We will be flying out of Thailand from Krabi airport. We needed to make our way to Ao Nang via a longtail boat for our transfer to the Krabi airport. We would have skipped Ao Nang completely if we were able to catch a longtail from Railay for our very early morning flight from Krabi. Not sure why people elect to base themselves in Ao Nang other than it being an affordable departure point for many of the Krabi area highlights including Railay, Ko Hong, Ko Poda and Ko Gai. However, you can reach these areas being based in Railay Beach, so why not just stay in dreamy Railay?
One of the landmark events that I will always remember in Ao Nang is when Barbie finally broke down and folded like a cheap suit. Almost 60 days in Asia of eating assorted versions of rice and noodle dishes to the point of having noodles coming out of our asses, Barbie threw in the towel. Just when I was filming a video of the Ao Nang beach on my iPhone, I turned around and captured Barbie making a B-Line right into the Burger King door with not a single word uttered to me. She succumbed to the big Burger King sign that was calling out her name and she inhaled a Whopper and fries and washed it down with a coke for a quick fix.
Ao Nang is really just a tourist town and is Krabi’s most developed beach area but the town is really a big zippo. I knew this going in, so therefore, we elected to stay away from the busy town and plant ourselves into a really lush green tropical resort overlooking the famed Krabi limestone karsts and simply cool out for a day in Ban Sainai’s very awesome relaxed setting. It was a real good choice and great just hanging at the resort staring at the unreal scenery doing absolutely nothing and just sipping on fresh young coconuts.
We were able to cover a lot of ground in Thailand. Tourism has really exploded throughout the country over the last 20 years. Consequently, many parts of Thailand are now quite developed and the locals appear slightly jaded dealing with the influx of tourists. The friendly innocence of years passed is missing to some degree. In certain high traffic tourist areas where the pace of life is also way faster, you get the feeling you are being pulled from all angles. Prices for everything have risen with Thais hustling tourists for every buck they can extract from you. Touts in the tourist hubs are way to common, Baht is king and they want your Baht! The incredible deals are now just ok deals. Hey, I guess the most important thing is that you can still get your 1 hr. daily massage for $10 bucks. Good thing every other storefront is a massage parlor to help keep pricing in line.
The major tourist cities/towns are crowded and very built up. The major beach destinations are no longer the relaxed backpacker enclaves of years past. If you want true peace and serenity on one of many of the Thais islands, you need to search out for the less touristy islands ……which there are many if you do your homework. These ‘off the beaten path’ islands still retain the old style Thai island life. Also, be sure to time your visit during shoulder season.
In my opinion, Thailand has lost an element of its previous ‘wacky/trippy/foreign’ feeling edge it once possessed. I question if it is just because I am older and having seen it all.
“A storytellers job is to shed light” but this storyteller simply cannot explain in words what exactly was missing, but I felt it. Don’t get me wrong, Thailand is still an absolutely fantastic place to visit and remains one of my favs despite the fact that a certain something in Thailand has changed for BFD.
Our 30 day visas in Thailand have expired. The time flew by but we will return in a few months to visit places we were unable to visit on this initial stay, particularly the islands in the Gulf of Thailand.
It is now onto Cambodia, a country we are excited to visit as neither of us has been to. We are particularly looking forward to checking out Angkor Wat in Siem Reap.
BEACHES VISITED –
Ao Nang Beach – 4
LOOSE STOOLS INDEX- 7 Index jumped back up 2 notches as Big Doug was proactive and has been taking in some probiotic capsules. Things looking up and nothing squirting out.
THRU THE BINOCS –
I am having troubles talking negatively about Thailand as it was once my favorite country in the world. I have visited Thailand about a dozen times now and covered just about all the major cities/towns in addition to the many islands down south. I still love all the chaos and noise and smells of Bangkok, and it was great to return to that amazing sprawling mess of a city as it never gets old for me in Bangkok. However, Barbie has very mixed feelings about Thailand as she feels mass tourism has spoiled this once charming country. She feels that the ‘Land of Smiles’, is gone from the country.
I have to agree with her perspective as it is very difficult for me to give up Thailand as my favorite country status. After reflecting back on our month in Thailand, the following are my thoughts.
I kinda feel that Thailand now gives the impression of a tired and irritated nation and simply jaded by all the tourists. I really believe that as a viable tourist destination Thailand is basically shot in all but the remotest places of the country. Thirty million tourist arrivals a year made this happen.
If you go to any of Thailand’s popular tourist locations – Samui, Phuket, Phi Phi, Railay, Ko Lipe, Ko Tao, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and even parts of the Mae Hong Son area (Pai) – you’ll find crowds in abundance. Especially a rapid increase in the arrival numbers of the Chinese tour hordes infiltrating many Southeast Asian countries. They have demonstrated to me, to be loud and obnoxious and simply do not respect the travel destinations they visit.
Everywhere in Thailand, except for the most remote areas is packed full of tourists. The word has been out about Thailand, it’s no longer “off the beaten track” and is rapidly becoming an expensive, mainstream, conveyor belt tourist destination devoid of any real sense of adventure. It is my opinion that mainstream tourism in Thailand is about as artificial and touristy as one may find in any mainstream tourist location in the world. Regardless of where you go in Thailand, the formula is always the same; massage shops, beer bars, tattoo shops, 7 Elevens, hawker’s carts, trinket sellers, ripoff taxis, and westernized Thai food all lumped into a bunch of narrow, grubby little streets.