Krabi and the Phi Phi Islands:
We said our goodbyes to the beautiful Northern part of Thailand and hopped on an airplane. The next stop was to see Krabi, the Phi Phi islands and the beautiful Andaman sea. After transferring planes in Bangkok it felt strange to know that this was going to be the last stop before arriving to our new home in Phuket. So we splurged and rented an airbnb for the week. We were excited to stay in one place for a while and to have a kitchen for the first time in 4 months.
From the Krabi airport we hired a taxi and it took us about 45 minutes to reach our condo rental at Klong Muang beach. This is located about 30 minutes west of Krabi in a quiet town. After checking in and unpacking we just stared out the window for a while and relaxed. That evening we went for a stroll through town and decided to watch the sunset at a little beach bar named Mama’s Bar.
Before we sat down a woman named Ning made us feel at home and seemed delighted that we were there. There were two chairs and a small table with a front row view of the sea. We took a seat, had a drink and soaked in all of our surroundings. Feeling as though we had the entire beach to ourselves and a gorgeous sunset to watch, we discussed how fortunate we were to have experienced everything in our travels and that we get to share all of it together. This was a wonderful evening for self-reflection and we talked until long after the sun had disappeared.
We enjoyed this bar so much we went back multiple times. Tash claimed they made the best mojitos of all-time, but it was Ning that made us want to come back. She had a huge heart which matched her personality and every time we showed up she would give us each a giant hug.
Rain, rain go away
Our first day in Krabi the weather was perfect. But for the next five days it seemed to rain every couple of hours. It rained so often that it was hard to venture out for a long distance on our scooter. We actually enjoyed a couple of days being lazy, but quickly became stir crazy. Eventually we got on the scooter and started wandering around the countryside…and of course we got soaked, but that’s part of the fun!
Located just 8 km from downtown Krabi, Tiger Temple is a popular attraction for tourists and locals. After climbing 1300 stairs (half of the time in a drizzle) we were rewarded with a nice view of the area. At the top there is a temple with many statues of the Buddha and a 360 degree view
Hang Nak hike
Months before we came to Krabi, Tash had seen some photos of an amazing hike but couldn’t remember where it was or the name of it. One day I was looking on my maps.me app of the Krabi area and found a trailhead marked on my map. It happened to be a couple miles away from our condo so we decided to check it out. When we arrived we saw some pictures of the view from the top and to our surprise it was the same hike that Tash had found months ago! The trail was a dirt road that was cut through a steep hillside jungle. Inside the jungle virtually no wind could be felt and sweat began to run down our faces within the first minute of hiking through this humid environment. Loud bugs could be heard buzzing all throughout the area and they intensified the feeling of being in an unknown world.
Many parts of the trail were incredibly steep and we climbed up exposed tree roots like they were ladders. Once reaching a half-way point we caught our first sight of a view and the breeze felt so amazing that we didn’t want to walk back in to the dense tropical forest. Finally after about two hours we reached the top and we were more than rewarded! I can honestly say that this was the most incredible view point I had ever seen.
Walking out onto the overhanging rock was quite scary, especially while the wind was blowing. There are no tricks to these photos, it is about a 2000 foot drop below!! If you are ever in Krabi, this is a must see.
While walking along a stretch of beach, Tash and I discovered a large area covered in little tiny balls of sand. The sand balls were intricately spread out in a circular pattern with a hole in the sand as the center. Upon a closer examination, we watched tiny crabs pushing sand out of the hole to make their home a little deeper. It was extraordinary to see how many crabs were creating this beautiful design that covered roughly the size of a basketball court. Unfortunately I didn’t capture the design before the tide flattened the sand.
Although the rain had never fully relinquished, we decided to do the typical tourist thing and check out Railay beach. This required us to depart from the even more touristy spot known as Ao Nang beach. Railay beach is unique because of it’s location. The beach is hidden on the end of a small cape between giant limestone formations and is accessible only by boat. There are no motorized vehicles on the land which creates a chill, beach bum type of atmosphere. A five minute walk across the cape will lead you to a beach on the opposite side and you will no doubt see many companies offering rock climbing, muay thai training and boat tours.
At Railay you will find magnificent limestone towers, clear blue waters, rows of long-tail boats and lots of people. With how many people told us that Railay is a “must see” beach, we found ourselves a little underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, Railay is a beautiful place, I just think it is a little over-hyped.
The Best Roti-Pancakes
Back at Klong Muang beach, we found the best roti’s ever! I think we ordered one almost every night we were there. The two women who worked at the roti stand were sisters and they were always happy to see us. After our third time there, they gave us a bunch of bananas, just to be nice. On our final night they even let Tash try her hand at making her own roti. They make it look easy, but after watching Tash it looked difficult.
We departed from Krabi and after about an hour and a half ferry ride we had made it to the Phi Phi islands. It was incredible to feel so far away from the mainland, all we could see was ocean and other distant islands. Walking from the pier to our hotel we were already sweating and ready to jump into the water. After a quick check-in at the hotel we ventured out to the nearest beach and cooled off in the warm turquoise water.
Later on, we walked around the busy part of the island. The walking streets seem to go on forever and there isn’t a square inch that is missing an opportunity to sell something. Do you remember the driving scenes from The Flintstones, where the same background would recycle every five seconds? Well, Phi Phi is no different…. Imagine a narrow sidewalk lined with small buildings on either side and a never ending sea of people. Souvenir shop, taxi boat service, 7-11, souvenir shop, pizza by the slice, dive tours, more taxi boats, bar, souvenir shop, snorkel tour, bar, souvenir shop, pizza by the slice……etc. Even though this sounds overwhelming, it is a very fun place to experience. I think of it like Las Vegas, great to visit but after two days I am ready to leave.
Our favorite experience on Phi Phi was a night where we ate at a great Mexican food restaurant called Banana Sombrero. As we were finishing our dinner we could hear some really good live music. Near the Banana Sombrero we found a bar called KongSiam. Although the live music had only been playing for about 10 minutes, the bar was nearly packed. We grabbed a seat right next to the band, ordered two for one buckets and started singing to the music. The band was absolutely amazing, they would take requests and play each song without hesitation. The singer (who we found out later is the owner of the bar) who looks like a Thai version of Pharrell, was very enthusiastic and great at getting the crowd involved. We ended up staying here for the rest of the night. It is the one place we always tell people to check out if they are going to Phi Phi.
Long Tail Boat Ride
The following morning we got up early and decided to rent our own long tail boat for half a day. We brought some snacks, swimsuits and snorkeling gear. Having your own boat and driver is a great way to experience the island.
Our first stop was at Monkey Beach and it lived up to the name. There were monkeys everywhere and the snorkeling was great too. We then headed around the southern end of the island and simply laid on the top of the boat, soaking in the sun. Whenever we felt like checking out an area we would simply tell our captain and he would stop the boat. There were a few spots where the water was an unbelievable clear turquoise color. By the end we had cruised around the entire island and felt lucky to have seen all the beaches and best snorkeling sites.
Next stop Phuket!