A November 2001 trip
to Krabi by lcampbell
Quote: This journal covers the fourth week of our one month trip to Thailand with a company called Intrepid Small Group Adventures. We spent the fourth week in Krabi Province. For weeks 1-3, see my journals about Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi, Khao Sok National Park, and Bangkok.
The bungalows at the farm were fabulous. The buildings were beautiful and were surrounded by large rubber trees and flowering plants. Each bungalow had a small deck with cushions to sit on to read or relax. The family had also built a gazebo area that was great.
After we settled in, our host took us on a nice walk before dinner. He showed us his farm – goats, sugar cane, pineapple, and palm oil. He picked some pineapple for dinner. Then we walked through the village. About five years ago, they had grown a lot of rice in the village. But they decided it was too much work and the area did not have the correct amount of rainfall – there was always too much or too little. So it was easier to buy rice and put there efforts into more productive ventures. The walk ended with a spectacular sunset.
Our dinner was an amazing assortment of Thai dishes that were incredibly delicious and also in huge quantities. After dinner a few of us learned how to wrap up sticky rice packets. Myself and another woman stayed longer than the others, so our host grandma put us to work! She gave us each a stack of banana leaves and we each made about 20 packets… I hoped they would stay together when steamed!
In the morning we had a breakfast feast of fresh fruit and sticky rice in the gazebo. Then our hosts gave us an introduction to the world of rubber. Their rubber plantation is their main income, but apparently the price is really down right now. We got to see how the rubber is tapped and then processed for sale. They even let us help a little. Our host told us that the night before ended up being the end of Ramadan. We had heard some loud voices that sounded like a celebration during the night, so we had suspected it. Well, he confirmed that at about 10pm the moon was visible, so the villagers slaughtered a cow during the night for their celebration. He had been up most of the night, as the rubber trees need to be tapped at about 3am too. Crazy guy. He was super nice, and ended up being our guide for sea kayaking later in the week.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 9, 2002
Ban Na Thai, Ban Chong Phli
Dream Valley Resort is not directly on the water. It is about a ten minute walk on a dirt road. The resort grounds are very beautiful. There are cabins on stilts in varying comfort ranges. Our had a fan which kept the temperature comfortable. The reception and restaurant area was a bamboo covered deck. It was great for relaxing, especially when it downpoured on our first day in Ton Sai. The was good and reasonably priced (for the southern part of Thailand, anyway).
Of all the places that we stayed on our trip, I liked Dream Valley Resort the least. I did enjoy the location, beauty, service, and food. But I did not like the general party atmosphere of the beaches, and it didn’t matter which beach you were on. So Dream Valley seemed to be the same as any other resort in the aspect of loud drunk people and loud music at night. A fun atmosphere if you can to the area to party, not so fun if you are non-partiers like us. Ton Sai (and surrounding area) was also the only place in Thailand that we encountered excessive mosquitos. I think it was because of the rain the couple days before we arrived and on our first day. There was no mosquito netting over the bed, so we were eaten alive while we were trying to sleep, despite wearing bug juice (I hate that nasty stuff) and burning mosquito coils (even more vile chemicals). And mixed in my disappointment may also have been end-of-trip burnout.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 9, 2002
Dream Valley Resort
Ton Sai Bay
The island we camped on was called Ko Lao Lading. Living on the island was a group of 8 or 9 sea gypsies. These men are not citizens of any country. They do not have a nationality, so they do not have a passport from any country, therefore the only places they can legally be are international waters. But with a little monetary influence, the Thai government allows them to live on Ko Lao Lading for about 7 months of the year. While living there, they do some rock climbing to collect birds nests. Why? Apparently bird nest soup is a delicacy in China. Since these are the correct type of bird nests, they are worth bid money - $1000 US per pound! And they can collect 10-15 pounds per day! But they choose to live on this island, in huts or caves, and they run a small reggae bar on the island. Cool guys. Talented soccer players too.
The rain stopped shortly after we arrived on our island. We camped in tents next to the beach. We read snorkled, swam, read, and played. We did take a day trip off our island to visit some of the other Hong islands. We went to Ko Lao Bile, which was part of Thanbokekhoranee Marine Park. Here we had lunch and snorkled. Then we went to Ko Lao Bu Lo and Ko Phak Bia. Two islands side by side (you could swim across). We had fun exploring. I crawled around on some beautiful red and yellow swirled rocks. It sprinkled on and off during the day, but we were playing in the water anyway so we didn’t mind.
After one last night camping, we had to leave our beautiful island. We were sad to go, but ready for the next adventure. Of course, we knew the next adventure also involved lounging on the beach!
Well, we muddled through our sketches, and they all turned out pretty good. I decided to draw a nature scene – I thought it would be pretty hard to mess up leaves and rocks. My husband drew a Buddha, and the others did flowers, sea life, and a beach sunset. Then we took turns applying the parrafin wax. You draw it on over your pencil lines and it serves to keep the paint from running together later in the process. The wax is hot and is applied with a sort of fountain pen thing. I had a hard time and left some unwanted drips on my muslin – oh well, they might end up looking like rocks.
After lunch on the beach, we began painting. This part was definitely the most fun, and brought me back to childhood days of finger painting. You paint either a couple colors on a section and then smudge them together with your finger to blend them, or you can apply water first and then smudge in the paint for a lighter shade. Water also helps fix mistake if you drip some paint where you don’t want it – just add water, smudge it around, then paint over it – ta da! It is really a very forgiving medium.
When we left in the late afternoon. Aib would finish off our pieces by soaking them in a solution that would set the color. Then there was a process to remove the wax. He did this during the night, and we picked up our finished pieces the next day. This was a really fun day (but maybe not for those who don’t like staying in one spot for long times). I’d like to try it again sometime – maybe I can try it at home.
Our guide took us on a stroll around the village while we were waiting for the tide to get a little higher. He showed us a longtail boat being made and some fishing cages and nets. We also saw some fresh crab being boiled – yummy! I was hoping for a sample, but it didn’t happen. We were also served tea and cookies.
We kayaked in double kayaks. We started our following the limestone cliff coastline and then went into the mangroves for a bit, and then back out to the cliffs. We stopped in a tiny beach for lunch. After lunch, we spent the rest of our trip deep in the mangroves. I loved it back there – it was totally still and peaceful. We paddled and floated through narrow openings in the limestone cliffs that would now and then open up and the mangroves would expode in a jungle of roots. The mangroves actually looked a bit spooky with their gnarled roots rising up out of the water and low hanging branches causing your imagination to "insert snake here."
Twice we saw solitary monkeys hanging out by the shore. You could tell they had been fed by many others as they headed straight toward the guide and reached out for food. I have never approved of feeding wildlife, but since I couldn’t do anything about the way it is here, I just had to turn my park ranger voice off. Later in the trip we saw a group of about 20 monkeys that were definitely showing the unfortunate downside of wildlife feeding. They were extremely aggressive and actually jumped into our kayaks to grab anything that looked like food. One of the little ones made off with half a watermelon – I’m not sure how he carried it alone. Overall it was interesting to see the monkeys up that close (they were very cute), but I don’t like that they are no longer wild in a seemingly wild place.
The sea kayaking trip was all in all quite excellent, and I highly recommend it. The price was 700 baht per person (about $17.50) for the whole day – kayaks, transportation to and from Ao Nang, guide, lunch, and snacks. We didn’t have to contend with the people and boats that would be around if you kayaked direct out of one of the beaches, and the mangroves were fantastic.
Port Angeles, Washington