In my previous post about making a budget trip to Krabi, Thailand, I talked about the preparatory course, and left out my experience. In this one, let me go into more details about travelling in Krabi. First off, the big question comes: Why Krabi and why not Phuket or any other place? Well, to be fair, the biggest factor for me was pricing – the prices of hotels at Krabi were quite reasonable, and way more easy for me to pick compared to Phuket, where I was sort of confused. As a first time traveller to the place, I wanted to be quite sure that the place I was going was not too far from the main spot, and, at the same time, provided me with good food and attractions. Krabi checked all the boxes comfortably, and I ended up paying way less than I was thinking I would pay. I looked through Booking.com and Agoda.com and finally settled for Ancora Blu Boutique Hotel, after reading a lot of reviews. Now, when you are booking through an online portal like me, it is crucial to read a lot of reviews. Don’t be turned off by one or two bad reviews – go with the recent ones, and see what you like/don’t like.
MY STAY AT ANCORA BLU BOUTIQUE HOTEL
First off, the reason why I picked this hotel, despite it being slightly far from the beach, was because it was rated very highly by virtually everyone, and I saw how impressed people were. It was also the perfect budget hotel – it fit into my budget very well at below 3000/- per day including breakfast (which was a great deal). Of course, after paying for a few amenities, the prices hiked up slightly, but that was okay since it was still a great deal. During off season, the prices reduce dramatically, so keep an eye out for that, and you might get a far better deal than the original prices you were supposed to pay. Although breakfast options were not too many, the food was good, and the coffee was plentiful, which was a major advantage.
The entire hotel is themed: and yes, just look at the hues of blue! I loved the fact that there were little shells and nets right over our bed, and the bed was supremely comfortable. The room was super clean, the bathrooms had shower gel, conditioner, shampoo, soap, etc. There was also a mini hair dryer which was a great idea. There was also a coffee/tea maker with coffee and tea sachets and sweeteners, and you can use the water heater to boil water and add to your cup noodles, in case you are suffering from midnight hunger pangs.
The rooms came with a safe deposit box which I found to be really helpful. I was also really happy with their free tuk tuk service to the beach – where you can get a drop to the beach between 8 am and 8 pm. That was a great point for us. The view from the room was really nice – a lovely panorama of the cliffs of the island. Also, you can check in late – they have the option for late check-in and check-out.
Our hotel breakfast had limited options for vegetarians, but there was plenty of toast, fruits, and club sandwiches, and unlimited tea, coffee, chocolate, ovaltine etc. I was quite happy with the choice I had made, I must say.
SIGHTSEEING IN KRABI
Okay, so let me be very honest – we had three days in Krabi and so, we could not do as much sightseeing as we had wanted to. However, there are primarily three Island tours – The Four Island tour in a longtail boat, the Phi Phi island tour in a speedboat and the Hong Island Tour, also in a speedboat. Now, I would say, if you love swimming and snorkelling, you are better off getting a private boat, but we decided to get the Four Island Tour (which was a day trip for us) and it was totally amazing. However, before signing up for a tour, know this: the prices are hiked up deliberately, and if you are smart, argue and reduce the prices. We checked out quite a few places before finding one where you got the four island tour for only 400 Baht apiece (whereas the prices were 1200 baht in the places near the beach). This included going to the four islands, snorkelling, and free lunch. You will have to pay 200 Baht extra for entering the national park, but otherwise, this is a far better deal than 1200 baht, I daresay.
Here is the deal: if you are a vegetarian, I suggest you let them know at the time of booking, or carry some food, because otherwise you might end up eating only some fruits and biscuits.As for the food, I got very good chicken green Thai curry, rice, fried eggs, a vegetarian stir fry which was in limited quantity and loads of Tom Yum soup. The food was filling and very tasty. Also, if you are smart and do not want to be splashed by water, stay on the inside of the boat, and also, wear as little clothes as possible, stuff you don’t mind dirtying or getting wet. I would seriously suggest you wear your swimming costume, and carry a pair of sunglasses – you will need loads of sunscreen too. Water is provided during the course of the trip, and afterwards, you get dropped to your hotel, or to the beach – take your pick.
FOOD IN KRABI
Okay, now for the part you all have been waiting for: the FOOD. So, to be fair, I did not try out a lot of street food there, but rather stuck to restaurants, which was a mistake. Thailand has, if I may say so, the most amazing and clean street food I have come across, and it is also quite cheap. That said, we did get Banana pancakes from one of the stalls, topped with Nutella, and it was so tasty!
We did go to a few recommended restaurants, like Wanna’s Place, but I think my absolute favourite was this tiny joint called Ton Ma Yom which was rated number one on Tripadvisor for the places to eat in Krabi. Warning: if you are coming here, reserve first! I was in luck, reached there about half an hour before closing time, and it was a Sunday night, so most people were leaving. Scored the most amazing Chicken Thai Red Curry I have tasted so far with a side of jasmine rice and some Cashew Chicken to start off.
We also had some really lovely stir-fried noodles, and the char from the wok was perfect for this bowl of vegetable-laden goodness. A hit of soy sauce and ginger, and you are set!
On another day, we checked out this rather nice chain coffee stop, Black Canyon Coffee, and I have to say, they made excellent coffee and something called Fermented Chicken Wings. The chicken was crisp outside and tender inside, and served with a pair of fiery hot chillies and ginger.
For those times when I felt I was missing vegetables, I took this rather filling dish of stir-fried vegetables, which came with a big bowl of rice at Charina Restaurant, a small, neat Thai food place close to our hotel. They served us a Thai Basil Chicken which was really nice and I ended up ordering a large glass of cold ovaltine which came with plenty of ice in it.
I would say the biggest disappointment during the trip was Wanna’s Place. We had heard a lot about it, and wanted to eat here. However, we ended up being quite disappointed since the food was strictly average and the pasta and Pad Thai were not nice at all! Plus, everything they served tasted quite underseasoned to us. As this was our most expensive meal, I would say this was our biggest disappointment as well.
GETTING A MASSAGE IN KRABI
I am in Thailand: Of course I would be getting a massage, right? And I did. There are actually scores of places to get a massage, but, did you know, if you go there during the ‘happy hours’ the prices are halved? I found a place near the beach where I got an aromatherapy massage and a foot rub along with face massage for 400 Baht. The massage was amazing – I was so relaxed afterwards that I wanted to sleep.
In Krabi, I also found makeshift massage parlours in different beaches – these were quite expensive though, and it is a good idea to bargain before you lie down for one.
SHOPPING IN KRABI
Umm, here is the deal: if you really want to shop in Krabi, then know this: the products are more expensive than Bangkok. Bargaining is a great idea, even in the fixed price shops, because you never know. Also, be extremely polite and don’t raise your voice. Bargaining is a part of the shopping experience, you should ideally be nice, smile, and bargain back and forth. More products mean that you can reduce the prices more easily – Apparel and lacquer bowls are the easiest things to buy from here – I absolutely adored the sarongs and long beach dresses which were quite expensive, but really comfortable to wear. If you want to check out something fun, go to the weekend night market in Krabi town and get good food and other stuff – it is far cheaper there.
Overall, Krabi has a lovely beach, and as far as I have seen, a nice, safe travelling destination for those who want to have fun with a limited budget. I loved the trip, and would be returning soon!
Disclaimer: I wrote this post based on my experience and in case there are any changes or increase/decrease in prices, etc., I am not aware of the same.