With a bunch of annual leaves left, my wife and I decided to go somewhere new with our 1 year-old son. It took some time for us to decide as we had to plan our destination properly. Our son was still small so on one hand, any high-octane, super adventurous trip is a definite no-no. On the other hand, we don’t like a dull holiday either like lazing by the beach or shopping in a city. After some consideration, we decided to go to Krabi, a small town by the beach in Thailand. It was just a 90-minute plane trip away from Kuala Lumpur and the baht currency isn’t that strong compared to our MYR. Plus, the place looked beautiful from the net.
We booked a flight with Air Asia for around RM800 for the three of us and 3 nights of accommodation in Ban Sainai resort. We got a last minute discount from booking.com which included breakfast which was an OK deal. There were cheaper resorts in Krabi but I wanted to treat my wife and son a comfy holiday. It had been a tiring year for everyone, raising a kid and juggling work and life everyday so a nice holiday like this suited us well. Anyway, the flight to Krabi was OK. The Air Asia plane arrived and left on time. KLIA2, being a new airport was also a nice airport to fly from with many shops and restaurants. We arrived at Krabi airport at around 5 pm and it took around 30 minutes to go through immigration. It was a small airport without much shops. Before the flight, I booked a taxi from krabishuttle.com for THB 600 and it was nice to see the driver waiting for us just outside the arrival gate. He brought us along in his Honda Civic which was a pretty solid ride. I was raving to my wife how stable and comfortable the backseat was but this isn’t a review of the car so I wont talk too much about it.
After 30 minutes or so, we arrived at Ban Sainai Resort and was shown our chalet for the next few days. The view from the chalet was OK, with a lot of trees around. We felt like we were staying in a jungle. Green and fresh. Unfortunately our balcony did not face the cliff and a huge tree blocked the view to the river. But it was clean and comfortable which was enough for us. The bathroom smelled a bit weird but maybe it’s just the wood and bamboo. The best thing about Ban Sainai was the staff. They were very polite and were happy to answer our questions. I found that their help was invaluable as we don’t speak thai and they later helped us to organise various trips around Krabi.
After settling down, we decided to take a tuk tuk (kinda of a motorcycle with a passenger compartment attached) to the Ao Nang town for THB80. It was just a 2-3 minutes ride away from the resort. We could’ve just walked but we did not want to take any risk as it was night time and we were not familiar with the area. First stop was Hasna’s Palace. There, we had an amazing halal Thai dinner. The tomyum and somtam tasted fresh, the best I’ve tasted for a long time. Then we walked towards the beach, passing some nice hotels, a small night market with street food and goods, and finally some trendy bars and restaurants. The resort provided a free pickup service so we left around 11 pm and had a good night sleep.
The next morning, we had breakfast in the resort. Ban Sainai is Muslim-owned so they serve only halal food and no alcohol. The food was just average. We could either choose from the standard buffet or order additional dishes for free. The view from the restaurant however, was amazing. The wooden restaurant was located by a small lake so we could dine and enjoy the morning view. After breakfast, we decided to go to the Krabi beach via the free shuttle provided by the resort. We just walked around, absorbing the sun and the Krabi atmosphere. Then we walked back to the resort, stopping for a quick lunch and a couple of refreshing drinks.
The resort arranged for us a half day trip to the 7 islands in the afternoon, organised by Mariam’s travel. An alternative to the 7 islands trip was to take a boat to Phi Phi or Hong Island. However, the boat ride to these islands take more than an hour so we decided not to sign up for the tours to the islands. Around midday, a truck came and pick us up at the resort and brought us to Railay Pier. A boat took us to Chicken Island, Koh Island Poda Island and a few others. We went snorkeling and walked on some nice beaches and saw some glowing blue planktons until nightfall when we returned to our cozy chalet. Overall, I think that the tour was not suitable for families with small kids as we had to transfer from our main boat to a smaller boat each time we were to land on an island or a beach. This had to be done as the water was too shallow for the big boat. The crew helped to make things easier but it was still a hassle having to carry a baby across. We later returned to the resort and had a nice dinner in the resort restaurant.
On the third day, we decided to go to the Emerald & Blue Pools, the Hot Spring and the Tiger Temple. The Emerald & Blue Pools were located in a national park and required some hiking. It took us 30 minutes of hiking through a jungle to reach the Emerald Pool. It was an easy hike as there built a dedicated path for tourist. The Emerald Pool itself is a green, warm pool that was quite crowded with tourists. I guess there would be less people if we came earlier in the morning. Though it was noon when we arrived, we could barely feel the heat as the trees around us provided ample shade. Since there were too many people around we decided against taking a deep and hiked further up the hill to see the Blue Pool. After another 15 minutes or so, we arrived at a quiet, bluish pool where nobody was allowed to bath in. Apparently it was an important habitat of a bird species and thus should not be disturbed. After spending some time chatting and taking pictures, we returned to our van and stopped by the Hot Spring and Tiger Temple. The hot spring was also crowded so we did not stay for long. For more adventurous tourists, they could climb a long flight of stairs to reach the top of the Tiger Temple and get a nice view of Krabi. We did not as we were tired and wanted to return before dark.
In the evening, despite the rain, we went to Krabi night market. There were some nice foods being sold and there were many cheap gift shops there. The rain prevented us to sit down and have a proper dinner in one of the stalls so we went to a restaurant nearby and waited for the rain to stop. After an hour, it was not raining anymore so we made our way back to the market. There were a lot more people there and it was difficult us to navigate around with our baby. So we just visited the stalls nearest to the main road and bought some souvenirs. Just as we went back, there was a blackout. There was no electricity to all shops and stalls in the night market. It was lucky for us that we were already by the main road and could get back to our van easily.
On the fourth and final day, we woke up, had breakfast and just relaxed in our hotel. Ban Sainai actually confused my booking with someone else’s which gave me a slight scare before we arrived. As a way to say sorry, they gave us some food and drink vouchers so we used them in the morning to taste the famous mango sticky rice and other Thai dessert and drinks. They all tasted fantastic. The fact that they were free just made things better. Just after noon, we took a cab back to the airport, also booked using krabishuttle.com, and flew home. Tired but so happy!