Ao Nang, Krabi is a charming little town at night, looking more like a giant tourist office/shopping strip during the day. It would be even more charming if the Thai Tourism Bureau would ease up on the German advertising budget.
The food in Thailand is stunning, we're yet to have a meal where a plate of food costs over $4AUD and isn't delicious. Ao Nang is a tourist town, so once we get into the north of the country and away from the crowds things are certain to get cheaper.
One new taste sensation we've found is the pancakes (roti's) that are sold by the roadside food stalls. For 15 Baht ($0.60c) you get a scrumptious pancake dessert that can be filled or topped with such delights as nutella, bananas, honey, chocolate, nuts, coconut or a mixture of these and many other options. Made in front of your eyes the texture is not unlike Baklava (greek dessert) but the taste is indeed heavenly.
One night we ate dinner at the local night market. It was only 300m or so from our resort, and was so charming with the lights strung up and all the tables set out in the middle with the food stalls surrounding them. For dinner we had a noodle soup with chicken and vegetables, for 50Baht - the equivalent of about $2 AUD. It wasn't a huge meal, but left room for a lovely ice-cream to finish the meal off. Bliss.
On our second day we jumped in a local fishing boat that has been converted to a tourist mover (longtail) and headed over to Rai Ley beach. Rai Ley has four or five luxury resorts and can only be accessed by longtail boat as it has no roads in or out. The local longtails aren't the most stable boats in the world but the local Thai boatmen handle them deftly.
You could have hours of fun watching the tourists clamber in and out of these things on a little metal stepladder which is hung over the side. As people jump on the stepladder the whole boat tilts towards the water, causing the tourists on board to shriek until the boat rights itself and everyone is on board. The easiest way in and out was to just quickly jump over the side, unfortunately Andy isn't as cat-like as he thinks and managed to whack his foot while dismounting - and now he's hobbling around with a swollen toe.
Rai Ley (or Railay) is itself quite a small beach (as NZ or Aus standards go) but has at both ends large limestone cliffs - or karts - that command your attention. If you try to block out the other tourists you can imagine the cliffs combined with the pure emerald water being close to paradise itself.
We found a nice little cafe along the beach and stayed out of the hot sun. Something that most people didn't adhere to, as we saw many sunburnt backs on our boat trip back to Ao Nang. I think some of the Europeans haven't had it drummed into them just how bad it is to be sunburnt, unlike us Antipodeans.
Coming back in the boat from Rai Ley we saw a free-climber hanging from one of the outcrops of the large cliffs. It would be supreme climbing around here, but can't help but wonder how stable those cliffs really are.
As ever, Sammy was happy to get her little legs back onto land and it was back to the hotel via the DVD shop where we bought some new releases to keep our movie-viewing up to date.
That night we ate dinner at a beach front restaurant and watched the beautiful sunset. The sun was a ball of fiery red as it dipped below the mountains across the sea. Longtail boats drifted along the beach and gave our photos the perfect foreground object. Perhaps they just do this to make tourist's photos look extra special, but really they are laying out nets, readying for the next day's catch. The fish and seafood on display here is extraordinary. Brightly skinned fish and giant prawns that can be cooked any way you wish.
Singha is the Beer of Thailand - which makes me curious as to why Tiger is the Beer of Singapore - shouldn't it be the other way around? Either way, both brews are thirst quenching and highly agreeable after a hard day in the sun. Off to Phuket tomorrow.
Landing in Krabi airport was a bit of a shock after the tidiness of Singapore, we jumped in a cab from the airport and were greeted with the sights of entire families on scooters and a lot of people lounging around in the early evening heat. We were both pretty quiet on the ride in as we knew that the trip had started in earnest, no more friends and family for us to rely on. On a more positive note however, Krabi signalled the start of our proper honeymoon - reason to celebrate!