Thursday, 12 July 2018

Trash Hero Lanta Teaching the Young of Koh Lanta

Trash Hero's Regular Beach Clean Up
Green Season is a tough time of year on Koh Lanta, not only because the weather can be anywhere from really hot and sunny to very, very wet, but also because we get a lot of rubbish washed onto our beaches as the wind changes.

Trash Hero Bottle
We are luckily enough to have a wonderful, charity organisation, called 'Trash Hero Lanta' who ask tourists and locals to help them clean the beaches and recycle what they can. They did a tremedous job last week, having beach clean ups in Kantiang Bay (with the Lanta Police force), Long Beach (with 7/11 staff), Klong Dao (with local hotels) and Secret Beach (with the kids of Lanta). We love and admire the work they do and are a happy sponsor of some of these events and we even provide light refreshments for the volunteers at some of these events.

Volunteers offered a beer after their hard work
However they don't want to just stop there, they want to REDUCE the rubbish getting into the seas, get people to RECYCLE as much as possible and get people to REFUSE single use products, such as plastic straws, plastic bags and plastic bottles. So they have created reusable straws (and supply paper ones), reusable bags and the Trash Hero Bottle. This bottle can be used repeatedly and in many places they will refill it with water for free!

Chai Explaining the Trash Hero Ideals to the Kids
But they also know that if you want to solve this problem long term, you have to start with the young and they have been educating the children on the island about the problem and asking them to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE. But now they have gone a step further, In April, Shaan & Jeevan's Eco-Farm and The Kids Book Club crowdfunded for 200 Trash Hero bottles to try and make the local village school in Langsod go "Plastic Bottle Free."
Aruna Handing Each Child a Trash Hero Bottle

On Wednesday, 11th July 2018, Langsod school that dream became a reality and became the first school on the islands of Koh Lanta to become a Trash Hero School and gave all the teachers and kids their very own Trash Hero bottle.
Langsod School Children and Teachers with their new Trash Hero Bottles

Well done to Trash Hero, Shaan & Jeevan's Eco-Farm, The Kids Book Club  and the many sponsors of this event, for this great step forward. Educating the young of our island about waste is so important for the future of the island. 
The Kids Lining up for their Trash Hero Bottles

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Be a Trash Hero

Trash Hero Lanta
Trash Hero need Volunteers
Pollution, rubbish and plastic are a problem on Koh Lanta, just like they are all over the world. But at this time of year, because of changing wind directions, we not only have to deal with the rubbish we create on this island, but also rubbish from elsewhere that washes up onto our beaches. At Mook Lanta Eco Resort we are committed to reducing our rubbish by reducing the plastics we use and recycling and reusing wherever possible.
Our Guests leave Toiletries they would throw away for others to use
Toys are left for other guests and given to Children Of The Forest at the end of the year

We ask our guests to reuse the water bottles in their rooms, rather than receive a new one each day (free refills throughout the day), to leave their half used toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, sun tan lotion etc) and beach toys (inflatables, fins, masks) with us instead of throwing them away (so others can use them). We, in turn, recycle our plastics, glass, cans and cardboard and try to reuse old building products in innovative ways throughout the resort.
7/11 also support Trash Hero on a Sunday
Koh Lanta is very lucky that the wonderful, Trash Hero Team, volunteer every week to run a beach clean up on the island. This is a non-profit organisation and is run by kindhearted souls who give up their time every Sunday to promote and manage a beach clean up. But they cannot do this alone and always need volunteers to help them and sponsors to help pay for essential clean up gear. This week 2 guys who cycled from Europe (Daniel Needham & Markus Kauhanan) and 1 lady (Kelly Nicholas) who cycled from Bangkok found the energy to also help with the cleanup of the beach! Daniel Needham is cycling for Unicef, so if you want to read his story and say thank you please sponsor him on here:
Trash Hero provide and promote using reusable Bottles and Straws
We have always been a supporter of Trash Hero, who supply businesses on the island with paper straws, reusable straws and reusable water bottles, but we are also proud to not only sponsor their clean ups in June, but also provide a beer or two for the lovely volunteers who help too.
A case of beer for the volunteers

If you are on Koh Lanta on a Sunday, and want to help, for just an hour, clean up our oceans, why not join this clean up. They also have groups in other places around Thailand.
Be a Hero!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Children of the Forest on Koh Lanta

One of the many reasons that I love Koh Lanta is that the island can demonstrate such a wonderful heart and sense of community. If you live on Lanta for any length of time you know that there are 2 charities that the community strongly and passionately support; Lanta Animal Welfare and Children of the Forest.

Children of the Forest is a charity that looks after Mon/Karen children from the Thai/Burmese border who have been abandoned, abused or orphaned. They provide health care, education and love to these kids. Every year they bring around 50 children to Koh Lanta, so the kids can experience their first ever holiday, on the beach.
It is a long journey
The journey is grueling and take 2 days and is 1,100km long. The kids take turns to sleep and watch their first journey into the south of Thailand. Once they arrive they are welcomed by Andaman Sunflower, who give them the whole resort for 10 days.
Andaman Sunflower their home for 10 days
Throughout their stay on Koh Lanta they want for nothing. Many, many businesses not only give their time and their location for free they also:

1. Time for Lime - Cookery classes & time on the beach with beach toys
2. Laguna Beach Club - Their wonderful pool for the kids to play in
3, Kandi Lounge - A BBQ and use of their table football and pool table
4. Global Local - Free dinner
5. Lanta Animal Welfare - Time with the animals and education on taking care of animals
6. Scubafish - Trip to Koh Haa for snorkelling
7. Svenska Skolan Thailand - Games with their Swedish students
8. Irie Bar - Disco
9. Sai Thai Cookery School & Sandy - Lunch at Andaman Sunflower
10. Greek Taverna - Lunch
11. 2 Scoops - Free gelato
12. Lanta Waterpark - Free play time in their park

But it did not just stop with these businesses, many other businesses contributed to these events, hotels provided unwanted beach toys and tourists who come every year, helped fund the holiday.

