Monday, 25 June 2012

Koh Lipe

The view from Koh Lipe beach, we went diving off one of those boats.

On Saturday 7th April 2012, Mark and I travelled from Langkawi to Koh Lipe, a well known diving spot off the cost of Thailand.

The whole day was an experience out of this world. Our driver came and picked us up from our resort to take us to the day trip desk and this is were we learnt that our driver was our travel guide for the whole day. I must admit to being very reassured by having a local with us every step of the way, because jumping on a speedboat and going from one country to the next is a pretty daunting yet exhilarating experience.

From beginning to end we were treated like royalty, and we can only assume that was the case because we booked the tour through our resort; Casa del Mar. We certainly didn't think we were paying for celebrity service as the two of use got stamps in our passports, did two dives each and had lunch for less than it would cost one person to do two beach dives in Sydney.

Our skippers preparing the boat for our super fast trip from Langkawi to Koh Lipe.

I must admit that at the beginning of the trip I assumed that our tour guide saved the front seat of the speed boat for Mark and I because 1.) Mark isn't a small guy and was obviously hung-over and 2.) we were honeymooners. Either way, I was rather chuffed and enjoyed the view the whole way, whilst Mark, after a night of drinking with our new found English friends and very little sleep, appreciated sitting far away from the outboards. I also appreciated the Bob Marley sing along with the boat crew.

Before we knew it our boat had arrived in Koh Lipe and our feet were in the sand of another country. One that is very different to ours. Passport clearance was a man sitting at a desk in the sand!

Unfortunately our underwater camera stopped working on our way out to the dive site, so there aren't any images of that, but the pristine waters made for some amazing diving. Our first dive was gob smacking right from the very beginning with colourful fish and bright coral everywhere. The sheer pleasure of taking everything in was truly exhausting, and after a delicious lunch Mark and I fell asleep at the restaurant table overlooking the beach, much to the amusement of our dive master who had to wake us up for our next dive. The second dive was in direct contrast to the first, coral was replaced with boulders and it was quite incredible to swim through the underwater towns built by rock.

What I have to admit to being proud of myself for is flipping backwards off the boat with all my scuba gear on. I've seen experienced divers do this plenty of times in documentaries and always thought I could never do that and that I'd probably bash my head on the boat, the tank or both if I tried. I'm pleased to say that when left with no other option I simply flipped myself off the side of the boat and gave myself to nature to sort out the rest. Thankfully I surfaced head first with no bumps. Watching Mark's attempt was pretty entertaining, as being the control freak that he is, he forced himself through the somersault and only just missed bashing his head on the hull-luckily because if he needed stitches I probably would have had to find a needle and thread. His second attempt was much better.

After our dive we were given an hour of free time to stroll the Walking Street and get lunch. The original Thai restaurant was recommended to us, and I can honestly say Mark and I have never gotten this excited about an inexpensive meal; $14 AUD for two. The fish cakes there were unreal!

Mark seriously excited about the flavour punch contained in our lunch.

Mark and I after a delicious lunch and ready for an afternoon nap after such a massive day-see the scuba face mask?

Konlay kitchen-I would give them a HAT!

This is the place to go in Koh Lipe!
Everyone local we spoke to was so friendly and always happy smiling and welcoming tourists. The streets were busy with people riding motorbikes with side-carts and sharing the path with pedestrians, yet no one was beeping horns, everyone just worked together.

Walking Street traffic
Koh Lipe is also a place where the animals roam free. As Mark was getting a banana smoothie at the front of this restaurant I came and said hello to their chickens which are twice the size of mine. There were also dogs lying in the sun on the beach-which I did well not to go up and cuddle as I was seriously missing Jet and Baxter.
Chickens outside a beach front restaurant.
As we strolled back down to our tour guide (who kept telling us to explore the island) we saw boat loads of people heading off, before we were taken out to our boat where everyone else was waiting for us and less than impressed. No doubt they thought Mark and I were inconsiderate brats, but we were only doing what we were told. What really entertained me was when one obviously annoyed guy who was twice my size pushed past me to get on the speed boat, and almost knocked me over, only to watch Mark and I be ushered to the front seat again. I learnt from this experience that you can't always assume that the last people on the boat are the inconsiderate ones, chances are they are just doing what they have been told, but before that I probably would have vocalised my opinion of people who did exactly what Mark and I appeared to have done.

The trip back to Langkawi was very different to the gentle ride there as a storm came through. I was surprised to see that everyone in the boat was treating the journey like a daily train trip. People were reading books or listening to music and the scene really entertained me. When I went to take a photo of it Mark suggested that it probably wasn't a very good idea for the yuppie up the front who kept everyone waiting (me) to be doing such things. Good point.

The true beauty of having a personal tour guide came when we got back to customs at Langkawi. Since we had already been to the customs building to 'check out' I knew the procedure and simply strolled up in front of the bus load of people with our tour guide for Mark and I to 'check back in' to Langkawi. I figured since those people were judging us I may as well give them something to really get cross about, and the time it saved was savoured by my impatient husband and I. Being famous for the day was a lot of fun and opened my eyes to many things.

Mark and I think that we may need to spend a week at Koh Lipe to experience its true beauty and eat more of the delicious food.

Our thanks go to our family; The Lees and friends; Benny, Nugget, Kylie & Stu for such a great wedding gift. Koh Lipe was a truly memorable experience that we will treasure.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you nice article.
    your next trip…Phuket is the best choice for you!!
    I love here Surin Beach Hotel This hotel is very nice clean and the people are friendly. VERY nice hotel with helpful staff.
    And I really love white sand, crystal clear waters at Surin Beach too.
    Thank again.