It took the bus took about 45 minutes – passing through Phuket town… Why did we waste a whole day going there when we could have seen the same thing on our 5 minute drive through it! – and then we sat on the ferry for ages waiting for everyone to get on. At about 8.30 we left and made the 2.5 hour journey to Ao Nang, Krabi (including one stop in Railay) watching the islands, listening to music and working on our tans.
We were never offered the opportunity of getting off at Railay where our hotel was based and we thought it would be easy enough to get from Ao Nang to Railay as they’re really close to each other. Rookie error. We got off the ferry and spoke to a man who, through his broken English, explained something about another boat and then a taxi… We were confused! We spoke to someone who worked for the ferry company and found out that we did in fact have to get a longboat (small local ‘taxi’ boats) around the bay to Railay. Excellent. So we dragged our cases through the sand and got onto a longboat with a small incident of almost capsizing and me clawing a poor American woman as I tried to stop myself from flying backwards. I sound like I’m complaining but it was actually pretty funny and at least we got to experience a longboat.
Krabi is much more beautiful than Phuket so the beaches we had seen had gorgeous sand and bright blue water. We arrived on the beach (more sand dragging) and on the map we had seen that we needed to walk down Walking Street(!) to get to our hotel, which felt like we were trekking in the middle of a jungle. The woman at the longboat ticket desk said it would probably be about a ten minute walk and she was spot on. We accidentally stumbled upon our hotel after about ten minutes. WOW!!! Paradise for £15 each a night. The rooms were gorgeous and spacious and had everything we needed, although not free snacks as Lizzie and Eddie realised after they’d munched their way through some of the mini bar! The resort has a lovely pool, a spa, a restaurant, mini mart, is a one minute walk to east beach and a 5 minute walk to west beach (the prettier of the two) and we were generally very happy bunnies when we arrived.
We spent the afternoon chilling by the pool (whoo no more sand, I really don’t like sunbathing on the beach) and had a lovely and extremely reasonably priced lunch in the resort restaurant. First impressions of Krabi? Gorgeous. Although of course there are tourists here it’s extremely laid back. I was told to come to Railay beach by people I met in HCMC and I’m so glad we took their advice. Ao Nang (most popular beach in Krabi) was pretty but much busier than Railay and we liked the fact that Railay is only accessible by boat as it made it more exclusive. It pays to talk to people!
In the evening we booked our white water rafting and elephant trekking and had a yummy dinner and cocktails at Yam Yams. We walked to the end of the beach and went to The Last Bar where we were enticed in with a free cocktail. We sat in a decking area with low tables, cushions on the floor and low lighting with the sound of the sea lapping onto the beach. What made it even more perfect was the most amazing live acoustic singer any of us had ever heard was playing. So there we sat for an hour and a half drinking cocktails, listening to the singer and chatting, such a lovely chilled evening.
But then… The acoustic singer finished, took his top off and became DJ, fire trickster and all round entertainer, and so the evening really began! There were about six Thai guys doing various tricks with fire for at least an hour, it was SO impressive. Unfortunately I was then chosen to help them with a trick where I stood in front of one of them and then he whipped the fire round and round my head! We had a few more cocktails and then danced until 2.30am. Going out here is really good because it’s so chilled and you don’t need to dress up: you just have some drinks, dance and generally enjoy yourself, exactly what we love to do.
On Monday we slept in until about 10.30am and then went and got a very disappointing breakfast of Thai pancakes (SO greasy, avoid at all costs if you like your heart). After that we walked to our hotels sister resort, which is on the beach. When we got there all the beds were taken and we weren’t very impressed with it anyway. We much preferred our pool where we were surrounded by mountains and felt like we were in a secluded jungle and it never got busy. We spent the afternoon chilling and had lunch at the resort restaurant again. It started to rain at about 4pm so we came back to the room and me and Eddie read and Hayley and Lizzie napped.
