After four days in Cambodia, Southern Thailand was next on my list. Back in June, I had spent some time in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. This time, I was ready to explore some of the beaches and islands in Southern Thailand. In order to get to Krabi, I took two Air Asia flights: Siem Reap-Bangkok and Bangkok-Krabi.
From Krabi Airport I took a shuttle bus to Ao Nang (150 THB) where I stayed for five nights. Since I wanted to be closer to the beach, I had decided not to stay in Krabi Town but in Ao Nang, which is about 18 km from Krabi Town. It turned out to be a wise decision because I absolutely loved Ao Nang. As there are plenty of tours departing from Ao Nang, it is quite a convenient place to stay.
I stayed at the Glur Hostel, which I absolutely loved. It’s in a peaceful neighbourhood, about 1.5 km from the beach. Glur Hostel was designed and built by a Thai architect and his wife. The hostel has everything a backpacker could ever ask for: A cosy outdoor common area with hammocks and an inviting pool, spacious private as well as dormitory rooms, laundry machine, kitchen, etc. What I liked most about this hostel was the laid-back atmosphere! Whereas most of the other hostels in Ao Nang are party hostels, Glur Hostel is totally relaxed and quiet.
I didn’t book a tour for my first day as I just wanted to explore the area. Since it was raining pretty much all day long, I didn’t do much except getting a massage at the Massage Corner and going to the Heroic Fitness Club.
For my second day, I booked a tour to the Phi Phi Islands and Maya Bay. It was raining when I was picked up, but it was not until we were on the water when the tour operator finally decided to cancel the tour due to the bad weather conditions. I was actually not too disappointed as there were so many people on the tour. We were about 70 people, out of which 90% were Chinese. Bearing in mind that this was only one tour operator, I could only imagine how crowded Ko Phi Phi would have been. Ko Phi Phi seems to be just another one of these places where hundreds or thousands of tourists are taken to every day. The sad thing about it is that tour operators don’t seem to care about the preservation of nature because otherwise they would limit the number of visitors. Especially after my experience in Halong Bay, I was happy that I eventually didn’t end up supporting this sort of non-eco-friendly mass tourism.
On my third day, I did a half-day rock climbing tour with Real Rocks Railay. We were very lucky with the weather as it was the first time after arriving in Ao Nang that the sun finally shone.
The rock climbing takes place at Railay Beach, a beautiful spot that can only be reached by long-tail boat. The climbing was amazing and so much fun. Our guide was fantastic and did everything to make us feel safe. I absolutely loved it! After a half day of climbing, I couldn’t feel my arms anymore though.
For my fourth day, I planned to hike up to Ngorn Nark and to go to the Tiger Cave Temple. However, the heavy rain showers interfered with my plans and so I decided to spend another day in Ao Nang.
As you might have noticed, rain season was in full swing. The weather in Ao Nang was pretty miserable for almost the whole time that I was there and so I spent most of the time in cafes to write on my blog or I went to the gym. Ao Nang has a few really nice cafes, among which Lion & Shark was by far my favourite.
I really liked their interior design and menu. They have a lot of smoothies, healthy sandwiches and salads as well as good coffee. You can climb up a really steep ladder in order to enter the cafe or use the main entrance that is a bit hidden. I went to Lion & Shark every day for lunch because I loved that they served breakfast all day long. I also really liked Cafe 8.98 and The Coffee Club.
Ao Nang has a lot of lovely restaurants, too. For dinner, I always ended up going to 11/1 Thaifood & Cocktail though. I went there on my first night because it is just around the corner from Glur Hostel and I was too tired to go into town. Since it was so delicious the first time, I went back all the following evenings! It was amazing value for money! In retrospect, I think it was actually my favourite restaurant in Thailand!
On my last day, I went back to Massage Corner for a foot massage. It was heavenly. The Thai massage that I had on the first day was actually the best one I’ve ever gotten. I can thus really recommend this place.
After five – almost exclusively rainy – days in Ao Nang, I took a shuttle bus close to Phuket Airport (300 THB). I stayed there for one night because I was going to Naka Island early the next morning. Naka Island is only accessible by boat from Ao Po Grand Marina, which is about a 25min-drive from Phuket Airport by taxi. If you stay at The Naka Island Resort & Spa, the pick up by boat is free. The Naka Island Resort & Spa is definitely not a typical backpacker accommodation. On the contrary, it is a pretty expensive hotel. I don’t usually need much, but I treat myself every once in a while. As a SPG Platinum Member, I got a pretty good deal and was granted an amazing upgrade to a villa, including pool, steam bath, sun deck and much more. I stayed for one night only, but it was a nice alternation to my backpacker life. Just look at these pictures and tell me it doesn’t look like paradise!
There are several activities you can do on the island such as several different water sports and cycling. I cycled around the island to see how the local community on the island lives and that was very interesting. I really liked that The Naka Island Resort & Spa works closely with the community and supports them financially.
I checked out around 1pm but stayed around for another three hours before going back to the mainland. As my flight to Penang was early the next morning, I stayed another night at the Bhukitta Airport Condominium, just 1.5 km from Phuket Airport.
Despite the heavy rain showers, I really enjoyed my time in Southern Thailand. It was definitely a change to the scenery in the North of Thailand and I’m glad that I got to experience both. I met another bunch of lovely people from all over the world and I’m beyond grateful for the unforgettable memories I’ve made in this beautiful country. What I probably loved the most about Thailand was the delicious food! I could eat Thai every single day without getting tired of it. Definitely one of my favourite cuisines!
Until next time, Thailand!
KRABI / AO NANG
Accommodation: Glur Hostel
Restaurants / Cafes: Lion & Shark, Cafe 8.98, The Coffee Club, 11/1 Thaifood & Cocktail
Activities: Day tours to different islands, half-day climbing tour, massage at Massage Corner
Accommodation: The Naka Island, A Luxury Collection Resort
Activities: Kayaking around the island, water sports, cycling around the island
Accommodation: Bhukitta Airport Condominium
Restaurant / Cafe: Ang Ku Tea House