This is my third trip of 2014 and its not even June yet =p
Well, even though this was the last trip of the three (Bali, Hong Kong), this was the trip that had been in my mind for the longest time. If I didn’t recall wrongly, I’ve been wanting to visit this place since Nov 2012. Really thankful to have met this two crazy girls who are willing to follow my super random itinerary for this trip. They were even willing to fork out $ for our 5-Star Resort Stay on the last night!
There’s something really special about this 4D3N trip. Something that has never occurred in most of the trips that I’ve been on: I actually had leftover money (approx $100+) remaining!
My exchange rate was 25.55 which I felt it was pretty good! The last time I went to thailand, it was about 23 ~ 24.
Here are the usual numbers:
Used Exchange Rate of 1 SGD = 25 Baht for simplicity purposes
|Price for 3 Pax / Per Person (SGD)
|Airfare – Tiger Airways(1 for 1 promo) + Normal Price
|$396 / $132
3 Star Hotel (2 nights) Ananta Burin
5 Star Hotel (1 night) Sofitel Krabi
|$439 / $146
|Day 1 – Private Sunset Longtail + Island Hopping (2500B+600B park fee + 200B tips)
|$132 / $44
|Day 2 – Private Hong Island Longtail (2800B +600B park fee + 300B tips)
|$148 / $49
Airport Transfer (600B + 700B)
Krabi Town Round Trip (800B)
Ao Nang to Sofitel (600B)
Public ‘Bus’ within Ao Nang (150B)
|$114 / $38
Day 1 (Lunch) Ao Nang Boat Noodle (740B)
Day 1 (Dinner) Red Snapper Restaurant (820B)
Day 2 (Dinner) Night Market approx 200B each
Day 3 (Lunch) Kru Thara Seafood (1090B)
Day 3 (Dinner) At Sofitel (1100B)
|$174 / $58
Data Sim (3 days unlimited 3G) – 200B
|– / $8
|$1403 / $475
Here’s a few disclaimers to my prices above:
- Air tickets were booked 4 months in advance
- Without the 5-Star Hotel, accommodation can go down to $20-30/person/night
- Private Longtail boat prices were up to 70% discounted from displayed rates. If you choose to join a tour, prices can be as low as 400B for 4-island and 800B for Hong Island.
- There’s public transport to Krabi Town at 60-80B/way
Effectively, if you’re all out to cut cost and save money, we can keep that number safely under $400 for a 4D3N vacation to Krabi, all expenses included 😉
Now, let me start on the nitty-gritty details of my experience:
AIRLINES : SINGAPORE TO KRABI
(1) Tiger Airways (ETD/ETD) – (10:05/11:50 or 20:40)
(2) Air Asia (ETD/ETD) – (15:00/11:30)
When I bought the tickets back in January, Tiger has not launched its 20:40 return flight yet. Thus, we only had the option of returning at 11:50am. Depending on the promotions, the prices between Tiger and Air Asia can vary and of course you should pick the one that best suit your budget!
Checking in with Tiger Airways is getting easier with the online check-in laptops available at the front of the check-in counters. This is especially useful if you do not have any check-in baggage. For us, we had to do the manual check-in as I needed the staff to re-assign our seats such that we were sitting together. We were (somewhat) lucky and were given the 4th row seats. It might seem as a blessing initially but it turned out to be a total disaster as we were sitting behind two young kids (probably 4 and 5) and their mum. The noise and cries and chair kicking was prevalent throughout the entire flight duration :/
After a flight time of approximately 90 minutes, we reached Krabi International Airport. It was a very small airport and the walk from the aircraft to the immigration was very quick. Having alighted the aircraft early as we were sitting on the 4th row, we didn’t have to queue for long at the immigration. The photo below was taken right after chopping passport. Immediately, my eyes zoomed into the Truemove booth.
Prior to this trip, I was a little worried that I would not be able to find Data Sim in Krabi. Seeing this Truemove booth, I felt so relieved! I guess I’m a little addicted to data =p I bought a 3-day unlimited data Nano sim card for 200B and it worked fine everywhere, even in the middle of the Andaman Sea.
