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To Krabi town!

Our (re)introduction to Thailand

sunny 33 °C

The flight to Kuala Lumpur was long but we managed to sleep just a bit. The cabin was pretty dry when combined with all the arid weather we faced in China, so we had to buy a bottle of water. If you've never flown budget Asian airlines, the only complimentary extra they offer you other than the ticket and a smile, is the barf bag. You pay out of pockets for everything else. I had some Malay currency from my last trip so it worked out fine and we got our tiny bottle.

I had been dreading flying into Kuala Lumpur's airport since we booked the flight, but as it turned out they'd built a new one in the past two years which meant that we didn't even have to go through immigration or customs or reclaim our bags. They actually had a layover counter to make sure our bags were coming through and that we were in the right place. We did have to collect the tickets that the clerk in Beijing failed to print for us. We spent our few hours using the free unrestricted internet again, hurray for Facebook and Google! We also ate sandwiches at Dunkin Donuts which was one of our few options. They even had free drinking water at the airport. We hardly wanted to leave.

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The flight to Krabi was short and sweet, but the immigration lines less so. Once we cleared them, we were free to go with our 30 day stamp. We ditched our Beijing sweaters that had made us stick out in KL but the jeans and long sleeves would have to stay a bit longer.

Ignoring the offers from bus companies and taxis, we set off to find a songtao I'd read about on wikitravel. We tried to find a spot in the shade on the main road as we kept an eye out for pick-up trucks. They were colour coded and we just needed a white one. The hot, sticky, air wasn't doing us any favours and after fifteen minutes I was beginning to doubt the advice I read was valid.

Finally, we flagged one down. Ryan wasn't too sure about riding in the back of a truck. I had forgotten that normal people found it a bit strange and unsettling. After a year living here, it had just become normal for me. He went with it anyway and we made it into town for just under a dollar combined.

Once we were there, I could finally use Google maps to help us find the hotel. Fun fact, if you load the city's map beforehand, the built in GPS will even keep working once the wifi disappears. Before we found our destination, we did have to stop and buy fruit from a vendor with what little Thai I remembered. She spoke English anyway, but it was still fun to be able to communicate with people again. Ryan loved the Thai pineapple and I'd missed it too. He was already falling in love with the country and I was beginning to wonder why I ever left. A sweet treat and some heat mid-winter will do that to a person.

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We found our guesthouse on the main street, past some cheap food vendors, tourist clothing stands, convenience stores and a very lost drunk Finnish guy. The lobby was nice and spacious with a tour desk and high ceilings. The woman working greeted us with a smile and told us we had a wonderful room, lots of space but very high. The cheapest ones always seem to be on the top, in this case 5th, floor. She wasn't lying about the room though: bright walls with so much space to move around, plus a balcony.

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Excited about the city, we went into Krabi town to explore. We found where to buy water and food. A grocery store with an imported foods section even carried Skippy peanut butter so we had to pick some up despite the marked up price, plus a little spoon. If anything we were budgeting and saving money - think of all those cheap breakfasts we could have. Wandering the outdoor shops, Ryan even managed to find himself a bandana before we settled into a little tourist cafe with prices three times as high as I remembered. The pineapple fruit shakes were nice and our curries delicious. I had a Tom Kha coconut milk soup and Ryan had Penang curry.

A market sprung up as the sun went down. Food, clothes, accessories, electronics, crafts and all kind of stands were set up to cater to the mix of foreign and local customers. English signs helped us figure out some of the dishes we might try tomorrow. Ryan found a pretty sweet tiger shirt that he'd been anticipating buying long before we hopped on the plane to China. He went back and forth on the price before agreeing to it. I still had a pretty good sense of what was a fair price so he did well.

We found Thai pancakes with banana and chocolate and sat down to eat them while people on stage performed some sound checks. The young women working at the restaurant we ate at before were running around collecting dishes at the tables. They saw us, waved and laughed, probably because we couldn't stop eating. How could you with all this tasty food?

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A lot of people rag on Krabi town as a place they wouldn't want to stay. Personally, I loved seeing the mix of local culture and tourist infrastructure. Markets, street stall food, restaurants, shops on the first floor of multi-story buildings. To me this was Thailand. Because we were in the South, there were more Muslim Thai people and that was reflected in the dress. It was something I had missed my first time crashing through the south as a speedy tourist. The fact that local people were out enjoying the market meant that this wasn't all for show for the visitors too. It felt real and I loved that part of it.

Posted by Sarah.M 07:36 Archived in Thailand Tagged market kuala thailand krabi maps lumpur google curry klia2 songtao

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