Upon landing at Krabi airport we found the bus/taxi counter where they tried very hard to convince us to take a 600Bht taxi. We explained that we wanted to take the 160Bht bus and we were willing to wait. Eventually they gave in and a woman took us through most of the airport to a spot on the other side where we boarded a bus which made it’s first stop right back where we started!
The bus took everyone directly to their hotels. We were at the Green View Resort in Ao Nang beach which is about 18 km away from the airport. It’s 3 km up the road from the actual beach but we had a “hut” type room with a fan and a little patio. There was a nice pool, a good included breakfast buffet, plus the usual cats and a cockroach. The hotel has a regular shuttle into the town but we walked towards the town and beach in search of food. Street food is easy to find but as you get further south in Thailand the muslin influence increases so if you want beer with dinner you need to check the menu to see if alcohol is served. You can still buy beer at the 7-11.
The next morning we took the hotel shuttle to Ao Nang beach. The town is basically a group of stores, restaurants and hotels. The beach is the departure point for longtail boats to local islands. We bought return tickets to Railay for 200Bht each. The trip via longtail is a bit damp but fun.
Railay is a peninsula not an island but it is only accessible by boat because it is cut off from the mainland by massive limestone cliffs. It’s world famous for rock climbers and the whole island is stunningly beautiful. We landed on West Railay beach which is the primary beach for swimmers and sunbathing.
We tried snorkeling but there was not much to see so we climbed the rocky path to Hat Ton Sai which is where the backpackers and climbers hang out. There were climbers of all skill levels everywhere. Including some climbing upside down. It was a challenge to find a spot on the beach with no climbers overhead. It was almost tempting to take up rock climbing.
We then walked across the Island to East Railay which is full of mangroves. Interesting but not a great beach spot.
We continued around the island towards Hat Phra Nang and made a detour to the viewpoint which is a significant climb involving ropes and troops of monkeys some of whom were pretty aggressive. They had a collection of flip flops they had obviously stolen from passing tourists. One male in particular was a bit alarming he was growling at me. Monkeys bite and they carry rabies!
Hat Phra Nang is yet another beautiful beach. It is also home to the princess cave which is believed by local fishermen to be the home of a mythical sea princess. There is a shrine inside the cave with an odd collection of phallic symbols and other objects believed to help with fertility. Although West Railay beach is right beside Hat Phra Nang you can not get there by land because of the cliffs. It makes for a long walk but it also keeps Hat Phra Nang free of development.
We took one of the last longtail boats back to Ao Nang and sat on the beach with a couple of beers from the 7-11 watching the sunset over the longtail boats.
We skipped Krabi town when we arrived at the airport so we decided to go back and check it out. We took the airport bus from Ao Nang Beach to Krabi town for 60Bht. Our plan was to check out the town and buy some cheap tickets to Ko Phi-Phi which was our destination for the following day. Krabi town does not have a beach. The river flows into the sea there. The river is lined with mango trees. We walked along the river which was quite pleasant and found what we thought was the boat terminal. They were charging more for a ticket to Ko Phi-Phi than places in Ao Nang so that was a bust.
We wandered around Krabi town but it’s more of a commercial centre than a tourist town. We discovered Wat Kaew and climbed to stairs to the upper area which had several chickens running around.
Getting back from Krabi town proved to be more difficult than getting there. Both spots suggested by the guide books for getting a bus appeared empty and we starting to think we would have to pay for a real taxi when we found our way back to the bus terminal we had been through on our original trip from the airport. We went straight back to Ao Nang where I gave in and bought a 300Bht bikini because I was almost the only women on the beach in a one piece. Then men however were not wearing speedos.
We walked from Phai Plong Beach to Nopparat Beach which is more popular with Thai tourists and discovered some cool caves between the two beaches. Nopparat beach is very shallow so it’s a great place for spotting sea creatures when the tide goes out. We hunted for star fish and found one along with lots of crabs and a dead “Doughy” I still don’t know what that is as it was identified for us by a local and I can’t find another name for it.
Our final mini adventure in Ao Nang beach was a walk along the trail on the eastern end of Ao Nang beach. It passes through a national park area and ends on a private beach which you can visit but you have to sign in. The park area was full of monkeys. There were 100’s of them. Very cute but into everything. One climbed onto Harold’s backpack. Unlike the monkeys on Railay they were not aggressive although we did see one grab a bag of pineapple out of a woman’s hand. But who it their right mind would walk past 100 monkeys with a bag of pineapple!