Once again, Krabi Town had a distinctly different feel from any of our previous stops. Probably most similar to Ko Phangan in its clearly backpacker-oriented vibe, the waterfront area is loaded with young budget travelers hopping from guesthouse to guesthouse. It had quite a nice feel actually; the restaurant at KR Mansion, our lodging of choice, was full of backpackers all our own age.
And in typical fashion, the staff was fantastic. I mentioned once before how friendly Thai guesthouse staff always seems to be; smiley, playful, fun and helpful. They don’t just take your money and show you your room, but laugh and joke as if you were lifelong old friends. KR Mansion was no different – and the costs were mindbogglingly cheap compared to everywhere we’d been. Half the price of Bangkok, and a quarter of Patong. $10 for a room.
Since we were both pretty tired from getting up so early we just kicked back the first night, agreeing not to set an alarm the following morning.
We woke up at noon. Doh.
Although Krabi Town is quite nice, it’s mainly used as a jump-off point for some more famous surrounding areas, where accommodation is thinner and far more costly.
The region’s main draws are its three crescent beaches of Ao Nang (the only one accessible by land), Railay (the most expensive/resorty), and Tonsai (cheap, isolated, and world famous for rock climbing).
Because we’d started far too late for climbing, we figured we’d just head out and see what we found – so we caught a local bus to Ao Nang and hopped on the first longtail to Railay.
I should probably mention that both Railay and Tonsai are actually part of the mainland, yet because they’re completely cut off by huge towering cliffs, they have much more of an “island” feel than you might expect.
There are no cars or vehicles whatsoever, can only be reached by boat, and many of the bungalows are powered solely by generators. In fact, I guess they basically are two tiny islands, except for the fact that cliffs are what isolate them from the outside world rather than water all around.
And like many of Thailand’s tropical paradise islands, their industry seems to exist nearly entirely for tourism.
Honestly, it really is amazing how all throughout Thailand – nearly everywhere we’ve been so far – it seems like half the people are foreign. Is tourism the country’s biggest industry? It’s hard to imagine otherwise.
Anyway, the weather was fantastic – so finally, after a week on Koh Phangan and another on Phuket, we were graced with a bit of the tropical paradise we’d seen on so many travel postcards.
Our afternoon was really pretty casual. We started in Railay, packed with expensive beachfront resorts and tourist agencies offering snorkeling, kayaking, cliff diving, and any other “beachy” activity you can imagine. After strolling down the town’s one main walking “street” (aka sandy path),
We continued inland to explore a few caves
Before happening on a trail up and into the jungle.
Apparently you can hike all the way over the mountain from Railay to Tonsai, which we learned a short time later as the trail descended and began giving way to rustic jungle huts and eateries.
Like Railay, Tonsai is another small – but far less developed – beach cove, more oriented towards long-term professional rock climbers than package-resort tourists.
With no electricity during the day and few connections to the world, it isn’t exactly the kind of place I’d choose to stay – but pretty interesting nevertheless. The biggest problem was that despite our hunger, we found ourselves unable to get food until later that evening when the restaurants were scheduled to fire up their generators.
Oh, and there were these HUGE terrifying spiders absolutely everywhere. Yuck.
By the time we reached the water the tide had fully receded,
Revealing enough rock that we could scuttle back around to Railay, without having to hike all the way up and over.
This left just enough time for a bit of sunset photography before catching the very last “daytime” boat back to Ao Nang.