In January 2020, I was in Bali and my next visa run was coming up. (When living in Bali, we need to leave the country every two months, called a visa run.)
Most people just fly to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, as those are the closest, cheapest and easiest visa runs. However I see this as an opportunity to see new places... After all I'm here to explore Asia (and the world) as much as I can!
However I was running out of destinations! I had already done Kuala Lumpur and Singapore (many times), Bangkok, Saigon, and Taipei.
I thought I could do Australia, so I applied for an e-visitor. They asked me for a ridiculous amount of documents - like 2 years of taxes! As you can imagine I gave up on that pretty quick.
So I ended up settling on Thailand. I had already been to Bangkok and Chiang Mai, but I hadn't visited the islands yet - and really wanted to - so I decided to take that opportunity. So I bought flights to Krabi and booked a place there for 4 nights!
I didn't have any big expectations. I knew it was gonna be a touristy place. I just wanted to experience something new and get a taste of Thai island life.
Day 1: Ao Nang
I landed early in the morning. It immediately felt great to be back in Thailand :)
My hotel was between Krabi town and Ao Nang, in the middle of nature. I loved it!
It was too early in the morning to check in, so I dropped off my backpack and went out to explore the area. I went straight to the closest beach. It wasn't the beast one, but I could already see the limestone cliffs that the area is famous for!
I had Pad Thai for breakfast at this cute restaurant and hanged out on the beach until it was time to check in to my hotel.
Around noon I walked back to my hotel and checked in. The lovely staffed also helped rent a motorbike. They also gave me a list of things to see in the area.
I took a quick shower, then jumped on my new bike to explore properly!
I drove towards Ao Nang. The nice, big, empty road felt amazing after the traffic jams of Bali :) The area around my hotel was very quiet and relaxed, nothing but nature and some local houses here and there.
As I got closer to Ao Nang, it started getting more and more populated. Soon I entered the tourist zone full of people and shops.
I drove all the way to Ao Nang beach, parked my bike and went to check out the place.
It was full of tourists, as I expected. It was still very beautiful though, I absolutely loved the limestone cliffs! I felt like I was in a pirate movie.
Plus the further I walked from the center, the less tourists I saw.
After spending some time here, soaking it all in, and lying in the sun, I walked back to my bike and drove in search of something less touristy and secluded.
I found another beach a few minutes down the road with no restaurants and little tourists.
At this point I was starting to feel tired from the early flight this morning, so I took a 1-hour nap in the shade on this beach.
I woke up around 3pm. That was enough beach time for today. The staff at my hotel had recommended me a nice cafe so I drove there.
It was a nice drive through palm tree forests and small towns.
When I arrived at the cafe, I was blown away. It was so cute!
It was right on the beach and very large. There were so many different tables, hammocks, beanbags to sit and watch the sea! It was also decorated for St. Valentine, as that holiday was approaching.
I ordered a pineapple rice and spent a goood few hours hanging out here!
Finally I drove back to my hotel, as I was very tired. I was so happy to find my beautiful room and comfy bed waiting for me! I could hear only crickets and frogs outside.
I had the best sleep in a long time.
Day 2: Railay
The next morning I woke up early and got ready for more adventures :)
I enjoyed coffee on the porch for a while. I had this whole house to myself, including a hammock!
I left around 9am and drove to Ao Nang, where I had a very overpriced breakfast. Then I got on a speedboat to Railay beach.
Railay is surrounded by limestone cliffs and only accessible by boat. Like a pirate hideaway.
Admittedly, the place was very touristy and crowded, but that didn't make it less beautiful and impressive.
I started at Tonsai beach. This one was more secluded than the rest. There were only two very basic beach bars, and a lot of rock climbers.
Then I walked over to Railay. Here I found the typical Instagram scene with the colorful boats. It was very pretty, but I didn't spend much time here as it was definitely the most crowded place around.
I walked over to the other side of Railay where I found a small jungle with some trails, caves and a lagoon. My kind of place :)
There was a stunning view of the area from the top of the trail!
Then I took the trail to the hidden lagoon. It was just like something out of Jurassic park - surrounded by tall cliffs and prehistoric-looking plants, monkeys jumping somewhere high up in the tree tops.
