Koh Lanta – Koh Rok

Maya Bay de yasadigimiz ruya sonrasinda, ayaklari yere basmanin ve ruyanin etkisinden kurtulmanin vakti geldi. Thailand’a yapacagimiz kucuk ziyaretimiz oncesinde onumuzde listemizi koyduk, hangi adayi sececegimize dair gunlerce dusunduk, arastirma yaptik. Yeri geldi karar vermekte cok zorlandik ama en sonunda hem konumu, hemde sundugu imkanlar acisindan Koh Lanta da karar kildik. Istedigimiz tek sey her zamanki gibi partilerden, yogun kalabaliktan uzakta sakin bir kac gun gecirmekti. Cok buyuk bir ada oldugu icin baslarda biraz endiselendik ama bu durumun aslinda bir avantaj oldugunu da sonradan anladik. Cunku burasi aradiginiz her seyi bulabileceginiz Tayland’in nadir adalarindan birisi. Sadece adanin hangi bolgesinde kalacaginiza dikkat etmeniz yeterli.

After the dream we lived in Maya Bay, it’s time to put our feet down to let that dream down a bit. Before our little trip to Thailand, we put our list in front of us and cross our minds for days to choose our ideal island. Sometimes we had hardship choosing “the one” we look for, eventually, we decided to stay in Koh Lanta due to its location and the facilities. The only thing we want is, as usual, the silence away from the beach parties. Although, at the beginning, we had some doubts about silence as it’s a huge island, we saw that it can be an advantage for us. Because Koh Lanta is a place that you can find everything you look for as long as you mind which part of the island you should stay. 

Koh Lanta, Krabi bolgesinde yaklasik 50 adet kucuk adayla cevrelenmis Andaman Denizi’nin en cok tercih edilen noktalarindan bir tanesi. Adanin nufusu yaklasik olarak 10 000 bin civarinda ve buyuk bir cogunlugu Musluman. Haritaya baktiginizda adanin iki buyuk parcadan olustugunu goreceksiniz; Koh Noi (kucuk Lanta) ve Koh Yai (buyuk Lanta adasi). Koh Noi’ de pek bir yasam izine rastlamayacaksiniz, o yuzden yonunuzu Koh Yai’ ye yani simdiki adiyla Koh Lanta’ya cevirin.

Koh Lanta archipelago is actually made up of at least 50 small islands but the two largest of these are Koh Noi (which means small Lanta Island) and Koh Yai (which means Big Lanta Island). The majority of the Thai population that reside on these islands are Muslim and at least 10,000 people live permanently on Koh Yai. As Koh Noi is an inhabited island, turn your direction through Koh Yai whose name was eventually changed to Lanta Island. 

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Adanin uzun bir sahil seridine sahip olmasindan oturu, Koh Lanta, hepsi birbirinden karakteristik, kuzeyden guneye 10 a yakin plaj imkani sunuyor. Bunlardan en cok isimlerini duyacaklariniz; Ba Kan Tiang, Phrae Ae (bir diger adiyla meshur Long Beach) ve Klong Dao (iclerinde en genisi diyebiliriz). Her ne kadar Klong Dao ve Long Beach merkeze daha yakin oldugu icin cocuklu ailelerin konaklamayi en cok tercih ettigi noktalardan birisi olsa bile adanin guneyine indikce aslinda sessizligin, doganin ve denizin ne kadar comert davrandigini goreceksiniz. Bu yuzden sizlere tavsiyem adanin olabildigince guneyinde konaklamaniz.

With such a long coastline the island has about  10 great beaches which run in a north to south direction. The main beaches include Ba Kan Tiang, Phrase Ae (or long Beach)  and Klong Dao (which is the largest). As Klong Dao and Long Beach are closer to the center of the island, it is mostly preferred by the families with children. As you drive toward south, you will see how silence, nature and the sea is really generous in this part of the island. That’s why, I highly suggest you to stay as south as possible. 

