After we trekked through Cambodia, our next stop on the trip was the beaches of Thailand for some much needed relaxation. We had nothing planned other than beach sitting, reading and overall sluggishness. We debated for a while which beaches we would go to – if you’re familiar with Thailand at all you’ll know there’s a ton of beaches to choose from. In the end we went with Khao Lak on a recommendation from a friend of ours who had been and loved it. This was our one big splurge of the trip – we booked ourselves at Le Meridien (also on recommendation from our friend). It was so relaxing I could barely contain my smile. (I guess turning 30 isn’t all bad)
The beach itself was beautiful, as expected, even though we were there during the start of rainy season. All along the beach there were little huts with local families making some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had for about $2 a dish tops – a mashup of all those lovely meals will be up in the coming week or two.
It was while we were at one of these little shacks that the owner told us the water was extremely murky and rough at this time a year. We looked out and thought – well, it looks pretty good to us! And when we went for a dip in the water, I was ready to sell everything I owned and set up my own little beach front hut featuring vegan food. Seriously. It was that gorgeous and the water was like bathwater. As someone who doesn’t like to swim (and is not a strong swimmer to begin with) the fact I didn’t want to get out of the water until something stung me is saying a lot!
While there was a lot of beauty here, there’s also a bit of history and sadness to it. The tsunami in 2004 completely wiped out the resort we were currently staying in – killing 18 people staying in the resort, including a daughter of the resort’s owner. The tsunami hit all along the Phangnga coastline, ultimately killing more than 200,000 people in 14 countries. Even though we were there almost 10 years after the catastrophe, there was still evidence of it. If we walked along the beach to the left of our resort and around a bunch of rocks we found remnants of what used to be another resort pre-tsunami. It was an eerie feeling seeing what used to be the swimming pool and stairs that had at one point lead somewhere.
I was glad we made the decision to stay where we did – there was something about supporting the local community with our tourism dollars that made me feel like maybe we were helping in the continuing recovery in some way. Or maybe I’m just idealistic. In any event, we were able to reap the benefits of a nation’s commitment to rebuilding and we had an amazing time in the process. One of my favorite shots I captured was on the first night we were there and walking back from dinner along the beach. Seeing as it was the start of rainy season, (of the 6 days we were there it rained 2) there was a storm brewing offshore and I managed to get the shot as the faraway lightning struck the ocean.
While the beach was beautiful during the day, perhaps my favorite time was at sunset, when all the colors ran together and created this amazing orange glow everywhere. I’m a sucker for a good sunset and above all, Khao Lak didn’t fail to impress on that front either. These next shots I managed to snap while we were sitting and waiting for dinner one night, just patiently waiting on some super cheap, super delicious Thai eats. Life at that moment in time was simply perfect – and when I look at these images I’m instantly filled with that same sense of calm and happiness. I need to schedule my next Thai vacation. Stat.