At first we thought it was Krappy!
23.01.2010 - 26.01.2010 33 °C
We arrived in Krabi on Saturday 23rd January at about 6pm after spending 10 hours crammed into a tiny wee minivan. There were 11 of us squashed in there and speed across Malaysia to the Thailand border. We felt like refugees getting smuggled from one country to the next, it was all a bit odd but that seemed to be the most preferred method of crossing the border, it took the hassle away from us having to get a bus from Penang to the border and then trying to find another bus once we had crossed to take us to Krabi. We were so glad when it was over and we could get off and stretch our legs.
Our first impression of Krabi wasn’t great. It’s a smallish town that’s quite run down looking and dingy. We checked into our very basic accommodation. The guy hadn’t even known we were coming, we booked it through hostelbookers and they couldn’t have sent him the information. Luckily he had space and we ended up with a room and ensuite when we only paid for a room.
The man at reception told us to head for the night markets at the next street to find food and allsorts. The place was heaving, I felt so uncomfortable. It felt like we were being watched constantly, I was very wary of people bumping into us in case they were trying to steal. The place was just a mass of wee stalls selling anything from clothes, jewellery, massages to food and drinks. There were no signs in English so we didn’t have a clue what the food was, we took one quick look round then left. It was way too overwhelming for me. We were tired from a long day travelling and we couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of trying to think about what we wanted or trying to communicate it so we headed for KFC round the corner. It wasn’t great but we knew what we were eating and we could point to the pictures.
The next morning we headed out to see what there was to do...not a lot in Krabi besides wee shops and eating places. We had lunch in an Italian place because again it was the only thing we could find that had a menu in English! We were feeling a bit down, thinking what were we going to do for 3 days in this dump. We went back to the hostel and asked the guy on reception what there was to do. He suggested we visit the Tiger Cave Temple that was just outside Krabi town, it’s a Buddhist temple on top of a massive hill, we saw it as we drove in on the bus. So off we went, feeling a bit better that we had something to do.
At the temple we entered a cave at ground level, taking our flip flops off before we entered. It was a pretty cool cave with statues of gold Buddha’s and monks wandering about. There were also lots of monkeys running about looking for tourists to feed them. They sold bananas in a stall just before you head up the 1223 steps to the top of the hill to the huge Buddha statue. The monkeys were cheeky little things, swinging from cables, jumping on roofs and fighting with each other over the bananas. We were bombarded by them when they saw us coming with a bunch, they were even trying to climb Kevs leg to get them from his hands. I stood back and filmed it, I didn’t want attacked.
We then headed up the very steep steps to the top. We were exhausted by the time we got to the top, the sweat was dripping off us. The view from the top was absolutely amazing though, we could see for miles. There were lots of hills jutting out from the land and we could see the sea in the distance. It was stunning and so peaceful up there. Well worth the climb.
We caught our breath, had a wander round the statues, took lots of photos and then headed back down. About half way down we were met by lots of monkeys and baby ones too sat on the steps and playing in nearby trees. We thought it was cute until they snatched two bags from an Asian family walking up. They just grabbed the bags and started tearing into them to see if there was any food...the Asian family didn’t stick around, they dropped the bags and fled back down the stairs. We had just got past that bunch when we saw a lone monkey on the railing, we stopped to take some photos and he came closer. I thought he could smell more bananas in Kevs bag as he was heading for that, instead he grabbed our bottle of water out of the side pocket and sat in a tree just outside arms reach. He then managed to get the screw top off and lifted it up for a drink! We couldn’t believe it, he was a smart wee thief. Once he was done he just chucked the bottle to the ground. Cheeky little so and so. It was really funny though...I’m just glad he did it on the way down and not on the way up when we really needed the water!
At the bottom we got hustled into some tent thing to make a clay tablet. We had to select a Buddha, we chose the one for luck, and then write our names on it. Then Kev got to press it out and then we had to kneel on a mat and repeat a prayer in Thai. We thought we were getting to keep the tablet but the guy took it off us and said that in a years time it will be put on the temple that was still being built behind us. That’s pretty cool to think that our names are going to be on a Buddhist temple in Thailand. We will have to go back in a year and see if he was telling the truth!
That night we were feeling a lot better about being in Krabi so we headed for the night market again. We had read that you if you like the look or smell of something then just point and hold up your fingers to show them how many bits you want. We had great fun trying out all the different stalls, we didn’t have a clue what half of it was but we tried it anyway, most of the time we were pleasantly surprised. There was some really good food there, couldn’t tell you what it was called or order it again though! It was all really cheap too.
The next day we had booked an elephant trek in the jungle. I was really looking forward to this, I have always wanted to go on an elephant trek. We were taken off to some place, not quite heart of the jungle, more like the outskirts of town. It was really good though, it was just me and Kev out for a ride. It was a small family run business with only 3 elephants. All the elephants were female, ours was called Namping and she was 30 just like me. He said she was just a young one (which made me feel better) that they live to be 95 – 100. She also liked her food, she stopped umpteen times on the trek to grab some leaves on the go. At the end he took her to a pond so she could have a drink...yes she did try to soak us
Once the trek was over we got to feed her some bananas, she was really gentle when taking them out of our hands. She was lovely and the family were really nice too.
When we got back to Krabi town we jumped on a tuk tuk to Ao Nang, the more touristy part of Krabi. The tuk tuk was fun, we were sat in the back of a truck as the guy sped along beeping his horn looking for other passengers. They are almost as mental as the Egyptians at driving.
Ao Nang was very touristy, it had a completely different feel about it. Where we were staying was more a local way of life, we got to see how the locals lived which to us is more interesting than just going to the main tourist areas. Ao Nang was right on the beach though which was really pretty and we could see some Islands dotted around in the distance. We had a drink on the beach and waited for sunset before getting another tuk tuk back to the town.
On Tuesday we did a tour of the Phi Phi Islands by speed boat. It was beautiful, we got to go snorkelling and were taken around 4 Islands. The sea was so clear and there were thousands of colourful fish swimming right next to us, it was brilliant. We also went to Maya Bay the place where they filmed The Beach, with Leonardo Di Caprio. The beach was swarming with people, there were so many boats anchored that you could hardly see the shore. I knew it would be busy but not that busy, it was crazy. It kind of spoiled it a bit. The beach wasn’t that big either, I thought it was a lot bigger when I saw the film. I guess they are right when they say things look bigger on tv.
Our time in Krabi ended up being a lot better than we had thought it was going to be. Just goes to show...never judge a book by its cover!