There are 3 options from the airport to Ao Nang.
(1) Public Bus outside the Airport (a short distance away) – Haven’t explored this option but it involves traveling from Airport to Krabi Town, Krabi Town to Ao Nang. I think it is 100 or 120B.
(2) Airport Shuttle Bus direct to Ao Nang – 150B/person
(3) Private Taxi – 600B/trip
Since there were 3 of us and the price difference of 150B was only 2 SGD each, option (3) was the most logical option as it will stop us right outside our Ananta Burin Hotel – which was not near the bus stop nor the main area of Ao Nang.
You will have to go the counter and pay the full amount and then they will give you a receipt. Then, you will proceed outside and pass the receipt to one of the many waiting drivers. True to all the reviews that I have read online, the taxi/private car will stop at this random place and the driver will exit. A female staff will then open your car door and ask if you are keen on any tour or activities in Krabi. Knowing that they wouldn’t offer the best prices, we politely rejected her by saying that we have already booked our tours prior to the trip, which was a lie. She didn’t probe further and we continued our journey to our hotel.
The scenery in Krabi is very beautiful. There are many random cliffs and plenty of greenery everywhere.
Ananta Burin Hotel Review – The only good thing about this place is the price.
When I was checking in, there was a staff bringing a tray containing the welcome drink to me and after she placed the tray down beside me, the check-in staff said something and signaled her to take it away because I was not entitled to it. I booked this hotel from a 3rd party website which explains the very low prices which discriminated me away from the welcome drink which has already been poured and prepared. Well, it’s not that I was dying to drink it. The gesture just made things awkward and ‘memorable’.
Well, it was a little bad on our side as we tried to under declare 3 pax as 2 pax and the hotel didn’t manage the situation properly. It wasn’t as if I denied paying the extra money. The staff was just plain rude by showing a very black face throughout the entire checkout. Anyway, the lesson learnt from this stay was that we should not under declare the number of guests staying in the hotel, especially in such holiday resorts where the front desk faces the entrance :/
I’m not sure if it was because of bad karma or cheap prices, the check-in staff gave us a corner room with no view. I was pretty certain that they were not at full capacity on that day. The entire place was also full of mosquitoes (could be a town-wide problem). We tried to ask for an extra towel at about 11pm and we called the front desk but we were informed that housekeeping ends at 6 or 9pm. Furthermore, there were only tower animals on the first day when we checked in. Back in Bali, I was surprised with a new animal (Dog, Elephant, monkey) every night. The breakfast was pretty bad and we didn’t even eat the breakfast on the second morning. On the hindsight, the bed was large enough and it could fit 3 of us comfortably.
Location wise, this hotel was situated approximately 5 to 10 mins walk from the main area. It was nearer to the coastal area of “Wang Sai Seafood” rather than Ao Nang Beach. When we return from our private longtail boat tours, the boatman always stop us at the Wang Sai Seafod which was only a 3 minutes walk from our hotel. However, if you’re wanting to take the public songthaew to Krabi Town, it might be a far walk to the bus stop. There’s also an airport bus stop approximately 5 minutes away. Thus, if you’re coming from the airport, you can consider stopping at the stop after the main area of Ao Nang Beach to get to your hotel.
Day 1 Lunch @ Ao Nang Boat Noodle
TripAdvisor Link: http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Restaurant_Review-g1507054-d2105895-Reviews-Ao_Nang_Boat_Noodle-Ao_Nang_Krabi_Town_Krabi_Province.html
It took us very long to find the restaurant as google maps couldn’t locate the restaurant using the address. If you’re using google maps, search for “The Cliff Ao Nang Resort” and it should be right outside. If you’re walking away from the beach, this restaurant would be on the right side of the road. Despite the burning sun and asking countless Thai people for help, we eventually found the place after a more than 1 hour walk (with detours) from our hotel. Using google maps, it was supposed to be a 2.3km walk which takes only 30 minutes :/
The tiring and long walk was definitely worth it! The food was not only cheap but also very yummy! Do remember that there’s two floors and it is always better to sit upstairs as it has a better view and it will be slightly cooler.
