We humans are a very rare and strange breed, for we are simple in our believes and yet always get amazed and fascinated by a new journey, that helps us discover who we truly are and how easily the myths get shattered for us when we come to grips with the realities of life.
I have been a wanderer and a nomad most of my life, travelling entire India and then finally moving to Australia about 2 and a half years ago. But this year I got a chance to take a trip that was going to change everything I knew about the land of myths and mysteries. The place that has always raised my curiosity with its other worldly charm and fascination.
I planned this trip with 2 of my siblings and being so close to my birthday, it was another way to usher in another year of my life with lots of fun and celebrations. Flying out of Avalon airport, on the outskirts of Melbourne, i was told a lot many things by a lot many people. What to expect, what to do, what not to do, where to go, where not to and so on. But i wanted to discover the country at my pace and without any prejudices.
Landed at Phuket international airport on 3rd March early at around 7 am and was joined soon by my brothers and we began our journey into the unknown. We drove to Krabi by road, which is around 160 odd kilometers (since we booked an Airbnb villa there). The Villa was situated in a quiet little town of Ao Nang and was just simply stunning
After taking a dip in the pool of the villa, we decided to venture out to the local beaches of Ao Nang and Nopparat thara and enjoy some local delicacies. We tried the tom yum soup and fried rice with the fresh catch of the day, straight from the sea in front of us (beat that!!!).
We decided to take a ride on motorbikes to a place called Emerald pool or as the locals like to call it Sa Morakot and the hot springs.
In the south of Krabi province in Klong Thom district (around 52 km from where we were staying and near the Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve), known locally as Nam Tok Rawn in Thai or the hot water springs. The water here comes from thermal springs, originating deep underground in volcanic chambers. Located in the jungle, this site features naturally hollowed-out ‘bathtubs’ in the smooth stone, filled to the brim with fresh running spring water at a pleasant 35-42C. After a soak, take a refreshing dip in the cool river below.
A visit to the Hot Springs would not be complete without a trip to the nearby ‘Crystal Pool’ in Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve. Also known as Emerald Pool (Sa Morakot in Thai), this is an astonishingly-green hued and large natural pool that is filled with pure spring water – although at ambient temperature. A word of advice, try and be early here, coz this place gets packed to the rafters as the day progresses.
Day 3 - Tiger Cave Temple
The only thing that still resonates in my ears is the cries of a fellow traveler, when we were trying to catch our breath on one of the many rest stops during our climb, He said, rather murmured " I thought i was fit" lollll, well that is the kind of superhuman effort, that is required if you want to visit this, very famous temple in Krabi.
The Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Suea) is a Buddhist temple north-northeast of Krabi, Thailand. A sacred site, it is known for the tiger paw prints in the cave and its tall Buddha statues, not to mention the strenuous flight of stairs to reach the summit.
it is also known as the temple of 1260 steps and trust me, there were times i decided to give up and go back down, but the curiosity of knowing what is on the other side, kept pegging me on and boy did i enjoy the views from the top.
*Highly recommended to fitness fanatics "Wink" "Wink"
Day 4 to 6 - Phi Phi Islands
It was with a heavy heart that we bid adieu to Krabi, but at the same time we were really looking forward to this next phase of our journey to the world renowned Phi Phi Islands. To call it a global superstar would be an understatement of massive proportions. Phi Phi Island is Thailand's island-superstar. It's been in the movies. It's the topic of conversation for travelers all over Thailand. For some, it's the only reason to touchdown in Thailand and boy oh boy, it doesn't disappoint. Phi Phi's beauty is a large chunk of the allure. The islands, when approached by boat, rise from the sea like a fortress. Sheer cliffs tower overhead, then give way to beach-fronted jungle. It's love at first sight. You will only find a few places on the planet are this laid-back. Of the two islands located near Phuket and Krabi, one is completely free of human inhabitants (Phi Phi Leh), and the other is without roads (Phi Phi Don). There's no schedule, no hustle-and-bustle, no reason to be in a hurry. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the sun and sand of this magnificent island, which will etch a mark in your heart and your soul would be left behind, even long after you have left this island.
We took a ferry to Phi Phi from Krabi's Nopparat Thara pier and just a short 2 hour ride later, we arrived at the Phi Phi pier and the moment you enter the island, the whole vibe of that place is out of ordinary.
No one is in any sort of hurry to be anywhere, there are shops selling different items to you. A lot of travelers from across the world come to the islands for Snorkeling and Diving and to be honest with you, the crystal clear waters only add to the charm of this place.
We arrived at our hotel, called the cobble beach hotel, which i booked from Agoda.com and got a good last min. deal on the stay(including breakfast).
The whole island can be covered on foot and again the food will not disappoint you.I had one of the best papaya salads of my LIFE and i mean my LIFE on the island.
The french crepes and the morning pancakes are to die for and the food over all is just mamma mia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We took a whole day island tour to explore the islands further and god knows it was one of the best decisions i will ever take in my life.
The beauty of these islands can never be explained using mere words and it would be utter injustice on my part if i even try to do that.
I would let some of the pictures speak for me and let you guys decide if it is worth it.
All we did was relax at the beach and soaked in all the sunshine we could and then moved on to the last stretch of our journey to Phuket.
We arrived in Phuket, again a 2 hour ferry ride from Phi Phi Islands and quickly transferred to our hotel, which was near the world famous Patong Beach.
We all freshened up and then decided to start our phuket leg of our journey with the visit to the Tiger Kingdom.
It was with a lot of fear and excitement, that we entered the cages of these beasts. With only our guides and the trainers to standing in between us and the tigers, the Adrenalin kicked it and the fear kind of just vanished. Here we were standing a few inches away from one of the apex predators, the king of the food chain, the alpha and omega. The first touch of its skin, fills you with utter sense of nervous joy, coz you are still coming to terms with the fact that here is an animal you have always heard of and heard all the dreadful stories of how quickly it can move in for a kill. That moment of exhilaration can only be felt not described by mere words. But the next moment you also feel bad for them as most of them are heavily drugged for the entertainment of the mankind. People who are willing to pay to just take a picture with them and not realizing that for their 10 mins. of fun, those animals have to endure so much cruelty that it just can't be described in a civilized conversation.
Again, we decided to take a local city tour and cover all the "Touristy" spots and the day just was filled with so much of sights, sounds, tastes, information and experiences that it will take me another article, just to cover the entire day.
It was finally time to pack our bags and leave Thailand with a lifetime worth of memories. There is only one thing that is certain, i would be heading back there pretty soon.
It was time to pack our bags and bid adieu to this wonderful country, which welcomed us with open arms. The warmth and hospitality of the people of this country will stay with you and tugs your heart towards it. The only thing that is certain is i will return to this wonderful country again soon.
Thailand you have my heart and i know you will take good care of it