Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Thailand (Krabi & Bangkok)

Thailand

Thailand is a beautiful country featuring Buddhist Temples, exotic wild life and spectacular islands. We decided to explore the island / beach side of Thailand and went on a 6 day trip to Thailand in October 2013

Thailand has many beautiful islands with serene beaches and after much deliberation decided to explore Krabi which is in the Southern part of Thailand. Krabi is less commercialized than other popular destination i.e Phuket and Koh Samui. The idea was to relax and have our first diving experience (beginner’s course). So 4 days in Krabi and 2 days in Bangkok was the final plan.

Krabi

Places to stay – One can opt to stay in Railay which is a serene island isolated from the mainland, Aonang which is more touristy or 5 star / High end resorts in Klong Muang

We decided to stay in Railay Beach which is as per us the best place to stay in Krabi. Railay is isolated from the mainland and is surrounded by warm Andaman Sea, lush jungle and twisted rocks. It is only connected by sea and you can reach Railay beach using Long Tail boat from Aonang. It’s around 15 minutes ride and the boat charges 200 THB / head.


Railay Beach
Stay –Stay on Railay West also called as sunset beach by some, as this is among the best and most stunning white sand beach in Thailand. The hotels / resorts here are more expensive than mangrove-lined East Railay Beach which has cheaper hotels. Railay East has more eating options and is around 10-15 minutes’ walk from the Railay West beach.
Caution – For strictly vegetarian food can be an issue so make sure you carry some food with you. Fish oil is used to prepare some dishes so enquire before ordering meals.


Tours / Excursions – There are many day tours on offer to choose from such as 4 island tour, James Bond Island tour, Hong Island tour, Phi Phi Island tour etc. One of the most famous and highly recommended tours is Phi Phi Island tour (please take the speed Boat to Phi Phi).There are tour operators on Railway Beach and you can book your tour 1 day in advance. Bargain and you may get some discounts J


Activities – You can just lie on the beach and relax the entire day / go snorkelling / kayaking / Scuba Diving and rock climbing.

Scuba Diving - If you have not done scuba diving, we recommend trying it once as it is one of the most beautiful experience in life. Go for a beginner’s dive which has 2 dives of approx 40 mins each and you go upto 12m in depth. An experienced guide will be there to help you. The general notion about swimming is necessary for Scuba diving is not correct (I don’t know how to swim!). In Railay there is only 1 scuba dive operator while there are a few in Aonang. You can choose any one but make sure they are PADI affiliated diving schools.


Aonang – Aonang is more commercialized than Railay with many accommodation and food options (with a few restaurants serving vegetarian food). The place has a few bars and nightclubs and hence more commercialised than Railay. The beach is not as good as Railay but is a better option for families and almost all the tours and excursions start from Aonang.

Klong Muang - High end resorts and hotels are about 30 mins drive from Aonang and are around Klong Muang beach. Here you will find 5 star accommodations and the resorts will be provide you with everything that is required. The beach in this part of Krabi is not as serene as the others (Railay or Aonang). However this is a place for people who want to come and relax with no intention of venturing out of the resort. The nightlife is nearly non-existing.

Bangkok

Bangkok is a great place for shopping and I mean all kind of shopping. You can shop from high end designer shops or from the road side shops/stalls.

Recommended shopping destination - MBK Mall is an air conditioned mall and caters to all kinds of buyers. It is a great place to buy electronics and phones. Also the mall has great collection of fake watches, bags etc.Platinum fashion mall is another good shopping destination, however nothing like shopping from the small shops / stalls along the road side. Indira market is too hyped and not recommended by us.Bargain and you will land up some great discounts / dealsJ

If you going only for shopping then stay near Pratunam area as most of the shopping area (mentioned above) is near this place. If late night partying is on the agenda as well then stay at Sukhumvit.

Use MRT in BKK to avoid traffic which can be very bad during peak hours!

Other places to see – Grand Palace and Wat Pho (reclining Buddha). They are close to each other (about 1 Km from each other). Beware of people outside the Grand Palace as they may lie about the palace being closed so as to make a quick buck by taking you to some other tourist destination. Please adhere to the dress code mentioned for Grand Palace.