For my birthday weekend, JP and I went to Krabi in Thailand. We were only there from Friday till Sunday, but going to the beach was a good escape from Singapore's hectic pace. JP put me in charge of preparing our trip, and handed over his credit card so I can book our flights and hotel. Such a trusting husband, 'no?
traditional long-tail boats
Krabi (and most of Thailand, actually) looks just like any province in the Philippines. However, you will see the differences very quickly. For example, the traditional Thai alphabet is widely used in the country.
And just like Phuket and Bali, there are no hotels directly in front of the beach. All hotels are situated a couple of meters away so that you have to walk to get there.
We checked in at the Aonang Buri Resort, and we were greeted by this. It wasn't too fancy, just comfortable, which was good enough for us.
Since we got there in the afternoon, there wasn't really enough time to book any island tour for the day, so we looked had lunch by the sea, and later, walked the night street market in the town center and had a Thai massage (300 BHT each!). Since I don't have pictures of the market, I'll just post some of the foods we saw and tried.
1st row: mango salad with shrimps, red bean buns and their version of siopao
2nd row: steamed crab, banana milkshake& salad, quail eggs
3rd row: coconut pancake, pad thai, and the best coconut milkshake ever!
JP booked us on a seven-island tour with dinner for Saturday. But since the tour started at 1PM, in the morning, we decided to rent a motorbike from the hotel. We rented this for 250BHT for 24 hours, and surprisingly, no license is required to rent. I have to say this is a much better way to get around the town.
We went further down to this beach, which was definitely more quiet (read: few people), and we got treated to a dance rehearsal of local kids (ang init lang ng practice nila ha!).
Like Phuket, you have to take a boat tour to see the other islands and the better beaches. The tour already includes food, water, insurance and the services of a guide, plus snorkeling gear. You go with several other passengers on the boat. Our group was unfortunate enough to have been joined by four loud, stinky, smoking and drinking tourists (and they even threw their beer cans and cigarette butts into the sea!). So as not to ruin our trip, we ignored them and let the older lady who was also in the tour talk to them.
Anyway....The islands we went to were pretty good. White sand, clear waters. JP joined the others for snorkeling, he said there were nice fish.
When they said "seven-island" tour, it didn't mean you'll be stepping on all seven islands. There were some you just stopped near the island to snorkel, or take a picture. Like the Chicken island.
We had dinner at Tup Island, where we watched the sun go down and the moon come up.
Overall, I would say that Krabi is Phuket's more timid, definitely quieter little sister. Where Phuket is brash and loud (hello, Bangla Road), Krabi's mood is definitely calmer. This one, I think is better for the older crowd, or those with kids in tow, or just like JP and myself, those who just want a relaxing weekend.
Would we go back? Definitely! For a quick getaway, Krabi's a good place to go. And I want to thank my husband for this trip, albeit a short one. There's nothing like celebrating your birthday doing what you love to do (travel) and being with your favorite travel buddy (JP). Oh, and ending the day with some cake. Because what's a birthday without cake, right?
from my instagram
Flight - about SGD 540, for two persons. We took an Air Asia flight to get there, and Tiger Airways going back to Singapore. I had to look for the best flight combination since I wanted to maximize our time there. The flight search option in TripAdvisor is really good, because it shows you the times for several airlines. Then, I went to the Air Asia and Tiger websites to book our flights. I'm sure this would have been cheaper if I didn't pay for check-in luggage, and if I'd book earlier and timed our purchase on a sale date. But, whatever!
Hotel- SGD186 for a Superior room for two nights, inclusive of breakfast. I booked this via Hotels.com, after doing a lot of comparisons among the hotels. I chose this for the location, which is on a quiet part of Aonang beach, a few minutes walk (or ride via motorbike) to the main town center.
Airport Transfer -- 800 BHT pick up from the airport, 600BHT from the hotel. We didn't mind paying a little bit more for this, as we had the van all to ourselves. We booked this from the hotel, so we didn't have to haggle with the tour operators in AoNang. A cheaper option is to look for the public buses at the airport that goes into Krabi Town before going to AoNang. That's 150 BHT for a one way trip, and it will take longer than 40 minutes since the bus picks up and drops off passengers along the way. Or, take a semi-private shuttle from the airport, about 300BHT. I think this is a 12-seater van, with other passengers.
Tour --We paid 1,000 BHT each for the 7-island dinner tour. There are a lot of tour operators in AoNang, so you won't run out of choices. It's not just about the beach in Krabi, there are also tours for riding elephants, climb a mountain, visit a temple. Prices are quite reasonable.
Food --Prices are very good. Our meals averaged about 300-500 BHT. Almost the same if you were in the Philippines.