May 6 - 11, 2017
I flew from Tawau to Kuala Lumpur ($36 on AirAsia), KL to Bangkok ($32.35 on AirAsia), and then took an overnight bus to Krabi for 600 Thai Baht. I really like Thailand and it really is a land of smiles if you don’t violate any of the cultural norms.
No particular reason to visit Krabi, but Bangkok is overwhelming and any beach was welcomed (e.g. Phuket, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, Koh Samet). You’ll take two buses to get to the Krabi bus terminal and then pay ฿100 a person to share a ride to Ao Nang Beach. We stayed at Zabava Guesthouse (฿900/night for a Superior Double Room), a block from the beach.
Don’t eat directly near the beach – walk or take a taxi further out. Ao Nang Boat Noodle and Ton Ma Yom are must-haves for food. Reggae Roots Rock Bar is fun for a drink and Café 8.98 is excellent for coffee + baked goods.
We booked a Phi Phi Islands tour with Nang An Travel & Tour (฿800 a person, which included the National Park entry fee). We left our hotel at 8:30am, took a van to a restaurant by the beach, waited with a large group of tourists for 2 hours, got on another van, and then got on a speed boat. We saw Lohsamah Bay, Pileh Bay, Viking Cave, and Monkey Bay from the boat. We were able to spend some time on Maya Bay (famous from “The Beach”), eat lunch on Phi Phi Don Island and visit Bamboo Island, and then snorkel near Phi Phi Don. On the ride back to Ao Nang, we saw Poda Island, Chicken Island, and James Bond Island. We were dropped off near our hotel at 4:30pm.
One morning we decided to take a long-tail boat to the next beach over (Tonsai) for ฿100 a person. The boats are powered by a simple engine on the end of a long stick. I bet it was pretty comical to watch me wade in the ocean with my backpack to get in and off the boat.
I stayed at Tonsai Bay Resort ($25.49/night), which is right on Tonsai Beach. It’s a shame that the resort has likely wrecked some of the easygoing vibes and rainforest/beach landscape – but (selfishly) it’s really awesome having a clean place with good wifi right on the beach. Wifi is available 24 hours but there’s no electricity in the rooms from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM, from May 1, 2017 to October 31, 2017.
If you’re into rock climbing, I’ve been told this one of the best places in the world for it. Better to bring your own gear than rent ill-fitting over-worn climbing shoes here. Deep water soloing (DWS) seems quite popular.
You can travel from Tonsai to Railay three different ways:  long-tail boat (but you’ll have to wait for 7 others to fill the boat as it only leaves when it’s full),  during high tide walk a small, rocky trail, and  during low tide walk along the beach and get only a little wet.
Taking the long-tail boat from Tonsai to Ao Nang involved waiting for an hour because no one else was showing up to fill the boat, and the boat driver asking for ฿200 a person (double the original price) to complete the transaction. Yeah, whatever, dude, just get me out of here! I felt so helpless being stranded there with no other way to get to mainland Thailand.
Instead of taking the overnight bus back to Bangkok, we flew ($56/person on AirAsia). Any tour agent will sell you a van ride to Krabi Airport for ฿150 a person. Easy peasy, relaxing trip.