By Janness Koh
Living in Asia gives me lots of options to beach destinations that are both budget friendly and with amazing views of clear blue sea. However, as someone who hates the sun and not a fan of beaches, it was never really in my list of to go destinations and was skeptical about what I could do in such places.
And man was I wrong because I really enjoyed myself and totally see myself going back to Krabi again or even explore more beach destinations. Here’s what I think of my first time beach destination experience and sharing some tips and guide for people like me who has never been to one or think that there isn’t anything else to do except going to beaches and suntanning.
- You can get a data sim card at Krabi Airport for 5 days at 299 baht, options for more days are available too.
- Private taxi to Ao Nang is flat rate of 600 baht one way, shared shuttle is 150 per pax one way. Taxi back from Ao Nang to airport is offered at 500 baht through tour agencies in Ao Nang.
- Most hotels offer free beach mat in the room or is sold in stores, not necessary to bring one.
- To save more, skip check in bags as its possible to keep within the 7kg carry on limit, shopping isn’t as interesting compared to Bangkok because most shops are selling the same things (swimwear, beachwear, floats, hats, shawls).
- Packing light is easy, local convenience stores sells all kinds of travel size toiletries, even face masks starting from 20 baht for a shampoo, so you don’t need to pack anything from home.
- Stated flight time was 2 hours but it was only 1.5 hours both ways.
- For 4 days 3 nights, I brought with me 5000 baht which got me more food than I needed each day as well as some shopping.
Things to do:
- The beaches and island hopping
Well, you have to see the beach even if you aren’t a beach person as I truly loved the view of the white clean sand and clear blue sea, not like the artificial beaches in Singapore. I highly recommend island hopping as the scenery you will get to see is a lot prettier than staying in the main site, I guess the further into the sea you go it gets prettier.
If you hate the sun and getting tanned like me, remember to bring along a really good sunblock, I brought with me a 130 spf sunblock and an umbrella, speak about being kiasu. I also recommend going back to the beach for sunset as it is one of the prettiest I’ve seen so far, even better than the one I saw in Santorini although the sea and beaches is still prettier there.
There are many tour groups you can choose from within Ao Nang but I did some research and decided to go with Phi Phi island tour through Viator and the company is Sea Eagle which I’m really pleased with the guide I was with. I went to Bamboo Island, Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi Don, and a few more small stops along the way.
At least for April when I visited, the good timing to start watching the sun sets is around 7pm till 7:50pm as the colours of the sky changes drastically. It looks the prettiest at around 7:40 pm and it is really stunning! Comparing it with the only sunset I’ve seen at Santorini, Krabi’s is way prettier although the sea is still nothing compared to Santorini’s. Its really worth the time waiting out for the sunset, don’t miss it!
One of the main thing I was really excited about is snorkelling as it is in my bucket list and I really wished to experience it at least once. Most island hopping tours covers snorkelling as well so it was killing two birds with one stone and I didn’t have to plan another day and trip just going for snorkelling. The tour I took was with Sea Eagle, booked through Viator and had two different stops of 40 minutes for snorkelling which was great because one of the stops had more fishes and also sea urchins. Sorry I couldn’t get a good picture with my iPhone underwater but do have nice videos of the fishes and sea urchins on Instagram if you want to see them – pinkie_jan
Ditch the life jacket if you are a good enough swimmer, I should probably have tried without because it is rather difficult to keep my balance and control when the waves hits so I end up trying to stand on the sharp rocks to keep myself balanced and get so many cuts on my feet and one was rather deep it was bleeding quite a bit.
Food of course! I love Thai food and it isn’t easy finding really nice authentic ones in Singapore, at least not the ones I’ve had here, so I’m always missing that tom yum soup in Thailand. Everything is really affordable there and the seafood are pretty fresh, I especially love their clams which is fatter and juicier than the ones I had in Singapore. Tom yum soup is awesome too! I recommend walking up Ao Nang beach to Krabi Resort where there are 4 street stalls next to it selling cooked food and bbq items.
On our first night we ordered five dishes, clams, squid, flower crabs, morning glory, tom yum soup, rice, and coconut and all these only costs us a total of 670 baht = SGD 27! It would be slightly more expensive to eat at main restaurants along the beach so its very worth the walk to the street stalls and they seem very popular among the locals too which is always a good sign.
5. Weekend Walking Night Market
The night market only operates on Friday to Sunday and is situated in the city centre, about 30 minutes from Ao Nang. You will be able to book shared shuttle from your hotel to the market with any most tour agencies along Ao Nang or even check with your hotel. Cost range from 150-200 baht and it is for a round trip.
I feel the market is well organised with some snack stalls and handicrafts stalls from the entrance and inside the market is pretty well sectioned into areas for food, shopping, centre stage performance with seats, etc. It is very crowded so be careful of your belongings.
I think it is worth a trip because of snacks and food I didn’t see in Ao Nang and merchandise are generally slightly cheaper. There is also a fruits market nearby as well as a departmental store.
You know you won’t leave Thailand without getting a massage, it’s like going into a shower without washing your body. You can choose from a wide service from body scrubs to facials and many different kinds of body massages. Just body massage alone there is aroma oil, coconut oil, thai massage, hot stone, and many more. I went for a coconut oil massage and it only costs me 400 baht for 60 minutes and I gave a 40 baht tip = SGD 18, jaw dropping cheap!
I won’t say shopping is great in Krabi as most stores sell the same things, its a matter of which is cheaper and you haggling skills, so don’t expect too much from shopping in Krabi. You can get tank tops at 100 baht, nicer tees at 200 baht or 2 for 300 baht, shawls at 100 baht, all kinds of dresses and price varies but always haggle before paying the retail price.
8. Photos taking
I didn’t bring a camera with me because an iPhone is good enough with the natural beauty of the place thats so Instagram ready. Take all the selfies and photos you need and work it like that fashion blogger you follow. Unashamedly sharing mine below, LOL.
Oh, I bought my polaroid and photo looks good too!