At 5.30pm we tried to get to a view point to watch the sunset but we ended up on a gorgeous secluded beach, passing some evil looking monkeys on the way. On the way there were loads of colourful scarfs tied to the rocks and on the beach there was a big shrine with the scarfs and other tokens of thanks eg wooden penis shaped things. They are left by fisherman to a princess to watch over them when they are out at sea. We walked along the beach and watched the sunset. There have been a few moments on this trip where I’ve been somewhere and felt that nothing else is significant. This was one of those moments. It wasn’t the most beautiful sunset I’ve seen as it was cloudy but there was just something about the water and the longboats and the cliffs. We climbed up a very questionable ladder to reach what we thought was the view point but alas it wasn’t, it was a little cave thing that looked out into the sea but with no views. In the evening we booked our transport to Koh Samui and had dinner, got snacks and hung out in the room ready for our big adventure on Tuesday.
Tuesday we woke up at 7am, got ready and made our way to the tour office to get the longboat up to the main part of Krabi. We were picked up by a minibus and set off on our mini adventure! We met our guide for the day, Alex, who repeated everything three times and gave us wise advice such as ‘remember your feet’. Thanks Alex. First stop was to monkey temple, which took about 40 minutes to get to. Alex told the only boy on board he should watch out for his banana, classic Alex. There were loads of monkeys hanging around at the front of the cave but thankfully they were friendly (no grabbing the only boys banana). Inside the cave/temple we saw a large reclining Buddha, the name engravings of famous Thai people who have visited the temple and hiked all the way up to see the very disappointing inside of the ‘dark cave’, which was just as lame as it sounds!
We then travelled a further hour to get to the white water rafting centre. We were early so we had a drink and some biscuits and put our stuff in a locker. We got kitted out in a safety helmet and life jacket, whilst one of the guides thought it was funny to soak just us four with a hose, and had a very quick ‘tutorial’: lean backwards if it tips up, lean forward if it tips back, aluminium is slippery so hold oar at the end, if someone falls out don’t pull them in by their head = rafting pros.
After securing ourselves with some rope on the floor that we put our feet through, off we went… It was so much fun! It started raining as soon as we got on the river but that didn’t matter. It was hilarious to the guides to splash us at every opportunity so we were soaking wet the whole time and every time it trickled down your back it was so cold. One of the guides on our boat also loved it every time we bumped and Hayley almost fell out… The banter was endless. We only did 5km which took about 45 minutes and it went way too quickly, we all loved it.
We then got in a truck to go elephant ‘trekking’. Not sure how I felt about this bit. There aren’t any elephant conservation areas in the south of Thailand so this was the only option for riding an elephant. The one that me and Lizzie were on was not hit at all by his owner (some of the others had sticks with knife looking things at the end, which wasn’t very nice) and followed his voice commands. It chucked it down with rain the whole time but we were still soaking from rafting so it didn’t matter too much. We went through a little bit of the jungle for about 30 minutes and then after we got off the elephants they automatically walked over behind a pole and we bought some bananas to feed them.
We went back to the base and had a lovely Thai lunch with fresh fruit. It stopped raining after lunch so we went and saw a waterfall, which was very pretty. After, we drove back to the port and got a longboat back to Railay beach, arriving back at around 4.30pm pretty exhausted. It was such a good day. Rafting was definitely the highlight, I would do it again without question. For the elephant ride I wasn’t 100% about the way they were kept so it put a dampener on it. All in all though a really fun day! We showered, had a nap and went out for a gorgeous buffet dinner and cocktails. After dinner we went to The Last Bar again and listened to the acoustic music, drank more cocktails, watched the fire show and danced until the early morning!
Today we had a very lazy day and sat by the pool all day, only moving reluctantly when we were hungry. It was a very relaxed day reading, listening to music and messing around in the pool (we had a diving board!). In the evening we went for our final dinner in Railay and then to The Last Bar where one of the fire guys that we had nicknamed ‘gums’ because of his lack of teeth was sure Hayley was a German girl he had sold weed to the night before and was worried she hadn’t liked it. We then went back to the room, packed and watched a movie.
Krabi is so beautiful. I would recommend it to anyone coming to Thailand, especially Railay beach. It’s so laid back and chilled and everyone is there to relax and have a good time. We stayed in a nice hotel for practically no money and had a beautiful beach, restaurants and nightlife a five minute walk away, heaven. Now for Koh Samui and the notorious Full Moon Partyyyyy!