A relaxing trip to the Thai resort of Krabi to stay in a shipping container, scoot about and bring in the New Year!
Saturday 30 December 2017 – Tuesday 2 January 2018
Bangkok -> Krabi
After our time in Bangkok, I looked for a beach resort in Thailand where we could relax for a few days before heading on to Kuala Lumpur to start working/studying. Krabi had direct flights from Bangkok and to KL – and didn’t look like a mad party resort – so we booked flights there.
Our flight was at 6.40am so we left out hotel for Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport at 3.45am. There were a few flights during the day to choose from but we figured leaving early would beat the Bangkok traffic and get us to Krabi in the morning.
Our flights were with Air Asia, which is Asia’s low cost airline and cost £185 in total, which was more than I expected as I heard the airline was crazy cheap. Looking ahead on Air Asia to some random dates in April, flights are about £40 return so I guess we were paying a premium over the Christmas/NY period, plus we paid for 25kg of luggage each. When I checked us in online, we hadn’t been seated together. I checked the cost of swapping seats, knowing that Ryanair usually charge £20+ each, however it was only TBH 80 which is less than £2! The flight was fine and took just over an hour to get to Krabi.
Arriving in Krabi
At Krabi Airport, we headed for the ‘taxi’ stand and paid THB 150 each to get a shared minivan to our accommodation. After waiting around for a while, we were pointed towards a minivan. Our driver had no clue where out accommodation is – it’s pretty new and off the main roads but I assumed he’d have sat nav or Google Maps on his phone. The driver stopped and asked a few people if they knew where Aonang Bedboxx was but they didn’t. Eventually, an English guy beside us looked it up on his phone and showed the driver directions. A strange taxi service but eventually we were dropped off! If you don’t have data in Thailand, I’d recommend printing off a map to your accommodation to show the driver in case they don’t know it. If you choose to stay where we did, you can tell the driver that it’s behind the Makro.
We arrived at about 11am and luckily our room was already ready for us and we were able to check in early. Each of the cottages is a brightly coloured shipping container. We got the red one which has a queen sized bed, air conditioning, fridge, and kettle. There’s a porch at the front and another through the back door, leading out to a private toilet and shower room. The shower room is a little camping-ish as it’s just a little room attached to the back porch. We shared our sink with a couple of big ants but managed to keep out of each other’s’ way. I also had an incident with a flying bug that looked a bit like a praying mantis. I handled it calmly by screaming and running out of the toilet. It was gone by the time I returned.
Sally the Scooter
The woman who checked us in asked if we wanted a scooter – yes please! It costs TBH 150/a day which is less than £4. Our accommodation would be about 30 minutes’ walk to the beach so the scooter makes things easier, plus it’s fun!
David went for a lie down and I took Sally (the scooter) out for a spin to Tesco (5 mins scoot away) to get some food. After having to ask a passer-by how to switch her on (I wasn’t holding down the break), I was merrily cruising along! The roads are pretty quiet but it gets congested with cars as you come into AoNang. If you’re on a scooter, you can drive by all the cars.
When I got back to the shipping container, the rain has starter so I sat on the front terrace for a few hours watching The Crown, painting my nails, eating Cup Noodles and working on my Bangkok blog post. We didn’t yet have the sunshine we’d hoped for but chilling was going to plan!
Ton Ma Yon
I had a look on TripAdvisor for dinner recommendations and there was a couple within a few minutes’ scoot from us. We scooted to Ton Ma Yon and managed to get a table right away, probably as it was only about 5.30pm. A few of the reviews have mentioned booking a table in advance or being prepared for a wait. The menu had a big selection of mainly Thai food and a few things like cheese sandwiches so could cater for fussy eaters. We got vege spring rolls to start, which were good but a bit oily. David got rice noodles, vegetables and soy and I got red curry and steamed rice. All the food was delicious though mine was super spicy even though I’d asked for only a little spice. The meal plus a large beer and soft drink cost only THB 415 (less than £10). Our best and cheapest meal in Thailand so far.
After dinner we hopped back on Sally the Scooter and were baffled as to why it wouldn’t turn on. Eventually (we’re talking five mins plus – such scooting amateurs) we realised the side stand was down which stopped the engine starting. Doh! We scooted back to our shipping container for an early night after our 3am start.
After a lazy morning, we went in search of the beach. It took about ten minutes to drive to the front and find AoNang Beach. With long boats parked up in the middle, wooded cliffs to the side and small islands in the distance, it looked just like I’d expected a beautiful Thai beach to look. However, AoNang is pretty busy and touristy so it felt more like a beach resort than a coastal retreat.
We parked up Sally (not many spaces even for a wee scooter) and went to get some lunch at a place near the beach called Echo. Lunch was pizza and salad and cost about double last night’s dinner. Although there are lots of very cheap places to eat, it’s also easy to spend near to what you would in the UK if you don’t do some research and check menus. Western style food is generally more expensive though we did find some cheap pizza on our last night.
During lunch, the rain started so we sat for a while hoping it would pass. It did eventually and we went back to the beach. The sun was shining at last and we soaked it up, David reading on the beach and me walking out into the sea. It’s shallow for a long way out so I could easily stand while watching the long boats racing back and forward taking tourists to the nearby islands. The water is so warm and on par with the lukewarm showers we had in Bangkok and Krabi. There was a few people walking up and down the beach selling cold beer, watches, sunglasses and corn on the cob.
After about an hour of enjoying the sunshine, the rain started up and we shifted up the sand to hide under a tree. Most people packed up their stuff and left the beach. Eventually it cleared up and the sun returned.
