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Krabi Town, Thailand

A Krabi Christmas

sunny 35 °C

Krabi was a two and a half hour journey from Khao Lak through winding dense forest roads. We quite enjoy our short journey times between locations.

Krabi town is a strange place, set some miles back from the beach alongside the river. It is almost as if someone turned up one day and thought, 'right, we'll stick our beach town here'. As expected, Krabi is not pretty, but functional. Down by the river, along one side is a concrete promenade lined with long tail boat drivers touting for business, the other is made up of dense mangroves, with limestone karsts towering above. If you looked one way towards Krabi Town you would see a sprawling, concrete jungle with brightly coloured guesthouse signs. Look the other way and you could believe you had travelled to a completely different place, in the middle of an actual jungle.

We stopped for a beer on a floating restaurant and watched the long tail boats cruise up and down the river. We struggled to get a beer initially with the ladyboy in his short shorts and strange coral orange lipstick not having a clue what we wanted despite pointing at the beers. He flounced off and found someone who spoke English and went back to doing his very nice hair.

The following day we headed to Krabi beach, which was quite small and full of broken shells and absolutely full of people! We walked along to the end, where there were a group of friendly little monkeys hanging out. One voluntarily jumped on my bag, but as this had the camera in, we didn't want to open the bag with him and his little grabber hands on my back and he jumped down as I tried to give Chris the bag. I soon managed to coax an incredibly mischievous baby monkey on to my head which set about tickling my head!

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Monkeying around

As it was Christmas Eve, I persuaded Chris to have an oil massage. He was somewhat put out that the place was full of beautiful looking Thai female masseuses, yet he was saddled with the one guy. After about five minutes, they managed to find another guy and swapped for him! This one clearly had no idea what he was doing and just copied mine the whole time. Poor Christopher looked less than amused for the duration and spent almost as long complaining again afterwards. At least it wasn't a Thai massage, although watching his expression during that would have been far more amusing for me!

That evening, we ventured down to the river to take a long tail boat through the mangroves. Mangroves are trees whose roots make them look as though they are on stilts as the tree itself is elevated about a foot of the ground. Within these tangled roots, mud and sediment from the river is caught, preventing the river from washing the nutrient rich soil away and providing new land for wildlife. The mangrove swamps look eerie and mystical, and feel a little too quiet. We visited a cave, which although very open on the side of the rock, was impressive for the fact it was hidden unexpectedly behind these mangroves.

Our trip continued to another section of mangroves where some coconuts had clearly been put out to attract some monkeys to the edge of the water for passing tourist boats. They were entertaining, playing and swinging from the branches, one with a very small baby attached to its front, hanging on for dear life as mum swung from tree to tree.

Our final stop was a fish farm, which had 2 large turtles, which judging by their size, were for the tourists rather than meat. They were so cute! We were given fish to feed them. We were shown a few crabs, and some snapper fish, which had netting over their area, and would hide under the water before jumping up and snapping their mouths shut around the fish, and your fingers if you weren't quick enough. We passed on the offer to feed these, valuing our fingers.

The following day was Christmas day, and we had booked a sea kayaking tour around the karsts, caves and mangroves. This was a very relaxed tour with a guide who really did love the sound of his own voice. On the third time he repeated not to spray deet in the cave, Chris and I decided we'd been polite enough but would rather be left to it to explore the cave. This cave had a few paintings on the walls, which our guide had rather imaginatively managed to see a number of different things in the lines and rocks. There were also a few newer looking sketches.

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One of the caves we kayaked through

Back in the kayaks, we went through one fairly narrow cave with staligtites hanging down. As the tide was low, it was easy to move through. When the tide is high, you have to lay down on the kayaks to pass under the rocks.

We carried on through the mangroves before taking a narrow side turning, which led to another cave. We carried on through to the other side and were greeted by the most peaceful and gorgeous lagoon with karst cliffs rising high above with trees growing out almost horizontally.

After this we had lunch on a floating restaurant, served by a ladyboy in the shortest skirt ever! It would not have covered a lady's bum! She was serving the rice and our guide was placing dishes on the table, saying 'make sure you have rice from her, him, chin, I don't know what you call him' laughing as he explained this. As the only native speakers of English, Chris and I were the only ones laughing. When we explained what had been said, a couple of them hadn't even realised it was a ladyboy!

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Merry Christmas from the fresh water pool

After lunch we stopped off at Phutara, a natural water pool in the woods. Its setting seemed more like a flooded section of wood with rocks along the bottom, but the water was a beautiful clear grey blue colour like no other pool we had seen. The water was refreshing compared to the warm sea, but extremely pleasant for cooling off after kayaking.

The following day, boxing day, we headed down to the beach and hired a couple of kayaks for the day and headed off around the Railay Peninsula. This peninsula was made up of various different karsts and is often referred to as Thailand's Halong Bay. It was lovely kayaking between the towering karsts and being able to get right up close with the kayak. We stopped on some rocks to go snorkeling and saw a few good fish, in particular some tiny navy blue fish which had markings in electric blue.

Around the peninsula are various beaches, which are well served by the long tail boats. We stopped off at a couple before getting lunch on one of the busier islands. All along the water's edge were tens of long tail boats which had been converted into kitchens, cooking up virtually every Thai dish there and then. You could even get a freshly blended smoothie for less than a £1. Watching your food being prepared was all part of the fun.

After lunch we carried on round through the karsts before finding our own stretch of secluded beach where we had a swim before sitting to read our books. We both had a short nap and I awoke first to find the tide was coming in on us. Chris was sleeping head first to the water, which was finishing a matter of inches away. After moving his book and the boat which was thinking about floating off, I waited for the tide to wake sleeping beauty. Even though he was asleep on my towel, I decided it would be worth it. And suddenly there was a beeping, and Chris was awake! He'd set the alarm on his watch in case we both fell asleep. Literally two minutes later, a big wave came up, soaking my towel anyway but Christopher remained dry. I was very disappointed not to have my fun. :-(

It took over an hour to paddle back round the bay, and our arms were ready to drop off.

Back at the hotel we enjoyed a quick swim before dinner at Mr Krab-i, who do some of the best burgers we have had. I still preferred Whopping Burger in Vang Vieng, but Chris preferred this place.

The following day, we had a boat booked to take us to Koh Jum island.

Posted by Roaming Rolts 05:35 Archived in Thailand

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