Day 1: Off to Krabi

Work had been busy lately and I needed a break. I just wanted to go somewhere I could chill. Sitting on the beach and doing nothing all day long sounded appealing. So when the opportunity arises, I bought tickets from Tiger Airways to Krabi. I also booked a room at The L Resort which is situated close to the beach. Since I was travelling alone, I decided to just pay more for convenience and peace of mind.

This would be my first solo trip and my mother was very unhappy about it. When I told her a few days earlier, she totally flipped out and the situation immediately escalated into a short but loud shouting match. Then she ignored me for the rest of the day. I tried not to let it show that the quarrel affected me but to be honest, it really upset me and totally put me off the mood for the trip. I felt upset that my mother is upset, then I felt upset with myself for feeling upset. Quarreling with one’s parents is complicated because everything you do is wrong. I felt so traumatized that even on the eve of the trip I was unable to muster up much excitement. In the end, I had to promise my mother to be in frequent contact which dampened some of the appeal of going away.

My flight was in the morning. Since it would be a short trip, there wasn’t a lot to bring and I managed to pack everything into my backpack. Because I did not have any check in luggage, it saved me around $20 on the plane tickets. As I passed through the customs, the lady who checked my passport said, “Enjoy Krabi.” It was a nice change from the unhappiness of my mother and I felt encouraged.

I wandered around the airport and saw a sign pointing to the sunflower garden. I followed it and arrived at a small outdoor garden on the second floor. It was not yet noon but the sun was bright and hot.

Thus it was not surprising that apart from me, there was only two of Caucasian men and a staff at the garden. The Caucasian men left after they finished smoking and I too retreat to the cool air-conditioned interior after taking a few photos. If the weather wasn’t so hot, I would not mind staying there as there was a good view of the planes on the runway.

The plane journey was uneventful and I alternated between reading and sleeping. The plane landed at Krabi Airport early. I did not have any check-in luggage so I passed through customs quickly. Krabi Airport is very small. There was only one arrival gate. All the drivers from different hotels stood in front of it holding up name cards. Unfortunately because the plane landed early, the driver from The L Resort had not arrived yet. Still, I didn’t have anything planned for the day so I wasn’t in a hurry.

After a while, I spotted a little man dressed in purple hurrying from the entrance of the terminal. As he came closer, I saw my name on a white card he was holding. Besides me, he also welcomed another Singaporean couple who were on the same flight as me. He had a cheerful disposition and I thought he looked rather cute, like a little chocolate gnome.

“Sorry, did you wait long?” he asked.

I replied, “No.”

At the same time, the female half of the couple said, “A bit.” As her voice was louder, the chocolate gnome only heard her reply.

“Ah, I’m sorry,” the chocolate gnome bowed his head but was still smiling cheerfully. Then he led the way out of the airport terminal building. “Please follow me,” he said as he led us towards the entrance. An older gray-haired man dressed in a purple polo shirt was waiting for him. The chocolate gnome pointed at his older colleague and asked me to follow him while he led the couple to another part of the carpark.

I followed the older man who did not seem to be as proficient in English as he only spoke a few words to me. He led me to a silver van from the resort and opened the door for me. I was a bit stunned to find that the resort had given me a whole van for me! To my untrained eye, the van looked pretty new and had very cushiony, comfortable seats. My driver did not seem like the chatty type and I was glad for the silence. The journey to the resort took about 30 – 45 mins. It wasn’t a scenic route but I enjoyed looking at the scenery and buildings we passed by because they looked very different from what we have in Singapore. Modern Singapore at least.

The other couple had already arrived when I reached the resort. The resort lobby was open air and decorated in purple and white colors. I approached the resort reception counter and suddenly the chocolate gnome appeared by my elbow. He was holding a glass of red-colored drink.

“Welcome drink,” he said and left.

The color reminded me of cough syrup and I gingerly took a sip. The drink was chilled and deliciously tangy. The couple was attended to by a Thai woman who had her long hair tied up in a ponytail so I waited for my turn.

A Caucasian man behind the counter saw me waiting and came over to help with my check-in. He looked like he was in his 40s or 50s. He was very fair; obviously untouched the tropical sun. His pale blue eyes which seemed to be perpetually opened in a surprised expression. His white shirt was opened at the neck and hung limply, which made it seem as if he was feeling very hot. I kept having the image of a polar bear in the tropics. It turned out that my room was ready so I followed the chocolate gnome to my room.

Before I left the resort lobby, I was given an iPad which was provided for the use of the resort guests.