At the far end of AoNang Beach is Monkey Trail which I had found on TripAdvisor. A lot of recent reviews said there were no monkeys around but we decided to take the walk anyway. Right enough, not a monkey in sight but the short 10 minute walk took us to another lovely, quieter beach.
There were signs on the trail to say that it was a national park and dropping litter or feeding monkeys were against Thai law. When we reached the smaller beach we had to sign in so they must keep track of how many people are on the beach.
Lovely drink of coconut
Back on AoNang beach, we stopped at a beach bar for a drink. I’d seen people drinking whole coconuts and decided to try one. I don’t like the cartons of coconut water that you get in the UK so didn’t think I’d like it but was pleasantly surprised. It only cost THB 60 and the bar tender chopped it open with a cleaver when I ordered it so it was good and fresh!
New Year’s Eve
It was New Year’s Eve and we decided to ring in 2018 on AoNang Beach. We left Sally at our accommodation and walked down to AoNang. It was quite a walk (about 35 mins) and we were glad we decided to hire the scooter for getting around. En route we stopped at another TripAdvisor find for dinner – Ao Nang Boat Noodle. More tasty and crazy cheap Thai food.
Onward to AoNang Beach, we walked by busy bars with live music, one pub crawl and lots of locals sitting together in the street eating food. At the beach front, we got a drink in one of the bars before buying a few drinks at a 7-Eleven and going to sit on the beach.
There were hundreds of people lining the beach front. The tides comes in in the evening so there was a lot less space that during the day. Pretty much everyone that we saw on the beach was a tourist. All along the beach, groups of people were lighting Chinese lanterns and letting them sail off into the sky. It was an amazing sight to see – hundreds of Chinese lanterns floating off into the distance. Though also sad to think that they would soon all end up as rubbish floating in the sea.
As 2018 approached, people started a countdown in a totally disorganised fashion and at roughly midnight everyone shouted Happy New Year! We could hear one of the bars doing a countdown over the microphone which didn’t quite match up with the beach!
Further along the beach, fireworks were being let off, a few firing at a jaunty angle so that people laughed as they ran out of the way of the sparks. Something burning caught our eye further along the beach and we went to investigate. There was a massive HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018 in the sand that had been set on fire. People were gathering around, taking photos and videos (as we did!). No such thing as health and safety in Thailand!
1 January 2018
Another lazy morning on 1st Jan, eventually surfacing from our shipping container at lunchtime to jump on Sally and go in search of food. We tried to go to Banana House but found no staff and a couple sitting at one of the tables told us they didn’t think they served food any more. Next up, we tried to go back to Ton Ma Yon but it was closed between peak lunch and dinner time so we ended up in Ao Nang Leela Restaurant on the same street. More tasty, cheap food and another coconut to cheers the new year!
After lunch we scooted down to the beach and spent a few hours lazing on the sand. All along the beach front are places offering Thai Massages and I convinced David to join me for one with the ‘When in Rome’ argument. We picked a random place along the beach and paid THB 200 each (about £4.50) for a 40 minute massage (should have been TBH 300 for 1 hour but David didn’t agree to a whole hour). The place wasn’t anywhere near Gleneagles standard but it was a good massage and the staff were friendly. When we paid we were each given some pineapple to eat!
We were leaving early the next morning so packed our cases and then headed out on Sally one last time for dinner. Using trusty TripAdvisor, we found a pizza place and scooted in the direction. Turning off the main road onto a dark side road, we were sure we had gone the wrong way until Bouganville Pizzeria Krabi appeared. The restaurant was easily the nicest place we had eaten during our time in Krabi, the pizza was fab and authentically Italian (I think it’s owned by an Italian guy) and reasonably priced. When we first arrived we were the only people there and after a while another three tables arrived. As with other places in Thailand, the food arrived as it was ready so David got his pizza about five minutes before mine arrived. Once all the food had been served, the owner/chef walked around the tables to check everyone was happy with everything.
Thoughts on Krabi
I liked Krabi and the beaches were beautiful – but I was a bit disappointed with how busy the place was. One thing that we didn’t do that’s very popular is take a boat trip to any of the nearby islands. We were being too lazy to organise a full day trip, David isn’t a fan of boats plus I had a feeling that we’d be herded around the islands with hundreds of other people. My fellow blogger, Donna has a post about Krabi including a boat trip if you want more info on that – The Trouble with being a Travelling Salesman.
On to Malaysia
As the taxi driver had so much trouble finding our accommodation on arrival, we asked the owner to book us a taxi the night before. It would have been THB 150 per person for a shared minivan or was THB 500 for a private taxi (THB 600 before 6am). We booked a private taxi figuring it would be less of a faff. The driver arrived on time and we were en route to the airport. Half way there he pulled over to answer phone calls then drove on for a while and pulled over again. I think there had been some confusion at the taxi company and he’d picked us up instead of who he was meant to and there were people still waiting. A taxi pulled over across the road from us and an English guy got out of that and into the front seat of our one, also heading for the airport. I guess they needed to free up a taxi to get the forgotten people.
We arrived at Krabi International Airport and had to wait in a big Air Asia queue to drop our bags off even though we’d already checked in online. And then we had to wait in a queue for immigration (make sure you keep the departure section of your arrival form – we were allowed 30 days visa free in Thailand as Brits). And then through to a tiny departure area to wait to queue to go through to our gate when our flight was called. The airport was basic but there’s a few coffee shops and convenience shops airside.
On board our second Air Asia flight and we were off to Malaysia and our new home for the next two (Carole) / five (David) months! Exciting and slightly nerve wracking!