Little did I know that it was the Lai Kratong festival in Thailand when I decided to travel to Krabi last November. I spent two nights in Ao Nang and another two in Krabi Town. The trip was rather last minute and I didn’t have much time to research or have a proper plan in hand except to laze around, EAT and go for Massages!

And that’s pretty much what I did in Krabi.

Day 1 – Ao Nang

I took the first flight out from KL to reach Krabi at 7.30am (local time) – it was a 1.5 hour flight and Krabi is one hour behind KL. Since I had time to spare and was in no hurry, I decided to take the airport shuttle to Ao Nang. The wait for shuttle didn’t take that long, 10 minutes at most, and we didn’t even have to wait for the bus to be full.

Tickets for the airport shuttle are sold inside the airport, just before the exit. The transfer to Ao Nang would cost you THB150 while the transfer to Krabi town would cost THB90. There will be someone waiting for you after the exit to take down the name of your hotel and the shuttle would take you directly to your hotel! So don’t worry, the bus driver will call out your hotel name whenever he makes a stop; just try not to fall asleep.

Alternatively, you may also choose to take the airport taxi which would cost you THB600 to get to Ao Nang, or THB500 to Krabi town.

The 45 minute bus ride was quite pleasant.

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Airport shuttle to Ao Nang.

I stayed at Haleeva Sunshine Hotel which is located along the main road heading towards Ao Nang beach on Moo 2 district. A slow walk to Ao Nang beach would take about 15 minutes and the sound of the mosque nearby didn’t bother me at all. The only thing that did bother me by the slightest was the fact that my room was on the fourth floor and that there were no elevators. Most hotels in Ao Nang and Krabi town have no elevators anyway so just be mindful of this when making your reservations.

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Haleeva Sunshine Hotel, Ao Nang (Moo 2)
Haleeva Sunshine Hotel, Ao Nang (Moo 2)

The room is clean, equipped with a safe deposit box, a hairdryer and a mini refrigerator with 2 complimentary water bottles daily. Hot showers are available and wifi in the room is strong.

Swimming pool at Haleeva Sunshine Hotel, Ao Nang (Moo 2)

The pool opens from 8am – 6pm daily. Pool is clean too; bring your own towel if you’re planning to use the pool.

The first thing I wanted to do after checking in was to walk to Ao Nang beach and check out my surroundings.

Ao Nang Beach

After walking along Ao Nang beach, I went for a massage at a place called AttA Rak on my way back to the hotel (I will write about my massage experiences in Krabi separately).

At about 5pm you will see stalls being set up near the hotel right up to the mosque area selling food, clothes and souvenirs.

Mosque in Ao Nang.

The mosque is just 1 – 2 minutes away from Haleeva Sunshine hotel (the stalls can be seen in the picture above).

At night I took a stroll back to Ao Nang beach to check out the night scene and hunted for food but I couldn’t decide what to eat and ended up buying food from a stall that was set up right in front of my hotel.

Food stalls, Ao Nang.
Pancake with egg, sugar and honey (basically roti telur with sugar and honey on top) for THB30 and seafood pad thai for THB60.

Day 2 – Ao Nang

After doing some research the night before I decided to go for Hong Islands. Went to Ao Nang pier to take the longtail boat to Hong Islands but was told that the wait could be long as the last boat just left and there was no one else but me! So I walked to the other side of the beach towards Nopparat Thara beach. There were more shops and souvenirs on this side of the beach.

Ao Nang Beach

I spent the evening at the swimming pool in Haleeva Sunshine. It was peaceful and relaxing and I didn’t mind missing Hong Islands at all.

Later that evening I walked on the other side of the hotel, towards the mosque and had my first Thai herbal compressed massage at Radarom Spa. The massage cost me THB750 for 1.5 hour and I really enjoyed it! Totally worth it, I would definitely come here again.

On my second night I decided to walk along Nopparat Thara beach to check out the night scene over on that side. There are a lot more stalls and eatery on that side of the beach but I ended up buying myself a takeway mocktail for THB100 near the last fisherman restaurant on Ao Nang and another pancake for dinner; this time banana honey pancake for THB30.

