We left Ko Tao on our overland journey to the Andaman Coast, the west coast of Thailand. Our destination was Railay Beach, but we found that it was a stretch to make there in one day. Krabi town is the jumping off point for Railay, so it made sense to spend a night there.
Of course, getting there required several modes of conveyance, as follows:
- Taxi (translation: sitting in the back of a pickup truck) to the pier. Navigate (with a few elbows) your way to the ticket counter to get on the ferry that leaves in less than 15 minutes.
- Ferry to Surrat Thani, after a stop to change ferried at Ko Phanyang.
- Bus to Surrat Thani town (about 30 min from pier), where you are taken to the office to change buses.
- Taxi (translation: cramming 15 people into the back of a pickup truck that should seat eight at the most. See photo) to another office five minutes away to wait 45 minutes for another bus. Note: don’t throw away any part of your ticket or remove your sticker until journey’s end.
- Bus to Krabi Town bus station in the middle of nowhere.
- Taxi (yep, another truck) to the hotel after calling said hotel to get directions as the taxi driver doesn’t know where it is.
It really wasn’t that bad–I met nice French speaking couple from Italy on the ferry, Brian made friends with a large Swiss on the bus and our hotelier at the Forum House Hotel was fabulous. Our room was large and clean and he couldn’t have been nicer.
We skipped the night markets in Krabi, though they’re supposed to be great, as it had been quite a long day. However, I made it to the Maharajah Market in the morning.
I love markets, especially markets that are really utilized by the locals, because it provides me a socially acceptable way to peek into the lives whose folks who live in town. The Maharajah Market greeted me with a low drone of conversation and the unmistakable waft that indicated plenty of seafood was available.
I wandered the aisles, wondering at some prickly red fruit that looked like it belonged to a cactus–snake fruit (ragam), I was informed–part of the salacca family: the fruit was tart and juicy, covering a large pod. A jovial lady tempted me with a coconut and corn waffle hot from the griddle; the exterior was crisp but the center was soft and sweet, the corn kernels added the perfect amount of extra texture.
The seafood selection seemed as if the entire contents of the Andaman Sea had been deposited in the market. Conches, mussels, barracuda, red snapper, small perch-like fish, crabs, squid, octopus, shark…it was all for sale on the stainless steel tables.
Though not a large market by Chatuchak standards, I easily occupied an hour perusing the aisles. I was one of only a few farangs in the market, but I didn’t draw any attention. I loved the people shopping and working the stalls: the lady with the oversized glasses and prominent portrait of the king at her vegetable stall; the grandmothers curled up behind their vegetables, gossiping; the men weaving small garlands of marigolds and jasmine.
It was a great way to start off the day. I can also say that I truly left my mark on Krabi–I was so entranced with all that I had seen (and smelt) that I wasn’t paying attention when I was walking back to the hotel…and I walked straight into a patch of fresh cement.
Luckily, the men fixing the sidewalk were understanding…or perhaps they just enjoyed the look on my face and stammered apologies. In any case, I don’t think it’s a permanent mark!
Our wonderful host at Forum House Hotel gave us a ride to the pier to catch a long tail to Railay. On to the next sunset!
Want to see some pictures from the Travelmeister’s “Funny Photo Friday“? Check it out!