honeymoon and it was so so blissful. Neither of us had ever been to South East Asia (or, actually, Asia) before and we were looking for a little bit of an adventure.

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Our favourite hammock, with unfavourable weather conditions in the background.

We stayed in the Centara Seaview Resort, Khao Lak, for our first five nights. Khao Lak is a very chilled out beach resort tourist town – a bit sleepy perhaps, and maybe not somewhere I’d go with friends, but for a beachy honeymoon, pretty perfect.

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One of the hotel’s many deserted pools.

The hotel was lovely. There were five pools and a private beach, and as we avoided high season almost nothing was crowded when we were there. There were three hammocks on the beach and we got one of them every day – there just didn’t seem to be that many people around.

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We also had an underwater camera.

We visited in early November which is the very beginning of the dry season. While we were in Khao Lak it rained for an hour or two pretty much every day – which I quite liked. It was still warm enough to walk around in a swimming costume while this was going on, and it brought down the temperature to make it more manageable. But if rain every day (even lovely tropical warm rain) is going to make you miserable, you probably want to go in more like February-April kind of time.

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POOL BAR. Loved the pool bar.

There are a lot of pool photos in this post because this is pretty much all we did during the day. There are trips you can take, but all of them were more easily accessible from Krabi, where we were going next. We just sort of lazed around and drank near water. I read four books in five days and became so relaxed and happy I was able to have a conversation about the consequences of Brexit without crying. Hurray!

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Spinach restaurant, Khao Lak. We ate there twice on one day…

The main reason we selected Thailand as a holiday destination was FOOD. I love Thai food. This was a great call! In Khao Lak almost everywhere we went did what they called “European style Thai” which means food that they have cooked especially light on the chillis because they’re sick of Westerners whining at them that they can’t eat anything. The result is a lot like a Thai meal you’d get in England, but with more aromatics and creamier coconut milk. Delightful! Almost everywhere had loads of veggie options and some even did things like ask if you want soy rather than fish sauce if you order tofu.

What did take some getting used to was that the English rules of how to select a nice restaurant didn’t really apply. Most of the buildings don’t have walls and there are big gaps in the street with building work, so you have to sort of pick your way along the road. In England I would just turn round when faced with this kind of thing, but we found some of the best places a little bit of a clamber away. Khao Lak was hit very hard by the Boxing Day Tsunami back in 2004, and they’re still rebuilding, which perhaps explains the gaps in the street.

Additionally, restaurants might also be taking in laundry and weighing it out behind you. A massive red flag in England – but in Thailand absolutely no indication of the food.

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Pancakes!!

It was also in Khao Lak we encountered Thai pancakes – an exciting new breed of pancakes very different to the crepe or the English or American pancakes. They’re made by stretching out a dough (like you would with a pizza) and then filling with chopped banana and frying in lots of oil. AMAZING.

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Mr Chay’s bar, Khao Lak

Like with restaurants, in a country where it never really dips below 20 degrees, most bars do not really have walls and they will almost never have things on draft – it’s just, do you want a bottle of beer, or a cocktail, or what? The above picture is our favourite bar in Khao Lak. It’s in the middle of Bang Niang market and is only open when the market is – Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. It’s presided over by Mr Chay himself and an army of cheerful bartenders. As was pretty common in bars and restaurants, Mr Chay had a wall of photos of the late King up behind the bar – but he’d obviously chosen his favourite photos. Two that really stood out were the King holding his baby son, and playing the saxophone. There was also a picture of Mr Chay’s own son with a guitar, captioned “in 2020 I’ll be playing in my Dad’s bar”.

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Nature Bar, Khao Lak

This is our other favourite bar. We asked them why it smelled no amazing in there, and they took us outside to see that what we’d thought was a pillar holding the roof up was actually a massive tree, strung all over with Jasmine vines.

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Late night beach swing

And that was pretty much it! We just swam and read and ate curry and drank bottles of Chang on the beach. And it was WONDERFUL.

We booked this trip through Trailfinders, who did not in any way pay me to write this post but I would still recommend them.

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