It was the get away that inspired the #WeekendWanderlust tagline though it wan’t the first weekend I took advantage of. With this particular post, I was concussed to sit down in a quiet nook and seriously excavate deep in my head to summon up and ruminate all the nonpareil things about Krabi. Shame that I could not publish a post right away, let alone write something pragmatic for other traveler’s sake. It all happened last year, and ya I’m just writing about it now. So.not.swell.
Seat sales from my favorite budget airlines is a weekly staple on my email, and as I love to fritter away time browsing which destinations are on its all time low, it was only a matter of who to go with that temporarily held up my booking. So, rather than spending 80 bucks buying a new dress or dining in Orchard, I most likely cull into flying somewhere near. But nope, it’s not like an epicurean life I’m living. With my leisurely increasing ardency towards food, I may outgrow an expensive wardrobe in no time, but the memories I will be creating in a new adventure is going to last me a lifetime (and a published post, however long). If you are not into airport hustles & in the art of getting lost, then there is no way we could dwell in this same frequency.
Snippets of what you should know…
Point of Compass
Located on the southern west coast of Thailand, Krabi is a laid-back province that is well known for its 150 tiny islands with a wonderful bunch of white sand beaches and limestone cliffs. It is somehow rudimentary as compared to nearby Phuket, their community is pretty much less modern and not too bustling but it is a perfect choice for that 2-3 day holiday.
Thailand beaches with almost undisturbed surrounding natural resources are adored by beach bums from every corner of the world. Krabi is your alternative choice if you strive for a docile short beach life. You know, somewhere sunny, sandy and distant.
Having been to both Phuket & Bangkok, my familiarity with Thailand borders and immigration is no surprise. That is why I’m posting this screencap of the blog post I published last 2014 about Phuket wherein I have indicated all the necessary points to take into account when traveling in this country. Their rulings are not that strict and you have unbounded access going in and out as long as you don’t harbour illegal goods or you don’t intend to be involved in things that will violate their law.
For some good reads and informative write up about Phuket, Bangkok and of course Krabi, feel free to click these links:
Pit Stop: Phuket
Pit Stop: Bangkok
We all know that seafood would be basic in any restaurant around the area being it by the sea. In fact when you walk along Ao Nang, you could be overwhelmed by the slew of dining options available. What more if each of them has a designated person just in front of their establishment brandishing their menu noisily in front of your face. It’s kind of a spectacle of printed food photos and big discount signages. Well, such is a money-making technique.
For our dinner on the first night, we had pepper crabs, sotong & a giant deep-fried tilapia. We were offered a 25% discount on all our orders, the main reason why specifically chose this restaurant. So these 3 dishes together with some carbs and drinks, we paid around THB2,500 which is around S$105. My trust issues went wild on this. This is Thailand and it isn’t suppose to be this expensive. Discount you say? Right. 🙄
It was my first try on pineapple rice. Didn’t like it. Is it really suppose to be curry tasting? Or what we ordered is just one of the many outcomes of experimental cooking? If there’s a type that won’t give a hint of curry, then maybe I’d be brave enough to order again next time.
Mango Sticky Rice
Okay, first I am not sure how to eat it, second i found it bizaare that rice and mango can really go well together, as in “swak sa banga” together. Maybe this is why it’s famous. Maybe some ignorant foodie tried it for the first time and bragged about it in the world wide web. Or maybe they were really made for each other and i was the more ignorant one for not knowing. Anyway, who am i to question the backstory of this dish. It is delicious. Should anything else matter?
Street Cafes with Awesome View
I loved this coffee shop right along Ao Nang market. It gives an excellent view of Ao Nang beach, and it was a perfect spot to hang out and chill. Their coffee menu is superb!
Our last dinner was actually steak night. We found this restaurant with a to-die-for view, and is on the top level of a commercial building. The serving is big enough for two, but of course, i didn’t complain as i had no problem devouring every bit of my sirloin steak. 😋 It was the perfect choice for our last decent meal. Price was cheaper too, mine was just around THB600 or S$25 including drinks and an extra cup of rice. Loud and proud. 😎
If you’re in for a romantic mood, you might wanna check out The Hilltop located at Ao Nang hill. It is around 15mins away by car from downtown, and its best feature is the panoramic view while dining especially during sunset.
