From Yangon we wanted to head back to Thailand to relax on a beach before the craziness of India. We had the option of a 24 hour bus to Bangkok, then a train down to Phuket. I didn’t particularly fancy this as I was ready for some chill time. If the price was considerably cheaper then I would have done it, but for us to get to Phuket, taking 2 flights, only cost £54. I believe the 24 hour bus costs £35, and a sleeper train from Bangkok to Phuket is around £10. In total we would have saved £9, which we would have spent on food and drinks at the rest stops anyway. We knew it made sense to fly. Yes it may not be the proper travelling experience, but I’ve been on the go for 5 months and its what I wanted to do.
Our flight from Yangon to Bangkok left at 11:00, arriving at 13:35 and costing £40. We had just under 3 hours to get through customs, collect our bags, recheck in for our flight to Krabi, which left at 16:15. We knew this was a bit of a risk as our flight may be delayed, but if it was and we missed our second flight we would only be losing £14. In the end we had plenty of time and everything went very smoothly and I’m very glad we chose this option.After arriving at Krabi Airport and collecting our bags we stepped outside to analyse our options and find the best way to get to our accommodation. There is a minibus costing 150 Bhat (£3.75) which can drop you off in Krabi or at Aonang Beach, however we were staying in the next bay along near Nopparat Thara Beach. Right outside the airport entrance there are a collection of minivans that will drop you off at your accommodation, costing 200 Bhat (£5). This made sense to us as we would have had to pay for a Tuk Tuk to our accommodation from Aonang Beach anyway.
We chose to stay at the Payang Bungalow Resort, roughly 3km from the beach. The setting was beautiful, a collection of 12 bungalows in a jungle surrounding, with lovely staff and lovely food. However, the only bungalow available for us was for £5 which was damp and had no hot water. Along with this the toilet didn’t flush so we had to manually flush it with a bucket. This was a real shame as I would have loved to have stayed for longer but it wasn’t comfortable to sleep in. They did however offer a free shuttle service to the beach from 08:00-22:00, once we were finished at the beach we rung them from the Hippie Bar where they came to pick us up again. Because of the damp and lack of hot water we decided to move to the next bay along, Aonang Beach, which is a lot more touristy but had a lot more of an atmosphere. We found a room for £10 a night, a 2 minute walk from the beach and a ton of bars and restaurants. The hotel was called PK Mansion, with a huge bed, a balcony, hot water on tap AND a flushing toilet!!
Aonang Beach is a lovely sandy beach in a beautiful setting. There are big rock mountain to the left and right, the sea is calm and there are lots of options to explore the surrounding bays by boat at reasonably cheap prices. The weather was lovely for our first couple of days and then we had 3 days of rain, which wasn’t such a bad thing as Holly got food poisoning and couldn’t leave the room. I however explored the different bars and restaurants along the beach front, sheltering from the rain. If you walk to the far left of the beach as you are looking at the sea, there is a wooden walkway through the rocky mountain which takes you to Pai Plong Beach. The only way in is either by boat or via the walkway and there are 2 hotels on the beach front. When we went it was a lovely secluded beach but this is almost definitely because of the rain. I never made it back over there in the sun.
From Aonang we headed over to Phuket to check out the beaches over there, with a bus taking a lot longer then advertised and costing 300 Bhat (£7.50). The journey was meant to take 3 hours but in the end we were on the road for over 5. Patong Beach is a lovely beach but very busy, however as the beach is so big it’s not hard to find a section for yourself. The thing that let it down for me was that literally every 5 minutes you would get a different person coming up to you asking if you either wanted a drink, a jet ski, a massage, some sunglasses and a whole variety of different things which in the end got very annoying when I just wanted to relax. Patong itself was how I imagine Benidorm to be, it very much caters for tourists but too much so for my liking. I can see why a lot of people go there for a holiday, but when your travelling and looking for different cultures and that secluded beach, it is not the place to go.
After a couple of days we looked to head back to Aonang Beach in Krabi as this is where we were catching our bus to Kuala Lumpur. I asked around the different bus companies and got quoted some crazy prices, from 600-800 Bhat (£15-£20). This was over double what we paid to get to Phuket and pretty much the same price as a flight, there must be another way. In the end we caught a local bus from Beach Road on the beachfront, there wasn’t a bus stop, we just waited at the side of the road with our bags. The local bus is blue and yellow and turns up every half hour or so, there wasn’t a timetable that I could find. It first stops at a shopping centre, then in another random place and ends up at Phuket Bus Station, Terminal 1. The bus costs 30 Bhat and can get quite cramped and crowded, it depends on the time of day you go as it is also used by the locals. We jumped on the bus at 09:55 and arrived at Terminal 1 at 10:55. Once at the bus station we managed to secure a bus to Krabi, leaving at 11:30 and costing 140 Bhat. They are currently doing some building work so when I was there you had to buy your tickets from a group of pop-up tables near the back of the station. I imagine this will be different when the construction is complete. It’s worth asking around the different companies at the tables as their buses all leave at different times. The bus to Krabi Station took just under 3 hours and from there you can jump in the back of a minivan to Aonang, which waits on the other side of the station, costing 60 Bhat (£1.50). We arrived at the beach with enough time for a bit more sunbathing before the sun went down, ready to relax a bit more before our 18 hour bus to Kuala Lumpur in a couple of days. In the end the whole trip back cost 230 Bhat, rather then the 800 Bhat we were first quoted, I would definitely recommend this option.
On our last day in Aonang we caught a boat over to the beautiful Railay Beach which is probably the nicest beach I have ever been on. You buy your boat tickets from the office on the corner of the road, costing 100 Bhat each way. You then jump on your boat for the short 15 minute journey to the beautiful beach, with its crystal clear blue water, white sand and beautiful surroundings. When we sat down to eat at one of the restaurants a group of monkeys came over to have some fun. One of the members of staff tried to scare away the monkey by throwing a banana at it, does she know nothing about monkeys?! She ended up missing the monkey, with the banana falling down and hitting a lady on the head, which then made the monkey jump down off the roof to claim it’s prize, causing havoc amongst the diners with its big sharp teeth. I found this all very funny. The boats back to Aonang leave anytime up until 18:00, just give your ticket to the guys in blue t-shirts in the sea, they’ll show you where to go. I really enjoyed my 2 relaxing weeks on the amazing beaches of Thailand, but I’m now ready for the next step of my adventure, in Kuala Lumpur.