Khao Lak

February is the start of serious burning season in North Thailand, so it’s time to start traveling. We begin by meeting Judy in Bangkok, enroute to a short break at the beach. We decided to try a place none of us had ever been to before. Khao Lak is best known, now, as the place that got completely wiped out by the great Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. In the tropics, nothing stays wiped out for long, and we found a flourishing beach town, full of tourists–mostly German and French.

in front of our hotel

The only big tourist attraction in the town itself is the tsunami memorial park, quite a beautiful monument. It’s humbling to walk under this wave-shaped structure and getting the sense of the weight ready to crash down on you.

Day one, rent a motobike (well, two bikes for the three of us) and head to the beach.




When Esso showed us this bug, we didn’t know if it was alive. A second later, it flew away.

Lying under the pine(?) trees, to get out of the afternoon sun…

The best part of a beach town, of course, is the sunset.

Day two is a bit more ambitious, a 2-hour speedboat trip to Ko Surin for snorkeling. No photos of the snorkeling, because we don’t have an underwater camera, so you have to imagine the awesomeness. But we also stop at a the small indigenous village, Morganville, probably a Sea Gypsy settlement but now granted Thai citizenship.


Our boat is bigger than most, so at low tide, in the shallow bay, it can’t get close to the shore. We have a long trek through the shallows.


Day three, a trek to the mountains to enjoy Ton Chongfa waterfall. First stop, a scenic lake…

Mountain lake with single lotus

Second stop, an isolated pool below the 7 levels of the falls. Take note, this will be our favorite swimming hole when we return, sweat-soaked.


Esso says these mushrooms, growing on a log, are good to eat, once cooked.

A bit of a climb to Level 1 waterfall. The pool here is broad, and filled with European tourists talking loudly. I don’t wait around, but head up the hill to Level 2, where it’s quieter. A serious climb, but worth it. After a little rest, while Esso and Judy catch up. The trail to Level 3 is well-signed (I note that such clear signage is rare in Thailand; and the concentration of German visitors here cannot be a coincidence). 100 meters doesn’t sound like much, but it’s straight up for the first 60, and straight down for the last 20, so it’s actually quite a challenge.

Level 3 is lovely, and private. I hang out here while Esso and Judy explore the next two tiers.

After a snack, we are ready to go down. We reach Level 1 at a quiet time, and get a kittle deeper into the landscape.


Finally, back to the swimming hole!


End of beach visit; ready to move to the next stage…

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