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December 22nd 2006
Published: December 26th 2006
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Kris

Before jetting off to Singapore we had 2 days in Krabi on the mainland. Given Kate was a bit better this time around - the food poisoning having been purged from her system - we had more opportunity to see some of the local sights. We checked back into the Bai Fern Guesthouse where we were welcomed as old friends, and given a room that was quiet and nowhere near a nightclub where we had some much needed long nights sleep.

Krabi is flanked by several beautiful beaches that you have to travel to by boat or taxi so we decided to grab a longtail boat out to Rai Lei Beach. Grabbing a boat for this purpose isn't particularly difficult as when you walk along the waterfront you get approached every few minutes by blokes asking if you'd like to take their boat to any beach you want. Up until this point we'd been constantly avoiding them and when we finally told one bloke we did actually want a boat today, he looked delighted.

He directed us to wait on part of the quay and told us it would be 100 baht each. Fair enough we thought - that's what the guide books say it will cost anyway. Soon a large group of other backpackers turned up, fully loaded with all their belongings. One of them was even carrying juggling clubs in his rucksack. I took an instant dislike and assumed he was the sort of person who did magic tricks and probably rode a unicycle. Wacky. Anyway, they dumped their bags by us and asked what we were paying. We told them 100 baht and they immediately proceeded to argue with a load of Thai blokes about the cost. They haggled and whinged for what seemed like ages, speaking to any passing bloke who had a boat and discussing "special prices" as there was so many of them...that would basically save each of them around 10p. This went on for some time until the club-juggler decided he'd successfully haggled a good deal. He came to collect his bags and told us he'd sorted a boat - did we wanna hitch a lift with them. Okay, we thought, he must have haggled a good price given all the commotion. How much? 100 baht per person.

100 baht per person was what we were paying before they
West Rai LaiWest Rai LaiWest Rai Lai

White sand, blue sea, rocks and palm trees. Stunning.
turned up. Sweet deal. We realised we could have been on a boat by now. I dunno. Sometimes people just haggle for the sake of it.

Kate

Rai Lei Beach


The boat dropped us at East Rai Lei (or Railey, they seem to use both spellings) where the big group of backpackers decided they wanted to go to a different part of the beach and were starting to haggle with the guys driving the boat again. We thought this was a good time to make a hasty retreat. We walked the 5 minutes through to West Rai Lei beach, which is stunning. Its what you picture when you talk about Thai beaches. There are huge big cliffs (called Karsts) all around it, a long cresent of soft white sand and clear blue waters. There are a few resorts along the bay, the expensive sort with pools overlooking the sea, which looked lovely, but perhaps everso slightly out of our price range. We spread ourselves out on the sand, where one by one a number of women came past offering us drinks, food and massages. They seemed to specialise in foot massage and scrubbing, and seemed to take great delight in looking at my feet and telling me how minging the rough skin on my feet was. They were quite right, but having them rubbed down with a huge pummice stone didnt sound very relaxing so I declined their kind offer to suffer my minging feet. One woman even told Kris his toenails needed cutting!

The guidebook reconned that West Rai Lei wasnt the most beautiful beach, but gave that title to Phra Nang beach, about 5 minutes walk away. We went off to have a look. You have to walk around the edge of a big posh hotel resort with signs saying keep out and guards on patrol, past some spectacular rock formations until you come out onto the beach. It was like walking round from Thailand to the Costa Del Sol. Every inch of the beach was covered in people, you couldnt see the sand. People were selling things everywhere. It was chaotic and no matter how beautiful the beach might have been, it totally ruined it. We didnt stay and went back round to West Rai Lei, much quieter and thus much nicer and more relaxing.

Before it got dark we took a longtail boat to Ao Nang beach, abit further round, from where we could get a small bus back to Krabi.


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Dinner at Krabi Night MarketDinner at Krabi Night Market
Dinner at Krabi Night Market

Night markets are great places to eat. There are loads of stalls selling different foods, some with long menus, some just specialising in one food. You order what you want and sit at a metal table behind the stall while they cook your food in the street. Its fresh and really really cheap. In Krabi we were eating three dishes, with two bottles of beer, for 2 quid.
Cheers!Cheers!
Cheers!

Drinking pints of Chang out of those pint glasses old men use in pubs. They seem to be quite popular here.


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