Thursday 9 June 2015 – Penang to Krabi
An early start to catch my 8.35am flight to Krabi, but checkout was smooth, taxi already waiting and I was at Penang International Airport by 6.20am I’ve booked all of this trip online, but I’m still always a bit surprised (pleasantly) when things work out, such as this one hour flight to Krabi on Firefly Airlines. A twin-engine jet carrying maybe 60 passengers. There was even a drink and a snack!
Krabi airport is small but very efficient. Within minutes of landing I had Thai baht in cash, my bus ticket to Ao Nang (150 baht) and a sim card with unlimited data for the duration of my stay in Thailand (350 baht). The bus trip took nearly as long to cover the few kilometres to AoNang as the flight from Penang had taken, with stops for petrol, delivering lunch to someone and an interchange at Krabi Town, but it dropped me right opposite my accommodation, KL House.
Which was a bit of a disappointment (the accommodation, not the drop off point). First I was shown a windowless room off reception which was dingy, tiny and stank like an open drain. I prevaricated and was offered a bigger room that was still windowless (apart from the bathroom), but at least it didn’t smell, was clean and had a huge, firm bed.
Ao Nang has clearly become more of a tourist town since my last visit in 2006. There is more development and more of the 7/11, massage and travel booking shops which repeat along the major thoroughfares. But I found a place on the beach front and by lunchtime I was eating somtam and enjoying a lemon drink while sitting and watching people go by.
There were lots of Asian tourists and not a few middle eastern ones, but relatively few Europeans and North Americans and almost no Australians. The open-air food market I’d enjoyed so much has gone without trace, no doubt under some new development. A row of hawker carts lines the road at the edge of town, catering to Asian visitors used to that style of eating.
After enjoying a fine sunset on the beach, I found a little café that served good, cheap Thai food and had another somtam & a chicken curry. The place seems to be shared between a Thai operation and Muslim operator. They didn’t sell beer but were happy for me to buy a bottle at the Muslim operated convenience store next door, and gave me a glass of ice to drink it from.
Tim, a gangly blond from Germany came into the café & joined me, the only other farang in the place. He’s travelling from Singapore to Bangkok too, on holiday from his work as a design engineer at a firm producing steel mills in Frankfurt. Said he’d been around the headland to Railay that day and found a good beach.
I went next door for a Thai massage given by a less-than-expert young lad who struggled to match my build. I guess I’ve been spoiled over the years, in hotels as well as in Thai massages.