These children have had a difficult start to life and it is a real testament to the community of Koh Lanta as to how welcomed these children are. If you wish to discover more about this wonderful charity or donate please click here; Children of the Forest.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

What is Green Season Really Like on Koh Lanta

Our reception in Green Season
Many people look at me in shock when I tell them I live on Koh Lanta the whole year, 'what about the Monsoon?' they say with absolute horror.

Monsoon is one of those words that conjurers up rain, more rain and lots of storms, but what is it really like?

Monsoon (/mɒnˈsn/) is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation,[1] but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea.[2][3] Usually, the term monsoon is used to refer to the rainy phase of a seasonally changing pattern, although technically there is also a dry phase. The term is sometimes incorrectly used for locally heavy but short-term rains,[4] although these rains meet the dictionary definition of monsoon.[5] 

Source: Wikipedia

For me, I use the phrase 'Green Season' because that is what happens. Unlike the High Season where the hot sun scorches the earth and my beautiful tropical gardens wither. Green season has a mix of rain and sun that makes things grow, and I mean really grow. The first rain sends all my plants into a fever of blossoming, the grass grows rapidly and the gardens look beautiful again.
Everything grows in Green Season
Green Season usually runs from May to October on Koh Lanta and is signaled by the winds coming from the West, not the East. With this change in wind direction we get more unpredictable weather. But usually we see storms at the beginning and end, with good weather in the middle.

So how does that affect tourists, well firstly nothing is guaranteed, you are not guaranteed sun, rain, wind or storms, you could get one or all of these.

Tours happen throughout the Green Season (except some to the National Marine Parks that are closed to recuperate) but they may be cancelled at short notice if the weather changes. Scuba Diving is available and can even be better than High Season.
As a Diving Instructor, I saw my first Whaleshark in Green Season
Accommodation is super cheap (more than 50% discounts on high season). Yes some places shut (10 years ago almost everything did) but most stay open, but may have 1 or 2 days off a week. There is always a party, just ask a local!

Locals are, in general, more friendly. Seeing a few tourists, rather that trying to beat back a crowd of tourists (and they also need the money) means people have a lot more time for you.

The beaches will have more rubbish on them, but this is not, in the main, the locals fault. As the winds and sea directions change, it pushes rubbish onto the beaches. Koh Lanta should do more, but we have a wonderful volunteer group, Trash Hero, who organise regular beach cleans, but don't forget to do your bit too. 
Help us keep the beaches clean!
And rain, yes let's discuss the rain. If you come from England, like me, it can be torrential, and I don't mean English torrential! It is like someone poured a bucket over your head! But it is much warmer than rain you are used to and quite spectacular! The temperature rarely goes below 25 degrees on Koh Lanta, so often it is welcomed (see our guests reaction to it in the video below).

Finally, be flexible, if it rains and you are in a bar, it is 'Beer O'Clock.' If your tour is cancelled until tomorrow, get a book sit on your balcony and enjoy the spectacle! If the sun comes out, go to the beach! Finally if you really want to know how what Green Season is like, watch this film done at my resort a few years ago, by a 13 year old boy.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Songkran on Koh Lanta

Just a short video showing how we spent most of our Songkran (Thai New Year), 13th April 2018.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Lanta Noi Waterpark

Well it took 5 months, but having 2 families with us, with 3 young kids each, gave us the excuse we needed and we took them all to Lanta Noi Waterpark.

Absolutely fantastic, 200 baht for an adult, 100 baht for a child.

Highly recommended (for young and old)

Scuba Diving at Koh Bida

I don't often get the chance to go diving, so it was lovely to be invited along with Andaman Dive Adventures on Friday.

Normally if I have a day to dive, I usually choose Koh Haa with the brilliant blue and clear waters and the caverns and caves. However this time Andaman Dive Adventures were going to the new wreck (scuttled for diving) at Koh Phi Phi and the Bida islands, where there is always plenty to see.

Half way to the first dive, the boat suddenly comes to an abrupt halt, which usually means there is an issue with the boat or there is something interesting in the waters. Luckily for us, it was the later, and we had 10 minutes watching a 4 metre Whaleshark from the surface.

This was my first time using a Go Pro and my first time editing, so excuse the obvious mistakes but you can see that whilst the water is much greener at the Bida Islands (just off of Koh Phi Phi) the plethora of food means there is loads of aquatic life. There were many large schools of fish, as well as a tiny Pipefish, Blue Spotted Rays, Puffer Fish and a lovely baby Leopard Shark.

Whilst is was my first dive for over a year, it was Rebecca's first dive ever! And as you can see she loved it.

Many thanks to all the crew at Andaman Dive Adventures that made it such a great day, probably should not leave it so long next time!