Saturday, December 14, 2019

4 Days, 3 Nights in Aonang (Krabi) @ Thailand #krabiitinerary #krabitravelogue #4days3nights #krabi

Before Rubee departed for the rainbow land, i didn't have the time to travel out of the country and my first trip after his passing was actually Krabi; a place in Thailand which kick-started my love for snorkeling!

It was such a memorable journey that Alex and I decided to visit again in 2019 (a hiatus of eight years)! For me personally; this is also a great opportunity to generate a more substantial itinerary for those who have plans to visit this southern backyard of Thailand.

With just 1,824 photographs taken using my DSLR, iPhone XR and Olympus TG-3 cameras, i am pretty impressed that i didn't go as trigger-happy as i used to be! Anyway, this is just a summary and but you can click the hyperlinks to get the details, including more photographs.

Do bookmark this page for future references or like my Facebook page where you can get updates whenever i have a new posting on my blog, which touches on travel, food and other stuff (p.s. it's a personal blog, not a commercial one).




Singapore - Krabi - Aonang
[12.00 pm Singapore Time] This is like almost the standard picture whenever i travel via air since Changi International Airport is the only major airport in Singapore providing the most number of routes to other countries!

After lunch at Orchis Food Court (canteen for airport staff), it's a must to soak in the sights of the iconic man-made waterfall of The Jewel; i heard it's ranked top as Singapore's most instagrammable spot; and rightfully so given the convenience of being in an airport where most international travellers would pass through. 

[2.00 pm Singapore Time] Waiting to board the Scoot plane (Airbus A320) which was scheduled for departure at 2.25 pm from Terminal 1. Nowadays, i don't proceed early towards the boarding gate as there's literally nothing to do there; prefer to spend my time at the retail shops.

[2.42 pm Thailand Time] Making our descent ahead of time since our arrival on paper was 3.10 pm. Frankly, eight years had passed and i seriously don't recall how the surrounding of Krabi airport was like back in 2011.

[3.20 pm Thailand Time] What's the most fuss free way to get out of the airport to your destination? The shuttle van service (direct to your hotel) located just a few meters from the exit of Krabi Airport; if you have three or more persons, it might be cheaper and faster to take a taxi which would cost about 500 baht to Ao Nang.

[4.24 pm] Checking in to BlueSotel Krabi; super love our accommodation for the next three nights even though it's about an 8-9 minutes' walk to the beach! More was revealed in my official review of the hotel.

[5.52 pm] Dinnertime at The Hilltop Ao Nang; the objective was more the scenery and the opportunity to catch the beautiful sunset from an elevated point.

Food was pretty good (albeit a bit pricey) although it's still worth it given its vantage location and the fact that there was an in-house singer who serenaded us with his soulful voice; belting out classics like Mandy by Barry Manilow etc.

[7.20 pm] On our way back to BlueSotel Krabi; we chose to walk as it's quite expensive to take Grab (200 baht for less than 10 minutes) and we also needed to purchase a 4-island tour package from one of the many tour counters along the way. Furthermore, in anticipation of our last activity for the day; it's good to walk off the food we had earlier at The Hilltop Ao Nang.

Last activity for the day; a 300-baht back, shoulder and neck shoulder massage at Ruen Sukhothai Massage! With a rating of 4.5 with over 200 reviews, i must say the guy who massaged me did a great job in relieving the tension i had for the past few months!

Aonang - Krabi - Aonang
[7.38 am] We overslept and this jeopardised my intention to slowly had my complimentary breakfast at BlueSotel Krabi before the 8.20 am transfer to start our 4-island tour!

[8.44 am] The shuttle was late but my anxiety gave way to astonishment as i absolutely didn't expect the vehicle to be an open-air lorry / truck! Oh well, the ride wasn't expected to be long and it's fun to experience something different once in a while.

The drive to Nopharat Thara Beach was less than ten minutes and we were asked to wait till 9.40 am. Ridiculous as i am totally against wasting my time! Nonetheless, i proceeded to explore the area and got to a pier behind the beach that's blessed with a stunning, picturesque backdrop!

[9.48 am] The allocation of groups for two speedboats and four longtail boats was a complete nightmare and the company (thaijareon travel and tour) was obviously incompetent; the guy in charge gave us the wrong boat number, twice! And we were asked to show our hands when our hotel name and room number were called; isn't that an infringement of privacy!? 

Thankfully, the allocation was sorted out and we continued with the speedboat ride to the four islands which is a basic tour for those travelling to Krabi. In 2011, we didn't manage to sign up and instead, went with Phi Phi Islands and Koh Hong Island Tour.

