Thailand: the unexpected vacation during our travels

When Alastair and I started devising our three month trip around (some of) the world we had a lot of other things on our plate—such as planning our wedding in the UK and the US —therefore we did not do as much advance planning as we may have liked to. We chose the locations we wanted to visit and booked all of the major flights that would ultimately get us back to London at the end of December. Other than that, all of the accommodation, transport, and activities were up in the air. We booked our accommodation in Hawaii a day before we got there and that last minute booking trend has continued throughout our whole time travelling. This has allowed us to be flexible and, even better, benefit from recommendations from people we meet along the way. One thing we did make sure of during that initial planning stage was that we had enough time in each region that allowed us this flexibility, to change things around, and maybe visit locations that weren’t planned from the beginning. We’re very glad we had this flexibility as after a week or so in Malaysia, we were quite ready to explore a new place. That’s not to say we didn’t like Malaysia, more that from speaking to people we met, the locations we had planned to go to were not too dissimilar to what we’d already experienced. Due to the monsoon season on the east of Malaysia, we were limited to the west side, and we were ready for something new.

At this point in the trip we loved the idea of escaping cities and having a week to relax near the beach. Thailand was the perfect location as it was a very short (and inexpensive) plane ride away with lots of beautiful places to explore. We booked ourselves a week to check out the southern peninsula of Thailand; the area near Krabi.

For the first few nights, we stayed in an Airbnb (we got our first tuk-tuk experience here!) and the rest of the time we were in a dorm in the Reset Hostel in Klong Muang. Klong Muang is 20 minutes north of the better known, and very touristy, Ao Nang beach area. We liked Klong Muang as the beach was pretty much to ourselves, there were many nice authentic Thai restaurants to try, and we were able to get longtail boats to the many beautiful islands nearby. The hostel was very clean, comfortable, and had an amazing location with the beach at our doorstep. The trend of meeting great people in hostels continued and we shared a couple boat trips, a hike, and many good meals with this fun contingent.

On the whole we had such a good week in Thailand as we got to really relax, read our books, soak up stunning places, and eat the yummiest food so far on the trip. I honestly had spring rolls for almost every meal and to this day miss them terribly. Without flexibility in our travel plans, we would not have got to experience this wonderful place and I would not have experienced my love affair with Thai cuisine! We’re very glad we changed it up and took what we call a week “vacation” from our travelling to get to know a tiny bit of Thailand.

Here are a few things we got up to:

Hike up Dragon Crest (what it looks like in Thai: ขาหงอนนาค)
Dragon Crest is a five-mile round-trip hike that has a great panoramic view of the coast and nearby islands. The first day we got to our hostel we joined four others and made our way there. The hike is constant uphill through a muggy jungle until you reach the top and feel the fresh air and see spectacular views. On our way up, we spotted a snake on the trail which gave us motivation to keep on moving…! The views from the top were amazing. Here’s England, America, Germany and Austria all soaking up the beautiful surroundings:

Longtail boat trip
Longtail boats are seen everywhere on the coast of Thailand and are quite iconic in the region. They’re also the easiest mode of transportation to get to the many islands just off the coast. One morning we got up at the crack of dawn with our hiking buddies and got a boat to four different islands. We were so glad we got up so early as we were the first people on the beach at Koh Hong and it was magical. Having the perfect soft sand, crystal clear waters, and stunning cliffs to ourselves was heaven—really unforgettable. After that we went into some beautiful coves and a few other beaches, but they were a lot more crowded at that point so not quite as special.

Koh Hong before anyone else was there

Railay beach
Railay beach is famous in the Krabi region so we thought we would go and see what it was like while we were there. Up at the crack of dawn again to get another boat (really, it’s the best way to do it), we were one of the first at the beach. It was an idyllic location that morning and we’re so glad we came to experience it. It got busier throughout the day, but it was still a perfect place to relax and have some fun. It is at this beach that you can also walk around to Phra Nang where rock climbing and further picturesque beaches are found. On our way to check this out we saw loads of plastic dumped into the water (see Alastair’s blog on this here) and unfortunately the destination left much to be desired. I have never seen a busier beach in my life —a cruise ship must have just dropped hundreds of people off —and we quickly turned around! If you’re ever in the area, I’d avoid it! But definitely visit Railay, just early.

Ao Nang
Ao Nang is a touristy area but we found it fun to visit for a day. Walking along the beach you’ll find endless restaurants, bars, and so many massage stands. We didn’t get a Thai massage but some people in our hostel did and said it was worthwhile! Once you get past all of this, you end up at a walk called Monkey Trail that is aptly known for good monkey spotting. This is where we saw the cutest monkeys on our trip so far—the Dusky Leaf monkey (or spectacled langur). They did not try to steal anything from us (unlike other cheeky monkeys we’ve met) and were very friendly. One in particular was quite interested in Alastair’s camera—the poser.

Klong Muang
This was “our beach” two steps away from the hostel. It was always quiet, had incredible tides, and it was a wonderful place to relax. We generally ate around here. Spring rolls, please.

Overall, we loved Thailand and had such a fun and relaxing time there. Would definitely go back!

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