My Life in Words
Tips, travel, yoga, mentoring, life, and everything in between.
May 14th – Had Yao, South Krabi, Thailand
I’m currently sitting in my room at Beach Boutique Resort in Had Yao. I found this resort on Agoda.com as I was looking for a place to stay having stayed in Aonang for a week. I wasn’t intending to stay that long in Aonang in fact I wanted to go to Koh Tao to do level 2 open water free diving but the training was an extra $200 out of my budget that I couldn’t afford so I opted to come south to Had Yao.
Bangkok – A week ago I was in Bangkok wondering where my next destination would be. I really wanted to go to Myanmar but I am on a budget and though there are budget travellers out there such as myself, and my quench for another stamp on the passport was yearning, I knew financially I couldn’t afford it. Plus it was too much work to go get a visa at the embassy, then book a flight or take a bus. I was lazy and I wanted simple within the price range. The bus would have been $100 round trip but the visa would be $15-30 dollars followed by hotel. I looked into the hotel prices and I thought maybe a 5-day adventure there would be great. I looked into tours to make it easier as I had about two weeks to explore. Unfortunately the tours were 7-9-11 day tours and I had to be in the gulf by the 19th. I’m sure it could be done but if I had another 1k to splurge on, I would of done it. However, given that I am enrolling in Thai massage training in July, part of my savings would be going to that. I opted out of the notion.
Other options – Since I knew I wasn’t going to Myanmar, I needed to come up with an alternative. The first idea that came into my mind was Koh Phi Phi and Koh Tao. I was keen on Koh Phi Phi because I have yet to visit, and Koh Tao for Blue Immersion free diving training. I already completed my level 1 free dive training on Koh Tao back in October 2013 and I was keen to do level 2 for the challenge, mainly for breathing. That was my intention, initially. With some research, feed back from a few people, mixed reviews and suggestions as to where to go, cancellations on Koh Phi Phi, and Koh Lanta, I booked a $32 one way ticket to Krabi on Thai Airways (can you believe it?) and decided on Aonang based on a friends recommendation and how friendly it was with my budget. When I landed into Krabi, I grabbed a strong espresso, finally withdrew money from my account for the first time in months, hailed a taxi and off I went.
I booked a room at Silver Sands Suites, which was situated off the main strip and I couldn’t believe my eyes, they had a Mexican restaurant! What a fantastic surprise, and with a bit of sarcasm, of course there was a Mexican restaurant now that I’m working on being a vegetarian. Well, luckily with being vegetarian, comes with saving a few dollars. I was ready to spend a few days in Aonang seeing that it seemed low key, with not too many drunkards wandering around making fools of themselves. The hotel I was staying at was extremely laid back and I liked that it was off the main road with a few places to munch on food close by. I opted to stay a few more nights.
Over the course of the week I went to Railay Beach, did the Phi Phi Island tour and of course had to make it to Phi Phi Ley where the movie ‘The Beach’ was filmed. What a cluster fuck that was! I think the Administration for Tourism should limit the amount of boats and people that go on to that island for the sake of keeping it pristine. The first 15 minutes I was there, I was already standing in the shade looking for my boat to get back into, simply because the amount of bodies roaming gallivanting the famous island was making me claustrophobic and it’s not even close quarters. This is just my humble opinion.
Half way into the tour, I noticed another solo traveller and we ended talking quite a bit. Her name was Jacquelyn from Vancouver who originally came with a group of people, but decided it was best for her own sanity to go off on her own for a week of solo exploration. She and I exchanged info and I said if we don’t link up it would be ok and I wouldn’t be offended, as I understand how nice it is to have some alone time.
The next day I hired a scooter to check out Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi close to the airport, had a 45 minute delay do to the mid day shower, but I managed to find the place, climbed 1237 steps to the top and over look the mainland that grasped the view of the gulf islands as well as all of Krabi and then some. I spent a couple hours up there, sparking a conversation with a trio of adventurers who were staying in Krabi town. It’s wonderful to have such substance in a conversation of the experience you gain traveling abroad. When they left back down the steps, the weather improved and the clouds subsided so I took more footage of the big Buddha with a smile on my face before heading back down myself.
When I left on the scooter, the way back to Aonang I’m sure is easy if you’re a frequent traveler on the roads, and obviously I am not. I pulled out the map a couple times configuring my route when I realized Waze was on my phone, but the battery was low. Well, I guess I’ll have to wing it somehow and I did. I ended up going onto a longer route back to my hotel, which, ended up being a blessing, as I wanted to scoot around Noppartha Beach the next beach over from Aonang. I took the long route and what turned out to be called the ‘Romantic Road’. The road was magnificent and serene, lined with lush grass and trees. The road itself was smooth, well manicured, and it took me through small Muslim-dominate towns sprawling with laughter. I’m sure many tourists have taken this road before; to me it was a backcountry road where I seemed to be the only foreigner embracing its essence. However, as I did get closer to the beach, I was starting to see a couple of white folk here and there but for the most part, I was the only chick on a scooter wearing a baseball cap and not a scarf. I’m glad I took the long route.
That evening Jacqueline messaged me on Facebook and said there was a really cool look out point to hike up to that we should check out and apparently it’s not for the faint of heart as well as a lagoon. I said I was in! When the following day approached I ate breakfast and headed back to Railay Beach to meet with her at her resort bungalow (which was lovely). We bought a smoothie along the way to Railay east beach scouting around looking for the entrance to this must do tourist attraction. It took us a couple tries walking back and forth trying to adhere what people told us, it seemed easy enough. We walked past the trail several times not having the slightest idea it was easy to miss if you’re not vigilant. Yet, once we found it, our little tails wiggled in excitement looking up at the rope in red dirt and entangled roots that fortified the climb. We both looked at each other in amazement and curiosity knowing this was going to be quite the climb.