[10.35 am] Phra Nang Beach - our first stop for the four-island tour, this area is a rather exclusive and high-end area with available accommodations. The only way in is via boat as there's no road.

Aside from the beautiful beach and the sheer cliffs which would appeal to the usual beach-goers; one attention seeker was this Phra Nang (Princess) Cave. It housed a shrine filled with many carved wooden offerings that were phallic-shaped, and of many sizes. Trust me, it's an eye-opener.

[11.41 am] Tup Island - nice beaches and you can in fact stroll over to the neighbouring chicken island via a sand bank that would only appear at extremely low tide. Pity the tide was high when we were arrived.

[12.40 am] Finally got to snorkel at Chicken Island; while there were a lot of sergeant major fishes, i did chance upon other fishes like angel fish, parrot fish and our favourite clownfish! Want to guess why this place is called chicken island? Not because there was a ton of free roaming chickens.

It's because of this particular limestone that looks just like a chicken head!

[1.20 pm] Poda Island - the last stop of our tour and one with a great view of mainland Thailand where we would be provided with lunch that was quickly devoured as it's already pretty late!

Found many starfishes and sea cucumbers on the beach! I would love to snorkel but strangely, tide was too low (it wasn't the case at Tup Island) and with pieces of sharp rocks on the beach floor; it's a challenge without wearing snorkeling shoes (please get a pair from Decathlon).

[3.30 pm] On our way back to Krabi Bluesotel after reaching the mainland at about 2.53 pm. Yes, that's a McDonald's outlet and i know there's another branch near our hotel. Ao Nang is considered touristy although personally, i think Phuket is worse.

[4.15 pm] Shortly after a nice and refreshing shower, we called for GRAB and our destination shall be the Krabi Walking Street which was essentially the night market! There's a cheaper, two-way transport option (200 baht a person) but i didn't like the rigid timing; hence, the decision to take GRAB.

My preference was to reach earlier so that i would have an easier time finding space to have an early dinner! And truth be told; many stall owners were just setting up at about 4.40 pm when we arrived and we had so many tables to choose from!

Absolutely stuffed after all the above (pork ribs, omelette rice, pancake, pad thai, grilled squid, cheese toast, milk tea) and there were just two of us! And what do Singaporeans do when they are too full?! Shoppppp!! Even though the scale can't be compared to the ones in Bangkok, there's still plenty to and see at Krabi Walking Street!

I was most intrigued by the above shop that showcased betta (Siamese fighting fishes). In addition to selling, the owner took incredibly beautiful photos of the fishes. He even had, on display, a best in show betta that cost a whopping 30,000 baht!

[7.00 pm] Last minute shopping at Vogue Shopping Centre where you can explore its local supermarket and also check out Daiso! I finally managed to find the electronic lint remover that doesn't cost me a bomb!

[8.56 pm] Signed up for another tour package (Emerald Pool, Hot Spring Waterfall and Tiger Cave Tiger) at 800 baht per person but this time with Ms Neeny from Krabi Artemis Travel.

[9.30 pm] I made it a point to have massage everyday in Krabi and opted to try the masseurs at All Day Massage And Sea! Bad decision; massage was average but my issues were more with the following: water used to wash my feet was cold and i never had any massage parlour dispensing cold drinks for its customers after a massage! 

Aonang - Krabi - Aonang
[7.20 am] All ready for breakfast! An earlier meal would always be recommended in case i need to use the loo right after; a highly possible scenario for my extraordinary digestive system.

[8.30 am] Our pickup for the full day krabi tour was here; i was praying it wouldn't be the open-air truck we took the day before and it wasn't! However, we were made to change vehicle for reasons unbeknownst to us.

[10.30 am] First stop - Hot Spring Waterfall and as you can deduce from the photo; the natural waterfall wasn't that high but it sure was popular! We didn't even bother stepping in as there's no place to put our belongings!

Near the waterfall were purpose-built pools with pumped-in thermal spring water (ranging from 30-40 degree celcius) and way lesser crowd. As there wasn't much time for us to spend; we took to soaking our feet instead.

[11.44 am] Emerald Pool was our next stop; even though located in the same Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve, Emerald Pool doesn't have the high temperature commanded by Hot Spring Waterfall.

We had a great time swimming in this amazing, nature-built pool! The only thing was that i didn't wear contacts and most things were just fuzzy after i removed my glasses! :( I understand that there's also a blue pool but it's open only from January to April.

