06.05.2008 - 06.05.2008 87 °F
I wanted to visit Koh Larn (KL) while I was in Pattaya. It had been a few years since I was on KL, so I allowed one day for the trip. My friend Mike drove me over to the pier after we had been up at Buddha Hill. I wanted to check on departure times. Plan A was to meet Mike the next day at 9:00am and spend the day on KL. He called later in the day and told me he had a chance to play golf with a buddy from BKK and would pass on KL. OK, I would go alone.
I got up at 8:00am, got myself together and rode my motorbike over to Bali Hai pier. Once there, I looked for a legal parking spot. Pay attention if you ride a rental bike to the pier. There are areas that are marked tow-away zones. They mean it. A police truck does check and they will lift your bike into the truck bed. Off they go and now you get to pay a 500 baht fine to get your bike back.
I had misread the sign the previous day. There are several options on getting to KL. I had looked at the fast ferry times and not the slow ferry. I wanted to pay 40 baht r/t, not 150 baht r/t. But, I saw the fast ferry left at 9:30am, and the slow ferry at 10:00. The trip takes about 30 minutes on the fast ferry, slow ferry takes 45 minutes. Then the lady selling tickets makes her pitch. If you take the slow ferry, you get off at the Naban Pier on KL and get on a song-taow, or baht bus. Fares range from 30 to 50 baht each way to the beaches. If you want to go to Twaen or Samae beach, you are going to pay 100 baht in song-taow fares. Add the 40 baht for the ferry and it is real close to what the fast ferry charges. Plus you get more beach time with the fast ferry. I am convinced, I pay my 150 baht and walk to the ferry. It leaves on time and off we go to KL. A few fast boats roar by us, but that option makes no sense IMO. It costs roughly 2,000 baht r/t for the fast boats and you save maybe 15 minutes travel time. Even with a party of 8, that is 250 baht each. Since most of us don't travel in a group of 8, we can dismiss the fast boat option. Here is a sad story of what can happen to Pattaya tourists using the fast boats.
I have time to read a bit and take some photos of both Pattaya and KL. We go around the SE corner of KL and pass Tonglang Beach. Looks pretty good, but our boat stops at Twaen Beach. Once stopped, a long-tail boat comes alongside and people start lining up to transfer. I hang back to take photos, I am in no hurry. You are going to be on the beach until at least 3:00pm. That is when the first fast ferry returns to Pattaya. You are going to get at least 4 hours of beach time when you daytrip KL. I can take about 30 minutes of sun, so I will be hiding most of the day. I get on the second transfer boat and we head for Twaen Beach. The long-tailed boat stops in about knee deep water and you jump off. This can be a little tricky. I leave my day bag on the boat and jump. Then retrieve my bag. The water is warm and clear, exactly why tourists go over to KL. I wade ashore and try to decide what set of umbrellas to choose. The prices are the same, but I want fewer bodies around. Of course the ones closest to the drop off area fill up first. I walked down the beach until I find a concessionaire that has only a few customers. I pick a beach bed and settle in. A guy comes by and asks if I want anything. I order a cold water and they run a tab. I read my book until it is too hot and head for the water. It really is idyllic. Warm, clear water, gentle waves, sandy bottom. I swim a bit and return to the shade. This is repeated for several hours. Walk to the water, swim, hide in the shade. The swimming area is protected from the jet skiis and boats with rope & buoys. By 2:00 I am hungry and walk to the small tables behind the umbrellas. Each beach concessionaire offers food/drink as well as beach beds. You can eat at your bed or at a table. I choose the tables and order. I see omelette & rice is an OK price. Yes, it is more than many small restaurants in Pattaya, but I still get a meal for 60 baht. Since I am in the shade, I eat & read my book until I see it is almost time for the 3:00 boat back to Pattaya. Now it is time to settle up. My tab is 150 baht for food, water, and the beach bed. Not bad for a day on a nice beach with lunch. You can take a towel, hit the sand, take your own food/drink and not spend anything. Not for me, but I guess you could if you are running short of baht.
A group of us wait for the transfer boat in knee deep water. Even I can get up and on the transfer boat, but older or less agile visitors may want to use the slow ferry. They use the Naban Pier, so it is easier to get on/off the boat. We motor out to the ferry and head off once all are onboard. I take a few more photos and relax on the way back to Pattaya. About 35 minutes later we are back at Bali Hai pier. My motorbike is still there and I head for my room. Even by myself, it was a very enjoyable day on a beautiful beach. Give it a try when you hit Pattaya.