Long Beach is one of the best place to drink something while waiting for the sunset
Long Beach is one of the best place to drink something while waiting for the sunset

Our favourite beach on the southern part of the island
Our favourite beach on the southern part of the island

Adanin bir diger avantajlarindan bir tanesi de yogun daglik ve ormanlik alanlarinin olusturdugu Koh Lanta Milli Park’ina ev sahipligi olmasi. Plajlardan hevesinizi aldiysaniz, bu cennet ada sizleri ormanda bir kac saatlik bir yuruyuse davet ediyor. Kaldiginiz hotelden ya da internetten bu yuruyusleri duzenleyen tur sirketlerine rahatlikla erisebilirsiniz. Lanta’nin tul dogal guzelliklerini; magaralari, selaleleri ve dereleri en guzel bu sekilde deneyimleyebileceginizden emin olabilirsiniz.  Eger yeteri kadar sansliysaniz, 25 metre uzunlugundaki Klong Jark selalesine giderken yolunuzun bir kac sirin maymun tarafindan kesilmesi de ihtimaller arasinda. Fakat eger Koh Lanta’ya kadar gelmis ve neredeyse tamamen bakir, betonlarin ve vinclerin henuz girmedigi ve kucuk bir  kamp alani disinda kimsenin kalici olarak yasamadigi  Koh Rok adasinin hem altini hem ustunu gormeden giderseniz bu tatilin en guzel anlarini kacirmissiniz demektir. Tur secenekleriniz de, sirketlerde bol. Mesela sadece gunubirlik Koh Rok hemde 4 ada turlari var. Biz cok yoruluruz diye cok cok istedigimiz Koh Rok’a gittik ve tadi damagimizda kalan bu macera bize fazlasiyla yetti. Hic vakit kaybetmeyin, hemen otelinizden sizi turlardan birisine rezervasyonunuzu yapmalarini isteyin ve cennete gecireceginiz o bir gunun gelmesini beklemeye koyulun. 

nIndeed the island is home to the Koh Lanta National Park. It is quite mountainous in parts especially near the southern tip, and is also heavily forested. If you get enough of white sands,  it is a great place to visit if you enjoy nature trekking. There are a number of companies (you can easily find them via internet or your hotel) that run 1-3 hour treks through the parts of the forests.  Its a great way to experience the nature available on Koh Lanta including its caves, streams and waterfalls.  If you are lucky enough, on your way to 25 meters high Klong Jark Waterfall seeing a monkey or two is peradventure. Well, apart from all there is an unavoidable thing you should do if you’re in Koh Lanta; visiting “up and down” of Koh Rok for the day. Imagine a paradise like inhabitant (except a little camping area) island with white powder white beaches, turquoise waters. No cranes, no construction, no concrete… Either you can enjoy the white sands on the beach or inside the turquoise water, you can swim with colourful fish and corals. All up to you. Actually, you have many tour operators and options such as Koh Rok for a day or 4 islands tours, etc. Koh Rok was the only thing we really wanted and it was quite satisfying for us so, no more energy to take the others. Don’t loose time! As soon as you arrive your hotel ask them to make a reservation for you and start to day comes for the paradise.  

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Nerede kalmali ?

