Krabi. The town of discovery.

Krabi is the main place to head to if you want to get to some of the Thai islands such as Phuket or Phi Phi, so many people bypass it, choosing to get straight to their destination instead of using it as a stopover. We decided to stay here for a couple of nights though, to check it out rather than heading back to stay on another beach for a few days. We’d done the beach thing, we were so over it. And also wanted to check out Krabi’s street food scene.

Our first impression of Krabi a week ago was at 6am in the morning on the main street when we arrived to go to Koh Jum and were hanging around on a street corner for a songthaew. Empty, no one around and quiet. This, we found, was just because 6am is ridiculously early. So, a normal day in Krabi Town is full of people, markets, stalls, scooters, cars, boats and songthaews.

Not surprisingly, like the other places in Thailand so far, I loved Krabi. It was fairly small and compact, so we’d walked around most of at least the central area after a day and a half. We’d found the morning market, and the afternoon and evening markets. We’d found a muslim food stand which served the most amazing food, with happy, smiley people. No pork, so none of my beloved Pad-ka-prow, but the hot, spicy chicken dish they served more than made up for it. Nick found a green curry to top the one in Khao San Road. I’d found the fruit carts to get my fix of watermelon, and bought some replacement flip flops.

I’m also a target for mosquitos and other flying bitey insects (as I have been all my life, sigh.) and I’d pretty much run out of insect bite stuff so I decided to buy some Tiger Balm. I’d heard of this before, but never tried it, never really knew what it was for. A girl in the hostel in Bangkok had recommended it for insect bites so I figured I’d give it a go. There’s a few different types so the girl in the pharmacy recommended the red ointment. Not sure what the difference is but it smells like cinnamon. Whatever it is, IT WORKS. It works lots. I’d go so far as to say it’s a miracle. It stops the itching really quickly. It makes bites go down and disappear like magic. I think it also helps a little bit to keep insects away. I’m in awe, and now not sure what I’d do without it. I may have to stock up. Just to make sure I have plenty you see. Or panic buying. Either way, I’m not sure I can be without it now. Just like Vaseline, it will become a handbag staple. When I eventually use a handbag again.

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Krabi’s surrounded by mangroves so we went on a walk through one of them. I didn’t really know what a mangrove was until a few weeks ago, so new experience #537262. It was a bit eerie, there was no one else around and seeing the tree roots out of the water made it all a bit like a horror movie. If only it was a bit darker and there was a bit of mist I would have probably crapped myself.

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I think I should write something about the wildlife. All along this trip there’s been loads of wildlife. Everywhere. New animals, insects, birds etc. Most of it while I’ve been out and about and lovely to see, some of it where it shouldn’t have been and not so nice to see. Like wildlife where I wouldn’t have liked it to be. Such as my room, or the bathroom, or in my clothes. It’s not been too bad, most things (including spiders now) really don’t bother me. Out here, in tropical countries, you really haven’t got a choice other to just get on with it. I think my trip to the Amazon last year in Peru also helped with the insect thing (bullet ant, tarantuala or killer caterpillar anyone?). And living alone. When you live by yourself no one else will get rid of the spider for you. Ever had a fish swim up through your plughole while you’re having a shower? No? Me neither, but Nick did, in our little Krabi guesthouse. I don’t think he’ll forget that one in a while.

We also saw mudskippers, amphibious fish with little arms that hop and skip around in and out of the water, as well as some weird one-clawed crab type things, which disappeared down little holes with any little movement. So imagine, one swipe of your arm and they all disappear in milliseconds. Yep, I decided to play at being a wizard for a bit. Little things amuse.

Not wanting to completely leave the beach thing, we caught a longtail boat to Railay beach for the day. Railay, a small peninsular only reached by boat, is very, very pretty. In fact it’s stunning. But very busy, and loads of other tourists. I’d hate to imagine what it’s like in high season. Glad we just went for the day and didn’t stay. Oh, and there’s no street food, only western restaurants and cafes. It wasn’t great weather, but we decided to climb a rocky cliff to a viewpoint at the top. It wasn’t raining at the time. We got half way up. It started to piss down. Torrential rain. So, there we were, barefoot, hanging onto rocks and a rope, halfway up a cliff face. What other choice but to carry on. It’s all an adventure, right? Of course! RIGHT up my street. Much, much fun and we made it up (and down) with no injuries. Got soaking wet of course. And it took bloody ages to dry out, especially without any sun and having to run away from monkeys trying to steal my grapes.

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Longtail boats are pretty ace, although they bob about A LOT and you get wet a bit. Still, they’re not half as bad at that speedboat ride and I didn’t drop my phone or camera in the sea. And they’re pretty. Good times.

Oh, and something definitely worth a mention: I had the best pancake so far in Krabi. Thailand like their pancake street stalls. You can have them plain, or with egg, or banana (or both). My favourite is plain. Plain is actually with condensed milk and sugar. It’s bloody amazing for someone with a sweet tooth. This one was crispy and sugary and covered in gooey melted condensed milk. Mmmmm. We sat eating them out of polystyrene trays on the edge of the pavement. It felt like we were eating chips and cheese after a night out on the lash. But, this was 8pm and we were sober. Funny how different things can appear so similar.

Back on the [usual lairy, erratically driven] night bus to Bangkok, in the middle of the countryside we passed a few buildings covered in fairy lights. Ah, has Christmas come early I thought? Because here, there is no mention of Christmas. Anywhere. Which is great, as I’m pretty sure the UK is full of it by now. I mean, it’s October so of course it will be (which is WRONG). No, this wasn’t Christmas. It was advertising girls. Not sure what exactly what but I can probably hazard a guess. Oh, and that also reminds me of the film they played on the bus. Class A weird. Weird, weird, weird. I know it was in Thai but normally you can kind of follow or guess at a plotline. Nope, not this one. I really couldn’t. It had something to do with men dressing as women, a group of people being held hostage in a hospital, then the same group possibly robbing a house. It seemed to be some kind of dark comedy because it had comedy sound effects and slightly outrageous shootings and stabbings but sinister undertones. I gave up in the end as they also played it at a million decibels so stuck in my ear plugs and daydreamed.

Yep, I liked Krabi. If I had to sum it up? Small, compact, authentic, lively and pretty.

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