After almost 24 hours of travel, the sun broke over the dark curve of the earth, a dazzling display of color against a black sky at forty thousand feet. I could barely contain my excitement as the plane began its descent to Phuket International Airport.

The long journey from Boston took us across the Atlantic to Dubai, then on to Phuket with only one connection in between on Emirates Air. The taxi driver, arranged by Phuket Ferry Service, met us outside the airport for the hour-long drive to Rassada Pier for the ferry to Koh Lanta. Too early for the express boat, we opted to depart earlier and change boats on Koh PhiPhi.

Ban Saladan Pier on Koh Lanta is a crowded, buzzing place filled with touts jockeying for tourists to fill their taxis. The ferry service arranged our transfer ahead of time and after some confusion we found the driver and zipped off to Twin Bay Resort. Located on the north end of the island, Twin Bay is low key and since it was March, the hubbub of peak season passed, we had the beautiful beach practically to ourselves. The garden bungalow was spotless and the excellent air conditioning made it a respite from the tropical heat.

Twin bay offers a breakfast buffet each day with both Thai and Western selections including fresh fruit, pastries, yogurt, cereal, toast, eggs, rice, noodles – even spaghetti and sauce! There is a lovely infinity pool overlooking the powdery sand and crystal clear water of the Andaman Sea. A palapa bar serves cold beer, wine, cocktails and soft drinks. The coconut shake, served in a fresh coconut, was my favorite! Appetizers and snacks can be served poolside.

 

Koh Lanta is one of the “quieter” Andaman Islands. The fact that it was off-peak made it even quieter. Since all of the beautiful beaches and tourist areas are on the west side of the island, it’s prime real estate for sunset viewing. I’d read about a cool, local bar about a 5 minute walk from our hotel that offered unobstructed views of the sunset, decent food and local cocktails. The Rock Bar must surely be a hopping spot in high season with its open air walls, sand floor and gorgeous ocean view but on this night it wasn’t crowded, just the way we like it. We had a delicious vegetarian meal, yummy cocktails and secured a front row seat for the final spectacle of the day. Watching the sun sink into the sea, I felt such gratitude for the opportunity to bear witness to this spectacular show of nature half a world away from home.

If you go:

Emirates Air flies into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Phuket International Airport via Dubai. Stopovers in Dubai can be arranged. www.emirates.com

Phuket Ferry offers service to Koh Lanta, Koh PhiPhi and more from Rassada Pier in Phuket. They can also arrange transfer services to/from the airport and hotels. www.phuketferry.com

Twin Bay Resort has garden and beach bungalows at incredibly reasonable prices. The staff here are gracious, cordial and exemplary at making your stay a pleasure. Lovely pool, beautiful beach, beach bar and hour-long Thai massages on the beach make this a perfect spot to spend your holiday. They can arrange a motorbike or car rental for exploring the island. (Driving is on the left here!) It’s close to the pier in Ban Saladan and bars, restaurants and hotels on Pra Ae (Long Beach) but far enough away from the din. Prices start at 1800THB (about $55 USD). www.twinbaylanta.com