Boat Taxi: Krabi to Railay, Thailand.
Day 19 continued: 4/30
I’ve made it to Krabi. It would’ve been a lot easier if I’d had service. Instead I depended on vague instructions I had screenshot and the kindness of strangers.
I was told to get off at Klong Jilad Pier. My bag was already off the boat- I obliged. Very uncertain and about a 3 minute walk later I found a ton of taxi drivers. I looked around and a man told me “outside, free taxi”. I wasn’t entirely sure he was talking to me, he looked at me again and said it louder. I realized he was deciding this based on my sticker. I recieved a sticker when I handed in my ticket when I boarded my ferry. I was then guided by more thai’s to a van with 9 other passengers. They would be dropped off to their hotels on Krabi. I would be dropped off to another pier to board a longtail boat taxi to Railay Beach.
Two guys sat next to me, I think they were from northern Italy based on their accents. One spoke English and let me borrow his phone to see where my hotel was on Maps. He had his keyboard set to T9 word- I didn’t even know this was an option anymore. I used the logistics to then drop/save a pin on my own Google maps. I’d have to walk to this ‘favorites’ heart icon. I also had about 30% battery. I really need to get one of those portable chargers.
I told the drivers I need to go to Ao Nam Mao pier. They say “Ao Nang, same same”... I guess we will see. It’s pouring rain now, it just started. I think I have 45 minutes in the van.
It’s now 15:00; Not ‘same same’. I got to Ao Nang pier and told the longtail boat ‘taxi desk’ I needed to go to East Railay. The lady said only West. I said is this Ao Nam Mao, she said no that’s far away. I said my taxi driver said ‘same same’. She said “yes, 100 baht same same”. So essentially it’s not the same but a long tail boat to Railay beach is still 100 baht. The BIG difference is one takes you to both east and west and the other will only take you to west. I knew the two sides were really only about 10 minutes walking from coast to coast.
I waited at a table for 9 other passengers. This pier requires 10 total passengers to leave. This took quite some time, for a while there were only 3… then suddenly 6- we only needed 2 more. Then another long while and I assume a bus must have showed up because there were 20 of us ready to board. Miraculously, the rain was much lighter now- it was a drizzle.
Arriving to West Railay
I started feeling a little sick. I had my water and looked outside of the boat. This made me feel ok. I’m still feeling queasy. I walked 10 long minutes to my new hotel. I have a private room here, too- a 2 story bungalow with my own bathroom. The upstairs portion is more of an open deck with a hammock. I passed some monkeys on the way here. They were having sex. These were the first monkey’s I’ve seen this whole time. I excitedly pulled my camera out to film for my niece and nephew but they wouldn’t stop the’monkey business’.. literally.
I walked across the entire island and I finally arrived. I told a guy I needed to check in. He pointed to the right and there were at least 30 stairs to climb. I was drenched with sweat at the reception desk. I was thankful there was a bell boy to take my huge bag off my shoulders.
I must’ve forgotten there would be a 200 baht key deposit. I knew my stay would be 4800 baht to be paid in cash upon arrival. I had stored 5000 baht separately in an envelope for this occasion. This will include breakfast everyday, too.
I thought I’d have 200 baht to spend- I would be able to make that stretch for 3 days. I have probably another 200 baht in my purse. Now I’m practically broke. I will see if there is an ATM.
I took a nap for 2 hours. Its storming again, it’s really bad now. The storm knocked out the Wi-Fi but it sounds so relaxing on my tin roof. I don’t mind the storm. Today I just wanted to relax- it was a day full of transportation. I’m just hungry and slightly dehydrated. I have a tiny headache and would like some food. I can’t really walk far in this monsoon. Maybe I can go to the restaurant here if it’s open. I’m sure it only takes cash and costs more than what I have. I also need to go to a drugstore I passed on my way in. I need more sunscreen and deodorant. The internet would also be nice, at the least I could plan more of Cambodia. I guess I’ll finish my movie and rest for now, while this rain falls.
I had dinner at the restaurant. I opted for the least expensive meal: pad thai, no drink. I had discovered a fridge in my room. It comes with 2 warm waters- the fridge was not plugged in. I plugged it in before dinner so I could return to cold water. I say alone but heard a group of American boys talking. This is the first place to have 4 americans! I’m usually the only one. After eating I went and laid in the living area, trying to have a better Wi-Fi connection to download more movies and do some research on Cambodia. After a while I realized the service was just as bad here as in my room. I walked back to my jungle hut to sit on the rooftop. I covered myself in bug spray- even with leggings and a hoodie. The rain has eased up but the power keeps going out.
I have my headlamp and am using it as a flashlight when needed. Oh, and I found my favorite headphones! They were in the pocket on my rain jacket. It’s 21:45 now. I’m going to finish my greens (OptiGreens from Phormula1) and turn in for the night. I’m hoping for fabulous beach weather tomorrow. The beach here looks incredible!
