Thailand part V: Ao Nang & Phi Phi Islands

In this blog post series I will have six posts telling you all about my adventures in Thailand. The posts will be published every other Monday. Check out Thailand part Ipart II, part III and part IV.

Tai Tai 4

Tai 5

Our morning in Khao Sok began with a 7 AM wake-up call and we had to be on the bus by 8 AM. I had some soy milk, nuts in caramel and funny deep-fried Thai crisps for breakfast. We were all checked out and ready to leave at 8 but some people were late so we just ended up waiting half an hour. Not too bad, considering it’s Thailand 😀

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Around 10 AM we had a half an hour break at a market. So much good food! We bought mango, dried bananas and Thai nut cookies (that were greasy and not that great). 

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Mango
Dried bananas. No extra sugar, the actual taste of banana! 🙂
Thai nut cookies. I thought they would be good but they were so greasy. Not good…

Around 11 AM we arrived at a minibus stop just near Krabi Town. The only way out of there was to buy tickets from the guys there… Which were overpriced of course! Should have paid 50 baht per person for a ticket to Ao Nang but they asked us 150. I tried to bargain but they wouldn’t. They also tried to make us buy a bungalow, tours etc from them. I actually got pretty frustrated because there they were: people trying to fool stupid tourists again, saying that there isn’t any vacant accommodation left etc. We just got the 150 baht ticket to Ao Nang.

In the bus to Ao Nang we also talked to other tourists from the UK and they all had done the same thing as us: just bought the tickets out of that minibus station and not get fooled to book anything else. We all felt ripped off in that bus 😀

Right after we arrived in Ao Nang

After arriving in Ao Nang the first thing we felt was HEAT. It was really really hot outside, well over 30 degrees Celsius. We started looking for a place to stay. I have to admit: many places indeed were full but we managed to find a lovely and cheap bamboo house for 500 baht per night. We also booked our trip to Phi Phi Islands.

Looking for accommodation…

We stayed at Gecko Bungalows for 2 nights. The vibe and feel of that place was amazing, by far the best atmosphere during the whole trip. It was peaceful, not touristy, the owner was super calm and nice, there were books and musical instruments in lounging area, a cute dog, chicken running around and a cow in the backyard… I just can’t put this vibe into words. I was just perfect.

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Our bamboo house. Each house had a hammock 🙂

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Around 9000 kilometres away from home

After dropping our bags off at the bungalow, we changed our clothes, slipped into bathing suits and were ready to enjoy the sun and sea. Before hitting the beach I had a delicious banana and pineapple shake from a street stall and then we spent the whole afternoon on the beach of Ao Nang.

Shades on, shake in my hands, hair up in a messy bun, bikini on… Oh, how I miss it!

 

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The whole beach was covered with shells

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Right after the sun had set

After sunset we went back to our bamboo house at Gecko to shower and head to the center to grab some food and enjoy ourselves. My momma was still ill but felt a little better. Instead: I was ill! My throat started to get sore and I had a cough which later got even worse.

For dinner I had a rich mixed pad thai and then later also some iced tea with milk and a naan bread at an Italian and Indian place. Carb heaven! 😀

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Pad thai from a street stall. Gotta love that street food 🙂
Naan bread with garlic. The naan on Koh Samui in Noori India was better.
Iced tea with milk

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The next day we had a tour to Phi Phi Islands. Just to be safe, we didn’t eat any breakfast because we were afraid of the waves and being sick on the boat. It actually wasn’t that bad. The sea was more or less OK. But the boat was overbooked and we were like sardines in a tin.

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Ao Nang beach

Our first stop was Bamboo Island. Just gorgeous and breathtaking. The views… I haven’t seen anything like it! 

Bamboo Island 

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After a visit to the Bamboo Island we were taken to lagoons and snorkelling. One guy had bread with him and we spread that around underwater. All the fish came to that area and I was literally swimming in a bunch of rainbow coloured fish. So cool 🙂 

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Next stop was the infamous Maya Bay. If you’ve seen the movie The Beach (and if you’re backpacking in Thailand, you probably have), you’ll recognize it instantly. But I have to admit: I wasn’t that impressed! With all the motorized boats and the masses of tourists… It just wasn’t the same.

Maya Bay

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After a stop in Maya Bay we were on the boat again. We saw the Monkey Beach, Viking Cave and more lagoons. We also did some more snorkeling which was great fun.

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Viking Cave where they collect birds nests to make SOUP out of them. Say whaaaaat? 😀

Then we finally arrived on Koh Phi Phi Don. We were told we wouldn’t be taken to the viewpoint because we didn’t have time… I was disappointed. I really wanted to see that 😦 But what can you do, that’s what happens sometimes. We then had a Thai buffet lunch. Everything tasted really good and I ate way too much. I also noticed that I had a fever but fortunately my mom had some paracetamol with her. 

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Lunch: spicy Thai soup with chicken, pineapple and watermelon, rice, pasta, fried fish and 3 different veggie dishes.
A reminder of what happened in the 2004 tsunami that destroyed most of Phi Phi Islands 

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After lunch it was time to go back to the boat and head back to Ao Nang. We arrived around 3.30 PM. An American guy had told us in the boat that there is a place at the end of Ao Nang where there are a lot of monkey playing around and that we should check it out. That’s exactly what we did.

And the monkeys were so much fun! They even tried to steal our sunglasses and climb on us 😀 

Passionfruit shake: not too sweet, a little bit sour and really yummy 🙂

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Look at that face! 😀

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After seeing the monkeys I really wanted to go to the Saturday Market. It was getting late already and I thought about taking a taxi or tuk-tuk but they all offered us ridiculous prices so we decided to walk since I had a good map. We were literally melting in the sun but we finally made it there after a looooong walk uphill.

The market was awesome. I was not touristy and there were mostly locals buying there and almost none of the sellers spoke English. I ate some things without even knowing what they were 😀 We also bought lots of food to take back to our bamboo house for dinner and snacks for the next day. The visit to the market was one of the coolest experiences of the trip.

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What we bought: gulab jamun, fish, cauliflower, peanuts, pad thai, pomelo, 2 weird Asian deserts. Yum, yum, yum!

After we got home from the market I was literally so tired I just dropped into my bed. Or onto, since the bed at Gecko was really not soft. But my mom wanted to get a Thai massage so we went to the city. I got a manicure and a pedicure but the quality of the work there was not good at all. After that I felt that my health was deteriorating fast and we got some medication from the pharmacy. The lady there was a true specialist and gave me antibiotics and a couple of other meds. The bill was, well, not that pleasant on the other hand.

Next day was our last day in Ao Nang. We decided it would be a relaxing beach day since I was a little weak and my mom wanted to sunbathe. But it was so hot outside that I mostly sat in the shade or swam in the sea, drank shakes and read my Lonely Planet. My mom got sunburnt but fortunately it didn’t hurt too bad.

Watermelon shake 

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In the afternoon we left the beach, had some snacks for lunch, showered and checked out of our bamboo house. It was time to catch the night bus to the capital: Bangkok. 

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We became friends with the dog at Gecko.

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Around 4 PM we were picked on a retro transfer bus and then taken to our night bus which wasn’t VIP as they promised.

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Our night bus. Again: “VIP”. Not.
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Our transfer bus from Ao Nang to the night bus 😀 Retro!

Around 8 PM we arrived in Surat Thani and fortunately changed from the uncomfortable old bus to a new and good bus. Then it was time to sleep to wake up in our last stop of the trip: Bangkok.

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Our second bus: far more comfortable.

Next post: Bangkok and going home.

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