Pure beach holiday
24.11.2008 - 08.12.2008 35 °C
From Ko Pha Ngan I continued to Krabi to join my parents for two weeks. They were on a 3-week holiday in Ao Nang, a beach town 25 km from Krabi Town. I arrived in pouring rain but after a couple of rainy days the monsoon season seemed to be over, the clouds cleared from the sky and the weather became for what I had hoped for - unbearably hot and sunny. We didn't let the occasional showers bother us though - after the boredom in Ko Pha Ngan I came to realize that if I want an action-packed holiday, I better stick with my parents! For they don't waste time when on holidays!
Ao Nang isn't much of a place itself, just a small touristy town full of restaurants and resorts and tailors, but it's surrounded by some stunning islands. Most people take longtail boats to reach better beaches around. It was difficult to find a cheap room there as it's very much package holiday orientated, but I managed to get a little room for 300 baht per night. It was really expensive for what it was but the location was great. I wanted something simple as I had an intention to take full advantage of my parents' hotel's hot showers, swimming pool area and the white robes...
One of my favourite things that I did with my parents was visiting the Tiger Cave Temple. We climbed 1237 steps up to the top of the hill. Some of the stairs were extremely steep and high, and with the +35 'C heat it was one grueling hike. Once we reached the top it was worth it though. The views were stunning and of course we felt like we were really sporty and outdoorsy people! I even made it up without any energy boosting candy, because a nasty monkey stole my bag of M&M's and then sat on a rock picking on them - apparently he didn't like all the colours - and looking at me with a mocking face!
Some of the steps really forced you to lift your legs!
Island hopping is a must thing to do in Krabi, as the province is famous for its dramatic landscape of limestone cliffs. From a longtail boat you can see those huge karsts rising from the waters. There are some beautiful beaches close by, most famous of them the island of Phi Phi. I gave it a miss though, because even though it is supposed to be amazingly beautiful, the other things that I keep hearing of it didn't make me wanna spend more than 1000 baht just to get there for couple of hours. I mean after all, how many different beaches do you need to see? Some of the closer islands, like Poda and Chicken, and the mainland beaches of Railay and Phra Nang were easy for day trips and just fine for me. I think I've been spoiled by many nice beaches already and maybe don't fully appreciate them anymore. The scenery was undeniably beautiful but beaches and islands weren't the most interesting thing for me. I've only now realized that I actually haven't taken many photos of the beaches, and those that I have are mostly from the rainy days!
Krabi area is popular place for rock climbing, and there were loads of climbers in East Railay. I had been thinking about giving it a go, but from where I stood it didn't seem to be worth the money. Maybe it's different once you're up there, but I thought I'd rather save up to do a skydive in Australia or New Zealand.
Nearby Krabi Town is not very interesting place, but we went there to do some shopping as prices are lower there. There was a pretty temple too.
We also went to see the hot springs where you can bathe in a temperature of 40-42 (I loved it, the place was like a big outdoor jacuzzi) and Crystal Pool. Unfortunately the latter was packed with locals on weekend trips, and I'm sure it would have been nicer without all those kids making noise and splashing about. Oh I sound like a bitter old lady! There was a beautiful jungle though with lush green trees, and right after rain it was so fresh.
I thought these blue flowers were like something out of a Finnish forest.
There are advantages to really touristy places, like being able to get surprisingly good version of my ultimate treat, banoffee pie. Whilst I was with my parents I was eating in normal restaurants too, not only in food markets like I've done so far. I must say that western food in Ao Nang was really expensive and not all that. Every now and then I do crave for a big, greasy pizza, but the stuffed feeling afterwards makes me turn back to simple meals of chicken and rice and delicious fruits like lychees, rambutans and mangosteens. I suppose I'm lucky cause Thai food is one of my favourite foods anyway, and I don't easily get bored of eating rice every day. There was a pretty beach bar that served the tastiest fruit shakes and health smoothies. They even did blueberry milkshakes! And even though I knew I shouldn't, I had the occasional overpriced Starbucks coffee too, but only because their season flavour Dark Cherry Mocha (mine's iced) was quite possibly the best drink I've tasted in my entire life.
The best meal of my journey so far I had in Ao Nang in a Thai-Dutch restaurant (the town was full of strange combos like that). Chicken skewers served on a barbecue with peanut sauce to die for and a baked potato with garlic butter. It was heavenly, so much so that I returned the next day to have the same thing for lunch. Maybe it was because I was finally having something else than rice, but it was good all the same.
There didn't seem to be much night life and the streets were empty by midnight. Then again I wouldn't know cause I never went out! I had expected to, because a friend of mine from Finland was also there with her sister and other people, but every evening we were too knackered to go anywhere. After all I got up at 8 every morning and was active all day! Or maybe our definition of fun had changed a little bit since we last had a holiday together at the age of 17, when days were for sleeping and nights for getting pissed on Absolut vodka and orange juice!
One night me, my parents and their friends bought lanterns from the most adorable old man and sent them to the sky. I had been looking at this little man for almost two weeks. He was so cute, hardly the size of the lanterns he was selling.
For me these two weeks have been the beach holiday I've watched other people having for the past four years when I've been working in hotels, bars and restaurants. It's been lovely and it was great to see my parents in Thailand, but I've spent enough time in the south now and I'm eager to continue my journey up north and then on to Laos!