18.05.2017 - 22.05.2017 22 °C
After failing to fix up a trip to Myanmar or East Malaysia, I settled with my friend for yet another short trip to, this time to the beach town of Krabi.
Krabi v Phuket
It is inevitable that comparisons will be made between Krabi and its more illustrious neighbour of Phuket. Will a road distance of about 160km, it is not difficult to shuttle between these 2 towns. At first impression, Krabi is definitely less crowded than Phuket. It is much more peaceful and is devoid of the late night drinking bars one can find in Phuket. The most happening town, Ao Nang is not very big and can be easily covered by foot in less than an hour. The beach at Ao Nang definitely pales in comparison to Phuket so you don’t see people sun bathing do doing sea sports. Being a small resort things can get boring quickly so outdoor activates is a definite must. Be it a land tour or beach hopping activities, one can easily find something suited to one’s needs. Just remember to bargain!
Krabi is also more Muslim friendly with a sizable Muslim population, when compared to rest of Thailand. There is even a mosque, which is hard to find in Thailand.
For this trip, we chose to go for 2 island hopping trips, first to the group of islands known as the Hong Islands, the second for a late afternoon / evening trip which covers the famed Riley beach.
Things did not get off to a good start as the tour agent failed to pick us up and we had to call to remind them that we were still stuck at our hotel. The mode of transport was by speedboat. The ride was very bumpy as the craft constantly bounce of the surface of the water giving everybody on board a free roller coaster ride. But due to the calm seas, you do not feel like you are travelling on water, rather it feels like travelling on road at fast speed without slowing down to counter speed bumps.
After surviving the ordeal, we reached our first stop for a 40 minute break. The first stop was at Khao Lao La Ding. It reminded me of Titop island at Halong Bay Vietnam, where the landing bay was surrounded by a cluster of coves. It makes for a nice scenic photo and because it was surrounded by coves the beach land was calm and made for great swimming activities for which what most of our boat mates did. Without any intention of getting into the sea, we settled for a walk, photo taking and people watching.
The next stop was an island named Kao Pak Bia. It is also a small beach whereby most times people were seen swimming, walking, relaxing, and taking photos or simply people watching. Due to time constrains we stuck to the main beach and did not venture further in. We had a simple lunch there. Unfortunately, the rain then begin to descend and everybody started scrambling to the boat for shelter.
After this we were brought to the main Hong Island. It was crowded with people and again most people were seen swimming and relaxing. There was also a shaded shelter with benches and we spent some time there away from the sun before continuing our photo taking and people watching sessions.
This concluded the Hong Island trip and we took the trilling speedboat back to the main island
Seven Island Sunset Cruise
The next island hopping tour was to a sunset boat cruise and plankton watching which included a visit to Railey Islands. Like the Hong island tours, we went on a cruise around the islands and were brought to a few beach islands which were quite similar to our earlier Hong Island trip. This time we boarded a bigger boat which was definitely less bumpy than the speedboat. We saw several nice cliffs, ridges and some small land mass popping out in middle of the sea. Shades of Halong Bay cruise but definitely not as spectacular. Many people went snorkelling, but in keeping with the spirit of staying dry, we spent our time relaxing and observing.
The weather then began to act up and it dampened our cruising experience as the rain ruined the sunset view. We then spent time talking to our fellow passengers who included a Shanghainese and a Vietnamese Australian.
The last stop of the day was the famed Raily island. However, due to the rain and by the time we reached, it was dark so we did not really had a chance to explore it as much as we would have liked. In fact I did not even bother to take any photos. But from what I can see, it is a self-sufficient island resort by itself, filled with restaurants, mini mart, and massage services. We had our dinner at one of the restaurants while waiting for the rain to subside. Had we had more time, I definitely wish to explore it in greater detail.
Thanks to a tip from our cute booking agent, we hailed a local songthaew to travel from Ao Nanag to Krabi town. The trip cost THB 60 per pax as compared to the exorbitant price of THB 500 quoted by both local taxi and tuk tuk services.
Unfortunately there is nothing much in Krabi town. As compared to Phuket, there is no major shopping mall for people to congregate. The entertainment services offered are sparse and limited as compared to Ao Nang. The only place of interest was the the night market. It was a small market selling local wares and souvenirs plus a food street and can be covered in 30 minutes. At the food street, it served a variety of food including fried stuff, local cuisine and finger food. However, I cannot think of any memorable dish which would draw me to come back back. We had some roasted meat and tried the more famous mango sticky rice (I still feel I am eating more of sweet mango than of the rice).
We then took a broadwalk to the pier. There were few people there even though it was a weekend. We then stumbled upon another hawker fare which sold mainly heavy stuff (no finger food). Unfortunately we already had our meal at the night market earlier so other than ice cream, we did not try anything else.
To conclude, if you are looking for some peace and quiet, away from the night bright lights and the hustle and bustle of people congregation the Krabi will be the place for you. But it can get boring quickly so day tours are a definite must to maximise the travel experience.