Leaving Ko Lanta, we were destined for Ao Nang, Krabi; a three-hour drive back up the Phang-Nga Bay. The journey went fairly quickly (especially for Tessa who had a sleep) and we arrived into Krabi town slightly ahead of schedule (Plan). We stopped at an unspecified location where, it seemed, we’d transfer to another minibus for our transfer to Ao Nang, just south of Krabi town. There was just one problem; it was absolutely bucketing it down with rain (es hat in Strömen geregnet). There were eight of us in the minibus and six of us were going to Ao Nang so we assumed (etw annehmen/ davon ausgehen) we wouldn’t have to brave the rain. Why would they transfer six people from one minibus to another when they could just transfer two people who were going to a different destination. Just when will we learn? This is Thailand and logic does not apply!
“Ao Nang. Ao Nang”, the man who was apparently organising things shouted into the open bus door after about 20 minutes waiting. “Where do we go?”, I asked. He pointed at the bus parked directly behind ours. So we stepped out and ran to the back of our bus to retrieve our bags and then ran to the new bus to deposit our bags into the back of that one. That whole process took maybe 20 seconds but we both ended up looking like we’d had a bucket of water thrown over us. The best part of the story is that five minutes before our bus change, the torrential rain had abated (nachlassen) just enough that we wouldn’t get drenched (durchnässt) just walking outside. Obviously, it would have been much too simple for us to change buses at that time. Better to wait until the rain starts again!
Once we and everyone else were on the new bus, our prior predictions proved correct. Of the eight people now sat in this minibus, six of us had been sat in the minibus parked just in front where we’d come from! The two new additions were Alex and Simon from Karlsruhe, Germany who, it turned out, would be staying at the same place as us in Ao Nang; Pop-In Hostel. In fact, they’d be our new dorm buddies too!
We arrived at Pop-In Hostel with the rain still pouring but by the time we had checked in and settled into our room, it had stopped enough for us to have a walk around town. Ao Nang is quite touristy with very neat and tidy pavements (Bürgersteig) (an unusual sight in Thailand!) and a large amount of restaurants and bars along the main street down to the beach.
When we booked our stay at Pop-In, we were quite intrigued (verführt) by the offer of a free BBQ every night so we were sure to be around for 7:30pm. The vouchers we had said “two free kebabs” each which we assumed would be the turd-looking variety you get in the frozen section at the supermarket. We were, therefore, thoroughly impressed when the kebabs turned out to be proper homemade skewers (Spieß) with large bits of chicken, pepper (Paprika) and sweet potato! If you fancied a more vegetarian option then there was full corn-on-the-cob (Mais am Spieß) available too which Tessa was very excited about. After tucking into our pair of treats, we grabbed a drink with Alex, Simon and two more new friends; Caroline from Paris and Annika from Germany. As we chatted away over a Chang or two, the lady from the BBQ came round with a very full tray of leftover skewers so we ended up with an extra one each – bonanza!
Our bellies full, we decided to head out to a bar for a couple more drinks but on the strict instructions that Alex and Simon had to be up at 7am to do a rock-climbing course in nearby Railay Beach. As we wandered down the street, we heard a band playing and eventually saw that the tunes were coming from Boogie Bar which we’d heard good things about from our friend Trip Advisor.
Managing to grab a table right next to the band, we were treated to a whole array of hits from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Guns n Roses to Coldplay, Johnny Cash, AC/DC and more. And, to be honest, they weren’t half bad either! As the clock ticked round past midnight, Alex and Simon said they had to head back so we all decided to call it a night on the proviso that we’d have a proper session the next night (Saturday)!
Next day, we decided to take a long tail boat over to Railay Beach and have a look around. Railay has no roads leading to it and so can only be reached via boat. We paid our 200 baht each (5€) and were whisked via pick-up truck to the jetty (Anlegestelle) around the back of Ao Nang town from where we sailed round to the main beach and across to Railay (which is up the coast to the west of Ao Nang).
