Six months is a long time to be away from the ocean for a family who lives in Hawaii and we were missing the beach.
So it was time to head to southern Thailand. We wanted to avoid overcrowded, party beaches. So we looked for a laidback beach where we could tumble out of a bungalow and walk a few steps to the sand.
Khlong Jark Beach on Koh Lanta seemed just about perfect.
On the far south end of the island with just a few other guesthouses along the bay, we were a little worried that the area would not have many amenities, especially food. We travel to eat and get sick of eating the same food everyday very quickly.
But we needn’t be concerned. The food at Khlong Jark Bungalows was tasty and the menu was varied enough to keep us from getting bored during our 5 day stay. We weren’t even tempted to wander down the beach looking for other food options.
The beach was just what we were hoping for: an mellow, uncrowded bay. And almost as beautiful as our beaches back home in Hawaii.
Our bungalow was 20 steps from the sand.
On our first night there, our guesthouse was hosting a wedding. We got to see the bride ride in on an elephant.
Except for when we took a 4 island tour, we spent all our time on KHong Jark Beach, lounging and eating and playing in the ocean.
And it was perfect. Just what we needed after 6 months of travel.
The 4 island snorkel tour was a lot of fun. We were picked up right on the beach by a speed boat.
The first stop was the least interesting snorkel spot, which was good because we all needed to figure out the snorkeling equipment. Arwen and Sierra both had to go back to the boat and get life jacket because they had trouble treading water and adjusting their masks and snorkels at the same time.
At the second stop, Rand taught us how to dive down and wave our hands near giant clams to get them to close. We had fun torturing the poor creatures. Sierra surprised us by being able to dive down to the clams on the first try (she is usually our least strong swimmer).
We stopped for lunch on Koh Kradan and snorkeled near the beach, where we saw really interesting coral and Nemos! Even the guides called them Nemos. Clown fish will forever be known as Nemos all over the world, thanks to Disney.
Finally we swam through the cave at Ko Mook. I had to ignore my claustrophobia, as we swam in a line behind the guide the short distance from the cave entrance to the opening of a hidden beach.
We climbed out onto the sand and marveled at the steep walls of green surrounding us that inspired the name, Emerald Cave.
Then we swam back out to the boat. Swimming through the cave didn’t make me feel claustrophobic, but I did have to try not to think about what might be swimming next to me in the dark water.
In the evenings at Khlong Jark Beach, we would eat our dinner at a candle lit table on the sand with sound of the waves lapping the shore.
On two of out our five nights there, a fire dancing show was performed on the beach. No matter how many times you see someone swinging fire around their head, it is always mesmerizing. The finale was pretty spectacular with sparking fireballs creating a blaze of pattern around the performer.
If you find yourself in southern Thailand and want to relax on a beach away from crowds, I highly recommend Khlong Jark Beach on Koh Lanta.