Yukarida da bahsettigim gibi Koh Lanta tum beklentilerinize cevap verecek bir yer. Fakat gitmeden once ne istediginize karar vermeniz gerek. Eger aksamlarinizi guzel bir yemekten sonra plajda partileyerek gecirmek istiyorsaniz, bir ayagim da merkezde olsun cok uzaklasmayayim, adi ustunde “Long Beach” cocuklar icin bir cennet, tadini cikartalim diyorsaniz evet sizin yeriniz adanin kuzeyi. Elbetteki bir cok hotel seceneginiz var fakat bizim ilk rezervasyon yaptirdigimiz ama sonrasinda degistirdigimiz Costa Lanta‘yi her seye ragmen oneriyorum. Yalniz, kapali yer fobiniz varsa ve biraz da ferahliktan yanaysaniz standart odalarini kesinlikle onermem. Mutlaka bir duvari tamamen cam olan superior odalari tercih edin derim. Biz rezerevasyon yaptigimizda yer kalmamisti o yuzden standart’i tercih ettik ama baktik ki dort tarafi beton bir kupun icinde 4 gece geciremeyiz diye iptal ettik. Buradan bekledigimizi alamayinca gozumuzu adanin guneyine diktik ayrica denizin daha guzel oldugunu da duyunca kararimizi kesinlikle vermis olduk. Hemen rezervasyonumuzu adanin bir diger bilinen otellerinden Sri Lanta ya yaptik. Yaptik yapmasina fakat villamizin ormanin derinliklerinde denize epeyce bir yurume mesafesinde bir de trip advisor daki birbirinden kotu yorumlari (odalardan cikan fareler, temizlik sorunlari vs.) okuduktan sonra bir kez daha otel arayisina girdik. Daha adaya ayak basmadan iki rezervasyon degisikligi bizi biraz korkutmus olsada en son duragimiz The Houben yuzumuzu fazlasiyla guldurdu.. Konumu plaja biraz uzak olsa da tam tepede bulundugundan hem havuzdan hem de odalardan okyanusun ve uzaktan kucucukte olsa Maya Bay manzarasinin tadini fazlasiyla cikartiyorsunuz. Ayrica adada nerede kalirsaniz kalin mutlaka scooter a ihtiyac duyacaksiniz. Bu yuzden gitmeden once bakmaniz gereken en onemli sey sectiginiz hotel hakkinda farkli seyahat sitelerinde yazilan yorumlar. Boylelikle bu geziden ogrendigimiz en onemli ders bu olmus oldu. 

Sri Lanta
Sri Lanta
Sri Lanta
Sri Lanta
The Houben Hotel
The Houben

The Houben

The Houben
The Houben
The Houben
The Houben
The Houben
The Houben
The Houben
The Houben

Where to stay?

As I mentioned above Koh Lanta is a place answers to all your expectations. So, your duty is to decide what do you really want before you go there. If you want to join beach parties after a nice dinner, if you don’t want to be away from the center and at the same time during the day “Long Beach” is a heaven for kids so; if you want to enjoy all these facilities, yes, Northern part of the island is calling you. Of course you have numerous options but, despite of its imperfection, I suggest you to try Costa Lanta if you want to be really in the North and just located on the Long Beach.  So, let’s talk about its imperfection a little bit; a standard room in Costa Lanta was our first choice but then we understood that staying in a concrete cube without any window won’t be funny for us thus, if you go there one day, try to choose their superior room which at least has one whole glass wall but we were too late for it . Actually, this experience helped us to discover Southern part of the island where the sea is awesome and the beaches are much calmer. So, we did another reservation for another well known hotel Sri Lanta. The second disappointment; after reading all the bad comments (poor looking rooms plus, rats wandering inside, etc.) on trip advisor, a bit scared, one more time decided to look for a new accommodation. Even though, before landing to the island, such kinds of experiences were quite boring, finally we find what we were looking for in The Houben. It’s located on the hill so, I can’t say the beach is just next to you but every room has an amazing ocean and Maya Bay view which worth to stay there. Also, it doesn’t matter where are you staying, you’re going to need a scooter to discover the island ( so, it’s not a big deal if you’re not just next to the beach. The most important thing that you should take attention is reading the comments on different travel sites about the hotel that you’ll choose. This is what we learned in this trip.

Nerede yiyelim ?

Ada buyuk, secenek cok, gecirilecek sure kisitli olunca haliyle adadaki gunlerinizden en iyi sekilde yararlanmak istiyorsunuz. Ozaman size kesinlikle denemeden donmemeniz gereken uc adres siraliyorum;

Yang Garden Restaurant Thailand mutfaginin sadece Pad Thai’den olusmadigini kanitlayan en iyi yerlerden birisi oldugunu soyleyebilirim. Thailand ve Avrupa mutfagini harmanlamasindan olusan birbirinden leziz yemekler tatmaya hazir olun. Ayrica Koh Lanta’nin en iyi restoranti diyorlar buraya, benden soylemesi. Fiyatlar biraz yuksek ama servisin ve yemeklerin muhtesemligini goz onunde bulundurursak, bu bir gecelik kacamaga hayir diyebileceginizi pek dusunmuyorum. 