Railay itself has three main beaches, two of which are lined with very expensive looking resorts looking out to the beautiful white sandy beach. The non-built upon beach is called Phra Nang Beach and features the Princess Cave at one end, inside a cliff face. Local fishermen believe that a mystical sea princess once lived in the cave and they bring offerings in the hope that she will help them secure a bigger catch. Their ‘offerings’ are, however, a little odd. Gigantic. Wooden. Penises. Hundreds of them, some over a metre high stand erect all over the cave (and another nearby, smaller cave too). I’m not sure what wooden penises have to do with fish but good luck to those fishermen who spent the time to carve one out!
After spending a couple of hours soaking up the sun on Phra Nang Beach (plenty far enough away from the penis cave), we handed our return tickets to the long tail boat captain and set off back to Ao Nang. As it was low tide (Ebbe), the boat couldn’t get all the way back to the jetty so the captain had to drop us off a little further up. What we didn’t anticipate (erwarten) was being dropped off in the middle of the sea, having to walk 50m on rocks and then clamber up (hochkraxeln) some half washed-away stairs back onto the road. And, of course, when we reached the office at the jetty where we’d been dropped off earlier in the day, there was no sign of a pick-up truck to take us back to the main town. Just the usual shouts of “taxi taxi” from the waiting drivers who obviously know that there are going to be dozens of people stranded there at 5pm every day! Rather than pay their exorbitant prices, we decided to walk the 40 minutes back to the hostel instead. Good old Thailand.
We were however, back in plenty of time of the free BBQ. “I can’t wait to eat my corn later”, Tessa kept saying on the walk home. Kebabs and corn devoured, we headed out with Alex, Simon and Caroline into the town. Simon had been telling us about a street called “AMC Entertainment” which was full of lady-boy bars and which he seemed rather keen to go to for some reason. After running the lady-boy gauntlet (running the gauntlet bedeutet Spießrutenlauf), we found a bar at the very end that seemed like we wouldn’t be offered a ‘good time’ every two minutes and sat for drink. The barman, after serving our drinks, produced a set of cards and began showing us magic tricks for the next half hour, also bringing out some puzzles for us to try and solve (all unsuccessfully). Next, we moved to Chang Bar which was quite a bit more lively and we spent a couple of hours there dancing the night away before deciding to head home. At this point, we realised Alex was very drunk indeed and he told us “a lady boy put something in my drink” which worried us all but we managed to get him home in one piece.
Next day, after laying in quite late, we headed out for lunch at a café and, as we were eating, spotted my hero Heger walking past as well as another girl we’d met with Felipe on Koh Phi Phi. The Thailand backpacking trail is a narrow path after all.
As the afternoon rolled into evening, we got the public bus (pick-up truck) to the Krabi Night Market which is held only at weekends. Full of food stalls selling all manner of eating options for low prices we wandered round with wide eyes, undecided on what to try. We finally settled on fried potato twists on a stick (amazing) and a chocolate brownie (underwhelming [nicht beeindruckend]). We would have eaten more but, of course, we had the BBQ back at the hostel! “I can’t wait to eat my corn later”, Tessa said.
After returning from the night market and eating our corn, Tessa insisted (auf etw bestehen) that we go out to watch the Liverpool game at a bar. I was quite hesitant (zögerlich) but she was very persistent so eventually I relented (nachgeben) and we headed to TJ’s Sports Bar to watch the game. Liverpool won 6-1 against Watford which Tessa was very pleased about. Coincidently (zufälligerweise), when I visited Ao Nang earlier in the year, I happened to see Liverpool beat Aston Villa 6-0 so I guess TJ’s is a lucky omen (for Tessa, of course).
Earlier that day, we’d booked our travel to our next destination – and the end of our time in Thailand – to Langkawi, Malaysia. The first leg of this journey would be a minibus that picked us up at the eye-wateringly early (for us) time of 6am meaning we’d have to be up before 5:30am. Time for sleep!