It seems like a very long time since I have posted a blog update, and as we are about to leave another area of Thailand I thought it was time for another. Krabi province has given me some of the best experiences of the trip so far, and most of them unplanned and unexpected.
Since my last blog entry I have eaten some of the best (and unusual) food of my life, been chased off, and fed wild monkeys, bought a perfectly broken watch off a market stall and stayed in the closest thing to a five star hotel I think we are going to get!
We left Samui and headed for Aonang. A small fishing town in Krabi province. Here we were surprised to find that the "hostel" we booked for about six quid a nite was actually a plush hotel! A hotel with room service (which, I want to make clear we did not use), air conditioning, a shower and bath, and a private balcony! We quickly arranged to stay for much longer than planned.
Aonang itself was made up mostly of a long golden beach, sea food resteraunts (where I got to eat shark, crab and baracuda for the first time) and market stalls. We spent nearly every day on the beach ... except one. On that day we got a boat to a different beach! Our last day on the beach was by far the best. At one end of the beach was a small wooden bridge that ran along for a while and then up into the cliffs. We had walked along for a bit and decided that the walk into the cliffs was a bit beyond us when we turned and started to wander back. Seconds later we were surrounded by monkeys. Maybe five at first but this quickly grew into a group of about fourty five to sixty.
Once they realised we had no food they were content to let us stay and watch them while they swang from the trees and dive bombed into the water below. Stretched out on the bridge itself and swam trying to catch fish in a little tidal river ajoining the sea. We must have stayed with them for nearly two hours bofore they got bored and chased us off. Or maybe they were just tired of being photographed.
After Aonang we moved down the road twenty minuits or so into Krabi town. The town itself has very little to offer other than being next to a huge river. We were walking along the river on our first day when we were approached (not in a dark and seedy kind of way) and offered a boat trip and tour of the river and mangroves for 200baaht (about four quid). This turned out to be an amazing two hour trip.
First stop was a small island in the middle of the river. Here, the paths were crossed with the tail lines of monitor lizards and bats could be heard in the caves around us. We went into two of these caves. The first has been used in the past for films, and the second was used in the second world war by Japanese soldiers sheltering after thier boat had been sunk.
From here we took the boat into the mangrove forrest that lined the banks of the river opposite Krabi town. This was hands down one of the eariest places I have ever been. Even in the middle of the day there was no sound. As we floated through, dodging overhanging mangrove branches you could not help imagine creeping and crawling things waiting for you just outside you're eye line.
Two more stops and first was the fish farm. Floating on the opposite side of the river to the mangroves was the fish farm. A series of 3-4 metre deep netted pools containing all sorts of fish. Red and White Snapper, huge bloody things that looked like sharks, puffer fish, blow fish, and many more besides. But our guide Jumanji (his name will become apparent) had saved the best for last. As we started back for where we started we cut the engine and let the baot idle along side the mongroves. He started calling and making a strange noises. And low and behold after no more the five mins a whole troop of monkeys arrives. From under his seat he produced a bag of fruit and we spent a brilliant half hour feeding the monkeys before we headed back. Jumanji told us he had been doing this, with or withour paying customers for the last seven years of hislife. He knew every monkey in that particular family and they knew full well he was bringing food with him. I really think that experience was close to being the best two hours I have spent in Thailand so far.
And that has been the last little bit of our journey. I think I have got down everything I wanted to. Oh, apart from lew toe punting a dog turd in open toed flip flops. That was a personal highlite that I am not sure will make it into his own blog! HA!
Our last two weeks in Thailand have begun. Tomorrow we move to Phuket (poo-get) before heading back to Bangkok and a flight to Ho Chi Mihn City. Will update you all soon.