Here’s an idea: grab a bunch of strangers, put them on a bus and leave them on a beach somewhere.
Risky, of course- If there’s a serial killer in the mix and you’re part of this group, you might see the numbers dropping as the days go by…that is, if you live long enough.
Tourism Selangor did close enough to what I described- they emailed a few people, told them the good news and invited them on a trip. There were no serial killers, though, and the ‘bunch of strangers’ – winners of past Tourism Selangor events- ended up being good friends over the next five days. The ‘beach somewhere’ was Krabi, Thailand.
Krabi is on the mainland but close to islands like Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta, making it a good option if you prefer not to stay on an island. Not as commercialised as Phuket, Krabi has a fun atmosphere without being crowded, although it can get busy during peak periods.
If you want to stay close to the shore, you have a choice of three beaches- Ao Nang, Railey and Ton Sai. We stayed in Ao Nang, a small town which can be crossed from east to west in about an hour but with enough souvenir shops, cafes and clubs to provide lots of entertainment.
Ao Nang is an easy town to explore. Start with the main street, Moo 2, where most of the restaurants and shops are located. Farther up, this road curves close to the shore and faces the Andaman Sea for about a kilometre.
The beach at Ao Nang is a lovely place to take a stroll. Make sure you hang around for the spectacular sunsets.
A visit to Krabi wouldn’t be complete without a boat ride to the islands nearby. One of these is Tup Island, also known as Koh Tup. This small island is a pleasant stop and popular with tourists, although there didn’t seem to be a very large variety of fish for a good snorkeling experience. Try to visit Tup Island at low tide, which is when a sandbar will emerge, making it possible for one to walk to nearby Chicken Island.
Also close to Ao Nang is the beautiful Phranang Beach with its shady trees and white sand. The beach is famous for its cave, where there is a shrine built in honour of a sea princess called Phranang. This shrine, shall I say, is a little different.
The story is that fishermen, before heading out to sea, will stop at the shrine to pray for a good catch and a safe return. What’s interesting are the offerings made to the princess which, simply put, are phalluses in every length and size. Before you start sniggering, the phallus is apparently an object of worship in Thai culture, believed to bring good luck and able to protect its owner from harm. I’m sure I saw a few which were taller (longer?) than me. That’s a whole lot of good luck there.
Other than shopping and island-hopping, you can also kayak (Bor Thor and Ao Thalan), go rock-climbing (Railey Beach and Phranang Beach) or do some snorkeling (Hong Island).
Getting to Krabi
AirAsia flies daily from Sepang LCCT to Krabi. Try to arrange for a transfer from Krabi airport; otherwise, there are airport buses (tickets from 90B) which will send you to any hotel in Ao Nang and Krabi town. All you need to do is to tell them the name of your hotel.
There are lots of tuk-tuks along Ao Nang beach which will take you anywhere within a reasonable distance for 30B per person. You’ll have to pay more if you’re taking a tuk-tuk to Krabi town or the airport.
When to go
There are two seasons in Krabi: hot and dry (November-April) and cool and wet (May-October), with an overlap at the beginning or ending of each season. November-April is also peak period, so be prepared to deal with slightly higher hotel prices and more tourists during this time. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit during the low season.
*My visit to Thailand was made possible by Tourism Selangor as part of their January 2013 TS Day Out event; all opinions, however, are mine entirely. Connect and find out more about TS Day Out via the Tourism Selangor Facebook page.
© 2013 – 2014, Anis. All rights reserved.