July had been a fun and exciting month, never regretted doing most the things I did. Just a bit remorseful that I added something to the list of things I shouldn’t have done. I know, it was wrong of me, but I guess there’s always a time to make you realise it’s the last time you’re ever going to be doing something, and that kind of awareness partially makes up for it.
We embarked on our not-so-long awaited trip to Krabi after a spontaneous decision to book a plane ticket and accommodation in the comfort of Claire’s room. It was a short 3d2n trip but good enough for a getaway from routine life in Singapore. I was so relieved the trip went without a hitch and basically we had the fun and sun we wanted :>
After landing at Krabi International Airport, we made our way to Ao Nang by taxi (600Baht). The ride took about half an hour and we passed by quiet, modest towns, autoretailers sold imported cars in old factory-like buildings, commuters and even young children made their way around by motorbikes without helmets, everything was simple and rustic.
I had expected a place much more vibrant and touristy like Phuket because everyone was raving about Krabi and uploading their photos on fb before we went. But actually the most part of Krabi felt like a ghost town, and even tourist hotspots at Ao Nang were pretty subdued. The taxi approached a small unassuming road and gradually slowed to a stop at one of the entrances to the inconspicuous resorts along that stretch. We were quite taken aback initially, for it was a bit too remote for a resort. Minutes later, our eyes totally lit up as we stepped along the concrete floor paved with glazed ceramic decorative tiles of frangipani flowers and leaves and entered this cosy enclave of a resort. The receptionist greeted us warmly, albeit not being able to speak much english. A staff member served us our welcome drinks (murky green in colour but really sweet) and then led us to our rooms (ours and my dad’s), which took up one unit out of five. One unit housed two rooms, one atop the other. My dad took the bottom floor with a shallow pond surrounding the door, while a short flight of stairs led to a veranda above, complete with a reclining chair and outdoor furniture. The resort sat in a very natural environment, lush greenery accompanied with sounds of nature, cicadas and birds perhaps? Of course, mozzies and flies came in an unwanted package. But we loved the resort. The room boasted a queen-sized bed and towels shaped like crabs sat adorably on the bed. There was a huge tv in the corner and further down was a large wardrobe, a separate WC unit and the bathing/shower area was almost big enough for someone to sleep in. Only thing was the A/C got too cold sometimes.
Nua-ed for a bit then left to enquire about elephant-riding. Yes elephant-riding. I am utterly ashamed. I felt really apprehensive but since Claire wanted to try it badly, I let myself climb on the back of the poor elephant. We were driven to a secluded foresty area, (although I can vouch its pretty safe since its got connections with the resort). It turned out to be a wild rubber plantation. A few shabbily-built huts stood around and we were told it’s where the elephant handlers sleep. A much larger hut served as a common area for eating. We were led to a small elevated hut in order to be level with the seat on the elephant. The handler sat atop its head, while we climbed onto the metal seat shaped to fit the elephant’s back. The handler said to put our feet on its head but I refused. Poor poor elephant. I cringe with guilt as I write this. It was probably carrying a load of nearly 200kg. Perhaps it’s physically able for such a load but to traverse such uncompromising terrain was just pure torture, even to watch it try to manoeuvre slippery rocks across a rushing stream and down muddy and rocky slopes. We got a bit jittery when the gradient got a little too steep for comfort but everything was generally fine until the handler whipped out a ROD with a sharpened hook at the end. He brandished it around proudly and began tugging the elephant behind its ears with the hook when it went off course. Occasionally the handler would knock the rod against the skull of the elephant *heart pain* I spent the rest of the ride in discomfort, physically and emotionally. I berated myself silently but I knew nothing would help the situation. Elephant rides are part of their livelihood, that I’d learnt, and that fact is not going to change any time soon. They probably earn more from this than waiting for sap from the rubber trees to drip down. There weren’t any other options left, for they were a distance away from the town and tourist areas. Then I thought about how these elephants could have been killed in the wild if not for these people, who in turn make a living out of them. At least they built the plantation and cared for these gentle giants in their own way. The whole thing ended with feeding the elephants some cucumbers and pineapples. Their trunks would swing out and grab whatever was on our hands and they’d gobble it up. Around the compound, other elephants stood behind barbed wires eating away. Their chow consisted of sugar canes and pineapple leaves and other unknown stuff.
