Kayaking in Krabi
I don’t swim but if there’s one thing I really enjoy doing in water, it’s kayaking or rowing of any sort. I love the movements associated with rowing and what they bring- the slap of my paddle on the water, how it slices though the blue depths and then finally as I lift my arms, the sensation of cold water dripping from the paddle onto my shoulders.
I’m not exactly a super-athletic person but if an opportunity to kayak arises, I grab it immediately. So far I’ve kayaked in the waters around the islands of Pangkor, Langkawi, Gemia and Redang in Malaysia and off the coast of Kaikoura in New Zealand.
Krabi in southern Thailand has some good kayaking options. Ask around at the travel agents – a company we found near our hotel in Ao Nang suggested a sunset kayaking tour in the mangrove forests in Ao Thalan. “There are 14 in your group,” he said.
After a 40-minute drive from town, we arrived in Ao Thalan.
A dark-skinned man who was already waiting there introduced himself as our guide. After handing out dry bags and bottles of water, he pointed to some kayaks and told us to “Go down there and take one, but be careful of the chocolate”. None of us had any clue what he was going on about but we headed for the kayaks anyway. It was only when we walked down that we realised that “chocolate” was his word for the sticky, gooey, black mud at the shore, which was so thick that both my feet disappeared completely into it.
As we struggled to lift our feet out of the squelching mud, I shot a look at our guide. He was watching us with his hands on his hips. I knew what he was thinking: ‘What a pathetic bunch of city slickers’. He caught me looking at him and grinned.
As soon as all of us had chosen our kayaks, we set out.
Ao Thalan is also known for its lagoons and limestone caves, just don’t go too close
After kayaking for about two and a half hours, the sun finally set
On the way back, one of the kayaks veered off in the opposite direction-the person rowing in front wanted to take a photo of one of the lagoons. Our guide, who was turning out to be quite a character, shouted at them to turn around, only he used reverse psychology: “Yes, yes. You go that way, I see you tomorrow,” he hollered. “Bye-bye! Bye-bye!”
By the time we got back to where we started, the sun had set completely. We were now 14 shadows rowing in the dark, our paddles hitting the water much more gently now. Mosquitoes buzzed around my head.
There was no way our guide would leave us without a parting shot. As we got out of our kayaks and handed him our paddles, our guide reminded us once again: “Be careful of the chocolate!”
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