If it wasn’t for the weather, you could almost imagine yourself to be in Stockholm. There’s a Swedish-language magazine, meatballs on the menu and men with a big bump each under their top lip. The bump is chewing tobacco, called ‘snooze’ in Swedish. If a Swede offers you a ‘snooze’ then it’s probably best to decline (you can maybe say “no thanks I’m not tired” if you like) as, if accompanied by beer, the stuff is likely to disintegrate into, basically, a mouthful of soggy cigarettes.
Lots of the Swedes who flock to Koh Lanta don’t conform to the blonde-haired, blue-eyed stereotype, but can still be recognized by their speech, even if the listener doesn’t understand a word, just by the exaggerated way in which their voices go up and down in tone as they speak.
Swedish doesn’t have a word for ‘please’ so, in order for Swedes to maintain their innate politeness, they are forced to put lots of effort into their speech and to talk in as agitated a way as possible. Any reader who finds this assertion dubious should visit a Stockholm bar. The Swedish language words used to order a beer are, transliterated into English, “big, strong”. That’s all they say. This is obviously rather an abrupt way to ask for a drink, so Swedes say the words in as happy and smiley a way as possible, in order to seem friendly. If you are on Koh Lanta and you hear a person speaking in an especially over-the-top happy way then no, it’s not likely that he’s a Swede with mental problems, he’s probably just Norwegian. Whilst the Thais may be the happiest people in the world, the Norwegians are the happiest-sounding.
Aside from smiling Scandinavians, Lanta has much to offer the visitor in search of luxury, serenity and low-key night-life. The island’s large size has meant that it has been able to absorb development without overly adverse environmental impact. All the mid-Andaman dive sites are within range. The ticklishly toe-nibbling fish on Koh Rok, an easy daytrip away, offer arguably Thailand’s second best snorkeling, eclipsed only by the underwater cornucopias on display at the sensational Surin Islands.
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