Guess what? We are back in Thailand with more great food and a few of those gorgeous sunsets. But let’s start with a bit of history.
There is more to the bridge than the movie
The border crossing at Phu Nam Ron was a breeze and in just two hours we were walking around Kanchanaburi, home to the famous bridge on the river Kwai.
The funny fact is that before the movie was released, not such bridge existed. Pierre Boulle, author of the novel, made a big mistake and chose the wrong river. Following the huge success of the film – and probably smelling the imminent hordes of tourists landing in Kanchanaburi – the Thai authorities decided to change the name of part of the river to avoid confusion. Seriously.
It certainly is an enjoyable movie – and that tune will forever be in our heads. Despite what many believe, it is not based on actual events though. The Thailand-Burma Railway Centre is well worth a visit to understand the horrors of what happened here, not so long ago.
A thought on Thailand
A sign in one of the bars in Kanchanabury got me thinking. It read something like this:
Let’s get shit faced
“That is a bit sad” – I thought. “And a bit early, it is only 10.00am”. Maybe tourism has ruined this country to the point where it is easier to get drunk for less than a fiver than to find authentic food.
There are exceptions of course, and every now and then you will come across a simple food stall tucked away between western bars serving basic but delicious food.
And in this fusion of east and west, it is fairly easy to find tropical fruit smoothies and shakes. I must admit that here I have found my new addiction: chocolate shakes – especially if they come like this. I think I am getting old.
My thoughts quickly switched to the long and tedious bus journey that was waiting for us next day. The best cure for those mammoth journeys? Massaman Curry of course!
Made with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, lemongrass and a million other spices, Massaman Curry can be found combined with any kind of meat or full vegan and, due to the number of ingredients involved, it is guaranteed that not two servings will taste the same.
A dish with muslim roots, perfected in Thailand and now re-invented by many chefs around the world. Allow us to introduce some variations of one of our favourite meals, the Massaman Curry:
- The Spicy One: it is not often that you get served a curry with a little kick in Thailand. So, when the lady at Joy Luck Club in Bangkok delivered the dish, we were happy, very happy.
- Going Green: we went vegetarian in Kanchanabury at On’s Thai Issan. Highly recommend this tiny restaurant where all food is freshly made right before your eyes.
- The Creamy One: Kwan’s Cookery in Koh Lanta allows you to customise your dish. Not that it needs any final touches though. It was super creamy.
- The Joker: There was something about Time for Lime’s take on the famous curry. It was not the spiciest or the creamiest. It was just a bit of everything, it was good!
Some things just need a second look
So, Koh Lanta. Boy it takes some effort to get here. And at first it was actually a bit disappointing. It felt empty, the waters were not crystal clear and the beach was, hmm, just a standard beach.
There I was, wondering whether we had come to the right place, sipping down a Black Mambo Shake
(cocoa, banana, peanut butter, coconut milk = heaven), when I noticed the following sign:
“The nearest Starbucks is 140km away”… that sounds good actually.
It was then when we realised why so many travel bloggers have called this place “home” at some point in their lives. Let’s think about it.
There is so much space here that, despite being the beginning of the high season, it is impossible to be crowded out in the beach.
Local kids enjoying a good football game just before sunset? That has to be a good sign!
Less people means empty roads and with Koh Lanta featuring a wonderful forest that translates into some pretty awesome motorbike rides.
It may not be a destination of choice for those seeking picture perfect bays and turquoise waters, but it is a place where you could easily spend a month or two. And the food, let’s not forget the food. Pumpkin soup or grilled king fish in mild red curry sauce?
Hang on. There is a bit more to Koh Lanta than all that. It turns out that the beach faces west. And you know what that means? Yes, that.
Sir David Attemborough showed us the way on Planet Earth and so we followed without hesitation. The rainforest awaits.