Monday, March 4, 2013

Getting Lost in Krabi Town

As I mentioned last week, we finally reached Krabi on Feb 28th.  For the past few days, my parents and I have been staying at the Sheraton which is actually located along Klong Muang beach about 30 minutes from the downtown city center of Krabi.

The hotel offered a shuttle to downtown Krabi Town for 200 THB/person ($7 USD) one way every few hours at 11AM, 2PM and 5PM (it would have been nice if it were free though).  Given we had just spent the past week doing absolutely nothing, I was anxious to get out there and see some activity so we booked seats on the 5PM shuttle.

On the drive over, we saw some other tourists/locals going to Krabi Town as well (seen here).  Apparently, they really wanted to see the city even more than I did.

The town itself didn't look like any of the 3 types I saw in Thailand so far (Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Ko Samui).  My father said it reminded him more of Vietnam but with wider streets, more cars and less motor scooters.

We got dropped off at an intersection (Point A on the map below) at around 5:30PM.  We had no idea where we were going and the Thai SIM card data package on  my mother's iPhone ran out conveniently as we tried to pull up Google Maps.  Undaunted, my father just picked a direction at random and continued walking arrogantly confidently as if he was headed somewhere important.

My mother, however, was a bit more conscious of her surroundings - even if she was much less familiar with Southeast Asian city planning. She noticed the gradual decline of commercial retail shops and figured out that we were going 100% the wrong way (Point B on the map).

She went into one of the shops we passed and confirmed that the markets/walking street area was the other direction, so we pulled a U and went the other way.

We walked back down the main street and made a left turn down a street that seemed to have more active pedestrian traffic.  Eventually, we reached the Day Market - where they sold fruit, vegetable and food (Point C on the map) and decided to walk around and look at some of the goods.  We had just eaten but my mother picked up some fruit for a snack as we continued walking.

From the street we were walking on, you could see the river at the far end. Despite not seeing any interesting buildings or stores in that direction, my father was curious what the river view looked like so he suggested we head over that way.

This time, however, his instincts were spot on. There was a basic stone promenade along the river and a beautiful view of some limestone mountains on the other side just as the sun started to set over the horizon.

We spent a few moments there enjoying the view and eating the fruit my mother purchased. I downed a cup of orange jelly that we got at 7-11 earlier and was good to go.

We decided to walk along the river but heading south. There seemed to be a lot more guest houses (hostels), coffee shops, tour shops and bars so it seemed like we were going in the right direction (closer to the unofficial "backpacker district").

Then we reached a street heading further down towards the river with some lights at the far end.  Always being attracted to water and lights, I pushed my parents to head that way. The frequency of bars started to increase exponentially and it was about 6:30PM now, so my father started to salivate at the thought of sitting down somewhere with an ice cold beer and a fan in the still 90 degree humid heat. But he pushed on until we reached those mysterious lights.

Those lights turned out to be the Krabi Night Market (Point D on the map) where stalls were hawking all sorts of interesting foods like fried meat on sticks, hot noodle soups, fried rice and noodles. You name it, they had it.

They stalls lined the outside of the market with small covered tables along the inside with those infamous little plastic chairs.

Unlike Vietnam, though, these tables and chairs were adult sized which meant that I'd wouldn't be able to join my parents at the dinner table. Sucks being a kid sometimes.

As we looked around, my mother said she wanted to try something for fun. She went for the "expensive" 10 THB ($0.67 USD) meat on a stick - probably because they looked so colorful.

The man said with was chicken, but my mother said it was good, but tasted like pork. My father thought it was because he used the same oil to cook everything on a stick.  I took a pass, saving my appetite for something better...

As it got closer to 7:00PM, we got hungrier.  My parents walked along the stalls until they found a BBQ stand at the far end of the market where the meat flavored smoke wafted through the air like a siren's song to my father's stomach.

My mother LOVES grilled food, so once my father confirmed they had cheap beer (70 THB for a large Singha beer), we all sat down at a table and started with the baby wipes and antibacterial gel.

We ordered a grilled fish to share and some steamed rice.  The fish was super fresh (because all the meat slipped off the bones and was tough to grab with your fork) and most importantly, delicious.  It came out very crispy with 2 great side sauces (spicy and really spicy). And best of all, you won't believe how much the meal cost us.  Only 240 THB (about $8 USD) for everything!  I like when my parents save money, because it means more toys and candy for me!

We finished our meal and it was getting close to 8PM.  We decided to make our way back.  We saw a few cool looking hostels and massage places along a different street so we started to head up until the road started to turn in the wrong direction so we turned around (Point E on the map) and went back the road we came.

But then we got distracted by more lights and turned left onto a side street.  As it turned out, we had just found the other Krabi Night Market (Point F on the map) where they were selling fake sunglasses, sandals, t-shirts, and other junk. We made our way through the crowded aisles and emerged on the other side to the main road. Now that we were oriented, we knew we had some time to stop at the grocery store and pick up some more diapers for me.

We made it back to the pickup point (Point G) at around 8:30PM, thirty minutes before our scheduled pickup time by the hotel shuttle. We saw some other hotel guests on our shuttle sitting at the nearby coffee shop so we went inside to wait together.  By 8:45PM, everyone was there so we got into the van and went back home for the night.

View Larger Map

No comments:

Post a Comment