Flying Air Asia it was a short, economical 1 1/2 hour afternoon flight from Bangkok that landed us in time for a sunset walk along the Krabi River which was visible from the balcony at our hotel, Dee Andaman. It made for a perfect start for our intro to Krabi Province via Krabi Town.
Dee Andaman staff was accommodating throughout our stay. The hotel itself was nice, not ornate, but with a simple, quaint beauty. The pool area was pristine with plenty of sunshine all day and some small areas of shade. Lounge chairs were available but were never sufficient in number to accommodate those who were seeking them. The water temperature was perfect and the pool size was adequate for my honeys daily ritual of swimming a few laps. No pool towels were provided.
The room was spacious and included a balcony with table and chairs. The water temperature and pressure in the shower left something to be desired and there was a definite sewer odor emanating from the bathroom floor drain. Small refrigerator, in room safe and bottled water that was provided daily were part of the amenities. Breakfast was optional at 200 baht per day. We opted out and chose fruit purchased from street vendors, yogurt purchased at 7-11 and complimentary in room instant coffee to start our day instead.
The hotels location was in a quiet neighborhood away from the hubbub of the center of town. We found it perfectly walkable to the “action” to provide our desire for a minimum of five miles per day for our leisure time exercise goal. The hotel also provided shuttle service and would happily run you to the tourist center free of charge. We dined in the hotel restaurant at lunchtime on our last day and enjoyed a great club sandwich with fries and found all items on the menu to be priced quite economically. While we would not give this hotel a full thumbs up it was okay. On our return we will have a desire to be close to the airport the night before our flight back to Bangkok and we will most likely try someplace different.
Krabi River Walk started at the park situated at the bottom of the hill from our hotel and provided a nice early evening stroll along the beautiful river where fisherman moor their boats before heading out to the Andaman Sea for their fishing adventures.
On our first night we dined at one of the restaurants perched on the river bank and enjoyed shrimp tempura and shrimp pad thai as well as the friendly service offered by the staff.
We continued on the river walk and took in one off the famous night markets where tourists and locals alike were partaking of the specialties prepared by the street vendors. We made this market our last evening meal of our stay in the village and found the spectacle of actions and interactions to be much more appealing than the food was. We feel we may have chosen an off night as all vendors seemed quite cantankerous. It actually made for entertainment; not especially satisfied taste buds.
We found the Arty Momma’s Rasta Bar to be the most happening spot in the tourist village and had quite a few good conversations there that first evening as well as listened to a solo cover act that was excellent.
Our second day in the city we decided to get off the beaten tourist path and found an air conditioned spot for halal lunch at Makan Tamzan and Coffee where I had a Papaya Salad with Shrimp and my companion had an Assorted Leaf Salad with Crispy Chicken which were both beautifully presented and tasty. We also spent time taking in the daytime activity of the river, exploring some of the architecture and window shopping in the local stores and stalls.
Our third day was an adventure day and we did it for exposure to this new area and of course for time in the water. The 7 island tour offered by Travstore was an extremely good value and we never saw a price advertised at the street side vendors that even came close to what we got by going through Expedia. After VIP discount we paid $45 each for this ten hour excursion. Transport by Songthaew was the start of this day (12noon pick up at our hotel). We drove to one of the many Ao Nang piers and got ready to launch. Long tail boat number 9 and crew gathered up the 20 or so of us who would spend the day together. We aren’t always big on tours but sometimes they are the way to go for safety and in locations where information can be difficult to gather because of language barrier or insufficient internet.
Once on the boat and headed across the Andaman our guide provided an overview of the day. The wind was strong as were the waves on this day which caused our course to be altered a bit. The views of the sea and the multitude of islands is glorious. Chicken Island was just a cruise by and photo op.
Next we went to Thale Waek, two islands that are joined at low tide by a sandbar that appears between the two. Here we were given time to spend on the beach but refrained from time in the warm water due to the large jelly fish we could see as we approached. This is part of the National Park area and we had paid an additional fee of $4 per person before leaving the pier for access to it and other areas that fell within the National Park system as is typical for these organized tours.
