(I have to admit, I haven’t quite been able to keep up with these posts as we go, the more detail oriented reader may have noticed my struggles with past vs. present tense. Anyway, the last few posts will be written in transit from Bangkok to Toronto and posted as internet connection permits, likely not until we get home.)
We made it to the beach! After an early morning flight from Bangkok we arrived at our hotel on the beach in Ao Nang around 10:30 in the morning.
The only exciting part of the trip was choosing the land transfer to the hotel upon arrival. There are signs all over the Krabi airport telling you to sort your taxi out at a counter, not outside the airport. I like this, it makes me feel like it’s less likely that I’m going to get screwed. As we walked towards the counter a chorus of what sounded distinctly like hens clucking erupted in front of us. Krabi’s airport isn’t huge, so I wouldn’t have been totally shocked if there were birds, but it was actually the women sitting at competing taxi counters trying to get our attention. After a quick laugh, and some concentration to drown out the clucking while we read the various signs, we found a shuttle bus that cost half of what a taxi would have. I figure the mad clucking is a distraction/intimidation technique designed to try and mask the existence of the shuttle.
Our hotel Ao Nang Villa Resort was pretty nice, though it doesn’t come close to the Tara Angkor in Siem Reap. Situated on the beach it offered great views from all rooms.
Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived so we dropped our bags in the luggage room and headed out right away to get a lay of the land. Though our hotel is on a relatively quiet beach front walkway, it’s only a couple of minutes on foot into town. We quickly found a tourist information booth and, after some research and competitive shopping, booked a half day rock climbing package for the following day.
With that taken care of, we could relax for the rest of the afternoon. As a past visitor Katy took me on a tour of the beach. The beach is beautiful and is lined with a few bars and about 50,000 women saying, “you wanna massaaaa”, which translates roughly to, “excuse me, would you like a massage here on the beach”. At the end of the beach there is a monkey walkway. Just to be clear you see monkeys, you don’t walk on them. One kid ignored the giant “don’t feed the monkeys for your own safety” sign. We last saw him backing slowly into the sea as his bag of monkey treats quickly emptied.
After getting checked into our room we decided to take a longtail boat out to some of the islands. It was too late for a group tour so we hired a private longtail to take us to Tup and Poda islands, two of Katy’s favourites from her last visit. On Poda, a short walk along the beach meant we had a spot all to ourselves.
Our next stop was Tup island. Well, sometimes it’s an island and sometimes it’s islands. As the tide rises and falls, a sandbar joins the two twice a day. Actually, I’m not even sure, they may have separate names. While we were there, the tide was at a point where you could walk across, but the water would be up to your chest. I went out about halfway before turning around, but some diligent Germans, each with a beer in hand held above their heads, walked all the way across.
As we left Tup for the return trip to Ao Nang beach, the sunset was just getting started and a group of people were setting up for a beach barbecue. We enjoyed the sunset from our boat as our driver struggled against the waves to keep us headed in the right direction.
As an aside, the life of a longtail driver isn’t all bad. Our driver Soleil (probably not the right spelling), would take us to the requested beach, drop anchor and then stretch out his hammock for a nap, rocking in the surf under the shade of his boat.
That evening we strolled along the road browsing the stores before a ladyboy convinced us to stop and have dinner at his restaurant.