Fast forward 2 days– Day 21: 5/2.
I’ve been here 3 days now, I leave tomorrow. I’ve really relaxed a lot here. My bungalow is up high in a rainforest but still within 2 minutes from 1 beach and 8 minutes or less to 2 other beaches. I seem to frequent the farthest of the 3 mostly. I mainly choose this one because it has the most sand and I can properly lay out my towel. I also find that I’ll wake up super early only to have breakfast at a later hour. Today I had breakfast early; this was because I wanted to do a strenuous hike and wouldn’t be back by 11. They don’t serve breakfast after 11:00, and I prepaid for it with my booking. Yesterday, I’d gone to the 3 beaches by 10:00 and came back for a late breakfast. I figured it would help save money. I caved in today and exchanged $30 USD. I really wanted to exchange a $20 but they will not accept any bills that are not absolutely perfect.
I have three $20 dollar bills but they all have the same black mark on the top right corner. I had a perfect $50 bill and my $10 and $1’s look perfect. Now I’m concerned about buying my Visa in Cambodia upon landing. Luckily, I was able to get $20 USD back in cash and only exchanged $30 for baht. Of course this resulted in me having a perfect $20 bill if Cambodia has the same requirements.
Yesterday after my late breakfast I went to my room for a nap… or something. Regardless, it ended up as a nap. I figured I’d plan some of Cambodia- which I did. I started off in my hammock on my second level while I planned Siem Reap. I still need to plan Phnom Penh. I fell asleep in my bed though, the sun was too much for hammock swinging. I remember why I came back now, I had stomach pains. I was slightly sick while at the beach.
This tends to happen to me at all beaches, food just doesn’t sit right. I’ve been having 1 pancake every morning and taking vitamins; it seems to be helping flush my system. I returned to West Railay beach for sunset. It was amazing, the colors were unreal. After sunset I went to a dinner show.
On my way back to my resort I browsed menus as I passed by restaurants. I only had 80 baht and some change. I found a restaurant with a special and a dance show. I went back to my room, showered, put on some makeup (what?!) and went to the show. I ordered the least expensive meal- vegetable pad thai and no drink.
I’ve learned you’re not suppose to have water with food. Your stomach acid needs to break down food enzymes and water dilutes the acid and delays the process. That’s not why I skipped water, I skipped water because I only had 80 baht at this time and that would only cover the meal.
The dancers were ok. It was said they’d be performing traditional thai dances. I’m not an expert but these were not very elaborate or even well prepared. The costumes were great and the performers seemed happy and I still enjoyed watching. It was free entertainment and got me out of my head.
I find on trips like this and the American roadtrip that I unconsciously will meditate. I try meditating on command in times I need it most. However, when you travel solo extensively you can go days without talking to people. You begin to just listen and feel. Listening to the surroundings and being in the moment and feeling your body, where it hurts, where it feels light, and if theres any tension. In this moment it is easy to just be. When I attempt this on my own- when I feel anxious, I cannot even find a place to start.
I’m on the beach now. I had a very lazy day today. I woke up twice lastnight. Once around 02:00 and then again around 05:30. The idea was to get up and watch the sunrise. See. I’m closest to East Railay beach, that’s right at the entrance of my resort down all the stairs.
This is mostly a mud land throughout the day; but early morning until about 10:00 and then late after high tide it becomes a beach. It also is obviously the side the sun rises on. There most likely wouldn’t be a ton of people yet and should be mostly empty of locals.
I didn’t make it though- I decided to sleep in. I wanted to leave around 09:00 and have breakfast before my hike. I easily could’ve done both but didn’t get to do either. The hiking point is still blocked off due to the heavy rain from the first night I was here.
The hike is already pretty dangerous compared to american and even european standards. With the rain it’s quite impossible to get to the lagoon. I made an attempt. I started up the climb and reached a plateau where people were getting strapped up to climb a vertical face.
The guide there asked where I was going and when I told him he told me I was going the wrong way and lead me to the right direction. I found it pretty easily then. I spoke to a couple coming down from the starting point. They said they were able to get to the View Point but no way they could make it to the lagoon. I decided I’d head back tomorrow and see if it is cleared for the hike. I really wanted to get to the lagoon.
My plan for tomorrow is: wake up for sunrise on East. Walk to the hiking point, see if it is open. Then I’ll head back to my resort have breakfast and bring my things to the desk. If the hike is open, I’ll head there. If not, which is most likely, then I’ll head to the other beach with less sand. This is the beach with the penis shrines, there are two shrines. I will stay there for the morning before the taxi boats bring all the people to shore. This is the prettiest of the beaches in terms of sheer rock. It feels more authentic, too. There are no resorts there. It’s Phra Nang Beach.
