Are you born a Foody or can you become one (classic nature vs nurture debate)? So if I look at myself.. I always loved food and was open to exploring different cuisine and anything new. On the other hand, Achal was a picky (read annoying) eater. Initial days of our eating out, he turned his nose up at everything..even pasta (Asian food was completely off the table!)..without having tried! 15 years of encouragement (read nagging) including 4 years of hostel life, and 3 years of life in the UK; end result - he is a Foody!
So coming to December 2016 - that was the beginning of a crazy time in life! We were busy wrapping up work before the holidays, attended a wedding in Jaipur (which involved lots of drunken dancing on the road) and just too much happening! Thankfully, we had planned our year-end holiday well in advance and got decent rates. It was time for a well-deserved holiday in Krabi, Thailand! Think white sandy beaches, clear turquoise water, chilled Singha beer and yummy Thai food - what more do you want in life!
Where to stay: Research tells us that Railay beach is the most popular place to stay. Next best is Ao Nang, which is where we managed to find a resort. Now, if you are going around New Year’s, most resorts will charge you a massive sum for a mandatory gala dinner. We were keen to spend New Year’s Eve at the beach, so this was a major factor to consider when making our reservations. We booked into Ao Nang Fiori Resort & Spa - a new resort with decent rating. This turned out to be the best decision – more details later!
From India, we took Air Asia to Krabi (stop over at Singapore). Now, Air Asia is a totally no-frills flight, which translates into paying for even a glass of water. At Singapore we had a 6 hour long layover and hence made use of our Priority Lounge access. From Krabi airport we got a cab easily to the resort. After a bit of confusion during check-in, our golf cart took us till our room (quite a steep incline) and to say the least, we were transported to heaven! An individual cottage with our own hot tub on a private deck with a stunning view, white cotton curtains blowing softly in the wind… aaah!
View from our deck!
Entrance to the resort with the restaurant in the background
We made full use of the hot tub - at any point in the day and night, we would jump in. Separated from the world, this was our cocoon - complete silence surrounded us (punctuated with our bollywood music from our bluetooth speaker). We spent many hours (till we shriveled up) discussing life, reminiscing old memories and laughing! Especially at night, it was magical with the twinkling stars.
The only issue with this resort is that they don't serve alcohol. But fear not, there's Tesco right next door (make sure you note the opening hours). Tired from travel and exhausted from the days before, we just ordered room service. Surprisingly, the Pad Thai was fantastic and one the best we would eat here (unfortunately we didn't take pictures). Even the breakfast (included in room tariff) was quite nice, with a pretty decent spread. But being light eaters, especially in the mornings, we couldn't do it justice.
Days before the travel, I had come across this very useful article on best places to eat in Krabi - we followed most of it and didn't regret it. Our first stop was The Massaman. An open restaurant, on the main Ao Nang street - we came here very often (pictures below are from the multiple visits before you judge us!). The food was just delicious and reasonably priced!
Mai-Tai is quite nice - perfect blend of flavors and quite potent!
Crunchy vegetables (pak choy, my favourite) in delicious oyster sauce - brilliant!
Signature dish - massaman curry. Bit less curry for us but quite decent
Of course, som tam with shrimps - on the spicy side so be ready with your mai-tai to balance it!
Vegetarian spring rolls
Forget the exact name - but was really good!
Next we rented a scooter (there are many rental shops, just pick one) for 200 + 80 (insurance) Baht for a day. Cruising along we decided to go for a Thai massage and reached Massage Corner (rated #1 on TripAdvisor). Ideally try to make a reservation before you head there - we booked our slot and went for drinks at Bussaba Thai (next door).
Spring rolls are a definite must-try! We even got these packed once (but not the same as eating right then!)
Relaxed after the massage!
Late evening we went towards Ao Nang beach to get a feel of the place. There are many shacks/ restaurants lining the beach along with open massage places (very busy!). Best is that there are these kiosks that sell drinks - I tried a watermelon daiquiri and Achal, of course, went for a Singha!
