People told me about the ‘hush’ before I got anywhere near to the island.
‘The place is sooo laid back’, they said. ‘It’s really special. People just sit in cafes, restaurants, bars – wherever – and just stare out over the water. Don’t talk or, if they do, it’s like they’re whispering’.
So, it was with somewhat raised expectations that I got out of the bus which had taken us to our accommodation on Koh Lanta, the Thai island with what I came to call the ‘Lanta Hush’. And it didn’t take long to experience it first-hand. After dropping things into our room, we went to down to the beach via a café that had a comfortable mixture of tables, chairs, bean-bags and hammocks to sit (or lounge, or lie) in whilst having your preferred drink and food. It didn’t take long to find ourselves sitting quietly – looking out, not talking, just drinking in the scene (as well as our fruit juices).
But the most significant experience of the Lanta Hush was to come. As the afternoon wore on, some of the beach cafes started to get increasing numbers of people in them (not that the island was busy – just a few more people). Fair enough – people are getting ready to have late afternoon drinks or equivalent. But this was only one (minor) part of the situation. The real thing that brought the Lanta Hush was the sunset over the Andaman Sea.
Extraordinary. I’ve seen a lot of spectacular sunsets in my time, especially on the Brahmaputra River between India and Bangladesh, but this one was something else.
Spectacular, I thought. ‘I’m so glad we got to see this. Really lucky that we arrived today’.
But then the following day had another one.
Then the day after that.
And the day after that.
And – well, you get the picture.
It is such a beautiful place. But, unfortunately, its on the edge – tourism pressures, a proposal for a coal fired electricity station nearby, roads and bridges are all putting pressures on the island and its charm. The Lanta Hush might be replaced by something far less agreeable in the not-to-distant future…