Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thailand: Krabi 4D3N Trip

My Krabi photos are here, yay!  So here's where I bore you with all the details and brag about my super awesome beach vacay. :D

Okay so last school holidays, my girlfriends and I decided to go for an island vacation.  Well actually, we booked our hotel waaay long before - the night before our Cambodia trip, when we saw an amazing offer on Groupon.  Yeah, we're impulsive spontaneous like that.  Will talk more about the site later.

And of course, I stayed up late at night and battled with other bloodthirsty travellers to get Airasia's cheapest deals.

So here we are now.

Only two days before the trip I realised that Krabi isn't an island, after Googling Map it.  Pretty blonde, I know.

Well that didn't matter anyway 'coz I knew there will be as much sun, sand and fun.


We arrived Krabi Airport at 3 something.  Thai time is one hour behind Malaysian time.  So it looked like we still have so much time.

Upon arrival, the first thing we did was find a cab.  There were two taxi booths, with equally loud attendants shouting for us to get on their company's cab.  Both had the same price on their board, but when we went to either booth, they started giving discounts.  In Thailand, YOU CAN EVEN HAGGLE AT REGISTERED TAXI COUNTERS!  And their taxis are pretty swell, using middle class luxury cars like Toyota Vios.  But since we bargained for a lower price, this was what we got:

Oh by the way, the whole time we were there, it was a downcast weather.  It was rainy season at that time, and the rain kinda washed away our excitement.  The only consolation was that it wasn't too hot.  But still, I was there for the sun but it wasn't there for me.

On the way to our hotel, the taxi driver suddenly pulled over and said he didn't know where our hotel was.  He said he needed to ask for directions.  Moments later, a lady came knocking on our window asking us to check out some tours.  She asked us to actually get down from our cab, with all our luggage in it, to go to her little office.  She guaranteed that our driver would not leave us and our things would be safe.  We realised that it would be the dumbest and most dangerous decision we would've made, but yet we strolled into her office, with our things left in the taxi.

Turns out it was a company tactic for taxi drivers to "stop for directions" here.  There were many other tourists in the office too.  The tours were pretty cheap, even cheaper than Internet rates.  In which brought the question on how cheap offers actually are.  We had booked an island tour under Groupon thinking again that we got an awesome deal.  We were damn wrong.  But since we had an extra free day, we booked another island tour, at a very good price in that seemingly shady tour agent office.

After we were done haggling and arranging our tour for the next day, we hopped back in our cab, with all our luggage still sitting safely in it.  5 minutes later, we reached our hotel, Timber House Ao Nang, which was not that hard to find.

This was the main reason, with a steal price we impulsively purchased our hotel reservation on Groupon.

Turns out well, pictures can be deceiving, as always.

It's a small, three star resort, in which we paid a really good price for - RM80 per night.  The lobby looked haunted, but our room and its concept is pretty sweet.

It has a terrace-chalet concept...

With a transparent glass door and wall!

If you don't draw the curtains, you'll look like a modern day Homosapian on display.

After checking in our hotel, we then head out to the Ao Nang Walking Street.  Our hotel is at the most strategic place in Krabi, which is in Ao Nang where all the tourists go.

It's just basically a stretch of road, probably a kilometre long from our hotel to the end of it, with restaurants and souvenir stores along the way.

And yeah, like in Cambodia, we bought souvenirs for friends and family at home on the first day itself.

After walking what seemed like a hundred miles, we decided to have dinner at the nearest restaurant where we were currently expressing our hunger.

But the tom yum goong tasted like Maggi's instant noodle and the pineapple fried rice was tasteless.  Only the pizza was okay.  

Well, it was an Italian-serving-local-food restaurant.  Just don't go here for local food.

Later that night, we went to visit Ao Nang's clubbing/bar/pub spot.

One bar piqued our interest.

An "airport" bar! And we were given boarding passes!

And it has a plane!  You don't say huh.

As awesome as it sounded, it was empty, with just a patron or two plus us.  Well, it was a Monday anyway. But another thing to love Krabi is the EFFING CHEAP COCKTAILS.  About RM9 per drink.  So yeah, we've been having spiked fruit drinks every night when we were there.  You gotta take advantage of that, don't you?!

To kill time, we played pool.  We played so horribly ('coz none of us knows how to play well), it lasted for more than an hour.  Time killed successfully.


Day 2 was the day we went for our tour from the clever marketing strategy of tour agent and cab company.  It's called the Phi Phi Island Full Day Tour.

I really can't recall how much we paid for it, but it was cheaper than Internet deals, plus they threw in free airport transfer.  I think it was about RM150 per person.