Never Dare Miss…
Phra Nang Cave
The word Phra Nang simply means “Princess”, it was locally believed that in this cave and island lives a Deity princess who guides fishermen on their fishing trip and could bless them with bountiful harvests. Until now, local people still present their offerings as part of that belief before every fishing expedition.
While still in the ocean and as we get near the dock, I couldn’t help but be amazed on how the lush greens conceal the place, creating an infallible contrasting hue to the blue sky.
The stalactites and stalagmites will greet you as soon as you start exploring this isolated island. The crowd is surprisingly not that big so it was quite easy to snap solo pics to your desired background. And as we try to venture on what awaits us, it made me realize that it wasn’t as big as I expect it to be. Few minutes of walking and I have stepped into every square foot of the island I ought to see.
The monkeys will drive you nuts, they are so playful and they don’t seem to mind that their sanctuary is actually swarmed with creatures that don’t really belong in the jungle. Scared as i was, lucky that they didn’t dare touch nor get too close to me. Imagine how anxious I was while having this photo taken. Good thing it doesn’t seem to show on my face at all. Skills, baby.
Situated at the farthest end of the island is a cave dedicated to the gods of fertility. Phalluses you say? OH YES. They come in all size, color and style — all gathered & arranged in this sacred corner for worshippers and hopefuls. It was effective in drawing people visiting in, I mean who would not be appalled when you notice thousands of wooden penises in the middle of the ocean? I can imagine the hypocrites and their aghast snorts.
So you may be wondering if I did pray? Of course. Not sure if people are allowed to touch anything, but honestly I did not risk it, afraid it might reverse my luck.
The tour manager gave us 30 minutes to stay in Phra Nang. Initially I thought it was too short, but for a reason, we have seen what we are suppose to see in just about 15mins. So the rest of the time was killed by taking lots of photos. Wasn’t sure if we were suppose to take a dip in the beach, the shoreline wasn’t that appealing to me, but there were a few tourists enjoying the salt water. Oh well.
Koh Gai (Chicken Island)
It is an anomalous limestone formation found in the middle of Andaman Sea that is freakishly shaped as a chicken. This special feature has been attracting millions of tourists all year round. Location is just a few minutes of sailing from Phra Nang Cave. Actually, I didn’t realize that this extraordinary sight is already near to us if not for my fellow tourist who started pointing at it while speaking in a foreign tongue, Korean I think.
One thing I specially didn’t like about this tour is perhaps the fact that we couldn’t step into the island to take a closer look. The norm is that your sea vessel, be it a long tail boat or a speedboat, would stop a hundred meters away from the island, and it is up to you to suffice your adventurous body & soul by merely sight seeing. My boldness pushed me to ask our tour manager about it, she simply answered that the island isn’t groomed yet to be available for public. Ok, acceptable.
This reminded me of James Bond Island in Phuket, but then again, they are both in the same country & sea water so I shouldn’t have begun to wonder why they look exactly alike. Koh Poda is the final leg of our tour that day. Lunch was served as soon as we docked the boat, and we were given the entire afternoon to enjoy the sea breeze.
In all honesty I didn’t like the food served during lunch in this tour package. Aside from being a bit scanty, they prepared local dishes that I am not entirely crazy about like chicken curry with lots of ginger and a few deep fried variety that I was a bit cautious to even smell. Saved by the tiny food stalls selling corn on the cob and satays, still I was energized enough to continue with the rest of the activities.
But, when i started swimming, this is where my problem arise. I could not stand being immersed in water for more than 2 minutes. I feel itchy on the skin parts dipped into the water, kinda like being swarmed by millions of ants when you accidentally stepped into an anthill, that sensation. The weirdest part, I’m the only one who complains of this odd thing, my friend Anne was telling me that she feels normal the entire time. WTH.
Koh Tup & Koh Mor
It could have a been a perfect place to relax and swim and just wander about, if only an ample amount of time was given to us when we reached these 2 tiny islands. Koh Tup & Koh Mor are well-known by the marvelous white sandbank interconnecting the two. They are situated in the middle of nowhere and is so isolated I could imagine myself livin’ that hammock life while reading a book.
