The day after Christmas started with a very exciting breakfast. As usual, we were eating at a table in the open air restaurant by the pool. Near the end of our breakfast, a large monkey came running into the restaurant and jumped up on the empty table next to us. The waitstaff hadn’t noticed anything at this point, and the monkey calmly looked us over, jumped down, then came over and grabbed part of a poached egg right off Domingos’s plate! I made the mistake of stomping my foot at him instead of standing up to look more threatening, and he hissed at us, baring his extremely large fangs. Egg’s all yours, buddy. At that point a waiter finally noticed and chased the monkey off. That will get your heart started on a sleepy morning! We did witness the monkey return a while later and manage to grab something else – it looked like a coffee mug, but that seemed like an odd choice.
We were planning to rent a scooter to check out more of the island that day, but after horror stories from the owner and the manager about other guests ending up with broken legs and expensive hospital visits, we decided to hire someone to drive us around for a few hours! This turned out to be a very good decision, as we had the lovely A/C in the car in between stops on a very hot day.
First we set off for the Mu Ko Lanta National Park, about a 20-minute drive south of our hotel. It was gorgeous, and filled with more aggressive monkeys. We steered clear of them, but saw them pestering other tourists and sometimes making off with personal items. Someone we met the next day said the monkeys went through their closed bag!
Next, our driver took us to Lanta Old Town, since we hadn’t really seen any of it the day before. We walked along the street and looked at all the shops, but we weren’t in a shopping mood. We settled on the restaurant “Fresh Restaurant” for lunch, which was highly recommended by The Houben’s owner. It was an open-air restaurant over the water, and the food lived up to the hype.
After lunch, we wandered a little more in Old Town, picked up a couple of delicious fresh pineapple shakes, then headed back to the hotel for some down time. There was a very light rain, but that didn’t stop us from taking a refreshing swim in the hotel pool (which was red, and of which I got one hazy picture at night, but if you google The Houben you’ll see plenty of great photos).
In the afternoon we walked down to the little town area and I bought a scarf and an elephant I had seen earlier in our visit. We also fell in love with a painting by a local woman artist and ended up buying it. The artist was out of town, but the woman I bought the scarf from was watching her store as well, and she was extremely helpful in selling us the painting and wrapping it up for travel. Luckily, extra baggage on AirAsia isn’t too pricey if you buy it in advance. I would show you the art, which was a case of insta-love for us both, but we forgot to take a photo before it was all safely wrapped up. And I don’t think you’d really enjoy looking at a bubble-wrapped tube. I will give you a goat instead:
We weren’t that hungry, so we stopped by the Drunken Sailor for iced coffees and a really delicious version of Indian samosas.
Back at the hotel, we indulged in a few cocktails and nibbled on a couple more appetizers instead of a full dinner.