Planning travel with my husband is very simple… We are both suckers for the sea. I think we can spend days just eating good food and bumming by the beach. While Bangkok in Thailand has never been on my list of places to go to – Krabi always was. The reason is sun, sand sea and the land of mystical massages. To me a match made in fantasy land. Bliss was mine to be for two days. Though I do not know why people think bangkok is a cheap destination to fly to, I got my Return on Jet at 35K , perhaps it was bad timing I do not know, but that’s definitely not a cheap return ticket! Note to self was – must plan better and look for better deals!
On the other hand cheap domestic air travel is a boon for travelers like me, who cannot be bothered with roughing it out. We booked Air Asia from Bangkok to Krabi – about 7 -8K return. The flight took off from Don Mueang. The other absolutely wonderful thing about this country is that luxury is eminently affordable. The country, by personality is very friendly and therefore the hospitality they exude seems to extraaa nice. Prepare to be constantly greeted with unnerving enthusiasm and “swadheekaaa” wherever you go. Even when you call room service in the morning! I love taking flights during the day so that one can see where they are landing. Landing in to Krabi reminded me of Kerala – Lush and green. Only bummer was at the airport a couple was trying to walk away with my bag, like it were their own. I would have passed it off as a genuine mistake because sometimes bags look alike. But not in a foreign land – it was a VIP bag for Christ’s sake. I doubt locals in Thailand have VIP bags!!!
We had booked two nights at the Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort. The best decision we made on this trip. The sprawling resort had two sinful pools and a private beach. While the resort is a bit cut off from civilization, there are restaurants, bars and some insignificant shopping and grocery stores within a few hundred feet of the resort. We were confused whether we should take a dip in the inviting pool or head to the beach. The first thing we did was head to the beach…
By then I was definitely craving a massage. I had been in this country for so many hours without a massage. That borders on blasphemy almost. Especially when all plans of me being rich have a private masseuse on call -high on my list of priorities. We walked in to a massage parlor next to the hotel. Husband dearest got a foot massage done by a lady boy, while I went for a back massage. The great lord has blessed these people with magic in their fingers. I would put it on par with one of the best massages I have ever had. Blissed out!
We grabbed dinner at the restaurant opposite the hotel. We grow up believing that Thai curry is obviously easily available in Thailand – the truth is apparently it is not. We were lucky this restaurant was serving it. I had a wholesome meal in spite of being vegetarian Raw Papaya Salad and Green Thai Curry and sticky rice. A cliched first meal in Thailand. I was however looking for the ever elusive favorite dessert – “Water Chestnuts in Coconut Milk”. I had fantasized about having that at every meal. Alas, no such luck.
Our room was spacious, gorgeous had it’s own balcony and a view that transported you to a land of tranquility. Tall trees and a faux stream running across outside. Truly felt like I was in the lap of luxury. Well from this lap we ventured to swim some laps, so as to justify indulgences that were to come and also ensure that one could wear a bikini on the beach! The pool is clean, and you look out in to the sea. For lovers of water and of the sea there can be few other instances that could match the bliss this brings.
We had two activities planned for the day and one was go to Railay Beach and the other was visit the Night Market. The hotel has its own ferry service that leaves to tourist spots at various times during the day and picks you up and brings you to the hotel This was of course at a fee, but the good part is that you do not have to bother about getting a cab. Autos also ply. This is perhaps the best option as the hotel is a fantastic property, but in the middle of pretty much nowhere.
We took the Krabi Shuttle to Aao Nang to go to Railay Beach. From Aao Nang we had to take a boat to get to the beach. It’s a surreal ride and costs just 200 Bahts. The ferry leaves every half an hour or one hour depending on the number of people who are around. Thats the only way to get there. The island is nestled amongst high limestone cliffs. If you are not staying at the resort then only a part of the beach is accessible to outsiders. We were not complaining. We however realised that we were not prepared for the beach, we bought a mat, I bought a swim suit and so did my husband (because I did not like what I had – I love these impulsive silly things one can do on holiday” ) . Landing at Railay beach has an air of adventure because it is a fairly non crowded beach, and can satiate some silly desire in you to be in an abandoned island – except its got food and drink too. No crisis there.
We lay down on the beach, with not a care in the world.. A dip in the sea and then go back to lie down. Dip. Sleep. Repeat. Until the rains came down. You need to keep an eye on the ferry as we needed to reach Aao Nang by 3.30 as our shuttle was going to pick us up from the city. The boat however wasn’t ready to leave,because there weren’t enough people. There was another couple so we decided to bear the cost of the entire ferry. It cost us 600 B per head vis a vis the 200 we had paid to get there. We decided to do that anyway.
Now we didn’t get off where we got on, therefore we felt a bit disoriented, however made our way back to the pick up point. We wish we had some more time in Aao Nang, a lot of restaurants, a lot of buzz. This sure was the place to be.
We reached the hotel and had just enough time to freshen up and leave for the night market. The shuttle leaves at 5.30 and takes you to Krabi Town. I must confess I expected this to be like the Goa market if not better, but it was a disappointment. Below average clothes, cheap knick knacks and a lot of processed meat to eat. It’s quite a disappointment for a vegetarian. I walked around the market thrice to find something to eat. I settled on Pad Thai without meat. The guy put in a bit extra noodles to make up for no meat. There was a live stage where locals were singing and dancing. Quite amusing as this was nothing but watching Boogie Woogie in Krabi. I was a bit let down with the meal, fortunately there was a a cute little cart selling some homely concoctions of condensed milk on bread and nutella on bread. Just the kind of thing you would put together at home for an indulgent snack. The shuttle would arrive at 8.30 so we made our way back. Frankly I wouldn’t recommend the night market at all. Perhaps it may be exciting for meat eaters, though my husband did seem a bit uninspired by it. Too much processed meat, while he did manage to get his hands on fresh grilled fish. No sign of the “water chestnuts in coconut milk ” – that elusive dessert that I thought Thailand would be full of. Benjarong in Chennai makes you have silly expectations. Though we did have a “bamboo drink” . Drinks are served in tall bamboo glasses. Much fun that was because the glass was bigger than my forearm!!! However, in spite of all the buzz we couldn’t wait to get on the shuttle and back to the hotel.
The next morning, all we had time for was a quick dash to the beach, a swim and breakfast. We had organised the cabbie who brought us to the resort to drive us back. It was Sunday and we were told that it was difficult to get a cab, we do not know if that’s true but in a foreign land any kind of familiarity and convenience is welcome.
We reached Bangkok and it was time to go home and we wanted to have at least one meal where I could eat that damn dessert. We decided to go to Siam Paragon, as we were sure we should find something there. A walk around the food court, uninspired we landed at Taling Pling. FINALLLLY it was on the menu. A decadent meal of Thai Curry and Rice – I ended it with my favorite dessert, ruby chestnuts in Coconut milk. In Thailand it comes with a generous shaving of ice. I don’t like that too much, but well I wasn’t complaining. I would make my peace with that very easily, considering I am yet to find it in a thai restaurant in Bombay and this was all I was getting. I kept the shaving aside because it dilutes the coconut milk.
It sure is fulfilling the amount of beauty you can drink in while on a holiday. A weekend that gives you a glimpse of pristine beaches, and amazing hospitality keeps you wanting to go back for more sea in Krabi.