The all aboard whistle blew and we were off to survey the rugged limestone caves and cliffs that overhung the water of a nearby island and on to another where we spent an hour snorkeling. Even though our captain beached us on the calm side of the island the water was still quite murky so it was not the best snorkeling we have partaken of but the water was warm and inviting and the beach strewn with palms which could offer shade or sun. Sadly, I must admit the failings of my photography skills. Before attempting this blog I rarely took a picture when traveling. My motto was to live in the moment not behind a lens with the hope of the memories serving me well enough to never regret missing something because I was taking a pic. Well, now I’m in a quandary. I quite love the documenting and sharing, I just stink at it! But, I digress, the bottom line is I have no pictures of this island and I have no idea of the names of a few because I could not make out what our Thai guide was saying. SIGH!
After an hour playing in these waters we were once again called on board to move to our next little island for snorkeling. We were provided a snack of fresh cut watermelon by the crew and a cooler of complimentary bottled water had been available to us throughout the excursion.
This is where this post must divert to a tale, it’s one well worth telling. I did snap a shot before jumping into these crystal clear waters where our long tail boat anchored some distance from the shore of a tiny little sand beach which was serenely beautiful.
We were instructed to take care not to stand on the coral beds to be found here before we were invited to dive in. Not many of us chose to partake. It was the first snorkel that did not have us walking safely from the shore but instead jumping into 15′ depths. The hubster, I, 4 of 6 in a party of Indian men and three others from the boat jumped in. We were all doing our own snorkeling thing when suddenly coming to the surface I saw one of the Indian men floundering. He tossed me his mask and called for help. I caught the mask but felt myself panic at the thought of knowing what to do to rescue this man who I could easily see was going to lose the struggle with the sea in no time. I called for my husband who I later found out was luckily rising to search for me to check out some fantastic neon sea life he had happened on. Thankfully, he made his way towards our area. If there is one thing I know about this man he can keep his head in the throes of diversity. He assumed the position of saving someone and getting them to shore and I saw the drowning man flailing and kicking in his arms. I stayed steady at the wait for any instruction my husband might throw my way, definitely feeling the need to calm myself from entering any level of panic. I heard him bark out “Stay calm brother, you keep kicking and you’re going down. Get calm mother f…a and I got you.” I knew he meant it. The stern sound of his voice got the man’s attention and soon my husband was towing him what was a serious distance to shore. The tow was strenuous and long and much to my dismay no help came from the crew on the boat although I could hear them on the radio calling out a distress signal. Another petite female snorkeler checked with me to be sure of my confidence and made her way to the boat and back again just as my man got this stranger to shore. She had secured a life jacket. Other than that not one person, not the man’s “buddy’s” or the crew or any of the dozen other people offered one ounce of help. If not for my husband this man could very well have perished in these waters. After he was safely to the little bit of sand at the shoreline and he had donned the life jacket, finally a small rescue boat approached due to the radio call from our long boat. Following the incident as I waited to be sur my honey was catching his breath, another couple from Russia, who had jumped in with us excited at the prospect of the snorkel approached me and said “Where are you from?” I said “USA”. He replied, “It speaks highly of your country’s character, not even his brothers or friends, whatever they are, tried to save him. Me, I did not know how. Your man, he deserves a drink and a salute.” That was the closest thing to acknowledgement or thank you my husband received except from me. I beamed with pride. Yes. This is the man that stands with me in life. 💗 Always remember to insure the safety of yourselves and the ones you love in life, counting on others is never a sure thing. But, karma rules! Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!
Catching our breath in the pic above we were safely back on board and made our way to Railay Beach where the sunset bbq was provided. The vibe onshore was fantastic, the food was tasty and the sunset was even better. We shared it with a friend who we made on our transport to the pier, a girl presently from San Diego, born in Vietnam, she was on a different tour but we met up again here and on the ride home. Be sure to have conversation with people in your travels. It really is a small, small world. Thank goodness for Facebook, because once again I lived in the moment instead of playing photographer. I’m sure we will be friends with Mandy for a long, long time!