As we begun to climb, we saw a trio of younger kids descending down and we asked how long it would take to climb up. Surprisingly they said it wouldn’t be very long and with the roots solidifying themselves as stepping stones encompassing rock and tree branches, we morphed into spider monkeys climbing up the mountain. I wouldn’t classify as rock climbing but we were definitely climbing what seemed to be a scene in Avatar! I attempted to hold the selfie stick to the GoPro to cover footage of the venture climb; that idea didn’t last long. I needed all limbs in this climb.
Once we got to the top, there two ways to go, the look out over Railay Beach or down to the lagoon. A couple dudes we crossed paths with said the climb up was the easy part; the climb down to the lagoon is where the games begin. WTF we thought?!?! We walked through a small patch of jungle, a slight descend down before reaching the real climbing, walls. There were ropes to climb down on, but this required patience and a little technicality. Anyone can climb up and down the rocks and limbs, you don’t need to harnessed by any means, however you do need to know your weight, and have patience finding your footage as some parts required a long stride or even a jump.
One by one there were a few parts along the way where you either had to go around, as some people needed their moment to regain breathe (perhaps confidence), and/or the way was so challenging, you had to wait your turn to climb. We eventually made our way down to the lagoon after about an hour of Avatar adventures before climbing back up. We hiked over to the other side to the look out point over looking Railay, which was innate for the full body workout up the peak. After dousing ourselves with photo opts, we climbed down and headed into the village for lunch and finishing out the day at her pool. It was a lovely day well spent and we were both quite pleased with ourselves. I gave her a hug and said, until next time as I walked back to the last boat back to Aonang Beach.
The next few days weren’t anything too exciting, I spent a day in my room relaxing, as it was quite hot to do anything. I took a few walks into town, had an ice cream (or two), and spent sometime looking into the water. I found a really cool area to practice yoga, as the sun would set, assuming it wouldn’t be littered with bodies. Of course, you can’t always get what you want right? I took a day trip to Hong Island that wasn’t worth the price, but it is low season. I swam into a posse of baby jellyfish at one point, got out of the water so fast, with whiplash of sensations in certain parts of my body. Apparently they enjoyed congregating in a certain area of the water hole on the island, and I thought I had scored a nice area with lesser bodies to spark up the GoPro for some underwater action. I was mistaken. Ended up just sitting on the beach as there were just too many people in the water on the other side and the water wasn’t clear enough for footage. Hong Island, beautiful but maybe hire a long tail rather then a tour.
I had another night or two to figure out what I was going to do and I still had Koh Tao on my mind, but as I checked my account and looked into places to stay, my account wanted to debate and I couldn’t win. I had to figure out where I was going to go next. Koh Phi Phi was in the back of my mind, but I spent a few hours there already and my friend had mentioned to me, ‘Unless you want to get hit on by neon tank top wearing back packing drunkards, you may want to consider somewhere else.’ Ok so where can I go for a few days (I put Koh Lanta off as the better half wants to visit and best to leave some places untouched)
I looked into Koh Jum as a new island to visit, checked out a few resorts, cheap bungalows but nothing was all too appealing. Cheap, but my thought was more, ‘Meeeehhh’ rather then ‘Ohhhhh yeah’. As I spent some time in my room doing some research I found a deal at a 3.5 resort in south Krabi called the Beach Boutique Hotel. It was going for $26 a night, with breakfast was $32. I looked into some reviews, saw a few photos, and the rooms looked decent though some reviews mentioned there’s nothing around. I thought, it’s a new place and it seemed relatively quiet with a 55% mark down, why not spend a few days a little isolated from humans. I booked 4 nights at the location and had made my decision I was going south but staying local. My time in Aonang was coming to an end and I was off to a new spot soon, I was looking forward to it.
When the morning came to head south, I hopped into the cab and we drove an hour around Krabi to reach Had Yao, where there are hardly any resorts. This is isolation and as I checked into my resort, I was the only guest that evening, which booked. The whole place to myself, epic!!!! I had the whole beach to myself as well, and I’m talking a few miles, maybe several miles. The water isn’t clear and sand isn’t white but to have the place to myself was more then pleasing. The breakfast I had included in my meal is a little weak; extremely weak actually, limited options, quite pricey as well. Whatever the regular price is for this resort, I know I wouldn’t pay, but the discount, it will suffice. I get to spend a lot of time with myself and that I am grateful for, relaxing by the pool, taking long walks on the beach, doing yoga. It’s my own personal retreat so not much to complain about apart from the limited breakfast and options on the menu. Tonight is my last night here, and I spent most of the day in front of the computer writing out this blog now. I check out tomorrow and will head back to Aonang for the night before setting off to Koh Samui in the gulf across the mainland. I’m glad I spent close to two weeks here in Krabi and I’m not disappointed I didn’t go anywhere else, I wasn’t in any rush to maximize a handful of locations on my stays. I was and am able to unpack my backpack for several days to explore a few bits and pieces of the Andaman Sea. Until next time… I’ll be in the gulf on the very island I visited in Thailand back in 2012, the island I fell in love with and still have the most love for, Koh Samui.