Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The big deal about Krabi...

As already announced I herewith tell you more about my stay in Ao Nang, in the southern Thai province of Krabi. So let's start from the scratch. Instead of booking a domestic flight from Bangkok I actually decided take one of those travel coaches to ride along, an approximate 780 km drive to the south of Thailand. After rough 12 hours and some unjustified worries about personal belongings being stolen from the hold, I finally arrived in Ao Nang. Without any "material losses" or suchlike of course.
A regular shopping street in Ao Nang
The shifty travel coach

So what's the big deal about the town of Ao Nang anyway? Well basically it's indeed another heavily touristy kitsch village which lost most of its golden glory from past times. Where 20 years ago maybe food stalls were standing, are now horrible souvenir shops or branches of western corporations like McDonald's or Starbucks Coffee. Imagine it like kind of a Zermatt in Southern Thailand.
Although Ao Nang may have lost its originality - it's still a good place to start with. And a nice one in addition to that.
But nontheless this place is still a great traveller hub to explore the surroundings of the Krabi province, mostly because of its geographic location. From here you can get rapidly to the town of Krabi, the Tiger Cave temple, the (in)famous Phi Phi Islands, Railay, or some National Parks.

Now THAT'S one hot ride!
Pure awesomeness - squid with Thai Curry.
A few moments later this bastard actually bit and scratched me

The famous South East Asian banana pancake.

So after I got to see the nearby Town of Krabi (which is nothing special by the way) and renting a scooter (remember my last post) I decided to explore the remarkable sightseeing areas. One of the most memorable ones was the Tiger Cave Temple, which consisted of a 1272 steps stairway to a mountain top, a Chinese-styled pagoda and some caves in which a mystical tiger allegedly used to live. By the way, that stairway was a bitch to climb up due to the steaming temperature and air humidity! On the way up to the top there were again lots of monkeys who were eagerly waiting to steal everything that's not nailed down on you.

The beginning of the stairway
The Golden Buddha on top of the mountain
Halfway on the top...

The pagoda
Inside of one of the Tiger Temple caves

Another rascal with a trohpy left over by humans...

In any case I was repeatedly amazed by the local fauna. Most animals I encountered so far were simply never afraid of humans and many of them didn't even care. You practically never see a Thai dog barking or being aggressive, they are just there and relaxing in the sun.

He doesn't even think of moving a muscle...

A curious Gecko

Now that's what I call an overwhelmed mother...

Next stop was the Khao Phanombencha National Park with its famous Huai Toh Waterfall about 20 km north of Ao Nang. Again a location worth a visit!


A happy me in the national park

The Huay Tho Waterfall

 A visit on one of the many islands was also on my bucket list. I was first thinking of the famous Phi Phi Island, but I soon found out that that one was far too overcrowded, overpriced and even overpolluted. So instead I went to look Hong Island which someone recommended me personally. I'd say I wasn't dissappointed. The island actually turned out to be ideal for snorkeling and wasn't that overcrowded like other more famous islands seem to be.

Hong Island

One of the famous long-tail boats

A memorial for the Tsunami victims of 2004...

Near Ao Nang lays also a famous peninsula called Railay East and West, a coastline covered with those striking limestone rock formations. The scenery was OK I guess, but apart from that and because of some reckless climbers I wouldn't have stayed longer than 2 hours in those masses of tourists (which I intentionally tried to keep out of the photos below).

No, this aren't Indian totems... You guess it. It's actually a shrine for Phranang, the goddess of luck and fertility.

But what I almost liked best was the Hot Stream and the Emerald Pool about 70 km away from Ao Nang. The Hot Stream is basically a small river with a temperature of about +40°C in which the public is allowed to bath inside. I could have easily spend 2 hours in that warm water, but there was still the emerald pool to see. That one on the other side was a crystal clear natural pond, rich on various minerals and tourists (sadly). There were also other spectacular small lakes nearby like the Blue Pool or Crystal Pool.

The Hot Stream

Blue Pool

Emerald Pool

All in all I can say that my stay in Ao Nang was totally worth the stay thanks to these nearby locations I've visited. If the town itself wasn't so horribly touristy I would have liked it even more, but once more there goes the illusion of the untouched paradise in the south of Thailand.

After those wonderful couple of days I'm heading now to the island of Koh Samui, a few kilometers north of Surat Thani. Let's look if it's comparable with Ao Nang!

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