We stayed in a hippie commune type hostel while in Koh Lanta called Clayzy House. Located on Long Beach, Clayzy House is nestled in the jungle but is still only a three minute walk from the beach.
Staying here is such an interesting experience! The community at Clayzy House is strong and everyone works together to keep the commune going, including communal dinners some nights for a small fee (about 150 baht/$4 USD). Plus, it is a very chill environment and looks SO COOL! It’s like living in a tree house with a lot of funky, eclectic original art displayed throughout the compound. There’s also a bar directly across the street which makes the stumble home at night a breeze.
I met quite a few characters at Clayzy House. One of the most memorable was a older woman who appeared as though she came to Koh Lanta when she was younger and woke up 30 years later. In other words, she was high out of her mind. I wish I remembered more of the conversation we had with her, but I recall her asking us what letter our names begin with and saying something to the effect of “P is inside of the alphabet so you are safe, but T is on the outside so you need protection”. Hilarious.
Even with the entertainment provided by Clayzy’s long term guests, I did have some rough moments in Koh Lanta. When traveling for several months, you are bound to have highs and lows, and Koh Lanta was a low point for me. I spent a lot of time at the beach swimming and hanging out a beach bar and restaurant named Thaim Out.
Each day at the beach I was full of anxiety and found myself crying uncontrollably. A lot of it had to do with a rejection I had gone through shortly before I left New Orleans. Without the distractions of home, the feelings that I had been shoving down came up all at once. I felt guilty for feeling this way. I mean, who was I to be sad in a place like this? Especially about something as stupid as a guy not liking me.
My sense of self-worth and self-esteem started to increase throughout the trip as I started having new, exciting adventures. This was particularly true when I was doing things that I thought I would never, ever do, like bungee jumping or riding on the back of a motorbike when I had a big fear of crashing. While I wish that I was feeling better so I would have been more up to exploring the island, I do not regret my days spent at Thaim Out. They were vital to me actually feeling what I needed to feel and being able to move on so that I could fully enjoy my travels.
It’s important to note that travel doesn’t fix anything. If you are depressed and anxious at home, you will be depressed and anxious on the road. If your self-esteem is low in New Orleans, it will continue to be low across the world in Vietnam. Travel can obviously contribute exponentially to your happiness and confidence as you meet new people and have new experiences, but it simply cannot fix any serious, deep-seeded issues. In fact, travel can often amplify them. You need to take care of those at home before you leave so that they will not negatively impact life on the road.
Where to stay on Koh Lanta:
$7 USD per person per night if you split a bungalow
There are no locks on the bungalow doors so make sure you have your own to lock the door at night. The front “desk” has a safe where they can store your passport.
Where to enjoy happy hour:
Right on the beach with a great view, 2 for 1 cocktails starting at 4 pm, and free popcorn in the evenings
How do you deal with rough days on the road?
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