Thailand: Khao Lak

So I’ve been away from my keyboard because 2020 started off a lot more rough than I expected. When things get rough, Nat stays away from writing for some reason. Things are picking up now and you know what they say, when you hit rock bottom, or near it anyway, you can only go up.

Florian and I spent a long weekend in January in Khao Lak, just North of Phuket. Our friends from Germany were spending a couple weeks there so we decided to join them to spend time together.

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We had a beautiful room in Manathai. It has its own private beach and is quite away from everything. That being said, they have restaurants walking distance away along the beach so you’re not totally stuck within the resort. Also, they have shuttle buses that take you into the town centre, or to the night market, for a small fee.

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They had ample sun beds both around the large swimming pool, as well as facing the gorgeous sea. Take your pick. There are signs saying no reserving of sun beds allowed but everyone does it and everyone respects that it’s being done.

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We had breakfast included during our stay but we ate at the restaurant right next door or the next one down for lunch and/or dinner. I think one of the days we skipped right by lunch because we had a bigger breakfast. The breakfast spread in Manathai isn’t the best by Thai standards, but it’s decent. It has a good enough spread of both local and continental breakfasts to satisfy everyone’s appetites.

The eateries next door actually had very good, authentic Thai food. I wouldn’t say it’s the cheapest, but it’s definitely affordable.

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Nothing like eating to the tune of waves crashing along the shore, sand between your toes, and sun shining across the blue waters.

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Nothing like the crunch of Magnum in the sweltering heat either!

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The second night we were there, we all headed to the night market for some food and to walk around. As with most night markets in Thailand, if you’ve seen one souvenir shop, you’ve seen them all. Likewise with clothing stores. Stalls selling food featured similar varieties with only slight differences in prices so really, pick one that looks clean enough and that’s not too busy, get a table and start ordering.

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We had a really delicious Salt-Grilled Fish here. The fish was delectably fresh. It comes whole, a little like the salt-baked fish of Italy. Simply remove its thick crust and you’ll arrive at the supple flesh of the fish. Those not used to seeing a whole fish may feel slightly disturbed at first. Get past it and you’ll really enjoy the taste of it, as my dear husband and his friends from Germany soon found out. They gave it their two thumbs and two toe thumbs up!

Florian couldn’t resist a mango sticky rice for dessert either.

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You can hardly go wrong with Thai mango sticky rice. Looks for stalls that sell it with crispy mung beans on top and you will never want your sticky rice without it. The crunch makes all the difference against the sticky, creamy mouthfeel of the rice slathered with coconut cream; the nuttiness of the beans balances nicely against the lush sweet, juiciness of the mangoes.

Alternatively, you can try one of their other pretty little desserts, often made using rice flour and coconut milk to produce colourful, slightly tacky, slightly chewy (some might call it ‘QQ’) delights. Not everyone likes the texture of these desserts, so you can also opt for pumpkin custard steamed in pumpkin and cut into wedges. There’s always something for everyone.

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Three days in Khao Lak was perfect for us to rest and relax, and spend quality time with our friends. Any longer and I would have been bored out of my wits lying under the sun all day every day. There were a lot of Europeans there, happy to spend weeks within the confines of Manathai, looking forward to the strength of the tropical sun colouring them ever-more red.

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I have to say that overall, we had an enjoyable stay in Manathai. The only downside was that the massage Florian and I had was the worst we’ve ever had in the whole of Thailand. The two women attending to us were constantly on their phones, using one hand to half-heartedly massage us. We found the little massage hut next door to Manathai’s beach cheaper and much better so I recommend going there instead.

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As relaxing a trip as Khao Lak was, I have to admit that it was also the most difficult weekend for me. And because of me, it was difficult for Florian too. I spent a lot of time in tears because I felt devastated at the loss of something I never had. Still, when there are raised hopes, the disappointment always feels more painful. I won’t go into detail here, but as with everything we’ve gone through so far, we held onto each other and made it over the hump. And as I said at the beginning, things are picking up. I pray it will continue. 🙂

It looks like the world has had a difficult beginning to the year – Bush fires in Oz, Covid-19 in Asia, storms in the UK… Let’s pray it gets better. I hope that your 2020 wasn’t too difficult to start with. If it was, take heart that good things will come. It might be juuuuust round the corner! x

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