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Thre weeks in Krabi area - July and August 2007
1st June, 2007
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Flew to Krabi with Air Asia - great deals but only a 15kg allowance; so I mailed my book pile from Bangkok before flying. Booked an airport pickup by email with my guesthouse booking - cheaper than negotiating with the "sharks" at the airport. I paid 350; sometimes it's 400 baht depending on the car and time. There's also a local bus for around 30 baht.
Spent a few days in Krabi Town; stayed in the heart of things at @KRABI PURA http://atkrabipura.multiply.com/ which is next to the motorbike police box overlooking the river. The views are absolutely spectacular; especially in the morning as the mist rises over the karsts. Rooms in low season were 600 baht for a small room and 800 baht for a large room including hotwater, air conditioning and TV. Breakfast in the garden was a delight; oodles of birds. It's a new place so the bedding is exceptionally comfortable and it's more like a tiny boutique hotel than a guesthouse. You'll feel part of the family quickly. The owner's name is Atchara.
Krabi Town is a foodie's heaven; the morning market has treats like khao yum (a spicy rice salad dish famous in Krabi) plus desserts to die for. Atchara at @KRABI PURA often has family drop by with some of these treats, so do ask where they bought them and you may find yourself on a food adventure.
We asked Atchara to book minibus transport to Koh Lanta; stayed at Kaw Kwang ( 700 baht low season for an air conditioned cabin)
http://www.lanta-kawkwangresort.com/ Great location with an excellent pool, fabulous fresh seafood available off-the-menu style; just ask what the fishermen are catching and order it cooked as you wish. Really friendly family run operation. Took a private car on a morning drive around the island - old Lanta town was fascinating; we skipped the "Sea Gypsy village" as it was written up as a human zoo!
Back to Krabi for a few more days of eating; near the old pier there's an evening food market where the locals buy their dinners before zooming home on their motorbikes. You can sit streetside at the tables there and order from the different vendors. The pad thai was excellent as was the barbecued fish. Did I mention the home-made coconut or coffee icecream?? Opposite this area is the best "kanom jiin" (cold white noodles in a coconut cream sauce) in town and another place has fried rice with crab that wins locals hearts.
Next we asked Atchara at @Krabi Pura to book us up to Khao Laak. The Ramada Hotel had deals and a half. Check online to see what kind of offers happen - in low season Thailand is a dream for 5 star spa delights at no-star prices. Got a 3 day stay, with a free 90 minute massage for two, for about 6000 baht including a buffet breakfast. After 6 days - we loved the quiet - we took local buses back to Krabi.
More food - great somtum - spicy papaya salad - at the riverside restaurants near the main Thara park.
Took a morning bird watching trip through the mangroves with a local expert. I'm not a birder but two other guests were ( Lodie and Marianne); so I went along for the education. Saw lots of eagles, kingfishers and ...(??); sorry I lost the list of names. Lodie started a birding book at @Krabi Pura for birders to record the birds they have seen - drop by to add to it or ask them to book the birding trip with Mr Thae. The boat trip was 1500 baht for two hours including the boat - the guide really knew where to find the birds and his bird calls were incredible; a bargain for birders. @KrabiPura prepared a snack bag with fruit and drinks to ease the hunger until we got back for breakfast in the garden.
The final adventure out of Krabi was to Ko Yaw Noi. I frst read of this on TRAVELFISH. The local pickup to Ao Tha Laen left at 11am and took about 2 hours; most of it in Krabi Town picking up locals from the market , hospital, the shops. The cost for the pickup was 40 baht, boat 120 baht (1pm) to Noi and the pickup to Sabai Corner was 80 baht per person. Sabai Corner has a fabulous location, brilliantly designed but very simple bungalows (no hot water or air con) for 500/800/1000/1200 baht in LOW SEASON. The food served was another highlight; simple fresh ingedients including local seafood. Laila ( spelling?) the owner was a font of stories, exceptionally friendly and runs a real retreat from the world.
Am already planning another month in this area of Thailand for next year. Didn't have time for places like Ao Nang or Phi Phi Island - there's enough genuine Thai experiences to be had if you want to really experience the delights of Thailand; especially the food delights. I started a food book at @KrabiPura, which I hope to add to over the next few days here before heading back to Bangkok. Am sure there are more unexplored food treats just around the next corner!
Do give Krabi a chance in low season - the rain will happen but it's so nice to not be part of the deluge of tourists that happen in high season. You'll love the prices too!
#1 Posted: 16/8/2007 - 12:29
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