The Lonely Planet: “The Andaman is Thailand’s turquoise coast, that place on a ‘Travel to Paradise’ poster that makes you want to leave your job and live in flipflops… forever. (…) Photographs haven’t yet fully captured the array of blues and greens, let alone the soft fingers of humidity on the skin or the feel of the world’s softest sands between your toes. For this, you’ll need to visit. “
Me: “What the hell?! Get me out of here!“
My thoughts were not quite as beautifully poetic as Brandon Pressers’ (the Lonely Planet author of Southern Thailand), and definitely very different from his. Besides the white, soft sand – which I only felt in Maya Bay, I just couldn’t stop but wondering why I came all the way here when I have (much) better seas around in Italy and Greece. Seriously, you guys need to come to Southern Europe!
“Photographs haven’t yet fully captured the array of blues and greens…” Perhaps this is due to the amount of people and boats crammed on top of each other on each beach? And I went in low season, I can’t imagine how the high one would look like.
But once again, let me start from the beginning…
We arrived in Krabi after a long bus journey from Penang, and got ourselves a nice room at Chan Cha Lay – the first time I’ve actually stayed in one of the suggested hotels on the Lonely Planet. A double room with fan (cheapest option), costed us 250 Bath.
The day after we decided to go on one of the many offered island tours, and picked the “5 Islands Tour”, for 450 Bath each, from 9am until 3 pm, and stopping at: Poda & Tup Islands, Phranang Beach & Cave and Chiken Island.
On the third day, we moved to Phi Phi Island together with some friends made the day before on the boat trip, Vincent and Artur.
Here we met even more people and spent two great days exploring the islands around and partying on the beach at Slinky’s at night. Great great fun, but oh-so-expensive! That is, if you are travelling on a budget like us.
Phi Phi is an overcrowded island that became exploited by tourism after Leo and Jessica backpacked here few years ago. Same is for Maya Bay, but luckily no tourists are allowed to stop there overnight…
The sea and beaches are beautiful, but seriously overcrowded and littered – which is funny, as each time you step foot in them you have to pay a “cleaning” fee that goes from 20 B in Phi Phi to 200 B in Maya Bay and others. I really wonder where the money goes, because I found litter in each and every one of them.
(As an Italian, I find it absolutely outreageous to pay 5 Euros to enter a not-even-that-amazing beach!)
(More pictures on my Facebook page!)
The last days of our week on the Andamans were spent in Koh Lanta, a much more chilled out place (but not that cheaper than Phi Phi).
We went off season, so the sea was more similar to the Indian Ocean that the one they try to sell you with tourist posters, but it also meant that the beaches were basically empty! For this reason we made a mistake – paid 300B rickshaw to get us to the southern part of the island, where all the expensive resorts are!
Luckily we found a nice room at Pink Bungalows on Khlong Nin beach for 400B, but if we stopped on the northern Long Beach, we would have saved a lot of money and gotten a pretty little (and cheap!) bungalow on the beach.
Now, these islands are for sure the right place where to party ‘cheap’ (compared to European standards), have crazy fun or go on a relaxing holiday in a nice resort with your family, but as a traveller, they didn’t leave me absolutely anything. (Besides some cool new friendships).
Out of all of them, Krabi was the place I enjoyed the most – there’s a good vibe around the town, well connected to the islands and, most of all, a great night food market!
Note: The photographs of this post were a mix of mine and Alle’s, as in some occasions I didn’t take my camera on the boat. Also though, he bought a new compact in Singapore and wanted to show it off! 😉