Shanti Shanti isminden de anlasilacagi gibi sahibi Fransiz bu yuzden geleneksellik beklemeyiniz. Caniniz hamburger yada guzel bir biftek mi cekti o zaman dogru adrestesiniz. 

Time For Lime yok arkadas buralara kadar gelmisim Hamburger mi yedirteceksiniz bana diyorsan, thai yemeklerinin en kralini bulabilecegin en dogru adrestesin hemen 6 cesitten olusan tadim menunu siparis et. Eger uzun sureli oralardaysan ve yemek pisirmeye de merakliysan bir de okullari var kaydini da yaptiriver. 

Yang Garden
Yang Garden Restaurant
Shanti Shanti
Shanti Shanti

Where to eat ?

The island is quite big, the options are numerous and your time is limited and you want to benefit as much as you can during your stay. Then I will give you three addresses that you shouldn’t leave the island before trying them ;

Yang Garden Restaurant I think it’s one of the best place will prove you that Thai cuisine isn’t made up of only Pad Thai or Tom Yum. Be ready for the awesome dishes which are mixture of Thai and European cuisine. As well, according to many source it’s considered to be the best restaurant of Lanta. Prices are above the standarts but I’m sure you will understand how it worths this place for this escapade.

Shanti Shanti As you understand from its name, here is a French restaurant so don’t expect anything traditional. Do you desire a delicious, juicy Hamburger or steak ? You’re at the right place !

Time For Lime for the ones who say « I came until here, Thailand and you tell me where can I find the best hamburger in Koh Lanta ? » Easy, easy… This place is heaven for you ; for a Thai food lover. Well, order your degustation menu which consists of 6 different of courses and enjoy ! Hey, by the way, I’m still speaking to you ; Are you gonna stay longer in this beautiful island ? Ok. If you want to cook delicious things for your girl or boy friend, if you want to learn more about Thai cuisine, they have cooking classes, don’ t be late for the inscriptions.

Ne alalim ?

Yemek pisirmeyi cok sevdigimden gittigim ulkelerden mutlaka bir adet o ulkenin mutfak kulturunu anlatan, icinde yemek tarifleri barindiran kitaplar alirim. Thailand’a gidince de almayi dusundugum tek sey «Cooking with Poo» kitabiydi. Ayni zamanda Bangkok’un en buyuk gecekondu mahallesinde yemek pisirme dersleri veren bir okulu olan Poo’nun kitabini alip, evinizde sofralariniza renk getirirken, ihtiyaci olan diger insanlara yardim eden dernegine (UNOH:Urban Neighbours Help) de destek oluyorsunuz. Donerken, kitabi havaalaninda buldugum andaki mutlulugumu anlatmama gerek yok sanirim. Ama sizler farkli seyler almak istersiniz diye ugramadan donmemeniz gereken tek bir yer var orasi da adanin dogusunda bulunan eski sehir olarak bilinen Ban Ko Lanta. Burada tam bir bohem cenneti adanin en hip konsept magazasi olarak bilinen Malee Malee ve renkli el yapimi hamaklariyla unlu Hammock House a ugramadan donmeyin.

Ban Ko Lanta
On the street of Ban Ko Lanta
Malee Malee
Malee Malee

What to buy?

As I adore cooking, in my each trip, I definitely try to buy a recipe book which includes the traditional tastes of the country I’m visiting. So, before my short visit to Thailand there was only one book in my mind that I really want to buy: «Cooking with Poo». At the same time, Poo has a cooking school in the slum of Bangkok. By buying her book both you help her and the charity (UNOH:Urban Neighbours Help) which is helping to other people who needs a support. I think I don’t need to explain how I was happy when I found it in Bangkok airport on the way back. Still, I want to share with you some nice addresses you might find something different the place should go is Ban Ko Lanta in another name old town. In here you should definitely visit Malee Malee which is the bohemian concept store of the island and Hammock House where you can buy colorful handmade hommocks for your terrace or garden.

 

Photos by me and JB Herrera

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