The time had come to leave Ko Lanta (Lantaaaah) and do some more Thai island hopping. Ko Ngai, pronounced “Hai” was the next destination. Up until this point in our travels together, Anna and I would enjoy drinking nightly and so far had been very tame about it. No hangovers, no overdoing it, we had been behaving! A couple of days before we left Ko Lanta, there was a Buddhist holiday for 2 days where booze were not allowed to be sold in any stores. You could still get them in restaurants however, but in honor of the holiday, we decided to abstain ourselves.
However… The night before we left Ko Lanta, which was no longer one of the holiday days, we went a teeny bit overboard. I guess you could say we were making up for lost time! We were due to leave the next morning at 8am for a taxi boat… And we ended up staying up the night before drinking until about 2am, then chatting away until about 4am. Or maybe it was 5… So needless to say, when the alarm went off at an ungodly hour of the morning (7ish) we were not happy campers!! The only good thing that we did do was pack our things before falling asleep, so all that was really necessary was to drag our rears to the front office with all our things and wait for the taxi.
While we did manage to make the taxi relatively on time, it was just painful to be awake at all! I wasn’t so hung over from the booze as I was just grumpy and not feeling well due to lack of sleep. After a very long delay in picking up more people from other hotels, we made it to the taxi boat and headed out. All morning it had been sunny, but about 10 minutes into our boat ride it began pouring rain! The poor taxi boat driver looked miserable in the back getting soaking wet!! Yet somehow he was still able to light and smoke a cigarette…
Moving on, we made it to Ko Ngai (Hai) probably 40 minutes later. The taxi boat driver ran us onshore and Anna and I got off. As it turned out, all the other people on the taxi boat were on an island hopping snorkeling tour, so they were heading to a different island first. Made me wonder how good the snorkeling would be with all the rain around, but I digress.
We were dropped off on the shore of a cheap place (our request of course) and got settled into one of the bungalows. Well, it really wasn’t that simple. Anna and I were both still exhausted and grumpy to ridiculous levels. We barely spoke to each other all morning, neither of us wanted to make any decisions, everything seemed ugly and miserable. Everything was annoying. Everything sucked. We were just plain out of ourselves. So at first we had turned down the “horrible” cheap bungalows and tried to go elsewhere but were stopped shortly after leaving by an english speaking local who said that every other hotel/bungalow (literally) on the island was MUCH more expensive… I’m talking into the thousands per night! So really it was (at first) with GREAT reluctance that we settled into the Koh Ngai Villa.
Food was the next agenda item. Neither of us was really hungry, but we knew it had to be done. We wandered next door to another hotel where they served food and ordered. I found a teeny roach in my soup, and honestly would normally not have said anything (it’s just one of those things you get used to picking out and setting aside when traveling) but because I was so darn grumpy still, I pointed out the little critter to the staff. Mind you, I still continued eating the soup because, well why not? And I wasn’t expecting anything to come out of it, I just wanted to let them know about it. But when the bill came, they said they wouldn’t charge me for the dish (though I tried to pay still) and that they had decided to close down for the rest of the low season because they felt like they were “losing face”… I felt absolutely a million times worse after hearing that for even pointing out the bug!! It broke my heart! But certainly they will be back up and running again in time for high season.
It wasn’t until the next morning, when we woke up sober and well rested that we really realized what an absolutely beautiful little island we were on! The water was clear and warm, and had this gentle current that ran parallel to the shore where you could literally swim in it and not actually go anywhere! Great exercise!! The beaches were white and clean and the beach dogs were all so very friendly. It was quiet and serene and every evening the tide would go out so far that you could walk all the way to the Southern tip of the island to watch the sunsets. We even ended up really liking our bungalow and “princess bed” at the Koh Ngai Villa! It’s amazing how your view can shift so easily when you aren’t really yourself! In any event, I would recommend this island for a visit, though I would also recommend showing up for it sober;)