vince and i searched online for our next adventure after japan. we both love the beach, and wanted to explore a beach we both have never been to. krabi in thailand caught our attention cause the rates were sooo low back in may. low season they say. but upon checking the weather forecast, it said no chance of rain, all sunny skies, temperature in the high 20s.. "book it!"
ahh, krabi.. the less popular beach destination of thailand, the up and coming phuket, the location of the famous phi phi island. getting to krabi from bangkok is exactly like getting from manila to boracay ten years ago. a flight from bangkok to krabi takes an hour, exactly like manila to kalibo.. then a land trip for two hours from krabi to koh lanta island, exactly like kalibo to caticlan.
the sand is not as gorgeous as boracay sand, but the beach is divine. to add to it, krabi feels like its a virgin island. not at all commercialized, charming, and quiet.
being in krabi makes it kind of hard to believe that just five years ago, this beautiful nature reserve was hit by the massive tsunami. the locals speak about it with a lot of strength, seeing it as a learning experience more than a terrible tragedy. all the resorts, restaurants, villages show no sign of the tsunami, except for evacuation route signs like this every few metres. amazing how such a small island can be so organized this way.
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inspired by my friend regina's way of labeling travel photos, i share with you now a few highlights from the trip!
when in krabi..
..learn how other countries preserve the environment! within the two hour land trip to koh lanta, you pass two of these floating highways. well, barges as they call it. you pay a "toll fee" to get your vehicle to the other islands. when we asked why not build bridges instead of these barges having to go back and forth forever, they said its intentional. building bridges will make access to the islands easier, which will make preserving the islands more difficult. overcrowding, problems in waste management, disturbing underwater life, erosion of land on the island, and sooo much more possible terrible consequences to the environment. (lesson: please, oh please philippine government, do something before boracay goes to waste!)
..have a glass of good wine before resting from a long day's travel. you pretty much get to koh lanta in the evening, from leaving manila in the morning. have some wine, with great conversation, and you are all set to have a good night's sleep! (vince and i collect and label all the corks from bottles we have. we hope to fill the jar in the future.)
..enjoy the view! wake up early and have a hearty breakfast enjoying a spectacular view. chat up the thai servers and make them guess your nationality. help them practice their english while ordering food. laugh and just eat up when they end up giving you the wrong order.
..lounge in the pool the whooole day. remember, its "off peak season" so you are the only ones in the whooole resort! we joked each other, "buy one room, take one resort!" there were probably only six other guests in the resort aside from us, and they didn't seem to be pool people, so the whooole pool was ours. how posh!
..still enjoy yourself even when sick. vince suffered from a bum stomach so we had to cancel our "culture day" in krabi. we were planning to go to the gypsy village, the local market, the caves, and the waterfalls, but because he was sick, we had to stay at the resort instead. well, still not bad. how could it be bad?! the sun was shining, the wind was cool, the whole poolside was ours, and we even saw eagles flying above us. no kidding. eagles!! (the only bad part was vince had to eat just bread that day to help make his stomach better.)
..explore the nightlife and chance upon a cool bar! we decided to walk around one night and see if any place catches our eye. and behold, we found, bar-a-cuda!! get it?! barrrracuda?! hahhaha. the thai are so cute. this was a very charming place with cool beachy interiors and steady reggae music playing. plus, the chicken wings are excellent. (during "off peak season" though, all places close at 9PM. yes, as in 9PM. so you gotta start your night at like 6PM. hehe.)
..do more lounging by the pool, but this time, stuff yourselves! something about swimming pools and salty fries that is just magic. add a lovely strawberry milkshake and a clubhouse sandwich and tadaa! life can't be any better.
..trust lonely planet to bring you to a great place! we really swear by lonely planet. we love it!!!! and lonely planet thailand did not fail us. we looked up this place that came highly recommended by them, same same but different. cute name, right?! the thai are really so cute. "same, same," as they like to say! fantastic interiors, friendly servers, and a great menu. the lamb mussamun is the best!
..make new friends! meet david and tamesin! newlyweds from kent, england! aaw, they were the cutest. honeymoon-ing around thailand and krabi was their last stop. spent every night with them! (remember? everything's closed at 9PM? so it was drinks at the hotel with them every night.) we had dinner all together in same same but different, and to end the night perfectly, we all rode at the back of the pick up truck on the way home! so much fun!!!!
..and of course, after the relaxing krabi trip, stop over in bangkok before heading home!!!! yaaay!!!!
when in bangkok..
..soak up the sights, sounds, colors, street food, and shopping! the train stop at central has the most kick ass malls side by side to each other. the siam area is also a major winner! if in bangkok over the weekend, chatuchak is a must!
..walk around til you find a hole in the wall resto full of people! you may not understand the menu written in pure thai outside the restaurant, but when its packed to the brim, you knooow its gotta be good! if ordering in broken english plus little thai phrases doesn't work, just point (discreetly and politely of course) to the plates of other people for what you want to order. chicken rice!!!! wow. felt like the chicken meat was gonna fall off the bone. *drool*
..when killing time in the airport, eat at magic food point! oh my. the best and cheapest thai food in the airport! forget those expensive restaurants in the higher floors. when killing time in the bangkok international airport, head to the ground floor, by the bus stations, and enter the magical world of magic food point! order the dark duck over noodles for less than 80THB!!!!
..and of course, in my case, when traveling.. take tumbling shots!
koh lanta, krabi, thailand. by the beach, krabi, thailand. central station, bangkok, thailand.
coming soon, post on recent singapore and korea trip. thank you for reading!