Unfortunately I could not get to the lagoon - it required some very sketchy climbs that I was not prepared for. I did manage to get a glimpse of it though :)
After exploring most of this little jungle, I came out at another beach. Here I found boats turned into food stalls, selling coconuts and pad thai!
Tired from the trails and climbing, I relaxed on this beach with a coconut for a while, before heading back to the speedboat pick-up spot.
On the way back I also managed to see a cute monkey up close (with a ridiculously long tail) and a huge lizard!
Finally I got on the speedboat and headed back to Ao Nang.
It was late in the afternoon. I wanted to find a nice spot to watch the sunset. I drove to Tub Kaek, a beach with a great view of the entire Phang Nga bay and all the islands and cliffs inside it.
It was low tide when I arrive which made the experience even better. The sea had retreated very far back. There were thousands of tiny crabs everywhere running around and digging holes.
A perfect way to end this lovely day.
Day 3: Dragon Crest hike
After spending two days checking out the famous beaches, I decided to dedicate the thrid day to something else, something I had been missing for a while... Hiking in a mountain!
I was going to hike to Nong Thale peak, an elevation of 600m, nothing crazy but we can call it a mountain :)
I started the hike around 10am. The forest was beautiful and refreshing, there were clear streams running next to the trail.
It started out easy but got moderate as I got closer to the top. All in all it took me over 5 hours to complete it (total to the top and back) and I enjoyed all of it.
I absolutely love hiking, and the views over this exotic landscape were amazing.
I finsihed the day at another beach restaurant, where I had pineapple rice once again!
Day 5: Swimming holes and rivers
This was my last day in Krabi and I had no clear plan of what to do. I loved my mountain adventure yesterday and wanted to do something similar but wasn't sure where.
The staff of my hotel had recommended me a swimming spot on a river a bit north. I had looked it up on Google Maps and there wasn't much information but it looked kinda cool. It was also in a forest. I decided to check it out.
I also wanted to revisit some of the beaches, so I spent the morning relaxing at Pai Plong (the one after Ao Nang). It was low tide and there were almost no tourists.
Around noon I drove north towards the river. Soon I was out of the cities and surrounded by forests and towering limestone cliffs. I was already happy, if nothing else it was worth it only for the drive there!
The place was in deep in the countryside, just nature and some small farms and shacks around here.
I parked my bike and walked to the swimming hole. Around me there were caves and big tree roots hanging down.
The swimming hole was an incredible blue color, like nothing I've ever seen before!
When I arrived there were people diving here. Apparently it's the deepest freshwater hole in Southeast Asia, over 200 meters deep!
I went in for a swim and it was magical.
And the reviews on Google Maps said "Nothing special, don't come all the way here just for this" ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
When I was done swimming and admiring the blue water, I took a walk in the surrounding area. I found some caves and a lot of awesome nature.
Then I got back on my bike and drove around to the other side of the cliffs. There was a river. I didn't expect much but I found out it was a popular local swimming spot!
The bluish water was still and crystal clear. There were lots of kids jumping and playing, but I walked a bit further down and managed to din a little secluded pool just for me :)
The cool fresh water was so refreshing in the humid heat!
After swimming in this pool several times, and relaxing on the shore for a while, I finally decided it was time to start heading back. The road was long and I was also getting hungry.
On the way back I passed another cafe that was recommended by the hotel staff. So far all of their suggestions had been great, so I decided to stop and check it out.
One of the best decisions I've ever made :) The place was amazing - a huge area with several treehouses conected by walkways, a pool, a river, and soo many beuatiful tables and spots to lounge!
This was all in the middle of nowhere, surrounded only by nature.
I got a romantic table by the river just for myself and ate an awesome pad thai. I stayed here for hours, until it finally started getting dark and I had to head back to my hotel.
On the way back I passed Ao Nang, and decided to stop here once more to watch the sunset.
The perfect end to this day and my short vacation in Krabi.
As you can tell I loved it and I can't wait to be back for longer!
On the way back to Bali I had an overnight layover in Singapore. I got to see this great art installation in the Gardens by the Bay, and also the supertrees. Aa nice little extra to my trip :)