The water is the cleanest among the stops we had that day, I had no problem whatsoever while swimming. 15 minutes obviously was not enough, I was in the midst of dancing in the rain (which I have not done in a while) when the tour manager started waving at us to head back into the boat so we could start our journey again. What a buzzkill.
Ao Nang & Railey Beach
Ao Nang is your go-to beach because it is the nearest one from town, or your hotel for that matter, whilst Railey is best reached when booking a tour. Their difference is immense when it comes to privacy and type of sand.
We were able to stroll along Ao Nang but didn’t get to try swimming. Aside from not being too inviting, there were a lot of people so it’s kinda crowded.
A really funny thing about their night market is that every single store closes at 9pm. No joke. I had high hopes for a similar experience I had in Bangla Road in Patong, I was half expecting that Ao Nang road will transform into a massive street party with mobs of drunk people all over. But it didn’t happen, lol. It reminded me of province life in the Philippines where commercial areas are so afraid of the dark. Haha.
And like any market, vendors are lined up selling every native stuff available. And even though foreigners constitute the vast majority of their shoppers, prices are relatively fair. My THB500 went a long way. Then there were the “lady boys” on the sidewalk, all dressed in fabulous gowns with heavy hair & make up, offering passers by if they want some photos with them. Of course it isn’t free, THB100 per shot. All of them are so pretty!
I had it in Bangkok & Phuket, so heck I’m having it in Krabi! It is just most fitting since we had the island tour the entire day, and as expected, Thai massage will never ever let you down. It was heavenly and soothing, I could go on sleeping til morning while having it, too bad it was just an hour and a half. Price is THB300 for full body massage. This one also offers back and foot massage for lower costs. They have good wifi connection for clients, and all their masseuse were well trained and friendly. Always always a good decision to have one of these when in Thailand.
Package Tour & Airport Transfers
We availed the 4 Island in long tail boat package from Krabi Trek. It was through Google search that I stumbled upon their website, and after thorough checking of their legitimacy, I inquired about the available tour package they have. The one we booked was only THB550 per pax. I tried looking for cheaper options, but still Krabi Trek was the lowest. And to make the deal sweeter, they offered a return airport transfer with discounted rates if we are to avail the tour.
After we have agreed on the prices, their client service person sent a link for the deposit required to confirm our reservation. Our total bill was THB2,650 — including the return airport transfers and only THB1,000 was the deposit they asked. The payment page was encrypted and safe, and an invoice will immediately be sent to your email after the transaction. The balance will be settled on the day of the tour.
Where To Stay
Krabi Tipa Resort exceeded all my expectations. Their service was spot-on starting from check in up to the morning of our departure. The location was so ideal, it was just a good 50 meters away from both Ao Nang beach and the night market. Best of all, it was really affordable!
We booked a nipa villa, it was surprisingly spacious for 3 single beds and we got enough clearing to move around. Quiet, secluded, private — each bed time was divine. Breakfast was also included in our booking, and I have to commend the variety of food served in the dining hall. They have a combination of western, chinese, thai & even halal cuisines for all guests. I especially loved their egg station & of course the freshly brewed coffee.
Another great amenity of Krabi Tipa is their pool. My friend and I enjoyed an afternoon of soaking, and we had the entire pool to ourselves. That gorgeous backdrop is something that I have been missing until now. I would love going back to this hotel if an opportunity will arise.
Considering the proximity of Krabi to Phuket, it is true when you hear people say that nothing in Krabi you have not seen when you have been to Phuket. You can gouge out both areas if you have enough days on your holiday by either water or land. Price difference on air tickets aren’t actually interminable. Unless in your calendar you only have 1 day leave to spare and you merely want to wield the 2-day weekend, it should be Krabi then.
I’m rating Krabi a gleaming 7.5.
When I posted my album for this trip in Facebook, I brazenly declared my preference to Phuket over Krabi. Over all it was pacifistic, I’ll give it that. But their unwholesomely itchy sea water is not obviously my cup of tea. Then there was my soaring conjecture for a lively & blithesome night life. I’m not one to booze up to such parties, nor a social butterfly that do bar hopping, but it I believe this could add flare to this promising part of Thailand.