15 Aug Healing in Koh Lanta
I was eager to leave Tonsai behind. I ended up having a good time, yes, but I’ll admit relief washed over me as the longboat that was taking us to Koh Lanta sped away from its white beach. I was ready for a new destination, new views, and most of all: food as far away from Tonsai Tummy as I could get.
And now, it’s official: I’ve had my first proper meal since that first day I got sick in Krabi. and I can’t tell you how good it feels to eat real food again. It’s not as healthy as I’d like, but it sure is a step up from steamed rice. Slowly, I’m starting to pick myself up again, and boy it feels good.
Koh Lanta is real. It’s a calm island, but not in a weed-smoking kind of way like Tonsai, it has tourists but not in an overwhelming, get-out-of-my-personal-space way like in Phuket . It’s not as beautiful nor as impressive as Koh Phi Phi, the beaches aren’t as breathtaking as its neighboring islands, and with the lack of karst formations,it’s mostly flat. And still, of all the places we’ve been to in Thailand so far, this is the first one I’d consider living in.
Koh Lanta has been “home” in so many ways that we keep pushing back our departure date. I really don’t want to leave.
This island has a special vibe. One that it’s hard to put into words, but so strong that it’s impossible to ignore. Just ask the hundreds of expats who come here for a month vacation and end up staying forever.
Koh Lanta offers secluded beaches (a rare luxury in Thailand), an escape from tourist crowds, stunning islands nearby, fast reliable wifi, well-paved roads for motorbiking, and zero fake-ness. It’s not trying to impress anyone, and it’s been like a breath of fresh air.
To me, though, it’s been more than just that.
It’s been the place where I’m beginning to heal, both physically and mentally. Today, as I write this, it’s hard for me to imagine that I felt so down in Tonsai. I’m in a better place now, and I’ve got Koh Lanta to thank.
Yoga and Gratitude
I’m taking yoga everyday in Oasis Yoga, a beautiful studio in Klong Dao Beach overlooking the ocean on one side, and a zen garden on the other. I was neglecting both my body and my mind and going back to yoga is the first step I’m taking towards reaching the ever-elusive balance.
Yin classes have helped me settle my mind. Flow classes have made me sweat, and Ashtanga classes have helped me regain a sense of familiarity.
But what’s most important of all, we finish every class actively thinking of things we are thankful for. And the more I search, the more I find, and this overwhelming feeling of gratitude fills me, and stays with me for the rest of the day, every day.
We’ve visited Serenity Spa twice now. Once for a foot massage, and the second for what we thought was a Thai massage but later found the hard way that it wasn’t (more on a real Thai massage experience soon). Both were amazing. Especially the Asian Blend with coconut oil. They worked wonders on the impossible knots on my back. I’ve still got ‘em, but for 60 minutes I totally forgot why they were there. I wasn’t sure if I was a massage kind of girl, but thanks to Serenity Spa I can confirm that I am. After the treatments, they lead you out back to their beautiful patio overlooking the ocean and bring you hot tea and fruit. Need I say more?
All the ladies working there are super friendly and ahhh-mazing with their hands.
I declare myself a fan.
Koh Lanta is a great place to rent a motorbike and just set out to explore without a destination in mind. There’s even a Koh Lanta biker’s map which makes a loop around the island stopping at beaches, historic landmarks in Old Town Lanta- like the hammock house- incredible viewpoints, restaurants, and bars.
There are so many options! I bet not as many as in Samui or Phuket but, after coming from a place as tiny (and presumably food-dangerous) as Tonsai, it’s like heaven. I even found a chai latte (!!!)
I’ve learned that food should be nurturing. and that it’s the most important thing you can do to take care of yourself. So, I was kind of frustrated when I couldn’t give my body what it needs, but Koh Lanta is a step in the right direction.
My favorites places are:
Irie- where I felt so good that I came up with the title of this post. They have killer shakes and a good Pad Thai.
Sununtha- The first place I dared to have Thai Food after Krabi and it made me restore my faith.
Lym’s- It’s a little more expensive but it has a great beach location and when you eat there you can use their lounges, hammocks, and bean bags all day.
Fruit Tree- It has aircon-a luxury in this part of the world, it has the only chai latte I’ve found in Thailand, a good place to work, and yummy waffles.
Living Room- It’s a great spot for breakfast as they’ve got Thai and your typical Western options like eggs, french toast, and pancakes.
Doing things I love
Reading and Writing. Ohhh these two things. They make me happy. and I’m glad to report that I’ve done both of them regularly in Koh Lanta.
Give me a somewhat deserted beach, a hammock, and a good book and I’m yours for life.
I’ve dedicated myself to writing these days as well. Maybe this island’s got me inspired, but words have just poured out of me. And sometimes, that’s a clear indication that I’m where I’m supposed to be.
We took the 4 island snokeling tour and took a Thai cooking class- posts on both activities coming soon.
Also, let me tell you, I had totally underestimated the power of Netflix. In Koh Lanta we watched Netflix (or anything for that matter) for the first time in over two months. We binged watched Jessica Jones and I’d forgotten how much I love just staying in some nights, doing nothing but be entertained by someone else’s drama, with Isaac by my side.
We go lounge at the beach, we play beach tennis, we spread out blankets and watch the sunsets and drink coconuts all day.
The people we’ve met
We’ve met amazing people here in Koh Lanta. Sometimes you just need that kind of connection when you’re traveling long-term. I’ll cherish the dinners, the drinks, and the dancing during blackouts on stormy nights.
Koh Lanta’s been a breather. We’ve slowed down, and we’re just enjoying it. This gave me the time to see everything with a new perspective. Well, not exactly new, but one that I’d seem to have lost. Of course I want to keep on traveling! And I’m also in no rush to leave Thailand.
I miss my mom. I dream about her almost every night. It hurts. There’s still so much I’m having a hard time coming to terms with. But I know I’ll get there. A week ago, I was having a hard time believing it, but Koh Lanta has shed a little light.
Our time on this Thai island hasn’t felt like a vacation. It feels more like life. A life that I’m not ready to let go of yet. But when we do leave, I know that whatever comes next will be better because Koh Lanta not only helped me begin healing, it also reminded me how to be grateful. And that’s something I’ll always be grateful for.