Thailand is a country whose landscape has provided the backdrop for various Hollywood and international films. Some of the films shot in Thailand are as follows: The Beach, two James Bond films – The Man With The Golden Gun and Tomorrow Never Dies, Good Morning Vietnam, American Gangster, and the list goes on. Most recently, the second installment of the German film Fack Ju Göhte was filmed in various parts of Thailand, including the province of Krabi.
Krabi city is the capital of Krabi province and it is drastically different when compared to Bangkok. It isn’t densely populated like Bangkok; as of 2014, Krabi province only had 456,811 inhabitants compared to over 14 million in Bangkok and its surrounding metropolitan area. When I arrived in Krabi, I felt like I was dropped somewhere in the middle of the Caribbean. The people in Krabi seemed to move at a slower pace than in Bangkok; they also have darker skin and dress in a more relaxed island-style manner. Since Krabi is close to Malaysia, there’s a large mix of different cultures and people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds as opposed to Bangkok, which has a predominantly Thai and Chinese presence. Jacky, my tour guide, was part Thai and Indian.
The Tubkaak Boutique Resort
The staff was the first thing I noticed at the Tubkaak. They were friendly, professional, and pleasant; they had a more relaxed and less formal approach than the staff at my hotel in Bangkok. Each room is unique at the Tubkaak Boutique Resort and Spa. There are several room options to choose from including deluxe rooms (standard), a two-bedroom Cupcake suite and several other room types. All the employees at the Tubkak are Thai except for the yoga instructor who is Indian. Unlike Bangkok, Krabi doesn’t have a lot of industry so it is important to provide a livelihood for Thai locals whose main source of income is tourism. There’s a free yoga class on the beach every morning except on Sunday. To say the property is stunning is an understatement. My room was a premier pool villa and it was like living in a modern tree house. Everywhere you go on the property you’re surrounded by nature. Guests are provided with 6 complimentary bottles of water per day and hydration is definitely a must in such warm climates. The resort is ideal for couples and is in a remote location so it’s not easily accessible to the general public and it’s not the type of environment in which singles congregate for nightlife and cocktails.
When he picked us up from the airport, Jacky told Anne (a fellow blogger from Germany) and I that Krabi stood for the following: K for kayaking, R for relaxing, A for adventure, B for beach, and I for Islands. Coming from Stuttgart, I was mostly interested in the R and B of Krabi. I was greeted by the rain upon my arrival in Krabi and I hoped that it would stop on my second day, however, I had no such luck. It was still raining in the morning when we set out for Hong island. Fortunately the rain didn’t last the entire day and although the clouds remained, I was able to still enjoy Hong island without the torrential downpours of monsoon season. Hong island is picturesque; the sand is white and fine; gentle waves caress the shoreline and the emerald tinged water is approximately 25°C. Looking at the horizon from the shoreline, small islands stand in the water like monuments of nature. This type of scenery was typical of all the islands we visited during my time in Krabi and it was even more beautiful in person than it sounds.
The only thing I could have done without was the huge monitor lizard sunbathing on the beach at Hong island. To say I was terrified is an understatement. Jacky and Anne encouraged me to get closer to take a picture but the moment I saw it on the beach I knew the following two things:
- I’m not taking any pictures in forested areas with low visibility. No, no, no. I don’t want to be surprised by the descendant of a prehistoric, cold-blooded diapsid whose breathing method may have evolved over 270 million years ago.
- Avoid going to the bathroom in the forested area behind the beach by observing the following rules: No fluids in. No fluids out.
Phra Nang Cave – Railay Beach
The weather was perfect for island hopping on the third day. The sun was shining and the trip to Railay Beach, 4 Island, and Buya Beach was great.If you go island hopping in Krabi, I suggest opting for a longtail boat ride instead of a speedboat. The speedboat ride tends to be a bit choppy and the longtail boat has a much smoother ride. It’s also half the price of a speedboat tour at 8,000 TBH or 270 € per day (private charter).Phra Nang Cave Beach puts the A in Krabi; it’s the perfect place for a rock climbing adventure. Several tourists on the beach were enjoying watching the rock climbers make their way up and down massive limestone walls.
