A Travellerspoint blog

Thailand

Land of smiles

New adventures in Thailand


View Just a big holiday on ClareAndTom's travel map.

Our plane touched down in Thailand at Krabi airport, after we were treated to some aerial views of the impressive limestone peaks that the region is famous for. For the first time on the trip we had very little idea of an itinerary, other than a vague notion to see some of the west coast of Thailand before crossing to the east coast by way of Khao Sok National Park.

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We liked Krabi town: it had a laid back feel, a handful of backpacker hang-outs and a good night market. We got a great room for very little money at Chan Cha Lay guesthouse, and used Krabi as a base for a couple of nights.

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Our first trip was on one of Thailand’s famous ‘longtail’ boats – a narrow wooden boat with the engine from a van bolted to a long propeller shaft. They don’t have silencers so are noisy transportation. We were taken out to Koh Hong, an island with towering limestone cliffs and the most powdery sand we’ve ever experienced. We snorkelled, and kayaked around the island, reaching a shallow lagoon in the centre which was full of starfish. After lunch, in a torrential but warm downpour, we visited two other islands for more snorkelling.

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It rained again the next day on our trip to the Tiger Cave Temple. After being blessed by a nun, and visiting the amusingly tacky tiger statues in the cave, we climbed the sweaty 1,237 steps to the temple at the top of the mountain. When we finally reached the summit we were treated to 360 degree views of the surrounding peaks. We watched the monsoon rains rolling in, which soaked us on the way down.

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Wanting to head out to an island, but not sure which to go to, we made a last minute decision and jumped on a ferry to Koh Phi Phi. We didn’t get much beach time, but instead had a busy couple of activity filled days. On a walk up to the island viewpoint we saw the typical postcard views of Koh Phi Phi, and said hello to some goats on the way down. We hired kayaks and paddled around the headland to Monkey Beach, where we were chased off the beach by the inhabitants. Safely offshore we found a great area for snorkelling.

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We were up before sunrise the next day to go on the trip that was partly responsible for our journey to Phi Phi: shark snorkelling. Fortunately it didn’t disappoint; we were guided around an area where the Black Tip Reef Sharks gather, and spent about an hour and a half swimming around. We managed to see about thirty, some only tiny, others up to 1.5m long and only a few meters from us. There were loads of other interesting fish around the reef as well, and because we were out so early we had the water to ourselves.

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After a much needed brunch and a spot of sunbathing, our second trip of the day took us around Koh Phi Phi Lei. This uninhabited island is a marine park and was the location for filming ‘The Beach’ – it’s pretty spectacular. Maya beach was busy with other visitors but still lovely, and while snorkelling in its bay we saw two more sharks. Later on at another spot we also saw a turtle and some dolphins.

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Despite us being there in low season, Phi Phi was busy at night. The narrow lanes of Tonsai Village were lined with bars, shops and restaurants. The beach bars had nightly fire shows and sold booze in buckets. It was good to be somewhere lively, but easy to see why some people think the island has been spoilt by tourism.

Posted by ClareAndTom 05:42 Archived in Thailand Comments (7)

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