Being really hungry, we opened up the snack at our table. It’s probably pig skin or something like that. No idea how much it cost.
Not wanting to suffer a tummy ache, we requested for all our dishes to be less spicy =p
TOM YAM SOUP
MUST TRY BEEF NOODLES – the soup is really yummy!
PINEAPPLE RICE – Delicious 😀
SALTED EGG SQUID – didn’t turn out the way we were expecting…
Do not forget to order their coconut crush! It’s really refreshing!
All these dishes + 2 drinks each * 3 person = 740B approx SGD $9.80/person
I <3 Krabi. Thing are cheap!
After the very fulfilling lunch, we hopped on a white songthaew (public tuk tuk) and paid 50B each for a barely 5 minutes ride down to Ao Nang Beach. Even though it was so not worth the money, we were just too zoned out by the sun to walk back the same path. If you want to alight, don’t forget to press the button at the top.
These vehicles can be really annoying if you’re in a rush. It can stop anytime and anywhere for the longest duration ever, as long as the driver feels like it. These “tuk tuk buses” run between Ao Nang & Krabi Town and it cost 50-60B regardless of distance and you will have to pay the drivers upon alighting.
Upon reaching Ao Nang Beach, we started staring out to sea, hoping to find a boatman whom would be keen on bringing us for a private sunset tour. To my disappointment, (probably due to low season) there were no random boatman docked at shore waiting to pick up potential customers. We walked rightwards, with the sea on our left, down the entire stretch and we stopped by 1-2 tour agencies. One agency attempted to call a boatman for a good 10 mins before giving up. Then, we continued walking towards the longtail boat counter which was at the other end of the beach, only to realise that it was already closed for the day (4pm+). We didn’t give up and continued asking random tour agencies until we found one with a lady who can speak rather decent English.
She quoted us 2,500B for a private longtail boat sunset tour to the 4-islands. I was pretty shocked at the price as I had gotten a 7,000B+ quotation online for the same tour, but with BBQ dinner. We tried to haggle the price to no avail as it was already 70% cheaper than the published rate in the brochure. Although she reassured that our boatman could speak English, we got an extremely quiet boatman whom urm, only spoke to us to tell us the island names >_< He was a man of few/no words.
The lady told us to go get some food and drinks from the convenience shop as there would be nothing for sale on the islands. In about less than 30 minutes after payment, our boatman came and we were ready to depart. Before boarding, we had to pass this receipt to the boatman.
After the tour ended, about 8-9 plus, we were alighted at Wang Sai Seafod area, which was nearer to our Hotel as compared to the main Ao Nang Beach area.
We attempted to look for food in the vicinity but with 0 research beforehand, we were just roaming the streets to find a decent restaurant which had people and didn’t look too expensive. As it was low season, the restaurants were almost all empty or the most with 1-2 tables occupied.
After a long walk and detour, we finally settled on this restaurant called Red Snapper.
I can’t remember what else we ordered but these were the only photos I have taken that night for dinner. The food was pretty average and I wouldn’t exactly recommend it. We were asking for a number of dishes and they were telling us that it was not available and suddenly they said the giant prawns were available and they gave us 1 complimentary as we only ordered 2.
Well, because of our presence, there were two more other tables occupied that night. I guess they were like us, trying to find a restaurant which was not totally empty.
Low Season – is it really a blessing for us? Sometimes it can look like a ghost town D:
Somewhere along the way back to our hotel, we spotted cup noodles vending machine. I can’t fully understand the value of these machines as convenience shops were readily available. Still, it would be pretty cool if I have one at my doorstep.
After breakfast (about 10am), we set off from our hotel with the agenda of booking another private longtail tour which includes more snorkeling sites.
To save money, we could have joined the tour groups. But, it would have been uncomfortable, squeezy and we would have to wake up, have our breakfast and be ready by 8/830am. That would have been an almost impossible feat. It was an unanimous decision to go for another private tour.
We walked and walked and walked and soon we found ourselves back at the same shop again!
Based on published rates, it would have cost us 1,400B each for the Hong Islands tour but she charged us 2,800B for a private longtail boat tour for 3. We tried to negotiate it down to the 2,500B we paid yesterday but to no avail as she said Hong Island was further.
