Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Exploring Krabi and Phuket: Thailand's Coastal Gems


Humans are funny creatures indeed. Despite the increasing number of women traveling solo for various reasons (BANGKOK SOLO TRIP) like business, work-related trips, or simply holidays, people still seem puzzled and ask the same old question - why am I traveling alone? When this question comes from Asians, I can understand their curiosity, as it might be uncommon to see an Indian woman of my age, in my late 50s, traveling solo. 

However, it's quite alarming when I receive the same inquiry from Westerners, especially considering the thousands of Western women venturing out alone. What could be behind this universal curiosity about solo female travelers? It's a question that leaves me intrigued. While pondering over this, let me share my solo adventure, a short and sassy trip to Krabi and Phuket, which are considered paradises for Westerners.

Krabi Sightseeing

Snake Show & Monkey Show (Ao Nang)

Krabi King Cobra Snake Show: Snake show? Yes, indeed. The show kicked off with the expected snaking tricks and acts. As the snake man and his slithery performers took the stage, I admit, there was a tiny thrill of terror. But overall, it didn't quite captivate me. Would I seek out another snake show elsewhere? Probably not. Once you've seen one, you can pretty much predict the rest. 


Now, onto the monkey show, a short stroll away. These monkeys were a delight to watch! Obedient and charming, they followed their master's lead with precision. Frankly, they stole the spotlight from the snakes by a long shot.


Giant Catfish Farm 
Caught in a deluge, rain poured down relentlessly behind and in front of me. It was a downpour, no two ways about it. Wrapped in my inadequate plastic raincoat, I trudged through the soggy terrain of the nature farm. Standing by the river (or was it a pool?), I watched as the white lady, tossed meat pieces into the water, hoping to attract the Giant Catfish. But alas, they remained elusive, leaving only the tiny catfish to nibble at the bait. It was far from impressive, just a mundane moment in an otherwise unremarkable day.

Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Thum Sua) 
As the name implies, Tiger Cave Temple is indeed home to both tigers and caves. Legend has it that a tiger once sought refuge in this cave until monks disrupted its peace, prompting its departure. Besides the cave, the temple also boasts impressive statues of gods and a staircase leading to higher grounds. With only half an hour on my clock, I opted out of climbing the steps but made sure to take a leisurely stroll around the surrounding area, pausing to pay my respects at the altar.



Krabi Beach 
Krabi Beach greeted me with a serene atmosphere, far from the usual hustle and bustle. Despite the sparse crowd, the area buzzed with activity, offering a variety of eateries, shops, and tour agencies to explore. As I settled on a bench with a drink, I couldn't help but appreciate the tranquility, though Krabi may not fully capture your attention unless you're a party or water enthusiast.


Phuket Sightseeing 
Promthep Cape

Ascending the stairs to Promthep Cape revealed a breathtaking panorama - crashing waves, vast seas, and rugged mountains under a brilliant sky. The elephant shrine and Lighthouse Museum added cultural depth to the experience, making it a captivating stop during my Phuket sightseeing adventure.




Cashew Nut Factory

At the Cashew Nut Factory, I delved into the process of extracting cashews and sampled various flavored treats. Despite some reluctance, the allure of cashew goodies proved irresistible, adding a tasty souvenir to my Phuket journey.


Wang Talang Lapidary Gem Factory 
While the short documentary provided some insight into the harvesting of precious gems, it was evident that the main agenda of this visit was to entice visitors into shopping. However, the allure of precious stones didn't quite captivate me. It seemed more like a ploy to generate revenue for either the tour guide or the tour company.

 

Phuket Premium Outlet

Despite its lofty name, Phuket Premium Outlet proved to be overrated. The selection consisted mostly of mid-range brands, both familiar and obscure. Unless you're on the hunt for bargains or clearance sales, there's not much to hold your interest here. My two hours at the outlet were rather dull, spent mostly sitting on a bench, sipping a drink, and gazing at the sky while occasionally glancing around.


Patong

As heavy rain pummeled down from the sky, I braved the elements to explore Patong. The chaotic atmosphere of the bustling night joints and the presence of women added to the area's reputation. However, my plan to sample street food were thwarted by the relentless rain, leading to seek shelter in a nearby shopping mall. The food court offered a refuge from the downpour, but the fare was nothing remarkable and certainly not budget-friendly.


Navigating Krabi and Phuket: A Solo Traveler's Handbook 
Food

Thai cuisine in Krabi and Phuket offers familiar delights such as basil chicken, tom yam fried rice, tom yam soup, and red rubies desserts. Street food is a popular and affordable choice, though small cafes also offer delicious options. Spiciness levels can vary, so be prepared for some heat.

 

Thai People

Like in any country, Thai people come in all types. While language barriers may exist on the streets, communication with those accustomed to tourists is usually manageable.

 

Shopping

From street vendors offering casual and beachwear to shopping malls with a range of options, shopping in Krabi and Phuket is diverse. Bargaining is key for street purchases, and while malls offer a familiar shopping experience, prices may not always be as affordable as expected.

 

Safety

Safety precautions in Thailand mirror those in Malaysia, with a focus on avoiding walking alone at night and being mindful of belongings. Opting for tours linked to hotels can provide added safety and convenience, with some even including meals and transportation.

 

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