We will probably not stay anywhere for as long as we stayed on Koh Tao and I have to say, it was lovely to unpack completely and do nothing but relax and read for a week. But you can have too much time on the beach and it’s nice to be moving again.
It took most of the day to get from the island to Krabi via catamaran and minivan but it didn’t feel like a long trip, save for our first experience of loud, obnoxious Americans in our minivan who must have had some terrible hearing problems as they insisted on yelling to each other despite their close proximity and bought a small stereo and played crap music on it for most of the 4 hour journey from Chumphon to Krabi. At this point may I give a big shout out and an appreciative thank you to whoever it was that invented noise-cancelling headphones.
We checked into our hotel, ate some food at the night market and had an early night. Next day, we hired our first motorbike of the trip (£4 for the day!) and sped off to a local national park to do a bit of hiking and to see a waterfall or two. Arriving just in time to catch the midday sun, we climbed through the jungle up an insanely steep hill for around an hour until we reached the top. Nice view but the theme for the day had been decided on – sweat.
After another trek through the trees, we found the top of the waterfall and then had to clamber further up to get across it and then, eventually, down to see the other 10 levels as it cascaded down the mountain. Suitably stinking, we jumped back onto the bike and set off in search of some caves.
Guarded by a short, rather rotund old woman, sat on a tree stump in the woods like some troll from a children’s fairy tale, the caves were set into the side of a hill, requiring yet more climbing (up rotting wooden stairs etc. this time) to reach them.
Before we found the cave entrance though, there was just time for an action thriller when I managed to knock my sunglasses off my head as we inched down a steep path. They bounced twice in front of me and leapt, lemming-like, over the edge and landed 15 feet below on a steep bank. I tried to reach down to them but the ground kept falling away and I couldn’t get near – but not to worry, it turns out I am going out with the real life Lara Croft and the heroic lady clambered around another way and managed to rescue them, watched from the bottom by the strange troll woman who must have thought we were mad or possibly that we would find some of her hidden treasure by leaving the (not at all) designated path.
The caves, once we found them, were superb – after crawling into them on our bellies (more sweat, more dirt) they opened out a little bit into almost complete darkness, lit only by the torches provided by Troll Woman. As soon as we lit them up, the many bats which were asleep in there woke up and started flying around us which was amusing. 15 minutes were then spent clambering around the various chambers and we were only stopped by the fact that the wooden bridge across a small lake had collapsed into the water (the troll later explained to us that we were supposed to get off the broken bridge and walk through the water – of course!). The whole thing was great fun in the end, despite us being filthy dirty and (according to Annika) me smelling like a gerbil.
Back on the bike, we trundled back up the elephant dung littered path – they do some sort of elephant safari nearby – and sped off to a local temple which is also home to hundreds of monkeys which are fed by people buying bananas in the small shop. Before you are even aware that someone has bought some, the word goes round the monkey community and all hell breaks loose, monkeys careering down from all angles to fight for the bananas on offer. As usual with monkeys, they are fascinating to watch, scooping and licking the flesh out of the bananas and then just dropping the skins wherever they are at the time, the unfortunate losers trying to eat bits of paper etc.
All in all, our day out in Krabi was excellent fun and not a little exhausting.
This morning, we took a speedboat to the island of Koh Yao Noi where we are staying in yet another wooden hut just across from the beach. No Internet though so I’ve no idea when this will be posted so Happy New Year everyone. We are on a Muslim island so our New Year celebrations may well be less boozy than yours – but then it may also be hangover free so hey, you takes your choice.