02 Jun Krabi Town: More Than Meets The Eye
One of the things I love most about traveling is the spontaneous, spur of the moment decisions you’re bound to make while on the road. The kind that make you change your plans, and force you to understand that it’s not only okay to do that, but sometimes necessary to make the most out of your days.
Up until three days before getting there, we hadn’t even heard about Krabi Town. One night in Singapore, though, a girl we met at our Airbnb told us that it was easier to fly from Singapore to Krabi than to Bangkok, and once there it was the perfect getaway to Thailand’s Southern Islands.We searched for flights that same day, and they were only $30. Evidently, we didn’t think about it twice, and booked them.
We hadn’t googled a single thing nor we’d looked for places to stay when we boarded the Air Asia plane that would take us to Thailand. 10,000 ft above the ground we realized that we were getting into town a day before Songkran-Thailand’s New Year- and for the first time since we’d booked our flights we worried that our decision had been a tad too impulsive. Finding a good deal for a room a day before a major holiday seemed impossible.
We neeedn’t have worried, though. We found a room right away and in the best place of our trip so far: Chanchalay Guest House
We had dinner at the night market and I got sick. However, the next day I was able to enjoy Songkran for a few hours and it gave me an insight into Thailand’s people. I began to understand the kind of people Thais are, why they’re always smiling, and the joy they find in the little things. The things that really matter.
After Songkran, everything went quiet. It seemed like we were the only ones left in town and we didn’t mind that a bit. We rented a motorbike and went out every day to explore Krabi on our own.
Kayaking to Ko Hong with Sea Kayak Krabi
As we love these type of adventures, we went Kayaking to Ko Hong Island with Sea Kayak Krabi. On that morning, the amazing lady who runs Chanchalay Guest House knew we were going kayaking, so she cooked us sticky rice with taro. “For your breaks”, she said, when she handed it to us wrapped in banana leaves. I thought this was really sweet of her. She certainly didn’t have to, and it was a great snack we enjoyed on the beach.
A minivan took us to Ao Nang where we boarded a long tail boat to Ko Hong. When we got there the beach was so crowded that I was a little put off. There’s nothing more unappealing that trying to battle it out to hordes of tourists for a little slice of beach.
We got on our kayaks and when the beach disappeared from view, we left the crowds behind. As soon as we started paddling, I felt at home. Being out on the water (when the waters are calm) always has that effect on me.
We got to see lots of jellyfish, from tiny see-through with purple tentacles, to bigger ones that looked like orange cupcakes. We paddled to a secret lagoon, with perfect water, surrounded by karst, where there was no one around except us.
We paddled back to Ko Hong for lunch after a swim in the lagoon, and for the grande finale, they took us on a boat to two more islands. The first one was disappointing as the beach was clogged by longtail boats and people. The second one, Paradise Beach, was far better, making its name proud.
The next day we took our motorbike for a spin to Wat Tham Seua aka Tiger Cave.
Legend says that a monk used this forest-covered cave to meditate and while doing so, a tiger entered and did him no harm. The monk proclaimed the cave magical and founded, on that spot, a center for worship and meditation. The entire complex is worth taking a look at, but the main attraction is climbing the 1,237 steps to the top.
I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to make the entire hike because I’d spent more than 36 hours without eating anything, and Isaac still had his blister from playing soccer with the kids in Koh Klang.
It was gruelling, I’m not gonna lie. The humidity and heat got more brutal the higher we climbed, and the stairs seemed to get higher and narrower by the minute. But there are monkeys the whole way up, which are a welcome distraction. They help you look like you’re really interested in them, and no one will ever suspect that you’re dying inside from exhaustion. Not that I’d know, of course. Cough cough.
And there’s always the promise of unparalleled views once you reach the top.
The views don’t disappoint. It’s like having Thailand at your feet, and I felt small and insignificant but also big and powerful, if that makes sense.
The biggest reward was going up the stairs to the second level and coming face to face to the golden, light-reflecting, larger than life Buddha.
Peaceful. That’s exactly how I felt in his presence.
We sat down to admire it. No talking, no taking pictures, no thinking. Just being present. And it was a better reward than I was hoping for.
Krabi Hot Springs
Another day trip we took was to the “peaceful, relaxing, quiet” hot springs every tour agency in Krabi tries to sell you. Since we already had Carmela (our motorbike), we drove there on our own. It was a painful ride, because it’s far too long. An hour and a half in which I swore I’d need reconstructive surgery on my butt afterwards. And once we got there and paid the 90 Baht per person to go inside, we immediately wished we hadn’t. It’s so crowded it loses all appeal. It’s impossible to even distinguish if it’s beautiful because every inch is covered with bodies, flotation devices, and clothes.
I wouldn’t recommend it.
Nattha Resort Hot Springs
Since we’d already driven so far and still wanted to soak in some hot springs, we went to Nattha Resort where they have natural hot spring water but in man-made pools.
This was nicer since we had the place to ourselves, but I still think it isn’t worth it. The coldest hot spring they’ve got is 39ºC which we could only stand for about three minutes. The hottest is 51C. I mean, in reality, only meditating monks could dip their toes in a 51ºC water without jumping off like Mario when his ass is on fire in Lethal Lava Land. (Was that too geek?)
The grounds are beautiful, and it’s perfect for sunbathing and relaxing but you can also do that for free at the beach.
Krabi at Night
The nights in Krabi are laid-back and quiet, but they can be fun. We met other travelers with whom we hit it off great right away. The bars are cool, good music (especially at Cozy Bar) but after going three nights in a row we discovered that they use the same playlist every day so it does get old after a while. But generally, the people are friendly, the food is good, and the games are never missing.
I lost to Isaac playing Connect 4 a total of 13 times. 13. I’ll definitely have to go back for a rematch, and to regain my honor.
Koh Klang is a tiny predominantly Muslim and fishing island that you can reach by taking a boat from the Marina in Krabi. It’s unspoiled as it’s rarely visited by tourists. We had an unforgettable, and touching day meeting locals on the island. You can read all about it here.
Krabi surprised me in more ways than I can count. On the outisde it seems like a little unassuming town, but in reality it’s a place where locals make you feel welcome, where you can find momentary peace at remote temples, where sea adventures are never far, and where “the real” Thailand has not yet been lost. It’s definitely more than meets the eye.
Sometimes changing your plans takes you to places that weren’t even on your radar, when in fact missing them would be a shame.
Have you been to Krabi? What did you think? Have you ever visited a place without knowing anything about it? What happened? Would love to hear from you! Please use the comment section below.