It’s currently 17:30 and I’m getting anxious for sunset. Mainly because I’m hungry. After sunset I’m going to shower and then have a pedicure. I am in dire need of one. Actually, because I am getting a pedicure the hike will probably be open. I’ll have to do it barefoot because I sent back my boots and the red clay will stain my converse. As I lay here the beach is becoming more crowded. I was the only one when I first arrived; everyone must’ve been at lunch. There are a million little sand balls surrounding me and covering the rest of the beach in the weirdest of patterns. As I lay still I see crabs forming these small balls and kicking them out. It’s like crab crop circles. There’s also a wedding rehearsal going on in the distance. A wedding here will be so pretty. Unless they have it tonight- I won’t be able to bare witness.
Lastnight when I went to dinner at an outdoor restaurant- I think at least 90% of them here are, the mosquitos were abundent… all over this island, really. Therefore I wore long jeans and sprayed deet on my arms and feet tonight. I opted to not get the malaria vaccine before coming. I’ve been managing well with minimal bites. The vaccine is not required and the countries I am visiting are not currently in outbreak. If I were to visit a less touristy location in the country I am advised to be more concerned. However, even then, expats who’ve moved here from the US say it’s highly unlikely to contract malaria. There’s another more prominent disease but no vaccine as of yet. I also drink tonic water, gross but apparently effective in aiding in the prevention of malaria. I verified this fun fact with a nurse practitioner and I haven’t questioned it since. Instead I just scrunch my nose and drink. I chose not to get the vaccine due to the side effects. Not that they’re guaranteed, but… considering the likelihood of actually getting malaria and the likelihood of getting the side effects, well I think it was smarter to prevent the side effects and chose deet to avoid the bites.
Looks like I have 50 minutes until sunset. I’ll try and timelapse it on my GoPro. I did this yesterday and where I set up turned out to be a fail. I had to prematurely stop it about 10 minutes before the full color display because it would’ve been underwater. Perhaps today I’ll be better, it’s my last sunset at the beaches in Thailand; Wow, that’s almost a tear jerker. I’ll definitely be back to Thailand again. At least once per decade. This is the safest and happiest place I have been since Honduras.
After learning more about Honduras I think my perception was a bit naiive and I was young. Here… here, I know it is the truth. It felt genuine in Honduras too, maybe things have changed there; maybe they’ll change here too- I hope not. Tomorrow and as far as I can see on my weather app is showing less than favorable weather here. I’m pretty lucky with my timing. I hope it won’t affect my flight out.
Later… much later, same night.
The sunset wasn’t as pretty as yesterday. It was less cloudy- there weren’t as many colors. I did get to see stars though. Clouds make for beautiful sunsets but horrible night skies. The weird thing is there were way more people out for this sunset. I set up in the same spot I did yesterday and there were so many people, and a lot of drones this time. I really want to make it out for sunrise. After the sun set, I took a few star pictures. Then I came back to my room and got ready for the cabaret show.
Originally I was going to try a different restaurant. That’s when I saw the ‘girls’ handing out their flyers. I think some were actual ladies while others most definitely were ladyboys or men in drag. I had to see the famous Thai ladyboys! I ended up going to this restaurant again- It was so fun. The show was great! Much better than the first show I’d seen here.
I was sitting way in the back this time because I was late. This must be the most popular show and the busiest night at this restaurant. The waitress recognized me right away and gave me a hug- so sweet. I ordered a young coconut and a healthy chicken glass noodle dish. Now I’m having a pedicure.
This pedicure is nothing like the pedicure you’d have in a spa or nail salon back home. They brought out a bucket of water for my feet to soak; it was cold water. Then they file away and apply oil and polish right on top. It’s only 200 baht which is less than $7 USD. I want to add a 30 minute massage. Actually, I don’t know if I can because it has to dry. A gel manicure is only 400 baht. I picked a pretty pink coral like color- it is the only pink option. There are not too many colors to choose from but it was the only pedicure place I could find that accepts credit card and I don’t want to spend more cash. I couldn’t use credit at the restaurant because there is a 500 baht- $16 USD minimum and I only spent 200 baht.
Day 22: 5/3
Missed the sunrise, I don’t set an alarm while I’m traveling. I mostly wake up earlier than I would at home. I was up late packing lastnight and I didn’t want to interrupt my sleep. If I naturally woke up before 06:00 then I would have surely gone. I had previously been waking up around 05:30 each morning. I also decided against the climb. I don’t even know if it is open today, I didn’t look. All I know is I’ll have less than 24 hours in town and I really want to spend the day there. It turns out there are no direct boats to the pier I’m searching for. I will instead longtail boat to the main pier and find transportation from there.
Getting back to Krabi
Day 22 continued; krabi town.
