It’s been almost 1 month since my departure from Australia, buttttt I thought it was about time I went back to the beginning of the adventure and tell you all about Bangkok & Krabi, Thailand.
The morning I got to the airport it was the first time I actually opened my itinerary and read it through for the first time…:-) Arranging sights and activities I would normally arrange for my clients prior to their arrival, but of course I’m not that organized myself, someone else needs to do it for me.
Selling travel for a living often leaves you with pre conceived ideas about travel destinations, long before you ever have a chance to visit.
You hear stories from clients and read brochures, but nothing can ever compare to actually visiting the country, town or city for real.
While Bangkok’s retro markets are well known, is also has much longer -standing retro eateries – really old school Thai places that offer plenty of charm and atmosphere, not to mention some of the most delicious food in the city. This is where you find the smaller streets, with hidden sights to be seen.
Most visitors to Bangkok have the ground Palace at the top of the must-see list, and for a good reason, given that it is the Bangkok’s most spectacular attraction. It’s easy to spend two or three hours here checking out Wat Phra Kaew, better known as the Temple if the Emerald Buddha and you’re bound to work up an appetite.
Arriving in Bangkok was a blow out and nothing like the image I had in my head, as I’ve been there several times before.
From what I’d knew (and how I’d been selling the destination for YEARS) was that it was a big city and massively touristy than other popular Thai travel hot spots. Not a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle and explore some of the hidden jems. The one thing I didn’t realize is that Although Bangkok has its own Chinatown, Chinese influence is much more pervasive and subtle throughout the city. Having acquired a certain degree of success in life, the Chinese are known to give priority to food, convinced that good eating is a solid part of happiness in life.
As for eating and drinking Bangkok has plenty of choices. I generally try to avoid the travel guide recommended places and go on instinct, looking for restaurants that are busy with tourists and locals alike (usually a sign that the food is good). A cleanish bathroom is always nice too (not always available in Asia!). There was that particularly eatery stood out for me in Bangkok , Butttt if it’s a good western style coffee you’re after we found the perfect place! NOT!! Amazing Thai coffee.
Taken a little by surprise, but impressed none the less, I was keen to explore. This is where you find the smaller streets, with hidden sights to be seen.
A morning visit to the local market was certainly an eye opener, with the meat section particularly turning my stomach, however the fragrant herbs and glimpse at local life made it all worthwhile. Everywhere you turn there is a temple to visit, a cooking class to attend or a tour operator trying to tempt you with a ‘special morning discount’ or assurance that their tour was the best in town.
We stayed at Well Hotel Bangkok. The location was perfect, especially if you prefer to explore on foot. The proximity to the old town and the night markets means it’s the perfect base if you’re looking for something with all the comforts of home, that won’t leave your wallet empty.
Krabi – Fascination of a city braced by water
After arriving from the airport a little hot and sweaty from the Thai heat & humidity, the lobby provided a great first impression. Bright, modern, clean & most importantly air conditioned – Dusit Thani Krabi Beach Resort.
I’d also read and heard it was an island enriched with tradition and surrounded by mountains and ancient hill tribes. So, combine all this and I’d imagined green hills & small cobblestone streets, less developed than Thailand’s other cities. Wrong!
While I was right about the green hills and the traditional elements (it is wayyyy bigger than I thought, and a lot more developed. Cafes, restaurants, tour operators, guest houses and hotels line the streets, while countless tourists & backpackers explore on foot, scooter & tuk tuk.
We wanted a glimpse of the traditional way of life, so we visited Ko Klang.
Green rice paddies surround the village and bamboo huts line the dirt roads, with all the women selling their wares.
While it was great to see and interact with the locals and the many children playing along the way, I felt a little strange wandering around their village and homes.
It wasn’t touristy at all, and I felt how genuine it was, but as we’d not had a lot of time to look into the different villages available to visit, we took it for face value and it provided an insight into a very different way of life and an ancient tradition that is definitely worth a visit.
With only 2 full days to spend in Krabi, we were a little pressed for time and couldn’t do it all, but we explored the night markets with row upon row of bright street stalls, with sellers calling for you to purchase their food, home wares or fisherman’s pants (One of those fashion purchases you make on holidays, thinking ‘oh yeah, I’ll definitely wear these at home’, but then realize they should have stayed exactly where you found them…. On holidays!)
Krabi is the kind of town that you could easily wake up in one morning, to find that it’s been a week or two or three, but with a rough schedule to keep it was time to keep moving.
I’d definitely recommend a visit to Krabi, as it certainly does have charm to it, and delivers on everything the brochures promise.