Having been in Thailand for almost two weeks now, we are still in awe at the incredible ease of travel for tourists throughout this beautiful and geographically diverse country. From an overnight train into the mountains of Chiang Mai to quick 2 hour flights down to the white sandy beaches of Krabi on the southern coast, this country is wonderfully set up to welcome travellers around the world to enjoy – inexpensively at best!
We said our goodbyes to the elephants along the northern border and zoomed down to Ao Nang Beach in Krabi where we would spend five days relaxing in the sun, sleeping in bungalows throughout the lush jungles and wedging our toes back into adventure while rock climbing on Railay Beach.
We opted to stay a bit further away from the beach in Ao Nang as it can be pretty saturated with tourists and is also more expensive. Instead, we found a quaint bungalow village 10 minutes out of town, immersed in the lush green jungle of Krabi with a beautiful surrounding views of limestone cliffs.
Once we arrived to our bungalow, we were giddy with excitement as it was far superior than what we had expected. The bungalow was simple but the vibrant greens swaying in the wind and the sounds of cicadas chirping throughout the night lulled us to sleep. It was paradise!
During a balmy afternoon on the second day of our stay, we opted to take a quick dive in the freshwater pool where we met an incredibly friendly German couple who were also enjoying the break from humidity. Instantly clicking, we took a trip into town for some cocktails and snacks and posted up on the balcony of their bungalow for the next eight hours – swapping stories and bonding over the love of travel and the paradise we all called home for the next few days.
Come morning, the four of us were picked up and shuttled to the harbor on Ao Nang to embark on a 4 island tour around the Krabi peninsula. Starting with swimming on Phra Nang Beach, we watched the rock climbers scale the limestone cliffs and ventured into the sacred “fertility cave” to view the mounds of wooden penis sculptures, placed at the entrance of the cave by women hoping to get pregnant.
After a quick walk through the limestone caves onto the other side of Railay Beach, we hopped back on our longtail boat and headed for Koh Gai: Chicken Island. Our guide explained that the island was great for snorkeling and was nicknamed Chicken Island as from certain angles, it’s shape slightly resembles a chicken’s head.
With masks on, we jumped into the warm, turquoise water in search of aquatic friends. Immediately off the boat, we were surrounded by the most brilliantly colored and friendliest fish, all gathering around us in search of food, presumably. We swam through the waters, admiring the colors of nature and swimming deep to peer under the coral: home to some squid and bottom feeding fish.
As the rest of the group prepared for the third island, the four of us continued to explore life underwater. Getting closer to the boat, swarms of yellow and blue guppies circled us and tickled our faces with their fins. Our guide was throwing food in between us as we swam, sending hundreds of fish our way! Belly laughs echoed from our snorkels and we tried our hardest to not take in water as the smiles on our faces became wider.
Back on the boat, we zoomed onto the third island; the boat hitting oncoming wake sending buckets of seawater to slap our faces and occasionally getting into our mouths through the gateways of our wide open smiles. We were in paradise and it tasted… salty.
By mid afternoon, we reached the third island of our trip: Koh Tup, joined via sandbar to Koh Mawr. We ate a traditional Thai fare consisting of rice with stir-fried vegetables and chicken then headed to the water again for a cooling swim as the intense sun beat down upon us. The white sand was the perfect accentuation for such vibrantly colored water – so clear you could see straight to the bottom.
We loaded up the 15 other tourists onto the longtailed boat and headed for our final island: Koh Poda, a popular and aesthetically pleasing island part of Hat Noppharat Thara–Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park. We basked in the beauty of the powdery-white sandy beach as we gazed upon the limestone cliff, jetting out of the sea. Many postcard photos have been taken here, understandably as the beauty was magnificent!
By the late afternoon, we took our sun-scorched skin and headed back to our bungalows at Ao Nang for a nap, exhausted and blistered from our day of adventure.
Another early morning, Dam and I geared up for another full day of thrills on the island which we had began our boat tour on: Railay Beach. We loaded up onto the longtailed boat yet again and departed into the sea, monsoon clouds looming overhead. We were pleased that the weather seemed a bit cooler and sun-protected by the gray clouds as we would be spending the morning rock climbing on exposed limestone.
We arrived at King Climbers and suited up with sunscreen, harnesses and chalk bags then made our way down to the beach. Being both Dam and my first time climbing outside of a bouldering gym in years (my first time actually!), we were excited to brush off our climbing skills and eagerly awaited our turn to attack the complexities of the rock face! The sand collecting at the bottom of our climbing shoes presented a few difficulties but we after a few various attempts, we were celebrated our triumphs at the top and left wanting more!
After our time in Krabi, we couldn’t believe with how easy it was to navigate activities, all arranged through our hotel with one phone call. Between our guide and the staff who managed the bungalows, we traveled with ease and look forward to our 3 hour bus ride further south to… Koh Lanta!
Where to Stay: Ao Nang Cliff View Resort
What to do: 4 Island Boat Tour, Rock Climbing, Sea Kayaking, Bar hopping on Railay Beach or Ao Nang.