[1.15 pm] Mealtime! Our package included lunch and also all entrance fees. It's important to ask beforehand if all these are provided, especially when the deal appeared too cheap to be true.

[2.30 pm] Last stop; Tiger Cave Temple! In 2011, that was one of the recommended spots for tourists and it's been on my mind for the past eight years! The highlight is actually not the temple; not even the tiger cave.

It's the 1,237-step climb up a 278-meter high hill that's said to offer a 360-degree, panoramic view of Krabi town! It's an irresistible challenge and i was all prepared to show all of you the scenery at the summit.

Sadly, i failed and had to reverse at the 783-step. The climb was exhausting and never had i faced a situation where peals of sweat oozed out of my pores in the manner as above. Furthermore, the higher i climbed, the more stars i saw!

A blessing in disguise though; a few minutes after we reached the foot, it started pouring cats and dogs! The rain was so heavy; even the monkeys had to take shelter.

[5.00 pm] Elephant sanctuary! As an animal lover, i don't agree with the way elephants are being exploited for tourism; hence, i didn't join this segment of the tour. We were there as a few of our travel mates had signed up for elephant trekking and we had to take a separate transport back to our hotel.

[5.54 pm] We got back just in time for the breathtaking sunset at Aonang Beach; maybe due to the earlier thunderstorm, it was way more mesmerizing than the one at The Hilltop Ao Nang!

[6.21 pm] Dinner at Kodam Kitchen - food was delicious and despite its location; the place was chock full of diners! Well, kind of expected as the rating on Google was 4.7 with over 1,800 reviews.

[7.36 pm] Strolling along the main street of Aonang where you can find many restaurants serving international cuisines, pharmacies and souvenirs shops! Occasionally, you would bump into the gorgeous ladyboys promoting the Bluedragon Cabaret Show. Don't take photos with them; unless you are prepared to give them a tip!

Ending the night with another back, shoulder and neck massage at Ruen Sukhothai Massage! I was assigned a young guy this time and boy was he lousy! How could my last night in Krabi end on such a bad note?!

Aonang - Krabi - Singapore
[8.00 am] Relaxing breakfast at Krabi Bluesotel's alfresco area as our itinerary that day would be rather free with no tour planned, and our flight back to Singapore was in the late afternoon.

[9.00 am] In the few days we were in Krabi, we never really quite checked out Aonang Beach. This was in contrast with 2011, when we stayed at Golden Beach Resort; a literal stone's throw to the beach.

Aonang beach was still filled with crushed seashells although i did notice more boats docked at the beach; i remember boarding the speedboat at the same area for the Phi Phi Islands and Koh Hong Island Tour in 2011. There's also a new, imposing sailfish sculpture, completed in 2015, that gelled so well with the backdrop of the sea, dotted with islands.

I kept seeing monkey sculptures in my numerous strolls along the main street of Aonang and it's only on my last day that i was aware of its purpose; they were part of the official bus stops!

[10.43 am] With ample time on my hand, i decided to relax at the swimming pool of Bluesotel Krabi! It's rare to find me using the pools in my travel and i am glad i did as it's so therapeutic; with the stress i am facing nowadays, maybe i should consider resuming swimming in the public pool near my house.

[12.00 pm] Diver's Inn Steakhouse had been there since i visited in 2011 and since it's pretty near Bluesotel Krabi; it's convenient to just satisfy our lunch there after checking out from the hotel. It's a steakhouse and i guess it's fair i should try their 300-gram ribeye steak (Australian Black Angus grain fed).

[1.05 pm] Got onto the shuttle van for our return back to Krabi Airport; the tickets could be purchased from the tour counters and you just need an advance notice of about 3-4 hours. I got mine in the morning after checking out Aonang beach

[2.18 pm] Waiting for our gate to be open at the departure hall of Krabi Airport. For such a small hall, there were plenty of stores for you to buy snacks, souvenirs and duty-free products.

[4.30 pm] With a delay of about 40 minutes (constant apologies from the pilot about it), the plane finally took off from the runway! Good thing about being in the sky in the late afternoon; the magnificence of the view outside!

=====

Expenditure
  • Airfare via Scoot - S$170.57
  • Hotel (Bluesotel Krabi) via Trip.com - S$265.05 (Twin-Sharing)
  • 4-Island Tour (Speedboat) - 1,000 Baht (S$44.80)
  • Full Day Krabi Tour (Hot Spring, Pool, Temple) - 800 Baht (S$35.80)
  • Miscellaneous Expenditure - S$300.00

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