The next day, post breakfast, we packed our beer bag with beers, kept our Kindle/ Digit magazine, sun-block and shades..and plonked ourselves in the gorgeous infinity pool in the resort. This was just outstanding! I have always longingly drooled on pictures of infinity pools...and this was definitely an experience. The setting was perfect and just so tranquil! Achal had to literally drag me out from here (once the beers were over). Another fond memory of this place - finally getting a moment to pause in life, this is where we published our first Foodystravel blog :)
We decided to step out in the evening. With a bit of struggle on our scooter, given the incline, we reached The Hilltop just before sunset. Make sure you book a table well in advance - it was completely booked out! While the food is nothing to shout about (infact extremely small portions for the price), the view of sunset is what this place is known for! 2 beers, 1 sangria, fried pork belly and spring roll costed us 1100 Baht.
Happy with the view but disappointed with the food and hungry, we went down the road and back to Bussaba Thai. We started with a beer and Mai Tai (very nice!) along with Som Tam with shrimp (this was the best for me - perfect balance of sweet, tangy and spicy). For main course we tried tiger prawns with garlic butter (600 Baht) and massaman lamb rack with roti (600 Baht). Our total bill came to 1700 Baht! We walked out grinning and satiated!
One of the recommended things to do in Krabi is a 4 island sunset cruise in those traditional Siamese long-tail boats. We were a tad bit late in booking ours, but managed to find a slot with Thalassa Tour and paid 5000 Baht for 2 persons. The end-to-end experience was seamless - from booking to finally receiving pictures in our email from the tour people. On the day, we started at around 11:00 am and settled into the boat with about 7-8 other people. Sitting inside the boat got a bit stuffy, so we headed out to enjoy the splashing water and clear blue sky!
Chicken island - see the head sticking out?
Our tour guide was fun! There was unlimited supply of chilled beer, water, coke. The best - everytime it got a bit hot, we jumped into the cool water and snorkeled a bit. There's enough sea life and corals to see. There was also hot lunch served when we stopped at an island (I think that was Poda Island) and time to take a restful nap on the beach. Towards the evening, we stopped at the last beach - Railay to watch the sunset while munching on sandwiches. Unfortunately, it started drizzling and we missed it - but apparently, it is gorgeous. Making our way back, they suddenly stopped the boat in the middle and asked us to jump off with our snorkeling kit in absolute darkness! Bit bewildered, we realised that this was 'night snorkeling' - you can see glittering planktons underwater! This combined with the clear night sky above made the setting absolutely stunning!
After the cruise, we stopped at The Crab Company for dinner. Set against the beach with white decor (reminded me of Santorini), it was a perfect place to spend the evening. The server was friendly and encouraged us to try crab (Achal was really hesitant and started researching on YouTube). Excited, I dug into it - good experience but let's just say we liked the ramen better that was served as a side! The grilled prawns in garlic butter were exquisite!
On Fridays and Saturdays, there is a night market in Krabi town. Not too far and a pleasant ride on the scooter, we landed there. It was amazing! So many tiny stalls selling super cheap stuff (dresses, soft cotton t-shirts, bags of different sizes, souvenirs etc.). And so many food stalls - recommend just taking a round of the entire place to prioritise!
Grilled pork on skewers - these were the best (and for just 20 Baht)!
Steamed pork spring rolls of different colors!
Take your pick!
Cocktails in cute bamboo stems
Fried Quail eggs
Crabs and more!
Juicy roasted pork
We spent the last day in Krabi strolling in the market lining the main street and picked up some t-shirts, knick-knacks and a vibrant oil painting. We even got a super relaxing massage at one of those open pagodas - while Achal didn't particularly like it, I loved it! For New Year's Eve, we had made reservations at Last Fisherman Bar. It is literally the last bar on the beach. They had setup our table and had a predetermined menu. Towards midnight, the sky lit up with hundreds of lanterns dotting the horizon..people thronged the beach and one could see fireworks on the nearby islands.
New years at Last Fisherman bar
It was the perfect start to the new year!