4 Islands are comprised of the following islands: Koh Poda, Koh Gai (Chicken Island), Koh Tub and Koh Mor. We didn’t spend much time at 4 Islands because the beaches were full of tourists. Instead of having our picnic lunch on the beach at Koh Poda, Jacky took us to Buya beach, which was on the opposite side of Koh Poda. We had the beach to ourselves. It’s perfect for a picnic but tourists are not usually taken there because there are sharp rocks in the water so it’s not ideal for swimming.
Wat Tham Suea (Tiger Cave Temple)
Wat Tham Suea is a Buddhist temple located northeast of Krabi. It is surrounded by a tropical rainforest which is home to many old trees and lots of moneys and various creatures. Our schedule was tight so there was no time to climb the never-ending flight of stairs leading to the summit. We missed the panoramic view from the top, however, Jacky wanted us to see the trees so we climbed up the stairs for a bit and ended up smack dab in the middle of the rainforest. I should have known it was a bad sign when halfway up, one of several monkeys running down the staircase towards us grabbed a hold of my leg. I gently freed my leg from my little furry friend and proceeded with caution. Just five minutes after we were in the jungle I heard Anne say “Lexie, there’s another monitor lizard.” You can guess what’s coming here: I was done. It was clear that the animals have some sort of thing for me and I had no desire to find out where that “thing” would lead. I’m sure the rainforest is beautiful but I’d rather see this one on the discovery channel. All kidding aside, it’s worth a visit. I’ve seen pictures of the view from the summit and it is spectacular.
Krabi Jungle tour & Emerald pool
I love nature as long as there aren’t any insects and reptiles involved so I was quite happy to discover that most of the trail throughout the rainforest was paved and I was “protected.” The highlight of the jungle tour was definitely the Emerald pool. The water is crystal clear and the temperature was perfect for cooling off. Now this is my kind of jungle.
Thalen Bay kayak tour
The kayak tour was pretty relaxed. We kayaked through the mangroves and of course I encountered another monitor lizard swimming in the water near our kayaks. Anne yelled to Jacky “I think Lexie wants to get closer.” Eeks!
Ao Nang Thai Cookery School
I was really excited to test my Thai cooking skills and I got a chance to do that at the Ao Nang Thai Cookery School. The cooking class is mostly for tourists and it costs 1,500 TBH per person (approximately 50 €). You can choose up to 5 dishes and enjoy the fruits of your labor. The instructor, Sow, is lovely and she was very surprised and happy to know that I was familiar with all of the ingredients beforehand.
Tips and Thoughts
- Go to the markets – You can get pretty much anything there. The food is delicious, fresh and inexpensive. There are day and night markets. I went to both. I stayed away from the sausage-like meat and stuck to the massaman curry and seafood dishes. Processed meats aren’t really my thing but if I wanted it, I can eat a damn good sausage in Germany. I stuck to the Thai food.
- If you haven’t seen Fack Ju Göte 2, check it out and see if you recognize any of the places we’ve been in the background.
- Visit Ruen Mai – it’s an authentic Thai restaurant located somewhere between Krabi and Ao Nang. It is mostly frequented by locals and it isn’t on the main road so you will definitely need a guide or an experienced taxi driver to find it. The food and the atmosphere are amazing. It was the best Thai food I had in Thailand during my stay.
- Krabi is not a “party city.” Nightclubs and bars close at midnight daily.
- If you need a guide, hire Jacky; he’s awesome! And if you want some more insider tips or to hear about my allergic reactions while in Thailand, ask me in the comments section or check www.thailandtourismus.de.
- If you see a monitor lizard: keep calm and carry on ;-)