So I finally made a plan (two weeks ago)- well the plan was kind of made for me when I realized that there were no vacancies anywhere…imagine Christmas and New Years being busy. That is shocking to me. After days of searching for a location that had affordable accommodation, I decided on Ao Nang in Krabi. It is a chilled out beach town with lots of activities and easy access to other locations. I waved good bye to Phuket and hoped for the best in Ao Nang. Since Phuket is an island some kind of water transport is required, I got the boat over to AN. As like many other forms of public transportation in Thailand, it only leaves when it is full and I mean FULL TO THE BRIM. Canadian Health and Safety Standards would probably keel over at the sight of some of how full these boats are.
After the boat ride and a slightly unnerving tuktuk ride through the jungle, where the driver insisted that I move into the front with him instead of riding in the back by myself, I made it to my hostel. My reasoning behind staying there, besides the fact that it was one of the only places with vacancies in all of fucking Thailand, was that is was about $3 a night. On the website, it says that Nathai Homestay is a little out of the way, in reality it is kind of in the ass end of nowhere. This really does explain the price. It is a nice little place, it’s very clean and the people that run it are very friendly. It is the perfect place if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle…..I didn’t. I had spent pretty much every day in the last week by myself and I wanted some human company. LUCKILY, this happened. While I was checking in, I noticed people speaking English, (note in the week on Phuket pretty much all I heard was Thai, Swedish and Russian) and I got talking to these two American guys who were staying in the same room as me. I say TALKING TO but I really mean TALKING AT…they really had no choice in the matter whether I was talking to them or not. I’d had a week completely devoid of conversation and the words needed to get out. After they regained their hearing, or more likely tuned back into reality, we decided that we were going to catch a taxi into town and rent motorbikes.
We got to the rental place and said the 3 of us only needed 2 bikes. One of the guys, Mike, had never ridden a motorbike before. He always relied on Johann to drive him places on the back of his bike. Knowing how to drive a bike, I wanted my own. BUT this being Asia, of course the 2 guys would get bikes and the girl would get on the back of one of them. When the rental people realised that I wanted my own bike and Mike was getting on the back of Johann’s they just cracked up laughing; effectively emasculating poor Mike. Mike decided to man up and get his own bike, requiring us to form a sort of convoy so we neither went too fast, leaving Mike behind or too slowly, which in Asia is more dangerous than going too fast.
We set off in search of some hot springs and an emerald pool but the adventure really began when Johann got a flat tire. We had been driving for all of 15 minutes and ‘coincidentally’, he popped a flat right around the corner from a repair shop. We are convinced that the shop spread something sharp on the road to drum up some business. My conviction in this argument was furthered when I was driving past the shop a few days later and saw another guy in there getting a tire fixed. After the tire was mended it was too late to drive all the way out to the hot springs so went back into town and drank on the beach. It is a holiday after all.
The next day was New Year’s Eve and the boys were heading over to Phuket for NYE. We said our goodbyes and I resigned myself to a day of quiet reflection. Which was actually nice because I was quite hungover. I headed over to Railey, a nicer beach about a 15 minute boat ride away from Ao Nang. Now, if there had been vacancies, I would have spent a good week here. It is small and quiet but one of the top, if not THE top rock climbing spot in Thailand. It’s so chilled out. I’d planned on having a beach day but ended up spending a few hours watching climbers do things that I can’t even imagine doing. Not wanting to get caught on Railey too late to return to Ao Nang, I headed back to the beach and drove back to the hostel. Being NYE, I planned to head back down into town around 10pm to watch fireworks. This plan did not come into fruition. I must have fallen asleep and I woke up fully clothed around 3:30am having missed the party. I didn’t really mind to be honest. Who wants to be solo in a crowd of people cheerfully ringing in the new year……..poor pathetic Kate.
And I had an adventure planned for New Year’s Day anyway. I booked an island and snorkeling tour for some of the islands around Ao Nang. I picked a horrible time of year and a horrible day to do this trip as I think EVERYONE in Krabi decided that New Year’s Day was the day to do this boat trip. Every place we stopped at was rammed with people and boats, to the point that it wasn’t even worth taking photos. I was quite excited about seeing the beach from “The Beach”, the movie was so-so (Sorry Leo) but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the book. And I was so horrendously disappointed when we arrived. The entire beach was full from end to end with boats and crowded with people. It was disgustingly dirty and I couldn’t think of less appealing water to go swimming in. Sorry to be a bit of a Debbie-Downer but it really upset me. On a positive note, later on in the day we got to do 2 snorkeling trips, which were nice and I saw quite a few interesting fish and some cool coral. YAY!!
Ao Nang had one more adventure up it’s sleeve for me. Tiger Cave (Wat Tham Suea) is one of the most important Buddhist sites in Krabi. There is a legend that a huge tiger used to roam around the caves and also there are tiger prints in the caves…..apparently. But for the insane you can climb to the top of the mountain by walking up 1237 steps. Now, let me tell you when you are at the bottom 1237 steps doesn’t seem like very many when you get to 654 you want to die! Also me being me, I was attempting to do this on a sprained ankle…..on New Years Day, I went over on my kind of dodgy ankle that I broke when I was about 19. Long story short, it was a very painful climb up and an even more painful climb down, but totally worth it.
More later. I don’t want to get to a TL:DR situation. I promise I will try an keep this more up to date so I am not writing 3 weeks too late.