Thailand, something about the country urges one to kick back and relax so I did. My blog fell aside neglected as I sat by the beach in beautiful Khao Lak.
Khao Lak sits just over an hours drive north of the more famous Phuket. It is a quieter place, no parties filled with young backpackers, rather sedate scuba divers and thier families. My in-laws were visiting and we thought such a tropical retreat would be a nice break for everyone.
Today the beach and resorts feel like paradise. It is nearly impossible to imagine the devastation here on December 26, 2004 when the fourth greatest earthquake since 1900 occurred close off Sumatra. The shifting of the earth released the energy equivalent of 23,000 Hiroshima bombs and created a tsunami that devastated the area. The largest wave was almost 50 feet high and it killed over 4000 people in the area many of them tourists.
A grandson of the Thai king was lost in the tsunami as well as the crew of one of the police boats protecting him. The other patrol boat #813 was swept a mile inland, where it remains as a reminder of the force that Mother Nature can hurl at will towards the human guests on her surface. We drove by this monument once but never was able to take our own photo. This one I borrowed from Wikitravel.
Today there are remarkably few physical scars from the devastation. We stayed at the Le Meridian Hotel which was beautifully restored and enjoyed a fantastic bungalow right on the beach. Admittedly the first night both Andy and I had thoughts of “what if…” Fortunately tsunamis of devastating size are very rare and the tropical beauty seems to erode worries quickly.
Aidan who is fearless wasted no time and quickly plunged in the Indian Ocean. Here is still in his clothes from the flight.
The pools went on forever and both kids were “fish” for the week.
A special resident of the hotel is a 1 1/2-year-old elephant and her appearance always brought much joy.
The baby elephant even gave kisses, here to grandma…
She also played a mean game of soccer.
There was a good selection of places to eat at the resort as well as just a short walk up the beach. We often ordered freshly grilled seafood. Simply chose what creature you like from the cooler and it is wonderfully prepared.
The only downside to the vacation was that it rained very hard almost every early evening. This is unusual for March which is typically the “dry season.” It was difficult to enjoy the sunsets, but we managed to catch a few.
Khao Lak is certainly now a paradise on earth.