My room was on the second floor of a building. It was very nice! Like the lobby, the room was decorated in purple and white color theme. The room was much bigger than I had expected. As I looked around the room, trying to take it all in, the chocolate gnome held up two remotes and with the press of a button, the curtains in the room started to close. So cool, motorized curtains!

Behind the bed was a small area with a bar counter, fridge and a cremesso coffee machine.

I unpacked my clothes and spent some time enjoying the cool air-con before venturing out again. Before I left my room, I grabbed a complimentary bottle of water and stuffed it into my bag.

There was only the Thai woman left at the reception counter. I stopped to ask about the island tours. She indicated a shelf in a corner of the lobby which contained brightly colored brochures of the tours and recommended the speedboat tour. She also said that the resort could help with the tour booking as long as I let them know by 9pm the night before. That’s convenient and I decided that I would do so after I picked out which tour I wanted. I took some brochures and stuffed them into my bag.

The L Resort was situated on the main street where all the souvenir shops and restaurants were located. Right opposite was the Ao Nang Beach. Since I could visit Ao Nang Beach at any time, I decided to turn right and walked along the street instead. I walked past some souvenir shops which seemed to be selling about the same stuff. There were also some restaurants and drinking places along the way.

I soon spotted a cluster of stalls lining the pedestrian walkway opposite. I had read that there was a night market and thought that this was probably it. Most of the stalls sold fried food and local dishes. None of the dishes caught my interest so I did not buy anything to eat. I also saw some flies hovering around the fried food on display and decided not to risk. It would be really miserable if I fell ill.

I continued in the same direction and crossed a bridge built over rather smelly water. A short while later, I arrived at Nopparat Thara Beach, which was a very long beach.

It was low tide at the moment and the boats were stranded on the sand.

The eastern end of Nopparat Thara Beach had wave patterns in the sand. The ground was also quite hard and I didn’t leave any footprints.

As I continued walking, the wave patterns turned into soft wet sand dotted with seashell and little pebbles. Each step resulted in a depression which quickly filled with water.

Some birds were feeding during the low tide period. They were very wary of humans and always stayed a few metres away.

Ten minutes later, I came to a part of the beach which was covered with many little sand balls. The sand balls were made by crabs who sieved through the sand looking for food. I bent down to take a look and noticed that not all the sand balls were the same size. There were some really tiny sand balls made by tiny crabs. Can you see the tiny crab on the left of the big crab?

Every vibration in the sand caused the crabs to go scuttling back to their holes. I hardly dared to breathe as I observed them.

30 mins later, I came across some birds who were looking for food in the wet sand. I also saw a couple of dogs walking along the beach. I couldn’t help thinking that this was quite different from Singapore beaches as I had never seen animals on our beaches before. But to be fair, I had only been to the beach at East Coast Park which was always full of people so it was possible that other less visited beaches might have more wildlife.

Most of the time, the holes in the ground were surrounded by little sand balls so I was quite amused to find one surrounded by stones. It was as if the inhabitant had built a fortress to protect itself. The stone barrier looked so uniform that I thought it was unlikely to be caused by wave actions.

The upper parts of the beach which were exposed from the water earlier was totally covered in sand balls. There were no crabs to be seen as they had probably combed every part of the beach around their homes. I avoided that part of the beach as I felt bad about crushing the sand balls, even though I knew the crabs couldn’t care less.

Then I came to another part of the beach where the crabs scuttling at my feet were different.

They were slightly bigger than the sand-ball-making crabs. They had longer and thinner pincers and did not seem interested in creating sand balls.

By now I had walked along the beach for one hour and I seemed to be reaching the part of the beach where more people visited. The sun was hidden behind the clouds so it was no longer so bright and hot. But even when the sun was out, there was always a constant breeze so that it never felt overbearingly hot.

I finally reached a cluster of rocks at the other end of the beach. The sand in this area was soft and fine and I could see some people just sitting around.

Based on the water mark, it seemed that this part of the beach was covered during high tide.

Some locals were fishing but I didn’t stay long enough to see whether they caught anything.

In that area, there lived a third type of crab. It was a type of fiddler crab with pincers of different sizes.

As I turned back to look at the distance I had covered, I saw dark clouds looming over the inland mountains. I admire the majestic sight for a few minutes then decided that I should start my return journey. Even though I had an umbrella in my backpack, I did not feel like getting caught in the rain. Besides, the tide seemed to be rising.

Of course the birds were not affected by the prospect of rain and they were still hunting for food.

