• She Loves Travel: Avanne Dubash does some soul searching at Khao Lak

    Khao Lak. I’ll admit- it took me a while to even remember the name. Khao (like eat in hindi) and Lak like –well Lak. There! No more, ‘Somewhere near Phuket that starts with K’. So, armed with sunscreen, swimsuits and all things skimpy ;) – I was good to go!  Since I’d never actually heard about Khao Lak, a quick google search revealed that it’s a cluster of villages, 80 km North of Phuket that was practically wiped out during the Tsunami! But gradually rebuilt itself –as good as new. And thank God for that!

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    RIDE OF OUR LIFE

    The approach is doesn’t scream paradise – in fact, quite the contrary. Phuket Airport has more of a Goa airport vibe. As we touched down – it was divide and conquer – my husband targeted transport- I, the calling cards. The guys at the airport are veiled con artists- but we’d been warned. Negotiations ensued and twenty minutes later, heads held high, money tucked down low -we hopped into the backseat of a derelict Toyota, as the scrawny driver took the front seat-threatening 100 baht if we made any pit stops. And so we took off. Somewhere along the ninety minute car ride, I realized why the journey took this long. Tiny resorts come into view– palm trees replaced muddy car racing tracks, clear blue water substituted barren land and hurray! A sign that showed my hotel minutes away came into view. Car journeys haven’t ever been my thing –  so by this time it was all head in hands, sweaty palms and a minute away from throwing up the soggy airplane sandwich.

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    We had reached! Wow. Think paradise. I know that’s vague, but perhaps the only way to describe it. The hotel was everything the airport wasn’t – utterly polite staff, a fantastic green landscape (I’m no botanist- but the greenery was just incredible) and the pool! Boy -the pool! Circling the hotel- its Southeast Asia’s longest pool spanning almost 2 kms! That was it! We flung the bags onto the giant bed – (solicitously decorated with swan towels and rose petals), squeezed into our swimsuits and dived in! Water’s my thing! So the endless pool and turquoise-green Mediterranean Sea at my disposal – I was like a dog with two very tantalizing bones! And it was pure bliss! I got myself a brilliant reddish tan, while basking in the (pretty harsh) sun, listening to the sound of waves & downing the most delish Pad Thai for two days–and I still hadn’t had my fill of water.

    EXPLORING THE WATERS

    Which is why diving was also (obviously) on the agenda. We signed up with Sea Bees – which seemed like the easiest option since it was affiliated with the hotel. Now, I’m embarrassed to admit, that despite my ‘water baby’ tag- I wasn’t completely at ease. While our trainer was fantastic and my husband adapted brilliantly –I was like a little kid learning to walk. Lots of spluttering, coughing and wild flapping of arms and eventually it was a matter of a few deep breaths and I ventured right back to the deep end- 40 ft to be precise. That’s when I soaked in the magnificence of being ‘under the sea’ literally! It was another world and I was in complete awe! From eels to baby octopus and gorgeous kaleidoscopic corals – it was an ethereal experience I’ll never forget.

    NIGHT TO DAY

    Now, the nightlife in Khao Lak – is well – more like just night. There ain’t much life, really! 10 p.m. and its shutters down. So 8  o’clock is when you head to ‘town’, devour the food (Smile & Qcumber were outstanding!) get a full body Thai massage (heav-en-ly) or indulge in a bit of retail therapy at the small shops- remember to put those bargaining skills to use yet again.

    And that pretty much sums up my holiday in this charming yet cozy island. With the warm people, fantastic food, moan- inducing massages and unbelievable scuba-diving experience there’s no way I’m ever forgetting the name ‘Khao Lak’.

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