Sundström Travel Logo

Khao Lak - Emotional return back to Khao Lak

Thailand (Khao Lak) 2006-09-09

At 10.20 AM, Dec 26 2004 the Tsunami hit Khao Lak. Ever since we left Sweden we knew we had to return to Khao Lak to see how Khao Lak is recovering from the tsunami and to see some people we knew since before.

But before we came to Khao Lak we where robbed!

We took a long walk on the beach in Khao Lak to see how much that are changed after the tsunami. Click to enlarge.So, now it had happened to us as well!! Even if we thought we were Professional Tourists! After a nightmare journey from Siem Reap to the Thai border (6 hours on a very, very bad and bumpy road on a minibus that was completely broken and part of the roof fell down and there where some big holes on the floor were the sand and dust where coming in to the bus. We and the luggage were totally covered by this red-brown sand and on top of this Eva were feeling ill) we changed bus at the Thai border to a big luxury one with working AC.

Very nice, we thought until we arrived in Bangkok and our hotel some hours later. Looking forward to a shower (a must) and some change of clothes (from red-brown to maybe white?) Eva found out that someone had went through her big backpack We checked all our luggage and Yes, everything is carefully looked through but the “only” thing we are missing is two credit cards and we blocked the cards with just a phone call.

The bus had a very big luggage room and there had been a gang of thieves going through everyone’s luggage. They must have been concentrated on credit cards, jewelry and cash. Our other valuables are not taken, for ex the diving computer or the underwater house for the camera. We always try to have our valuables in different luggage so this is not a catastrophe for us. We have other credit cards and cash…..well, we are running out of money anyway *smile*

We are glad that we have been spared from this kind of “happenings” for one year. Now we know that there really are a gang of thieves that operated in those buses. So our advice is to take a government owned bus from the border. And absolutely do not use the company Neak Krorhorm in Seam Reap. So, we had a late dinner in Bangkok but a good thing is that Eva is feeling better! Do you know?? We have a favorite cheese cake place in Bangkok!!! "Secret Recipe", we had a very good lunch before flying with Air Asia to Phuket.

Olof Carlson. Click to enlarge.Olof Carlson, owner of Poseidon Bungalows picked us up in Phuket. He has been our contact in Khao Lak since the Tsunami and we have met him a couple of times before Dec 2004. It is rainy season and they had a lot of rain last week so Olof had to close Poseidon Bungalows, but that is not a problem for us, it is low season and there are a few places that are not under construction. We stayed the first night very close to “our” supermarket but moved later to Nang Thong Bay Resort where we have a seaside Bungalow.

The Bungalow is very, very nice, with AC, warm water and the shower with the sky as a roof!!! The Resort also has a nice pool, a good restaurant and very nice staff – all this for $ 28 a night. We used to have dinner here sometimes before the Tsunami and we noticed that the restaurant is still in the same place. And, the manager Chitladda Sornin (Jist) is a relative to “Nam”, from Garden Beach Resort, so these parts of Khao Lak are owned by one big family. Contact Jist for bookings and if you have questions on the Resort.

We took a looong walk along the beach and even if the beach looks totally different and there are no old buildings left we are able to orientate our selves (Well, maybe Anders more than Eva…)

The owner of Garden Beach and Andaman are rebuilding the resort again and this must be the best place in Khao Lak. Of course it is not the same as it was before; all the very cheap places are gone and will never come back (before we paid 500 baht per bungalow a night). Everyone is now building more luxury places with AC and pools etc and along the beach there are many building projects going on – and everyone wants to be finished before Christmas!!.

The boat is located 2 kilometer from the beach and it´s a big boat. Click to enlarge.We have now reached New Ayara Villas and this was the resort that our five friends, family Kihlblom with their three children, stayed at and where taken by the Tsunami.......We should have celebrated New Year together here in Khao Lak……. Located in “their” restaurant we are thinking and remembering them…and maybe they are giving us sunshine from heaven. All our Angels are with us……..

Around Ayra Villas and former Mais Quiet Zone it is totally flat and there was nothing to stop the wave. There are warning towers and loudspeakers and signs everywhere that tells the evacuation plans in case of a Tsunami. This must be a very safe place in case of a new earthquake! On our way back we passed the big Police boat that went ashore 1.500 m from the sea!! We understand the power of the wave…..

Yes, this was a long walk filled with memories of the past and of our beloved friends and their children……..and sunshine. Despite the fact that it is rainy season it is a bonus that it is sunshine or is it the spirits of Family Kihlblom from above saying they are OK.

And there will be more sun, Yippee! We manage to spend several days at the pool and on the beach. At the evenings we are having a drink and enjoying the sunset from our terrace. Do you (who have been here!) remember how beautiful it was? Well. It is still very, very beautiful!!

Olof is joining us one evening and he says hello to everyone who knows him.

It feels very good to be back in Khao Lak and spend our money on food and things with people who really have had two very tuff years. We buy some T-shirts and other stuff we really don’t need but because of solidarity so when it comes to the discussions on price we are very moderate!

We are so happy to see Nam again! Greetings to Nam from all Swedes we know that have stayed at old Garden Beach and good luck with the new Khao Lak Andaman Resort. Click to enlarge.We have also met “Nam”, or Khanittha as you might now her as, and she is showing us her new place Khao Lak Andaman Beach Resort, that will open now in December. It will be very nice but at the moment it is just a workplace. The restaurant is situated exactly at the same place, Garden Beach Resort, as it was before. Nam is also telling us much about the Tsunami and how she just “flows” up with the wave (luckily she had no physical wounds) but they haven’t still found one of her sisters…..

She is very happy to see us and we can see that she is longing to go back to work again, so, You are all Welcome back!! And don’t forget to give her a big hug from us!!

Greetings from your professional tourists.