Later that evening we went up to the Hilltop Restaurant which my dad wouldn’t stop raving about. We initially wanted to climb up the slope, but it was quite impossible. They do have shuttle services from the bottom of the hill to the restaurants up there, although it’s not much of a distance. Halfway up the hill a van came along and conveniently picked us up lol. It turned out to be a worthwhile decision to visit the place because there was a gorgeous view of the coastline and the sea dotted with cruise ships and sail boats.
We reached way before sunset so we sat down at a place where we could enjoy the panoramic view while sipping on drinks. It was a pity that the clouds obstructed the full view of the sunset but it was still a moment to savour 🙂 Dinners were awesome because we had Tom Yam Goong for practically every meal, not to be missed!
Later in the night we set off on foot down the hill in search of Sukhothai Massage & Spa which Junning recommended when she was recounting to me her Krabi trip. There was a nice big signboard and plenty of masseurs sitting outside waiting for potential customers. The people at Sukhothai were really friendly and they did everything they could to make us feel comfortable. We did a full body massage on the first day, and we went back the next day for nail art, a head and neck massage, and a foot massage. There was even free wifi there 😛
On the second day, we booked a 5-island tour through our resort receptionist. A driver came to pick us up early in the morning and went on to pick a few other tourists before heading down to a makeshift jetty. We had to climb onto the longboat via some shaky planks lodged in a tree 0.o Okay…but the longboat wasn’t what we opted for initially but they failed to notify us of the lack of people enough for them to use a big boat so they charged us a little cheaper.
The longboat roared to a start. By the time we got onto the sea proper, the choppy waves were crashing against the bow of the longboat and there was hell lotta ocean spray, at the face. We stopped by one island at first, walked about and sat along the sandy beach with waves coming at us left right centre. It was a bright sunny day, so thank god for that. Locals went around selling ice-cream for tourists to cool off in the heat. We then proceeded to another three islands which were connected at low tide. People could walk across to the other islands with the sea level only up to their knees. Claire and I only made it halfway because the waves kept toppling us over haha. We were damn fail because we’re so short that the water level to us is above average. By then we got pretty beat, but we still proceeded to visit the Pranang caves, which was apparently full of monkeys. To get there we had to tread through a muddy swamp-like terrain and my rubber slippers kept getting suctioned to the mud. We saw tractors pulling a carriage with people on it across the mud from the mainland to the boats and we were treading pathetically on foot. There were so many crab holes I was kinda afraid I’d step onto a crab or something, but I’m sure the little craba are agile enough to move away from my lumbering foot. That marked the end of the 5-island tour!
After washing up back at the resort Claire and I went to walk the streets near Ao Nang beach. We felt hungry after the whole island-hopping thing so we stopped by some street stalls. Claire mentioned about how the banana pancakes were supposedly good so we decided to give it a try!
That night we had dinner at a restaurant called Thai Thai, or something, which was along Ao Nang beach. The street next to the beach was so dimly lit, with only light from some decorative lanterns and indoor lighting. Everything beyond that was pitch black but there were still people playing in the waves! I felt so worried for them but they seemed perfectly fine with doing so. We walked the whole way back so we could look for souvenirs along the way. It’d been a good 1.5 days of fun & activity I was genuinely recharged 🙂
The flights on tiger were pretty comfortable as well, with clean leather seats and short flight time. And not to mention, cheap. Would love to go back anytime! Perhaps try out the rock climbing :O
That’s all for my Krabi post! Shall update my Europe travelogue soon, it’s been sitting stagnant.