By the way, it was raining the previous night and still drizzling in the morning, and the agent did say that if the weather wouldn't allow it, then the tour would be substituted with non-island tours.  Which would've sucked real freakin' bad because the whole reason we wanted to go to Krabi is to play under the sun and in the sea. But luckily, the weather, though gloomy as it was, still permitted us to go island hopping.

We were picked up at our hotel at about 9 by a swanky van, with other tourists as well.  Then we were asked to wait at the beach side for other tourists who bought the same package as us.  I had expected a private tour, but then again, with a steal price like that, I should have expected less.

The first stop of our tour is the Bamboo Island.

It was DIVINE.

And we swam with little fishes!  It wasn't a good place to snorkel though.

Next stop, we were taken to the Viking Cave - a sorta island with a gaping hole where thousands of swallows come to nest.

Bird nest collectors actually stay here.  This is such a WIN compared to our man-made ugly grey concrete bird 'cave' which are sprouting in every parts of Sabah.

After ooh-ing and aah-ing this natural wonder, we were brought to Phi Phi Ley Island.

We were wonder struck at such a beautiful sight.

High rising limestone cliffs surrounding this jewel.  The water as you can see, crystal clear.  And fucking blue.

After taking millions of shaky photos, we were brought to the highlight of the tour - Maya Bay, where the Leonardo Dicaprio's 1997 movie The Beach was shot.

As you can see, that's the only part of the beach.  Which was swarming with tourists.

The beauty of this tiny beach is, there is a path to go across the other side of the island.

We then reached a place where throngs of people were lining up for what, we didn't know.

We wondered what sorcery there was on the 'other side'.

Then we saw it.

The other side of the island.  Just as stunning.

And this was what the lining people were up to:

Aren't you jealous already?  I WAS! We didn't bring our life jackets with us, so there was no way we were going to survive the jump.  So we just did what we do best.


After frolicking along the beach and stuff, we were then brought to Phi Phi Don island, to have our buffet lunch.  FYI the food was like camp food.  Only edible.  At Phi Phi Don, there's a resort and there's a little town.

In fact, during the infamous tsunami in 2004, this little island wasn't spared.

After strolling around the little town of Phi Phi Don, we were then brought snorkelling at Mosquito Island.

And there was a little side show on the speedboat...

That's a sea urchin by the way.  You really don't want to step on it - you can't pull out its spikes, as it turns into powder when you clasp it with your finger.  Animal lesson of the day.

40 minutes later and 5 shades darker, we then reached the mainland.

Instead of a luxurious van waiting for it, we were all hauled into a truck-van like effing illegal immigrants.

That night, we had our dinner at Aning Restaurant, along the Ao Nang walkway.

This time, the tom yum goong was the work of gods.  Tasty, fiery and leaves you wanting more.  The other dishes were awesome as well, except for the tasteless pandan chicken.

And the dessert, banana pancake, was orgasmic.  We loved the food there so much, we went back there the next night.

Anyhoo, we went straight back to our hotel after dinner, but of course not before washing our mouths with cocktails.  As I closed my eyes to sleep, all I saw was the blue water and fell asleep right after.


Day 3 was another island trip - James Bond Island tour.  We booked this tour through Groupon, thinking that we had gotten a fabulous deal.  We paid RM170 per person, but it was cheaper to book through the agent that we were brought to.  But eh, we just took it as a slightly expensive lesson and proceed on having more fun in the sun.

Phi Phi island is a must to go when in Krabi, but not as many people do the James Bond tour as we have to travel about an hour to another province to go there.  And like the tour the day before, we met our other tourmates at Phang Nga jetty.  But before that, while waiting for them, we were brought on a detour to go to a fruit orchard.  Which was hilarious 'coz it was as if we've never seen local fruits before.  But what the heck we thought - we'd never visit our local fruit orchard (which is not our grandpa's), so why not.

As you can see, there are little stations where local delicacies are cooked and we get to taste 'em for free.  Awesome stuff.

Like the previous days, the weather was not being too awesome, and it was even worse that day.

By the time we reached the jetty, IT POURED!

We had to get a poncho, in which were conveniently sold at 50Baht.

We lingered for about half an hour at the above place as our tourmates started arguing about changing plans, who's following and who's not.  It was raining heavily and they were worried, especially because they have a baby with them.  But WHO DAFUQ brings a baby to an island tour?!  Since they were from China, my smart Aleck friend assumed that there was no one to take care of the baby, due to the one child policy.

By the way, we weren't perturbed at all 'coz the tour guide convinced us it would be safe, we won't be sailing in an open sea, so even if it rains, it won't be rough.  In fact, the Phi Phi island tour was even more dangerous as our speedboat had to go against level 4 waves a couple of times.

