by Alyssa Ramos
The one hour flight from Bangkok to Krabi wasn’t bad at all, aside from the fact that Kelli almost missed it because she was buying makeup at the airport since she left hers at JFK. We booked last minute flights on SkyScanner for only $40 and had planned on meeting up with my friend Nina, who lives in Krabi and was supposed to show us around and tell us where to stay. Ironically, I met Nina on my Eurotrip back in 2008 (she happened to have gone to FSU too), and managed to keep in touch via Facebook, which is how I knew she was now was living in Thailand and working as freelancer like me and also as an English teacher.
Nina also is my featured blogger for my Krabi Blogger Guides, and gave me very important tips and insights before I got there…like that the weather is extremely hot and humid so wear light clothing…which I wish I would have listened to when I stepped out of the airport in my jeans and double-layered tanktops. I did however take her advice to not book a hotel in advance so I could wait to see which area I liked best, but as we loaded our “glampacks” (rolling luggage instead of traveler’s backpacks) into the cab, I wondered if that was really such a great idea.
It only took us 30 minutes to get from the airport to the main area of Krabi Town, where the only directions we had to give the driver was the Good Dream 2 backpackers that Nina told us to meet her at since her address is impossible to find. We probably looked ridiculous rolling our luggage into the small cafe of the backpackers but at that point I really did not care. The only way I had been able to connect with Nina was through Facebook chat, but since the wifi of the cafe didn’t work, I ordered us two beers to sit and wait for her the old fashioned way.
When she finally got there, she took us to see her apartment which, I definitely would never have been able to find, that she only pays $300 a month for (??!?!??!). She let me drop off my bag of winter clothes from South Africa, then led us back outside to show us around the tiny town.
“So you’re going to get on one of those things with the blue writing, those are the ‘stop-stops’, they’ll take you down to Ao Nang for cheap then you just hop off when you get there.” She said, pointing to a questionable little mini-bus/truck looking vehicle across the street. I had planned on just getting another cab but Kelli and I shrugged, said goodbye, and headed off to the stop-stop.
It was the most interesting ride of my life. We shared the back of the cramped, open-air bus with about five school kids, all in different colored polo shirts that indicated what grade they were in. They would hop off one by one as the bus stopped at each of their neighborhoods, while a mother with a baby then an elderly woman with a small child hopped on.
As we neared the beach, the landscape changed from rural farm areas to lush, exotic jungles and mountains, but then suddenly I realized that I had no idea where we were. There were no street signs or ‘Welcome to Ao Nang’ signs, and I had no idea where we were supposed to be looking for a hotel. I started to panic as I tried to turn on data for my Google maps and nothing loaded, especially since we had been driving along the beach for a few minutes.
“Let’s just get off,” I whispered to Kelli, pulling the string above us that requested a stop. We awkwardly pulled our glampacks through the narrow aisle and jumped off the back of the bus, paying the driver 10 baht each (about 30 cents). We wheeled our glampacks to the sidewalk where we could already see the fun and festive beach street that was filled with restaurants and shops.
“Oh! I think this was one of the places I looked up!” I said, reading the glamorous golden sign for the Princeville Ao Nang Resort and realizing we had happened to randomly hop off at the perfect place. Walking into the tropical, exotic resort made me realize what everyone meant by “things are really cheap in Thailand”. It looked like 5 star resort on a tropical island yet it was only $40 for the night. Oh wait. It was a tropical resort on the beach in Thailand…and still only $40. Although it was cheap, our lack of debit cards and limited amount of cash prompted us to only book one night with the hopes of finding somewhere cheaper the next day to stay the remaining two nights.
After we put our stuff away in our jungle-view room, we headed down to the beach so we could at least see the sunset since we had missed the sunshine. For some reason I’m like the only female in the universe who doesn’t find sunsets that enthralling, but this one may have completely changed my mind.
Where in the hell did all those colors come from?! I wondered as I gazed at the seemingly surreal sight. The sky looked like a fluorescent water painting with only the most delicious shades of pinks, purples, and oranges. To make it even more tantalizing, the entire portrait was mirrored on the smooth, glassy shore of the dark beach. I suppose it would have been nice to have a cute guy to make out with during the sunset, but I didn’t, so at least I had Kelli to take a picture of me attempting to do artsy poses with my GoPro.
We didn’t have any plans, and like I said before, that’s the best way to do it because it forces you to explore, so we wandered up to the lively street to find a place to eat and drink. After reading a few happy hours signs, we finally settled on the one with the cheapest wine specials (90 baht so around $3 per glass) and cutest sidewalk promoter. The wine tasted like shit, and we didn’t even want to know where they got it from since we knew how expensive wine is everywhere else, but at the end of the day, it was still wine, and didn’t taste as bad after three glasses.
They also had free wifi, which is something you learn to not only appreciate, but require if you want to have any contact back home without spending hundreds of dollars on data roaming. I used Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger the most, and Instagram to upload an occasional pic, however I’d highly recommend not wasting time on social media if you can help it. Why waste time starring at a screen (like the couple who played Candy Crush every night in the booth next to us) when you could be starring at Thailand?
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you eat a full plate of food before.” Kelli said suddenly after starring at me strangely for a few seconds. But the red curry I ordered with a side of glass noodles to mix in was by far the best thing I had ever eaten in my life. After we got fat and tipsy, we wandered around some more and realized that there were a ton of massage places that offered even cheaper massages than our “expensive” hotel did at a whopping 90 baht ($3) an hour. Needless to say we got three different types of massages before heading back to the hotel.
We didn’t have much to do back in the hotel room since our “free in-room wifi” didn’t work, but we found high levels of amusement when it suddenly began to tropical storm outside, turning our balcony into an exotic rainforest. We stuck our hands in the warm rain and attempted taking pictures of it, laughing hysterically for no particular reason other than that we were so happy to be in that moment.
“Oh shit. Get back inside!” I gasped, as the first mosquito landed on my arm. We jumped back inside and slammed the door shut. I had taken every precaution not to get Malaria except take the Malaria pills I had been prescribed and advised to take before I got there. I figured dousing myself in mosquito spray was a much better alternative to night terrors and stomach problems, but I wasn’t about to test my theory. Especially when there was a sign plastered to the wall next to all of the doors warning you to keep them shut due to mosquitos.
Once again, we started packing all of our stuff up since we would have to store it at reception in the morning before we went on the 4 Island Tour at 7am. Kelli had to pay for mine since I was officially out of cash until I could get to Western Union the next day and wire myself money, but I was lucky to at least have that as a solution.