After payment and a visit to the nearby Family Mart (convenience shop) to buy food, snacks and drinks for ourselves and urm, bread for the fishes, we were off in a vehicle which brought us to Nopparatta Beach. The driver attempted to ask if we were keen on krabi town night market transport but back then, my plan was to take the public transport.
Upon reaching the so called jetty, we were in for a disappointment as all the boats looked older than the one we had yesterday :/ Oh wells, not that we can do anything about it but our boat didn’t turn out to be to small after all. I guess it can sit up to 10 people on full capacity.
When we reached our hotel, it was 7:45ish as we struggled to have a quick shower, get changed and rush to Krabi Town Night Market. After we were done with everything, it was 8plus and we were struggling to find the public tuk tuk which would bring us to Krabi Town.
The public bus service was supposed to end at 830pm and we waited at a random bus stop for a while before giving up. We were walking along the road towards Ao Nang main area, trying to get a better deal for the transportation. Initially, I wanted to take the 3 wheel motocycle mini tuktuk transport but they were not allowed to travel to Krabi Town as I guess it could be dangerous.
Finally, we settled/negotiated for a return journey to Krabi Town for 800Baht, which seems ridiculously expensive :/ but it was about the same price everywhere.. We spent the entire ride wondering if the driver would make us pay him the full 800Baht. Thankfully, the driver didn’t ask us to pay when he alighted us. He just told us to remember the place when we return. As we didn’t know what to expect at Krabi Town Night Market, we couldn’t tell him how long we would need. Well, he didn’t seem annoyed at all and directed us the way to the market.
Alright, here’s the verdict of my super-biased review (mainly because we reached this place close to 9pm).
There was quite a number of food stalls but they were pretty much selling about the same thing.
Quail eggs ball?
Being a fan of crepe, I had to try this but the taste and the skill was pretty much unimpressive.
The nutella banana pancake is something that most people rave about the night market. It tasted like banana chocolate prata. I wasn’t really impress with it somehow.
This was my favourite dish for the night – Fried Ice Cream!
If my stomach had space, I would have eaten another cup.
Besides the food, there were also random stalls selling everything form nail polish to shirts to toys (which really looks like the ones that I have crochet before).
Well, so why did I think that this market was a disappointment?
*Time Check: 9:42pm* and the shops are all packing up and leaving. I haven’t even filled my stomach yet..
Well, as a result of this early closure, I actually had leftover thai baht for this trip..
We went over to the stage area which had some karaoke/sing a long session with random dancing children. I guess it’s pretty fun for them to be able to stand on the stage and dance or rather jump and hop around..
That’s the end of my night market experience. I bought 10 + 1 keychains and 1 postcard.
We returned back to the place we alighted and tuk tuk with the number plate of ‘987’ was patiently waiting for us! 800 Baht.. what an expensive price to pay for a less than 90 minutes exploration of the Krabi Town Night Market. Well, I know we were partially blamed for reaching late.. but isn’t night market supposed to close later? It seems like an evening market instead :/
On our way back, (karma at work) we rescued another tuk tuk which had a flat tyre. We readily agreed to the ‘rescue’ as we had been rescued at sea earlier in the day. Their tuk tuk had 7 stranded passengers and 4 of them joined us in our vehicle. Mr Driver refused to let anyone in the front seat as he ferried his wife/girlfriend/sister halfway through the journey =p Well, the 4 passengers in our tuk tuk turned out to be Singaporeans as well. It’s really a small world and we met them again at Ao Nang and the airport on our return trip. The driver also didn’t accept our negotiation of lowering prices but it was fine.
We went for a massage at a random place outside our hotel. It was 250B for a 1 hour massage and they had a private room with 3 beds for us. However, 2 of us started first and the other 1 later. It resulted in the 2 of us not being able to give our masseuse any tips as we were waiting for the last girl to be done before getting our bags and getting changed. I felt bad but the two masseuses wasn’t there anymore when we were done.
The massage was pretty average for me this time round as I wasn’t asked to do any bone-cracking poses. (Not that I wanted it but isn’t this what Thai Massage is about?) Well, Thailand is still the best place for the cheapest massage!
