Getting Around on Koh Lanta

By Joshua Ballard / a couple of years ago

So coming to Koh Lanta has been considerably different in feeling to Chiang Mai.
For starters I had not realized how spoiled I had been to have literally everything I needed within walking distance, or at the very worst a 20-60 Baht trip in a Red Truck, or Uber. 

Lanta is a different ball game in terms of distance, as well as the cost and availability of transport. There is no Uber service (that I've seen) and I've been told that Grab is just as bad here (I don't personally bother with Grab in Thailand). ​

I accidentally assumed that the accommodation I booked was at the same location as the co-working space I booked, and didn't realize until the day before flying that it was a 20 minute walk between the two. ​

Deciding if I would Rent a Scooter in Koh Lanta​

I was in two minds about whether I would end up renting a scooter (I think deep down I knew I would, which is why I took the time to arrange my international driver's license this time).

Previously in Thailand I was pretty against renting a scooter, mostly because there was so  much traffic and I didn't have any experience with motorized 2 wheel transport on a road, and everything off-road had always included coming off of it haha.

On my first day, I decided to walk in and see how long it would take me​.

Arriving in a sweaty mess only to be quickly asked 'do you need to rent a motorbike?' saw me responding before I had even had a chance to think about it. My co-working center called up their contact and got me an automatic scooter on a 2 month lease for only 5,000 Baht (coming in at approximately $188 Aussie Dollars it was about half the price i'd budgeted). 

The guys that brought the scooter in gave me a quick run down of how to use it, made me ride it in the car park for a little bit and told me to be careful and be safe. He could definitely tell that I had no idea what I was doing, especially with questions such as 'how do i turn it on'.

He also prompted me to take a good video of the bike before he left, so that any signs of chips or damage would be well recorded and not blamed on me. The video idea was above and beyond the recommendations of any other blogs about hiring a scooter in Koh Lanta that I had read, and it felt good knowing that my co-working space had clearly sent me to a reputable scooter rental company.

Rain, Darkness and Scooters: One Hell of a Ride

After renting my scooter I just left it in the carpark and went back to finish some work that had banked up whilst I was in transit.  Jumping country is one sure fire way to end up with a freaking chockablock full email inbox. 

Just as it was getting dark I started to hear thunder rumbling away and a ludicrous amount of rain setting in. Another co-worker and I took our headphones off and had a short chat about how heavy the rain was. 

It was at this point that Kuljeet asked me 'so how are you getting back to the apartments?'

Suddenly I realized that my first ever scooter ride would be in pitch black darkness and extremely heavy rain.  I would be lying if i said that leaving the scooter at the office and getting a Tuk-Tuk home didn't cross my mind. 

I ended up deciding to at least try, to just get on the bike and see how I felt, knowing that if within the first hundred or so meters I didn't feel safe that I could always walk it back and get another form of transport. 

I probably looked comical to any passers bye (only a few people flew past me on their scooters) as I hugged the left hand side of the road, and moved along at a cheerful 10-15 Km per hour. Never the less, I made it home safe and sound (but certainly not dry). 

This trial by fire on my first ride made every other ride feel just that little bit easier, that little bit safer. I don't wan't to fall prey to over confidence, but I'm glad that I've already ridden in horrible conditions because it makes me feel more prepared for future rides!

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Joshua Ballard

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