Friday, April 8, 2011

Krabi, Thailand

Best... shower... ever.
This place is pure luxury. Why? I think the luxury is due more to what it lacks than what it has.
Two days ago our shower was a leaky hose over the toilet with one tap, "cold water". You had to watch your feet to avoid being attacked by our two resident cockroaches and at the end of it all, you often felt more dirty than when you'd begun.
And this, for some reason, hardly phased us. We had prepared ourselves for bathrooms like this whose sinks drained right onto the concrete floor. Most of the water would flow towards a whole near the toilet, the rest sat in stagnant stinking pools on the floor, no doubt harbouring novel and dangerous life forms.
But this place... this place has an amazing shower, and the shower is just the beginning of all things nice in Krabi.  It's a relatively small town with nothing particular to do if you're not hungry, but that's all part of the appeal.  Krabi provides a unique opportunity to be in amongst the locals while maintaining jumping distances to the most amazing beach landscapes I've ever seen. 

The patrons of the food markets are 3 part Thai to 1 part farang ( foreigner) which means authentic food and low prices.  Wednesday's menu was green curry, crab-meat omelet with chili sauce, stir-fried morning glory with garlic, rice, and coconut-lemon shakes.  The set was inspired by the people eating next to us and we finished it off with with mini pancake rolls filled with a sweet coconut-bean paste.  It may not be guaranteed amazing, but it's guaranteed interesting.
As for the beaches, you'd be hard pressed to find more stunning views.  Long stretches of white sand are walled in by limestone towers.  Over the centuries, stalactites have formed around the perimeters making each formation look like a Pheylonian candle, a cave inside-out.  Up close, the stalactites reveal their size.  Huge rough cones hang over the ocean, dripping water from their tips... a steady slow rain in scattered pockets.  Towers such as these jut out from the aqua-marine waters at random over the horizon.

If it sounds like paradise, that's because it is.  Phranang Beach may be the most beautiful macro-scene that I've ever been a part of.

Railey Beach, Thailand

The pathway from Railay Beach to Phranang Beach.  Adventure!

Sunset on Phranang

This last beach had a host of monkeys that were causing a ruckus.  When Robyn opened my backpack, a whole gang of them swarmed her and stole peanuts right from the bag and then ran up a tree. 

On Thursday, we joined a boat tour that explored several of the nearby islands.  The first stop was an beautiful, if temporary, stretch of sand that linked two islands.  The waters were clear turquoise and the sand was uniformly white.  We splashed about, did some snorkeling, and found some big rainbow-colored fish that hung around the sea floor sucking on rocks.  When we were ready to get out of the water, however, we found that the beach was gone!  Only in low tide does the white stretch link two islands.  For the rest of the day it merely lends its light color to the clear, shallow waters.

The day continued like this, boarding our longtail boat and hopping from island to island.  Robyn got a little sea sick on our first stop.  We were about 20 meters from the beach when she turned around and hurled over the side of the boat.  I tried to be sympathetic but it was funny that we were so close to our destination when she finally lost her muesli. 

As we visited more islands, I was able to pick out things about each that I remembered.  My dad and I went to Southeast Asia about 7 years ago and the furthest north we got to was Krabi.  It was my favorite place then and I think it's my favorite place on this trip as well.

Our transporation and our destination.  Paradise!

This is not a brochure, it's all around us!

Our last stop of the day was the now familiar Phranang Beach.  Instead of swimming, we decided to explore the inside out caves around the beach.

Melty candle tower.  Phranang Beach, Thailand
Robyn, blissfully unaware of the encroaching sunburn

Exploring the caverns in and around Phranang Beach

At the end of our day, we struck up a conversation with some of the other people on the boat, a duo from Indonesia, Harry and Sarah.  We had tons of fun talking about our own countries.  They thought is was so crazy to live anywhere as cold as Canada and even crazier that people like me bundle up and go biking around in -40.  On the other hand, it wasn't such a big deal to them to live in an earthquake zone underneath an active volcano in an amongst giant pythons and poisonous spiders as big as your face.

We ended up wandering around the night market with them later and I was inspired by Harry to expand my epicurean horizon.  I started with some spicy mystery meat on a stick and graduated to grilled grasshoppers, beetles, and larvae (not as good as it sounds and it sounds horrible).  Bu the end of the night, the four us were hanging out eating giant pancakes filled with different colored goos and chatting about living in Canada, Indonesia, and America (we found another friend).

Today, it's off to Malaysia and then we'll work our way North from there.  Back home in no time!

David J Parker

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you found paradise after the recent typhoon experience!! Your stories make me cry "oh no!" out loud about Robyn's pending sunburn and the monkeys swarming her; smile about your comparisons between Indonesia and Canada, go "uuuuuugh" about the food you are eating... thanks for sharing and including us in your adventures :) Talk to you soon.... Love Mom Parker