I made it, in all the difficulty, I am here! Albeit I’m sitting outside in the worst heat sweating like a pig. My phone decided to not work in any way possible. I had little detail available to me beginning at the pier in East Railay. I had asked the previous 2 days how to get to the Chao Fah Park pier. Each stand continuously said go to the boat pier when you’re ready to leave and they will take you, no tours could be scheduled as they don’t have any set to go there. The quoted ‘predicted’ rate was 150-200 baht.
Instead it ended up costing 600 baht. After visiting Railay I’ve since found out it would’ve been cheaper to stay another day there and go directly to the airport for a total of 400 baht. When I originally booked this, I figured it would make more sense to stopover in the town for a day and be closer to the airport. Oh well, lesson learned- hopefully someone will benefit from this.
After waiting for about 15 minutes, someone met me here to open the door. They let me check-in early and I’m obsessed with this place. I’m staying in the upstairs of a speakeasy. Another reason it was so hard to find is: it is a hidden bar, true to the theme! I met a really generous lady working at The Place and she let me connect to her Wi-Fi and she even made a call to this bar to see where it was. The location on Maps was wrong. She then directed me to it using Google Maps satellite and showing me what it looked like and pointing me into the right direction.
I was so thankful to have stopped in at her place. When I finally got in here I was served very refreshing rose water. It was delicious. Then I was asked for my passport and 1000 baht for a key deposit. Oh… well I only have 20 baht. I gave her $30 USD and repeated many times that I’d like the same $30 USD back upon return of the key. She seemed to comply but was in such a rush to leave I’m not sure she fully understood. We will find out tomorrow.
1 night in Krabi Town, Thailand
5/5, writing from Cambodia now.
She understood and handed me back $30 USD. Let’s rewind a bit.
I was staying in a jazz speakeasy and waited until 18:00 for food. I’d only had a single pancake in Railay early in the morning. I heard some noises around 17:30 and figured they were setting up for the night; It was Friday.
There were many bad reviews on this listing, about noise in the bar, and that’s why I booked- I love jazz. I went into the booking fully knowing Friday was a busy night and it would include live music. Big show it was.. I got all ready, put on a dress and a fresh coat of mascara.
What I found was an empty bar with no AC. All they had done was closed the gate by the drinks- I was here alone. I pranced in my fanciest of outfits (from my bag) to the nearest 7Eleven. I’m having a cheese toasty, and some other sandwich along with peanut M&Ms and a pack of mentos for dinner. Krabi would prove a bit useless to me, it’s just money wasted. Honestly, it was one of the more expensive accommodations I’d booked. The place was beautiful and I spent a lot of time there. I was just expecting more for the evening. The next morning I had an excellent breakfast- included. Then I needed to figure out how to kill time.
I got a little worried when I realized the airport bus wasn’t really a scheduled type of thing. Grab wasn’t working, its pretty non-existant and all of Krabi operates only on cash. I had only 120 baht. I asked my host for a late checkout but he was stern with 11:00. I didn’t have many options with AC especially without cash. I decided I’d leave with a massage. It would be worth taking money out for.
I had a 1 hour foot-reflexology massage. This included all of my legs and was definitely worth taking cash out for. Lucky for me, this spa accepted credit card and even gave me cash back. I asked to be charged an extra 100 baht. I’d read online I could get a scooter to the airport for about 200 baht. On my way around town Pumpkin, the sweetest golden retriever, accompanied me. He eventually was distracted about 10 minutes in on our 15 minute walk. I found him again later as I frantically had to figure out how I’d get to the airport.
From Krabi Town to the airport
I was really at a loss and it was so freaking hot out. I had both of my backpacks. I decided to go to The Place again in hopes the lady who helped me yesterday would be willing to help me again. She had been so generous before and was again today. All the tuk tuk drivers told me 500 baht, I guess the article I read was out of date. And the airport vans are suppose to be scheduled 30 minutes in advance and are otherwise scheduled for every 2 hours. I needed a ride right then. The lady found me an air conditioned taxi for 300 baht. He was even approved for the airport. I arrived to the airport with time to spare. I was a bit worried by reviews online but had the easiest time figuring it out.
I was at Krabi airport and would connect at Bangkok then to Siem Reap. It was very easy, they made it a cinch. It was easy getting my Visa at the airport on arrival, too. I’d landed and was in the Cambodian airport by 22:00. I filled out the forms on the plane so was through and grabbing my bags, passed passport control by 22:45, maybe sooner.
Then I hired a Cambodian tuk tuk through the airport window; Grabs are not allowed here at the airport. It was $9 for about a 30 minute ride to my hostel in the city. Once I was in the tuk tuk I had an overwhelming joy come over me. I should’ve been exhausted yet I felt this immense joyous energy. I was so happy to be in Cambodia.
I’ve since learned Siem Reap has an energy vortex- I felt it. =)