This adventure was certainly not over yet as we were called back on board and our guide instructed all those who wanted to partake of an after dark snorkel to prepare themselves. Now, I’m scared of the dark and the dark of water intensifies it but “you only live once” rang in my ears so I opted in. We were instructed to jump in once we were anchored out in the open sea and to hang on to a rope that had been extended from the boat. With snorkel gear on and face down in the water we were told to wave our hands back and forth. What appeared was an under water light show that was simply amazing as the plankton were activated before our eyes due to the motion. It is a moment I will never forget. As I let go of the rope I let go of some of my fears of the dark and the water and swam my way back to the ladder and climbed onto the long boat. It was time to make our way back to the pier.
Now, you would think this was quite enough value for one excursion but this company was not done yet, when we got back there was hot tea and a fire show waiting for us before we boarded the Songthaew back to our respective hotels. A spectacular day is all I can say in summary of this adventure!
Our final day in Krabi Town was Valentine’s Day and the dear hubster made his way to pick up our first round of laundry as I basqued in the sun poolside. He surprised me on his return with new dresses, a beautiful pearl necklace and a gold bracelet as well as a taxi ride to Ao Nang to the highly rated Carnivore Steakhouse. Yes, I’m spoiled and yes, I deserve it 😉
Carnivore lives up to its name serving up choice cuts of Australian Beef and Lamb as well as seafood. Good quality cuts of meat are not easy to come by in Thailand and typically equate to establishments with top shelf service as well.
On arrival, after waiting a few minutes at the door we had to wander into the restaurant to find the hostess at the bar. She acknowledged our reservation and seated us immediately at a nice linen covered table but then it took about 10 minutes for a server to approach us. I ordered a Tom Collins and requested it to be made with vodka instead of the typical gin and my honey ordered a stout beer. A large variety of Belgium and Australian beers were available on this menu which is very unusual and hard to find in Thailand. The beer arrived promptly with a frosty glass but my Collins came another 5 or so minutes later and was prepared with gin. I did not request a replacement. This is where sometimes the language barrier is difficult and it is I who doesn’t know the native language so I accepted this and found the drink very refreshing anyway.
The staff here was all female, impeccably dressed and very polite. They were lacking in regards to sufficient training in actual service skills. There was no sense of urgency or timing in the service of our dinner courses. Empty drink glasses were left on the table the entire meal. There were aspects of service such as creatively folded napkins placed in our laps and fresh silver with each course that redeemed the overall experience.
We enjoyed two appetizers from the menu. Grilled scallops in a creamy butter sauce and Smoked Salmon. Hot fresh dinner rolls and butter were served with the appetizers.
Both were very tasty and presented beautifully although it took about 2o minutes for them to arrive.
We chose lobster bisque for our next course. There was a hint of scorched taste to the soup but the seafood stock base was extremely good in flavor. As you can see from the picture below, it was once again a win in presentation.
Entrees are served with choice of side and multiple salads, had we known the size we most likely would have skipped the soup. The first salad was a mozzarella, tomato, olive plate with focaccia and creamy dips. The next was a boat of salads including tomato, cucumber, cabbage and carrots all dressed differently with a quail egg atop. Very good and very generous.
Entrees, we decided on filet of beef with mushrooms and bernaise sauce and filet of lamb with peppercorn sauce. We both got the potatoes au gratin. Quality was incredible, taste delectable and rich. (And plenty for takeaway for picnic lunch poolside.) We packed along a few bottles of wine for special occasions during our two month Snowbird escape since wine prices are exorbitant in Thailand and this dinner warranted one of them. With no corkage fee, we were definitely partaking of one of our special Napa Valley vintages, a 2001, William Hill Reserve Cab. My dear one cannot find a dinner like this complete without a bit of vanilla ice cream and this time he out did himself by ordering a banana split! It was a very nice dinner and while it didn’t quite measure up to Sam’s in Patong or David’s in Chiang Mai we would still definitely recommend it if you get a hankering for a good piece of meat. Before leaving Krabi Province we may give one of the burgers on the menu a try. Carnivore is definitely the name for good reason!
Check out time arrived at Dee Andaman and we decided we had definitely found the town inviting and the citizens extremely friendly. We look forward to at least an overnight stay before our return to the city in March.
Next we moved on to Ao Nang and the heart of it’s tourist area. Check out that post coming soon. #cometravelwithme