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How I Learnt To Stop Worrying And Enjoy The Beach Holiday

Here's how to enjoy your beach holiday to the fullest.

Travel
| Womenontheirowntrip.com| UPDATED: November 10, 2017, 11:16 AM IST
How I Learnt To Stop Worrying And Enjoy The Beach Holiday File photo of popular Half Moon beach in Al-Khobar city of Saudi Arabia.
For as far as I can remember, I have loved vacationing in the hills. Even as a child, when I couldn’t really tell the difference between the various hill stations we went to every summer, I would love the feeling of being there. The sight of the majestic Himalayan peaks from a distance would thrill me each time!

As for beaches, I didn’t really know what to do with them. It could be the fact that I grew up in Delhi and hills were always closer and easier to get to than the sea, or that my family preferred hiking around mountains over lazing on beaches. Even when not hiking or trekking, I would love the serenity and peace that the mountains exude. The few times I went for a beach vacation, I got bored quickly or worried about how I would possibly spend my time there. Not being a strong swimmer, I couldn’t stay in the sea for long and sitting on the beach in the heat seemed a bit pointless to me.

Fast forward to my trip to Croatia in 2016 and my tryst with the pebbly, azure Adriatic coast there—when I spent many hours floating in the Adriatic Sea, in a little fishing village close to Dubrovnik. That was the first time I realized that beaches could be fun!

But it was not until I traveled to the island of Koh Lanta in Thailand earlier this year that I truly learnt to embrace a beach holiday. Koh Lanta with its sleepy island vibe, friendly locals, and mountainous roads won me over completely. The fact that Koh Lanta is still relatively lesser known of the famous Thai islands is definitely a big part of its appeal.
Koh Lanta has a long coastline and different kinds of beaches which would suit all kinds of people. The most popular beaches are the Long Beach and Klong Dao, sandy beaches with calm waters, largely frequented by families. Then there’s the hip Klong Khong, the preferred beach of all backpacking tourists. For my vacation, I booked a resort at the partly-rocky Klong Nin beach, with hardly any tourists in sight—even during high season!

In the five days, my friend and I spent in Koh Lanta, I got used to the slow pace of the island life. Everything would open at 6 am and shut by 8 pm. Most restaurants stopped taking in walk-in diners by 9 pm and closed by 10 pm.
I would wake up early, have breakfast in the hotel and step out to my favorite beach, Nui Beach, for a morning swim, before the sun climbed too high and the day became hot. Afterwards, I’d get back to the hotel, shower off and sit by the pool in the hotel—sometimes I would spend my time sitting by the pool and reading until lunch, other times I’d float around in the pool to cool off.

Due to how unbearably hot it became in the afternoons, I’d retreat to my room for an afternoon nap, and only get out again by 5 pm, once the sun was lower. Evenings were spent sitting on the beach, people watching, and by 7 pm most of the hotel guests would start taking up prime spots by the beach to watch the sunset—the sunsets at Koh Lanta are appointment viewing, as anyone at the island would tell you!

The beach we were staying on had a few small, family-run restaurants all of which close early so we had to get used to having early dinners. Some days my friend and I got on onto our rented scooty and rode to one of the other beaches for dinner. Having a scooty is essential to enjoying an island break, I realized soon, as all the nicest beaches and restaurants are a quick ride away, and tuktuks are hard to come by late in the evening.

Post-dinner beach strolls and beer by the sea was how we ended most days. And it was on our last day there that I realized that I had actually become used to the leisurely pace that a beach holiday demands. A beach vacation necessarily asks you to be lazy and to let go of any fixed notions you may have of what a holiday should entail. The days start seeming elastic in a way that a three-day break starts to feel as long as a week-long one, and the possibility of a return to usual life seems too distant to worry about.

Koh Lanta is what made me discover the lure of a lazy beach holiday, and even though my heart belongs in the hills, I’m glad that I can look forward to more beach vacations.


First Published: November 7, 2017, 1:15 PM IST
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