After the massage, we went to 7-11 to grab some bite and went back to hotel to bathe and sleep~~
It was a keep-on-snoozing alarm day as we were not in a rush at all. We forsake the hotel breakfast and checked out at about 11. Dragging my luggage, we went souvenir shopping along Ao Nang beach. I bought a set of 10 key chains in the shaped of a slipper with ‘Krabi’ imprinted. I don’t know when the tradition started, but the girls in office have been purposely buying key chains for every overseas trip.
After the last minute shopping, we negotiated for a taxi that would bring us for lunch and to our next hotel, Sofitel Krabi. We paid 600B for the service and arranged for a pickup to airport tomorrow. The rates are quite fixed in Krabi and they are usually non-negotiable. Taxi transfers are the most expensive thing in my trip.
Lunch was at Krua Thara – a rather famous seafood place recommended by trip advisor and many people. You can read the reviews here:
It wasn’t near the main area of Ao Nang, it was about 3km away, located at the other beach – Nopparat Beach. We had wanted to walk there two nights ago. Luckily we gave the idea up as we were too hungry.
The deal was that mr driver with our luggage in the car, would wait for us to finish our lunch. As it was off-peak season, such requests are readily accepted. However, halfway through our lunch, mr driver came and told us that another driver would be taking over and that our luggage will be transferred. I can’t help it but feel a little insecure but oh wells nothing went wrong.
The place is not too bad. However, there was the usual heat and flies invading our dishes. It’s a krabi-wide problem so I can’t exactly blame this non-air conditioning restaurant. By the way, the toilet was not too bad.
We always order the drinks before anything else as the scorching heat was unbearable. You can’t go wrong with coconut and thai ice tea everywhere in thailand. Most places will serve such drinks.
We took forever to order our food (as usual) and the staff knowledge of english not very good and we struggled to ask them for their recommendations.
Sotong dish was dry and we could made do without.
Green muscles was dirt cheap and the quantity was huge! We ate and ate and ate and we still had leftovers after a long while.
Steam fish was delicious too! We struggled very long to tell the staff that we wanted a fish with a fire below. We used google images and blah blah blah to make sure we gotten the right style,.
Pad Thai with prawns.
Although we were super full, my friends proclaimed that ‘there is always room for dessert’ and we ordered this (no idea what name it was) as they didn’t have mango sticky rice.
This very fulfilling seafood meal was only 1090Baht! Very worthwhile!
As I exited the shop, I was staring at the familiar species in the tank. Horseshoe crab and (Malabar) Grouper.
We grabbed some drinks at the nearby provision shop as we wanted a portable drink to bring with us to super expensive Sofitel. We bought a coke for the driver too, thanking him for waiting an hour plus for us.
Before reaching the hotel, we asked to stop by a 7-11 and I ran down to buy random flavours of thai beer, preparing for our own private session in the luxury of room 267.
Reaching Sofitel was one amazing experience. (To be honest, I don’t have any basis of comparison because I hardly have the opportunity to stay in such 5 star luxury hotels .)
As I had too much money to spare, we requested to stopover 7-11 to stock up on.. er.. whatever we could. Well I spent about $30 SGD worth of potato chips, cup noodles, maggi mee, snacks and a rilakkuma bottle. and this cute little bottle drinks.
Finally bought this ice pop which we had been eyeing since day 1.
Reached the airport on time but we had a lot of free time to roam around as unlike other airports, everything is within a walking distance of about 3 to 5 minutes?
We took about 20 minutes to queue for check-in and I was really lucky for my luggage weight. It was like 10.2kg without the bag of snacks from 7-11 which I managed to hide from the check-in staff..
There was only one boarding area (with minimal air conditioning if any) and a lot of seats. The shops at the airport were selling things at more than 100% marked up prices! THANKFULLY, the already expired 3-day unlimited data plan was still functioning without hiccups! We were not bored at all~~
Thank You to my hand model & camera woman aka my crazy traveling buddies for this agenda-driven trip 😉 urm did i hear you correctly.. Switzerland next? D: