Probably the only thing that didn’t go as smoothly as planned during the entire trip was the immigration clearance at Krabi airport. I was among the last to disembark from the plane, and it took 40 minutes of queuing before it was our turn to get through immigration. Anyway, not a single hitch thereafter.
After picking up the rental car, we headed towards the Emerald hot spring pool, and upon enquiry about entrance fee, i decided to only visit the hot spring waterfalls, which was also around the vicinity. It cost 200 Baht (S$8) to visit the Emerald pool, but only 90 Baht ($3.60) for the hot spring waterfalls. We had time only for one, and i had originally planned to only take a dip at the hot spring waterfall anyway. To me, there’s more novelty in a hot spring waterfall than a hot spring pool.
On the way back to Krabi town, we stopped at the Outlet Village to pick up Wacoal bras. I suppose this place mainly serve guided tour groups and it was deserted in the evening.
Though i had planned to have dinner at the Krabi weekend market, i failed to locate the weekend market initially and ended up having dinner at Poo Dam. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The food at Poo Dam was pretty good, most definitely better than the street food offering at the weekend market.
After checking into the hotel, i spotted the Krabi weekend market. We went to check it out immediately, as they were closing soon.
We didn’t have room for any more food, so we had some drinks instead. Anyway, the food sold here were mainly grilled seafood and various rice and noodle dishes, nothing i would deem as must-try.
The next morning, we grabbed breakfast at Hub Cafe while enroute from Krabi town to Ao Nang beach. The food here is nothing to shout about, but it was fairly cheap. All in, 3 platters and two drinks cost about S$16.
We hired a private long tail boat from Ao Nang to visit Railay, Ko Poda and Ko Gai (Chicken Island). I was quoted 2200 Baht, and i was able to haggle it down to 2000 without much effort. Ko Poda and Ko Gai, together with Ko Tup and Ko Mor are popularly marketed as a tour called the 4 Islands tour. Unless you take up a private boat, you will not be able to visit Railay within the same day. I strongly recommend that you take up a private boat and just do Railay and the 4 islands in a single day if you don’t plan to stay at Railay. The boatman will be waiting for you at the shore, and you can just take your time.
At 130pm, we were ready to leave for the islands. By this time, the tide has fallen quite a bit.
We were taken to Ko Tup, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect for visiting Talay Waek, the sand bar connecting 3 islands.
National Park rangers are stationed on Ko Poda to collect the entry fee for the four islands. At 400 Baht (S$16) per adult, it is not cheap, but still worthwhile for the visit.
Due to the low tide, the boat was anchored very far out from Ao Nang beach when we returned there. I had completely forgotten about the phone which i have always kept in the pocket of my shorts. It went kaput as i stepped into waters that had waves beating about my thighs. Oh well, no better excuse to get a new phone.
I had reserved a table for dinner at Lae Lay Grill a few weeks before, and true enough, the best table was reserved for me. To be honest, the view wasn’t as spectacular as i had imagined. I guess the slightly overcast weather didn’t help. The food was above average and overall the experience wasn’t too bad.
Pa Phru Tha Pom Khlong Song Nam – a mouthful, and that’s the name of the first attraction we visited the next morning. The boardwalk takes visitors through a fairly large mangrove area which would require about 45 minutes to cover, well worth the 100 Baht (S$2) entrance fee.
Yokkok is the only restaurant in Ao Luek that is listed on TripAdvisor. The menu is entirely in Thai, and the staff do not speak Thai, but we could communicate through Google Translate.
The entrance fee to Than Bok Khorani National Park was a prohibitively high 300 Baht (S$12), the reason being it also covers the nearby river caves, the main highlight for most visitors. Anyway, the main park also presents many spectacular sights.
We arrived rather late at the river pier to see the river caves that is part of the Than Bok Khorani National Park, but there was no cause for worry as there is always someone waiting there for incoming tourists. The boat trip cost 600 Baht (S$24) and the boatman doubles as a tour guide.
You could say time was on our side. Even after the river cave visit and the hour-plus drive to Phuket, we had time to pop by Central Festival Mall before dinner at Suay.
Capping the day – a visit to Bangla Road, probably the thing every first time visitor to Phuket probably needs to do.
Honestly speaking, i thought Patong beach was not bad. Probably a quarter of the tourists to Phuket would be found lingering here. We took a 15 minutes look around here and left for the next item on our itinerary – old Phuket town.
I think Thais are hard to beat when it comes to upkeeping. The buildings around old Phuket town seemed mostly intact and not too run down.
Next stop, Phang Nga Bay. I found out from a TripAdvisor forum posting that there was a dock (Nai Ngob Pier) for smaller boats, and i thought it must be less busy here. Anyway, we arrived at around 330pm and most of the tourists would have already completed their visit at least an hour ago. As expected, someone was there waiting to catch any business. It cost 1500 Baht (S$60) per boat, which is not an insignificant amount of earning, and the boatman was evidently feeling elated.
Having completed the last sightseeing item for the trip, we were off to Ruenmai, back in Krabi, for dinner.
I highly recommend going to Ruenmai to sample fine dining Thai. The meal would cost one third more than the seafood restaurants in Krabi town centre, which is quite reasonable.
We popped by Big C to do the last round of shopping before checking into the hotel, where we were able to enjoy room service massage, a perfect ending to our holiday.