Monday, July 23, 2018

#612 : S̄wy : The Beaches of Krabi!

For some background on this - do read the first post in the series here.

The word 'S̄wy' translates to beautiful in Thai. It is the perfect word to describe Krabi. Dreaming of experiencing lush greenery, rocky terrain and dreamy beaches without wanting to go bankrupt? Krabi might just fit the bill perfectly. We picked this place over Phuket as it wasn't as much as crowded as Phuket. 

The month of June marks the beginning of monsoon in Thailand. Thankfully for us, there were just mild showers and the sea wasn't really rough but it was slightly choppy though. So if you are planning a trip from June to September, it would be wise to check the weather. Torrential rains are not a rarity in Thailand and hence it would not really be a pleasant experience.

We picked the 1:10 AM Thai airways flight from Chennai which landed in Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport at 6.10AM in the morning. Thailand has visa on arrival options for Indians. Do check the visa requirements beforehand as they do involve carrying certain amount of local currency (Thai Bhat). Our travel agents - PickYourTrail recommended that we obtain our visas before hand. They guided us quite well with the documents that were needed to get the visa. One pro tip here - it is recommended to maintain a stable balance of minimum INR 40,000 at least for a month or so before you apply. We were warned that visa do get rejected if the transfers in and out of the account were erratic.

Our flight to Krabi was operated by Thai Smile airways and departed from Bangkok by 1:25PM and landed in Krabi by 2:45 PM. We decide not to do any activity in the evening and just explore the near by area. We choose to stay at a modern and artistic place - a resort near the famous Ao Nang beach in Krabi - Red Ginger Chic resort. We booked a superior room but were upgraded for free to a duplex suit which literally was so dreamy and comfortable. We spent the evening relaxing in the resort, soaking in the atmosphere and ended our day with a perfect candle light dinner. The food was way too good and there were surprisingly enough vegetarian options! 

That greenery was worth waiting 6 hours at the airport!
Next day - On our itinerary was Phi Phi island. Given it was Ramzan on that day and Krabi had a sizeable population of Muslims, our tour started a bit late. We got picked up by 10 AM and the returned back by 5 PM. From the meeting point, we boraded on a speed boat and visited various spots including Monkey Islands, Phi Phi Don Island, Phi Phi Ley island, Viking caves. 

All of them were typically dreamy beaches, blueish beautiful water with mountains nearby. We ended the day with a snorkelling activity. Lunch was included in the package. 

Some pointers in general about the trip to Phi Phi island. 

  1. The beaches are so good and might be the best place to take a dip if you don't know swimming. 
  2. There is an entrance fee of THB 400 per person. 
  3. Taking the speedboat might not be a good idea if you have backbone problems and motion sickness. 
  4. If the sea is all choppy be prepared for a rough ride on the speedboat. It was initially such fun as the boat went up and down, but after a while, you literally develop a headache with all that chopping feel of the rough sea. 
  5. Snorkelling is a bad idea if you don't know swimming, because the currents are quite strong and it would be quite a task to stay afloat. The guide might know swimming but is probably no expert in teaching your to snorkel or to stay afloat. 
  6. Towels, Sunscreen, swimwear, Waterproof bags, Bags to carry wet clothes - Absolute essentials.
Look at that water?! Isn't it too good!

We spent the evening exploring Krabi, it's night market and food scene. For a vegetarian, there were enough options available, but most of them were not local to Thailand. Fruits, Indian and Italian plus pancakes from roadside shops were the real saviours! Do make it a point to eat the Dragon fruit which is abundantly available there. They are so yum and make for a good snack. 

We woke up late the next day and explored the beach nearby before heading to the airport for our next destination - Bangkok. We decided to skip shopping in Krabi as Bangkok is a better destination to shop.

Some general pointers about the trip to Krabi

  1. There are two airports in Bangkok - Don Muang (DMK) and Suvarnabhumi. Low cost carriers such as Air Asia use the DMK airport which is really crowded. Suvarnabhumi airport was quite large when compared to DMK airport. So take care if you opt in for low cost carrier.
  2.  Thai Smile airlines - They messed up with our food from Bangkok to Krabi. It was such a bad experience - We had opted for vegetarian which wasn't updated in their system and we ended up having just a bottle of water instead. It was lunch time and we were quite hungry. 
  3. The 6 hour transit was just boring thought we just lazed around in the airport and munched on snacks. Remember to avoid such long transit times, we felt that we should have done our research better.
  4. One day in Krabi is not enough to explore the whole place. Since we really wanted to visit Bangkok, we opted just for a day, but no regrets as we felt very relaxed by the time we landed in Bangkok.
  5. Food ought to try for a Vegetarian - Dried candied Banana, Tom Yum (Ask for the vegetarian version, it has such a different flavour), Road side pancakes - These are different from traditional pancakes.  
In short, Krabi was such a relaxing place with dreamy beaches and lush greenery!

PS. Not posting my pictures for personal reasons! Lookout for more about Thailand in my next post too. 
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