Published: January 4th 2012December 17th 2011
This next stop was just an overnighter, before we continued our onward journey for Christmas. This is a slightly shorter blog and looking now at the pictures we have uploaded, this stop was very much about food Kuala Lumpur to Krabi town
We made our way back to KL Sentral station so we could catch the Air Asia Skybus to the Cheap Charlie terminal to catch our flight to Krabi. This part of the journey went nice and smoothly, the problems arose at the Cheap Charlie terminal. All we have to say about that terminal is that is has gone from bearable to completely unworkable in the space of 18 months – we have heard that a new Cheap Charlie terminal closer to the proper airport is opening soon…let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later. The thing is Air Asia now require everyone to check in online or on their smarter-than-us phones which is fine until you have luggage to check (which Dave did). We ended up queuing up for 45 minutes to check in one bag; the number of staff needed to man the baggage drop desks was at least the same as the amount of staff required
for physical check-ins, so whether Air Asia are actually saving money with this change is doubtful. It was very frustrating to say the least and Donna, being the OCD person she is, was running through several logistical improvements which Air Asia could make!
After being sent to the wrong end of the terminal, where the security guard seemed to be saying ‘white one’ to us we finally figured out that we had been sent in the wrong direction, but we never did figure out what he was really trying to say! The gate we were sent to seemed to be an overflow gate (no access to toilets when you were past immigration) for when the Cheap Charlie terminal was busy, but it wasn’t open 45 minutes before the flight was due to leave. The lack of seats outside the gate (really the baggage drop desk area!) meant there was a huge crowd of people jostling to get prime position to get through the gate first. Strangely, going through Immigration to get our stamp out, our fingerprints weren’t taken again…which made us ask the question what was the point of taking them when we arrived if they aren’t going to
Kids painting at the weekend market
Dave was convinced this was child labour...we just thought it was a creche!
compare them when we leave? Hmmm, maybe that’s not what biometrics are about but it makes sense to us! Although the departure gate was a small one, it still had a duty free shop which we gleefully bought a litre of vodka from. At this point Donna looked like a bit of an alcoholic as she had to carry the vodka in a large see through sealed bag and no other passenger had bought alcohol. The last point to mention about Air Asia (MichaelnFaye
have also had recent experience of this!) is their stupid policy of allocating seats to people on the same itinerary into different parts of the plane. The Air Asia staff say this is automated but you know, if there are 3 people on the same itinerary then why would the computer split them up. Oh yes, that’s right so the airline can make more money from people as it ‘encourages’ them to pre-book (and therefore pay more) to get seats together. Cynical, us? No, you must be mistaken! Krabi town of good street food
Arriving into Krabi was smooth – although for the nickname of Thailand ‘Land of Smiles’ the Immigration Officers were the
most miserable Thais we have ever seen. We quickly hopped into a pre-paid taxi - wow, luxury (both the taxi part and the pre-paid part!) into Krabi Town. We decided to get a taxi as it was 350 baht (around £7) as opposed to 90 baht each on the bus and we had heard the bus played silly buggers and tried to drop you at those lovely ‘travel centres’ and you know how we feel about those! We checked into our first choice hotel from researching on t’interweb and it was a nice hotel. The staff were super friendly and the room was a bit of a bargain at 600 baht (£12) for air con, hot water and cable tv included. We even had a proper duvet on the bed…now this is going to sound very silly to get excited about but, duvets are a real treat for us now we have been in Asia for a while (ok, we are weird).
Krabi Town had a really nice, sleepy feel to it and we liked it as soon as we arrived. We first had a little wander around, got our sim card sorted and then headed by songthaew to
the institution that is Tescos. At this point, Dave did complain a little – he had come all the way to Thailand just to go to a Tescos! There was a specific point to going to Tescos though, we needed to withdraw a LOT of money from the ATM and the only bank in Thailand which doesn’t charge the 150 baht (£3!) per withdrawal fee was at Tescos...saved us over £15 (you see now how we have been able to travel for 5+ years?). We took the opportunity to do a bit of shopping too much to the amusement of Dave, although he did give in and buy a pair of flip flops.
