This is a people watching story, set on a beautiful tropical island, with powdery white sand and overlooking the spectacular Andaman Sea, one of the World’s greatest preserves for divers, snorkelers and sun worshipers.
We travelled from Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand to Koh Lanta, flying AirAsia to Krabi. After the flight, we were met and transported via taxi to our first ferry then a short drive to arrive at our second ferry – we should add, these were small boats and we were pleased to put our feet on dry land! We arrived at our jungle resort on the beach after a seven hour journey.
It all looked so quiet and peaceful. We had found true paradise, until the next morning when we went for breakfast. We were confronted with many Scandinavian giants and after them the tiny Chinese swarmed in, in their hoards, arm-waving and shouting. The Chinese were equipped with snorkelling gear and arm bands, eating huge breakfasts before swimming, even if they did use buoyancy aids which accompanied them to breakfast! We were amazed and envious as to where the Chinese were storing all of this food in such petite bodies. This particular group of Chinese were going out on a day-trip by boat, there were at least twelve of them spanning maybe four generations.
Alf had been to an early morning yoga class, so for us we breakfasted quite late at 9.00AM. The next group to arrive was the French. Koh Lanta is particularly popular with the French as well as the Scandinavians. By and large, the French ate a fraction of what the typical Chinese consumed for breakfast. We noticed one family of late French risers, who took their breakfast on the beach and remained there. The Germans, of course, are typically early to breakfast, so as to be able to reserve the best sunbeds in the best spots, but things are changing in that area – now the Chinese are going into competition with them, the Scandinavian and the Brits lag well behind, except Alf, who usually tries to be first on the beach! But Alf was outdone one day by a Chinese middle-aged man who who just threw Alf’s things on the sand, taking the sunbed and the umbrella!
For the rest of our seven-day stay, we breakfasted at around 7.00AM, along with the Scandinavians, Germans and Dutch and enjoyed the civility.
We had chosen Koh Lanta for some serious relaxation and the sun, sea and white sand met all our expectations and there was more than enough room for us and the rest of the world too.
The conclusion is that the Chinese have arrived en masse, with big spending power so we might as well start learning Mandarin!