On the way back, I decided to take a different path and followed the stone path that ran behind the trees that lined the beach. After a while I regretted taking this way as it was a more boring and the trees blocked the breeze. I found an empty stone beach and sat down to take a rest.

While resting, I read through the brochures and found a couple of island tours that sounded appealing. The speedboat tours were a bit more expensive but they were faster so less time was spent travelling between the islands. Then I saw that all the tours started at 8am or 8:30am in the morning. Immediately a part of me rebelled at the thought of waking up so early while on holiday. I stuffed the brochures back into my backpack and decided to give it more thought before making a decision.

I reached The L Resort at 5:45pm. As it was still early, I walked to Ao Nang Beach to look at the sunset. As soon as I stepped on the beach, I knew why some people complained that the beach was not good. Ao Nang Beach seemed to be made up of seashells. It would probably hurt to walk on it barefoot. If there were any sand, they mush be buried deeply under the seashells because I could not see any. But the lack of sand it did not seem to bother other people and I could see many tourists on the beach. Some were walking, some were sitting around and I even saw someone jogging up and down the beach. I saw an Asian man sitting cross-legged on a towel. He hardly moved and seemed like he was meditating.

Click on the image above to get the wallpaper version (2000 x 1125 px)

I lingered on the beach and watched the sunset. It felt like such a luxury to just be able to stay and watch the sun slowly sank beneath the horizon. Back in Singapore, I hardly had time to do so as I was usually in a hurry to get home after work. But in Krabi, the mood was different as I had plenty of time to spend the day any way I like. When you have nothing to waiting for you to do, you could really slow down and appreciate each moment.

Click on the image above to get the wallpaper version (2000 x 1500 px)

In the sunset, I could see the last of the boats returning home. I stayed on the beach until it was 6pm. Then I decided to go and find some nourishment as I did not eat lunch. I turned back and was surprised to find that the steps leading to the beach was crowded with people. Some were standing, some were sitting down, some even brought along a drink, but all were quietly watching the sun set as it was the greatest show on earth.

I crossed the road and went to the Wanna’s Place, a restaurant at The L Resort. I was the first customer in the restaurant. I was attended to by a rather fierce-looking waitress who actually turned out to be friendly and nice. Feeling like pampering myself, I ordered a mojito cocktail and steak for dinner.

The mojito was good and I was glad that they did not water down the drink. The steak set came with a salad and I was surprised when a huge plate arrived at my table. It seemed to form a mini mountain and was drenched in a thin creamy sauce. Perhaps I was hungry, but I thought it was pretty tasty even though there was too much sauce.

I was halfway through the salad when one of the younger waitresses came running to my table. “The steak is coming!” she said hurriedly.

Behind her, I could see the fierce-looking waitress coming out of the kitchen and carrying a smoking tray. “Oh,” I said and pushed the salad away, making space for the steak. As I waited for the steak to arrive, I was rather amused that the restaurant actually sent someone to announce the arrive of the steak, like the announcement of an important guest at an event.

The fierce-looking waitress placed the tray on the table and suddenly from behind, a pair of hands reached out and tied a paper bib around my neck. I had totally forgot about the younger waitress who have moved into position behind me. After the initial surprise, I was grateful and a little embarrassed that the staff paid so much attention to me.

I had ordered the cubed steak on hot stone which came with three dips and a potato side dish. You could choose between fries, potato salad, mashed potatoes or potato gratin.

The beef was tender and it was fun trying it with the different dips. I couldn’t really tell what the dips were as they seemed to be a mixture. For example, even though the yellow dip looked suspiciously like mustard and did have some mustard flavor, it was much milder and not as biting. It felt like something else was mixed in with the mustard. As the stone remained hot for a long time, I also tried toasting some of the raw chopped onions on it.

After dinner, I went to the convenience store next to the resort and bought a one-liter bottle of water, a can of soda and a tube of sunblock. I had forgotten to bring sunblock and even though I did not really feel the heat of the sun during my afternoon walk, I noticed that the back of my neck had turned red.

Being alone, I did not feel like exploring the area after dark so I returned to my room early. I was back by 8pm and spent the rest of the night lazing in front the TV. I was really glad that I booked this room because some of the items provided by the resort felt of better quality than other hotels I’ve been too. Even the disposable bedroom slippers provided by the resort was unlike the usual paper-thin ones given by many hotels. The ones at The L Resort had a thin layer of foam in the soles which helped to cushion a little against the hard wooden floor.

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