Cocktail takeaways (THB100) on Ao Nang beach

Day 3 – Krabi Town

Its day 3 and I’m spending my next two nights in Krabi town.

I took a tuktuk right outside Haleeva Sunshine and although the tuktuk only costs me THB60, the motorbike ride from where I was dropped off to my hotel in Krabi town costs THB70! No idea why I was dropped off mid way and passed on to another guy on a bike who charged me THB70. The ride to my hotel took no more than 5 minutes but I had to take it as I needed some time to look out for packages to the Emerald pool and hot spring!

Here’s where I stayed in Krabi Town – Apo Hotel, opposite the river on Uttarakit road.

Cozy interior at Apo Hotel
Superior room, Apo Hotel
Superior room, Apo Hotel

Apo Hotel is conveniently located; near the weekend night market at Maharat Soi  (behind Vogue Department store), Chao Fah pier (many food stalls here at night), fruit market, convenient stores, motorbike rentals, tour agencies and the airport shuttle stops right in front of the hotel. The hotel is very clean and just like Haleeva Sunshine in Ao Nang, they are quick to attend to your needs. They were very quick to carry my bags for me too, plus point!

Check-in is strictly at 2pm so I took a walk around the area and was out to look for day tours to the Emerald pool and hot spring!

An uphill walk along Uttarakit road in search of day tours

It was getting close to 9am and it was too late to join any of the tours; they were either full or had already left! That means I’m free for the day – more lazing around, food and massage!

Interesting traffic lights and street lights located near Vogue Department store

For breakfast – duck rice at a halal restaurant on Maharaj Road Soi 10, next to May and Mark’s House.

Duck rice ~THB69, not bad.
Condiments – Chili is good, not crazy spicy.

The fruit market was still closed at 10 am so I went for a massage just behind Apo Hotel, less than 1 minute away.

First Lady, less than 1 minute away from Apo Hotel

Later that evening I noticed that the road opposite the hotel was closed and it was then that I found out about Lai Kratong festival! It was the eve of Lai Kratong and there was a mini fun fair along the river with food stalls set up!

Photos from the night market and Chao Fah pier are grouped under “Krabi – Food for my tummy” but here is what we brought back to our room for supper.

Clockwise from top – pineapple (THB20), fried chicken (THB40 – I prefer the spicy flavoured chicken), sticky mango (THB40), rice noodles (THB40), fishball salad (THB30 – this was one of my favourite dish).

Day 4 – Krabi Town

I finally get to go to the Emerald pool and hot spring today!

The rental for a motorcycle cost us THB200/day (excluding fuel). Please make sure you check the condition of the motorcycle; we had a tyre puncture just 1 km before reaching Emerald pool!

Lucky for us there was a workshop nearby.
The repair cost us THB170 but we managed to get a refund on this.

It is also useful to know the local word for Emerald Pool (Sra Morakot), also referred to as Crystal Pool and have pictures of where you intend to go on your mobile. We missed a turn at one of the junctions and lost our way – ended up going 15km off course.

Emerald Pool, 50 – 60km from Krabi Town (entrance fee THB200)
Emerald Pool, 50 – 60km from Krabi Town (entrance fee THB200)
Blue pool, just 800 meters from Emerald pool (swimming is prohibited)

We also went to the hot spring nearby.

Hot Spring (entrance fee THB90 + THB5 for parking).

We got back to Apo Hotel at almost 7pm and headed back out to watch the Lai Kratong celebration.

Lai Kratong festival in Krabi.

Lai or loy in thai means to float while Kratong refers to a floating object with decoration of banana leaves, candles and incense sticks such as shown below.

We saw variations of these – some with cake and buns instead of leaves

It was also the supermoon phenomenon on this night, which was supposed to be the moon’s closest encounter with earth in almost 70 years. The night was colourful with music and performances. Families and loved ones gathered to send hopeful wishes down the river.

It was a lovely way to end my trip to Krabi, especially with my better half around (he flew in on my first night in Krabi Town to surprise me).

Thai Massages in Krabi

Krabi – Food for my tummy