Date: Dec 18th, 2009
I woke up at around 8am, headed out for breakfast and went back to JungCeylon at around 10am. I went back to the camera store I had picked up my Slik F630 tripod and asked them if they had the part which had fallen off the night before. They checked their store room and they didn’t have it. To get a new part, they would have had to order it and it would cost me 300 baht (!) just for that screw!
I pleaded with the salesman I dealt with yesterday if he could give me the part from the unit they had display. I know it was a long shot and not right of me to ask for it but I was desperate. After half-an-hour or so of pleading, he actually gave me the part from the display unit and I handed him the 300 baht. I was really grateful to him — but I just hope he didn’t get into any trouble because of it.
As it was already past 11am, I dashed back to my room, collected my bags, checked out of my hotel and walked towards Beach Road where I boarded a local bus heading to Phuket bus terminal. I had already wasted precious day time and wanted to be in Ao Nang before sunset.
I bought a ticket to Krabi which is where one needs to disembark first before heading to Ao Nang. The ticket cost 115 baht (Rs. 160) for a regular A/C bus. The journey would take two and half hours but I was hoping to get there at least by 4:30pm.
The bus set off at around 1:30pm and slooowly made its way out of Phuket town (which really is worlds apart from the Patong area).
Phang Nga was on my on tour itinerary as well — mostly for the James Bond Island (you can read about it here) but I was starting to get worried about if I would be able to see it all in the time I now had in Ao Nang.
I got down at Krabi bus terminal and was approached by a travel agent who asked me the usual barrage of questions: “where you go?,” “you have room?,” “you need tour?” etc. Since I really wasn’t in the mood, I caved in, got a room booked and bought a boat tour to Koh Phi Phi from the agent. He then led me to the pick up taxi which was heading to Ao Nang.
As I sat inside and waited for the driver, I felt glum. I kept thinking about all the places I had planned on seeing and what I wanted to do in Krabi: Phang Nga bay, Wat Tham Suea (Tiger Cave Temple, where you have to climb up 1,200 steps and they say you get one heck of a view of the Andaman sea on one side and the hills on the other), Phi Phi islands, rock-climbing in Railay, kayaking to Pranang Cave Beach…
And now I had just one full day in Krabi province — and there was no way I could do it all.
Finally arriving at Ao Nang
It took nearly half-an-hour for the taxi driver to leave the Krabi bus terminal as they normally wait for a few more passengers to fill up the taxi before it sets off. It then sloooowly made it’s way through Krabi town to pick up some more passengers before finally shifting gears and speeding up. I would definitely not recommend taking a pick up taxi like this.
It was past 7pm when I finally reached Ao Nang (its supposed to just take 30 minutes). My hotel was Ao Nang Grand Inn, opposite the McDonalds at Ao Nang and a 5min walk from the beach. The room I got was supposed to be an A/C room but the A/C wasn’t working. I got a make-shift fan instead and the two beds were apart from each other. I had asked the agent for a single room but for 600 baht (Rs. 830), this wasn’t a bad deal. The agent at the bus terminal told me this was the cheapest room available but as you’ll read in the next post — it wasn’t 🙂
Anyway, I was only going to be in the room for a few hours. I had to check out early in the morning itself (12 noon is the standard check out time) because the Phi Phi islands boat ride was going to be a full day tour.
After freshening up, I walked down to the beach side road and checked out whatever Ao Nang had to offer.
Ao Nang is a quaint little town, and a lot less noisy compared to Phuket. I would suggest Ao Nang over Phuket to any honeymooner or anyone looking for a quieter, less crowded town to base yourself to see the tourist sights South Thailand is famous for. In fact, they are closer from Ao Nang.
Just because it’s small, doesn’t mean you’ll have a tough time with shopping and other services. Ao Nang has enough ATMs, foreign exchange centers, fast food chains and other essential services tourists need. There are enough bars to service the crowd seeking them and a few night clubs. But if you did your research, you’ll know Ao Nang isn’t a place famous for a night life, compared to say, the likes of Phuket or Pattaya.
Other posts in this series: