One of the greatest feelings of an employee is that of a forthcoming vacation. This time? Krabi, Thailand. As any clever employee would, I planned the trip to be from Good Friday onwards, so that I wouldn’t have to take as many days off from my annual leave (trick of the trade).
We flew with AirAsia and landed at Krabi International Airport extremely early in the morning (because the cheaper the flight, the more inconvenient the times are) and started wandering around with ample time before being able to check-in to our hotel. We asked a few different people how much it would cost to get to Ao Nang (the most popular beach where most hotels are located) and were quoted some extortionate prices ranging from 150 baht to 600 baht.
Lucky for my boyfriend/travel partner-in-crime, I was savvy enough to have researched a little bit before landing. We walked to the main road (about 500m), crossed the road and hailed a songthaew (a local bus that’s not actually a bus…it’s a pickup truck with seats at a roof in the back). The colours of the songthaew are how you can tell where their destinations are.
We took a blue songthaew into Krabi town that took about 20 minutes and got off at the KFC (this cost us 20 baht each). We then hailed a white songthaew from the same place we were dropped off and this took us to Ao Nang, which takes about 30-45 minutes and costs about 50 baht each. So all in all it cost us 70 baht each to get to where we needed to go…sort of.
Our resort (Noppharat Resort, 1060 baht per night) was supposedly about 500m inland from the beach, so we started walking…and walking…walked past a rasta coffee shop and were asked to come back in the evening for some live music…walked some more…asked for directions…were pointed in a general direction (the opposite direction of where we were supposed to go, of course)…and finally got so fed up that we stopped at a 7-Eleven and called the hotel to come pick us up. The hotel tuk tuk came and drove all the way back (where we’d just walked from) and dropped us opposite the rastaman’s coffee shop. He had completely distracted us that we walked right past our resort and overshot it by about 2km! …this was almost midday mind you. We were hot. Sticky. Hot. Frustrated. Sticky.
Check-in went smoothly, though we had to wait about an hour for our room to be cleaned and ready. Another best feeling in the world is taking a nice cooling shower after being stickier than syrup and subsequently laying in air-con during the hottest time of the day.
The best way to get around Krabi (and any lazy town in Thailand for that matter) is renting a scooter. Probably the cheapest too. At 150 baht a day, we were happy to snap that deal up real quick! We scoot scooted around Ao Nang and walked around, yearning for some omnomnom Thai food and were waved over to look at a menu. We were snagged dolphins, right from the get-go. Never ever stop and go to a restaurant on Ao Nang. Though the food might be good, the prices are steeper than Mount Kilimanjaro. We paid 600 baht for a chicken dish, vegetables, tom yam, rice and mango/sticky rice dessert. We found out later that just around the corner and up the road, street food costs about 40 baht per person (after that fancy restaurant meal, we ate street food for every meal – with no stomacheygrumblies!).
That evening we decided to go watch some Thai kickboxing. We should have known from the distinct smell of insect repellent that this was a tourist trap, but we’d bought the tickets earlier on thought it’d be fun to watch people do flying kicks and what not…right!? Turns out the fighters were about 15 years old, though I wouldn’t wanna receive a punch from them! Foreigners sweating in the humidity, round after round, fanning themselves as if that made a difference. It felt more like 800 baht to sit, sweat and watch a bunch of kids beat each other up (and sometimes even be too pansy for that, bouncing around on the balls of their feet)…oh wait, it was all that! At least the boyfie enjoyed it, while I paid 800 baht to play Candy Crush on my phone.
During our trip we mostly walked around and looked at touristy souvenirs and ate lots of cheap and yummy street food, but we also 1) took a 7-island tour + sunset beach BBQ and I stepped into a bizzatch of a sea urchin (900 baht per person) and 2) scootered an hour and a half to Huai Tho waterfall (during dry season – aren’t we a couple of Dumas’s?)
There’re better places in the world to snorkel. We didn’t see much through the murky waters around Krabi, but the one amazing part of the 7-island tour was stopping on the way back to the mainland when it was pitch black, and jumping into the water. Suddenly the water around us started glowing (LIKE IN THE MOVIE ‘THE BEACH’!!!), I almost felt like Leonardo Di Caprio for a second. Swimming with bioluminescent plankton was definitely the highlight! (Geddit??)
The waterfall, on the other hand, had no highlights whatsoever – aside from 3 teenage boys that looked like they’d just hit puberty, eyeing our stuff whilst we were in the water, inching closer and closer until we shouted at them that we could see what they were trying to do…little almost-thieves.
We also did a little relaxing on Nopparat Thara beach and got Joss Stoned (jostled) by the waves. I scooped up shells for a good couple of hours while the boyfie waited patiently for me.
We had a good time, mostly because the company was amazing and the street food was delish and so darned cheap! Must tries are the BBQ mackerel, som tam (papaya salad), mango with sticky rice, green curry chicken spaghetti and the muslim-thai mixed rice!
WARNING: Not for people who can’t handle their spice.
Our advantage: With my basic grasp of Thai (from having lived in BBK before), we were able to haggle prices down whilst shopping and tell people off when we knew they were trying to rip us off.