We spent Christmas on the island of Ko (island, in Thai) Kradan. Ko Kradan is located further south from the popular islands of Ko Phi Phi and Ko Lanta, and has only four or five places to stay and eat. The islands and water are beautiful, with colors right out of a postcard, with all different hues of blue in the sky and in the water. There is also great snorkeling right off the beach. The food is really expensive, and the lodging wasn’t cheap (but that is mostly because it is high season).
Ko Kradan is relatively uncrowded, with boats on day tours stopping during the mid-day to unload visitors for snorkeling and relaxing on the beaches. We relaxed in the shade and spent our time snorkeling. The food is expensive ($5-10 US, with seafood BBQ from $15-20 US). For Christmas, many places in Thailand are used to all the tourists (peak season in December brings in Scandinavians escaping the cold with cheap airfares available to shuttle them to the country in masses) so Christmas trees and Christmas decorations are common in the restaurants.
Hanging stockings seemed easy, but out-of-place since it is so hot and who would wear stockings in the heat anyways? Instead, we opted to hang up our sun hats on Christmas Eve in hopes that Santa would stop by to deliver goodies. We were pleased to find them full of chocolates and other snacks in the morning. We enjoyed a day of snorkeling and a nice sunset before going to bed for Christmas Eve.
The islands in the Andaman Sea have towers with alarm horns for what appears to be an integrated tsunami warning system. Ko Kradan had evacuation route signs directing people to a high point. We followed the trail over a small ridge and down the western side of the island to watch beautiful sunsets. The beach on the west side is exposed to the open sea and has a representative collection of washed up trash (mostly flip-flops-, fishing gear, water bottles, toothbrushes, cigarette lighters and styrofoam).
***click to enlarge photos****