After a quick shower and change, we headed out down to the food night market area next to the river. We were very excited about Krabi Town as we had heard good things about this food market and we were also lucky enough to be there on a Saturday night when the weekend market was also on. First though, we settled on a restaurant to eat at…it wasn’t our first choice – that one was busy and had no tables left. The food was good, but
we did manage to choose the restaurant which had the dizziest staff imaginable, we had ordered 3 lots of rice so the waitress brought one rice for the three of us to share and we overheard the couple behind us complaining as the staff had forgotten half of their meal! After paying up we had a little wander and indulged in our first banana shake of the trip. We love banana shakes…this was a whole new experience for Dave and pretty soon we would have him hooked! Walking alongside the river, we stopped for a while to try and take some pictures…they didn’t turn out very well because Neil left Donna in charge of the camera, they are really just squiggles of light (oops!).
On our way to the weekend market, Neil spied an old friend of his...…nutella rotis. Surprisingly, not everywhere in Thailand sells nutella rotis, or any kind of rotis – the Krabi-Phuket-Phi Phi areas has been the only places they have been common. Neil was one happy bunny, although he did complain the roti lady scrimped a bit on the nutella (at this point, Donna says anything but a 250g whole tub of nutella would be
scrimping in Neil’s eyes!). Krabi Town is a relatively small place so we found the weekend market without getting lost, this was mainly due to the fact Neil remembered the way from our earlier songthaew journey and refused to listen to Donna who still has the worst sense of direction ever (Dave wasn’t much better!). When we first started travelling outside of the UK the importance of food played a very small part of our travel enjoyment. We favoured beaches and the price of a beer over the culinary arts but nowadays it's essential to our visit anywhere that the food is good and plentiful. Of course the beer has to be cheap and plentiful too otherwise how would we wash down that wondeful food?
The weekend market was great, an experience which was worth the night’s stay. It was a proper Thai local market with lots of interesting stalls and food on offer, not like the usual tourist tat markets with the wooden frogs and ‘same same but different’ t-shirts. There were lots of locals shopping, very smiley and happy – as you can see from the pictures the food stalls were great. As we were wandering around,
Donna began to regret that she had already had food as she spied her favourite spicy chilli tofu and basil leaves on sale and lots of strawberry shakes and corn on the cob. Neil had no such reservations and tucked into a huge chicken kebab with chilli sauce. The performance on the main stage was hilarious – take a look at the video. It’s a love song this couple are singing, but they couldn’t be more disinterested in each other! We stopped off for a drink in one of the bars near to the river…it was a nice bar but as soon as our drinks were delivered they put on the reggae. Now we are really sorry to the people out there that like reggae but we hate it with a vengeance. Why does every single beach resort or tourist town in SE Asia seem to play back-to-back reggae? We aren’t in Jamaica…why? It’s still a question we haven’t answered, no matter how many times we ask it! More on this in our next blog.
The next morning we had an early-ish start, we had booked a minibus pick up at 9am, so we popped out to the next
door 7-11 and got a cheese and ham toastie for breakfast and settled down in the reception to wait for the bus. We were still waiting at 9:45am, at which point the lady from the shop we booked from turns up on her bike, shouting at us that it’s our fault the bus is late. Puzzled by this we questioned her…apparently she told us over and over there was no 9am bus (no she didn’t) but we insisted we wanted to go at 9am (erm, if she’d have said there wasn’t a 9am bus or that it was full we would have booked the 10am bus). In the end we just shrugged our shoulders, we didn’t really have a choice, we think she had forgotten to book us on the bus and decided to blame the stupid tourists for her mistake…and what a mistake that was. This saga will continue in our next blog!
P.S. We have just noticed we have got through one blog without poo being mentioned!
There are more photos below