However, as we stepped into our longtail boat, the rain stopped!  Hence our eye-orgasmic journey starts.

And finally, we reached the infamous James Bond Island.

It's called James Bond Island 'coz the movie The Man with the Golden Gun was shot here.

With that being said, you know I wouldn't be able to help myself...

This was how the island looks like upon leaving it.

So now you must be thinking, that's it?  Well, that's what we thought too, till we were brought to...

Canoe in the sea!

Which freaks the freakin' hell out of me.  Yes, my second greatest fear is doing activities in a body of water of endless depth.   I'd rather go sky diving then sea diving.  But I soldiered on 'coz it was absolutely exhilarating.  Especially with that feeling of your little canoe would topple at any time.

Anyways, we went under a sea cave! Well, more like a bridge.  You know like those gondolas in Venice that goes under a bridge? Okay, my vocabulary here is limited to explain what went down so just look at the photos.

Then we reached a cove, or whatever it is called.

And my brave little friend started canoeing by herself, as I watched in horror and imagined all the nasty things that would happen to me if I was the one canoeing.  Yes, paranoid much.

Then the most insane thing happened.

IT FUCKING RAINED.  HEAVILY.  And oh the wind.  Fucking scary wind!  Our canoe was pushed by the strong wind towards under a hanging cliff or whatchamaycallit, and so we took shelter under it for about 5 minutes.  Which felt like it lasted for an eternity.

If my mom saw this photo, she would've never let me go off travelling again, ever.

We were still able to smile for the camera though, amidst the adverse weather.

Little did they know that I peed in the canoe a little.
After our little adventure, we were then brought for lunch at Pannyi island, a little Muslim village.

Served Muslim Thai food, which was delish.

Hence the end of our tour.

Since it was our last night, we decided to hit one of the local bars there.

Aaand you'd know what I do.

I could've hung out there all night.

Oh, since we became besties with one of the barmaids there, she offered us a free ride on her brother's songthaew to go back to our hotel, which is just a 5 minute walk away.

Bet you think it's some mini limo, right?

A pimped up mini limo, no?

Well, this is a songthaew.

Oh, I miss Krabi already!

Okay, as usual, here are some tips/info for those planning to go there, especially after reading this post.

- Krabi is the place for a relaxing holiday.  If you hate rushing for tours and stuff, this is the place.  You only get tours in the morning, which usually ends by the evening.  Then you'd have the whole half day and remaining night to do whatever you want.  Well, there's not much to do anyway in Ao Nang besides going through souvenir shops over and over again, but if you're on a honeymoon, well, you can just spend the rest of your day bonking.

- Rainy season in Thailand is between May and December.  So if you are prepared to get wet, or island tours cancelled, don't go during this period.  We were just lucky that the sea was kind enough for us to go island hopping.  On the bright side (pun intended), you won't really feel the heat or get a sunstroke.

- There are lots of Muslims there, and Indians.  If the vendors aren't Siamese, they are Indians, who speaks excellent Thai.  Not that it matters anyway.  So if you are a Muslim, you'd have no trouble finding halal food.

Banana Pancake lady speaks perfect Malay!  And she makes a mean banana pancake.

- Their currency is Baht.  Which has the same value as our Malaysian Ringgit.  So you won't be doing maths in your head every time you're buying something e.g. 100Baht = MYR10.

- Bargain everywhere and every time you can, especially when buying souvenirs (no-brainer alert).  Like I have mentioned earlier, you can even bargain at the airport.

- Buy your tours in Krabi.  It's way cheaper, and you get a lot out of it, compared to Internet rates.

- When going to Krabi, you only need to bring the clothes on your back, as the souvenir shops along the Ao Nang walking street sell every piece of clothing, accessories and essentials you need for a fabulous island vacay.  Bikinis, boardshorts, tank tops, summer dresses, you name it.

- I recommend Aning Restaurant if you want a taste of a mindblowing pot of hell tom yum goong.  But make sure ask for spicy level no. 3.

- I also recommend you to drink till your kidneys give out as booze there is effing cheap.  Besides, there's nothing much to do there when you're not on tours.

- However, with all its magnificent beauty, I still think that a snorkelling experience in our very own Pulau Redang is better than in Krabi.  The water is clearer - and I once saw a turtle swam below me.  That's how untouched Redang still is.

- On a side note, when you are booking hotels through Groupon, do go to the hotel's website to compare prices as I realised that Groupon doesn't really offer amazing deals.  They just like to mark up the price and lure people by putting a 70% discount label on it.  Like our James Bond Island tour.  However, our hotel booking was a good a deal.  So do your research before getting trapped in Groupon's appeal.

Before I end my post...It's not much but...

You're welcome. :D