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Krabi, Thailand
Saturday, June 15, 2013

Wow blog 50!


We only had a couple days in Krabi before our slow descent South to Penang Malaysia.

Day 1

Unfortunately day 1 was a write off for both of us as we were both recovering from a mysterious 48 hour bug. Maybe it was something to do with saying goodbye to Phuket, maybe it was the absence of Chang for 4 days or maybe (very likely) it was something we ate. Either way it was an unpleasant 48 hours in which we had to endure 2 rough sea crossings! But we can't complain as to date apart from the fever we both had way back on the Trans-Siberian this is the first few days we have lost to illness. Hopefully as we pack our bags and depart Thailand we will leave the Bangkok Belly behind.

Day 2

As we had to cram 2 days into 1 instead of doing a self-tour we opted for an organised tour which took in all 3 things we planned to see and do whilst in Krabi.

We were duly picked up at 9:30 sharp. Shortly after leaving Krabi and just after our guide introduced himself he proudly told us we would be finished by 15:30, as if he was doing us a favour! After all who would we want to be sightseeing when they are on holiday anyway? We thought this was a little strange as when we bought the tour we were told we wouldn't be back until 17:30 but we didn't think anything more of it at the time.

When we arrived at the Hot Spring Waterfall we realised we have been before. A strange situation as neither of us remembered our previous visit until we arrived at the car park, and both thought we had visited a Hot Spring on Phuket island a couple of years ago when we hired a car during one of our visits to Thailand. The waterfall wasn't as hot as we remembered, probably something to do with it being monsoon season and the stupendous amount of rain we have had over the last few days, but it was still surreal sitting in a warm water river being fed by a steaming waterfall.

As we got off the bus we were told by our friendly guide strictly 40 minutes no more. The guide didn't explain 40 minutes was from the moment your backside left the seat cushion on the minibus until he expected it to touch down again. It had to include the walk to the waterfall, getting changed and the walk back. No sooner had 30 minutes gone he was chasing us to get out of the water and head to the bus.

Next stop was Emerald Pool and it was the same drill.

Lunch was no different and he clearly wasn't impressed with those of us who chose to get changed out of our wet swimwear before eating, how dare we waste his valuable time.

We were then pushed back on the bus for the last stop at Tiger Cave Temple. Tiger Temple is spilt over 2 parts some at ground level and the rest perched at the top of a karst mountain an approx. 1,200 step climb. Only when we got off the bus were we told we could only view the stuff at ground level as we only have 1 hour and need to be back in Krabi at 15:30. When we commented but we were 'sold the tour on the understanding we could go to the top' he was not too pleased and got on the phone to the office. His response was laughable:

Guide 'You can go to the top'
Us 'How long does it take?'
Guide '1 hour 30 minutes'
Us 'How long do we have'
Guide '1 hour.... so maybe you can't go then'

We never did get to the top and if we had done we're pretty sure the minibus would have left without us. But as the guide had offered, he and his beloved tour company felt it was our choice we didn't go, and we should take it up with the agent we booked it through, which we duly did.

The agent agreed she mis-sold us the tour, she couldn't really do anything else as we were sitting at her desk just gone 15:30 when she thought we wouldn't be back till 17:30! However she couldn't refund us anything as the tour company refused point blank to refund her. We didn't want much just something to show some acknowledgment that they were at fault.

We can laugh about it now but it was a stark reminder that we must get back to planning our days down to the tiniest detail. Self-organised tours might take much longer to plan but:

a) They usually cost less
b) You get to do what you want to do and not what the guide or tour company wants you to do
c) You can escape singing tour guides!
d) We have nobody else to blame but ourselves when anything goes wrong
e) Planning gives you the background of the day. Sometimes it can almost be surreal when you actually see it almost like de ja vu

Next stop Hat Yai and then its back on the train. Hopefully our last train journey in the land of smiles will be better than the others we have experienced.

Ta Ta for now

Team Chip

Hotel Review

We stayed at the Gafiyah Guesthouse in a double private after reading some fantastic reviews on hostelbookers. We were not disappointed, value for money Gafiyah is hard to beat anywhere we have stayed so far and we doubt you would get better value for money anywhere in Krabi. The room was small but amazingly clean and looked brand new. It was well appointed with air con, fridge, TV and a small wet room all for just over £10 per night. The only niggles would be the internet reception on the top floor was quite poor as the router was on the 3rd floor. Also we recommend you try and get a room at the front of the Guesthouse as the roosters at the rear make one hell of a noise at sunrise. A great budget stay which we would definitely recommend to other travellers.


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