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Colin and Sue’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 26 Apr 2007

Location: Krabi, Thailand

MapOne of the big advantages of going to Langkawi was that we could get the ferry to Satun in Thailand avoiding travel through the southeastern states of Thailand which are not recommended for travel at present (bombs, shootings and so on). The only downside was travelling on my (Sue's) birthday but we wanted to move on and had really had my birthday treat in Georgetown. We were travelling to Krabi and it was so easy - we arrived in the port (about 20 minutes south of Satun) and were met by agents who are keen for you to use their bus and so organise the whole thing - transport to the town (including a stop at the ATM), somewhere to leave our bags while we had lunch and then the bus. Two agents were selling the same bus - we were offered a discount by one so our tickets cost 380 baht each rather than 400 (all of about 30p cheaper!) but had to promise not to tell the 2 Swedish guys and French couple who bought from the other agent - so we all said that we paid 400 baht but who knows what the others really paid?

The bus was entertaining - the Swedes, who had no money, can't do long bus journeys (this was only 4 hours) without drink so at the toilet/snack stop they bought a carrier bag full of beer and another full of ice which not surprisingly dripped all over the bus. The French were already stocked up with beer, bread and jam so they all proceeded to eat, drink and generally be merry. We told them it was my birthday so they all sang "Happy Birthday" in English, the Swedes then did some strange Swedish chant and then the French couple sang "Happy Birthday" in French - and they gave us a beer and nice biscuits, unlike the rather unpleasant things we had bought. We passed on the jam sandwiches. Heaven only knows what the other Thai travellers made of it all.

We arrived in Krabi at about 6pm to pouring rain so decided to spend the night there and maybe move on to the coast the following day. In the event, we stayed for 3 nights in Krabi as it was nice and laid back, with good cafes and easy to arrange trips. The only problem was with our room - we'd watched a film and were just about to go to bed, I came out of the bathroom to find Colin hanging over the bed staring at the floor - at a procession of ants making its way from the bathroom right across the room to an open packet of biscuits in one of our bags! We went down to reception and disturbed the guys watching the Man Utd game with charades of crawling ants - unlike the daytime reception staff they didn't seem to speak any English. Eventually we persuaded one to come to our room armed with a huge can of ant-killer - we weren't convinced that this was the best solution so ended up changing rooms at midnight.

Before we came away we opened an account at the Nationwide, which has been perfect for travelling - worked in every country and no charges. So we were a bit shocked when we couldn't get any money out in Krabi, even after trying 3 different ATMs. We logged on to the internet site to find that our accounts had vanished! There was a small reference to 'internet banking maintenance' but nothing else. We decided to phone the call centre who had obviously had thousands of similar calls from people all over the world. The maintenance had affected the whole system, which was a relief to know but a bit irritating as we'd wasted a whole morning(!) and couldn't pay for a kayaking trip the next day.

To relax we headed for the beach in our first sawngthaew (open pick-up truck with two benches down the sides and a top cover) which is the main form of public transport here. We went to Ao Nang about 20 minutes away - another nice beach and our first sight of the impressive limestone karst scenery - cliffs rising vertically out of the sea. We took out a kayak for an hour to get in training for our trip the following day. Back to Krabi for dinner at the night market - our first taste of authentic Pad Thai and very good it was too, although it may have been the cause of dodgy tummies in the following days.

The kayaking trip was good, just us and an American guy. First stop was Hong Island where we kayaked into a sea-water lagoon and then around the island to a lovely beach (but obviously not quite as nice as the Perhentian Islands), where we snorkelled and fed the fish with watermelon - the stripey fish were fine but the silver ones had difficulty distinguishing watermelon from fingers (and even legs). In the afternoon we went back to the mainland for a kayak through a very impressive gorge in the cliffs and then back through mangroves to the jetty.

We'd considered going to stay on one or two of the offshore islands, but the rainy season was definitely starting so we decided to head to the opposite coast.