58: Thailand > Krabi > Aonang

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June 01-04, 2008.  June mid-year break for schools in Malaysia and I took five (of our six) kids for a trip to Krabi (southern Thailand), specifically Aonang. Unfortunately the mom could not make it at the last minute due to work commitment … what a pity. 🙁

Btw where is Aonang? It’s the red square on the Google Earth image below. Note its location vis-a-vis the more famous (and crowded) Phuket. For general location of the pics in this particular story, please click HERE.

Landing at Krabi (KBV), we are aboard AirAsia Flight AK862, 9M-AFF, some 10min early.

Landing at KBV

The new terminal at KBV, with a departing Thai AirAsia B737.

Krabi (KBV) new terminal

From the airport we pass by a small town with a major junction to Phang-nga and Phuket.

Leaving airport

Entering Aonang, and we see a mosque under construction. The Krabi area has a sizeable Muslim community, so halal food is not a problem.

Up the road on way to airport

Aonang is a small township facing the Andaman sea, and as its only main coastal road turns inland and uphill from the beach, we find our hotel.

Our hotel up the road

Doesn’t look much from here, but it’s filled with friendly people …

Hotel frontage, very friendly people here

… and the pleasant room is typical of Thai interior decoration.

My room

From the balcony I get a great view of the main road, and some 200m away, the famous beach of Aonang.

Morning view from balcony

Across the hotel, a row of shophouses is sandwiched between the main road and the well-preserved forested hills.

Our hotel, great location

On the other side of the hotel, we can see the Andaman Sea …

View towards sea

… and behind us, a huge limestone hill. I love this location!

Limestone hill behind hotel

And yes, a nice little pool too.

From the hotel, a brief stroll downhill brings us to the beach where the road abruptly turns right and follows the beach.

Main road turns right along Aonang Beach

A brief story of Aonang.

Aonang story

We are now at the scenic Aonang Beach. Note the ubiquitous long-tail boats on the beach. People just call them the ‘long-tails’. Catch this boat for short island trips. Slow and stready but only a single engine.

Aonang Beach

Nukman checks the map out, where south is to the top.

Aonang map

We take a lane going east along the beach, full of hotels and restaurants …

Lane along beach

… and the highly-regarded traditional massage.

Massage details

Lie on these mats and the professionals will get to work in the soothing sea breeze.

Looks very cosy

A blowfish promotes a seafood joint.

Seafood menu ...

At the beach, a man pulls to anchor his long-tail. Poda Island in the background.

Pulling and anchoring long-tail

Note the engines (I suspect car engines) attached to the ‘long tails’ of the boats, where a propeller is attached. Control of the boat is purely manual, by engine throttle and maneuvering the ‘tail’.

Note the engines

To the west, the main road runs between the beach and the shops, which are squeezed by the hills at the back.

Shop row facing beach

There’s a footpath between the road and the beach, and it’s never boring taking a walk here.

Main road parallels beach

On 26 Dec 2004, the Tsunami (see Aceh story HERE), hit this beach, but no deaths apart from some destroyed long-tails. The wall between the beach and the footpath managed to break the already weakened waves. Now there are tsunami warnings everywhere.

Tsunami hit here 26 Dec '04, but no deaths

The govt even built a tsunami warning system.

Tsunami alert tower

Some tsunami tower info.

Tower info

Tsunami risks aside, this is really a splendid beach!

Beach towards east

Trust me, my boys are watching cars. 🙂

Watching cars?

There are a variety of shops facing the sea, including ‘fast’ tailors such as this one.

Instant tailor

They know their potential customers well, and this is what the Thais are very good at.

... and multilingual too

There’s a fast-food joint too, but for some reason, the food here costs a bomb. Best avoided unless absolutely necessary. There are cheaper, tastier chows elsewhere …

Burger King, but pricey

… such as here, a row of halal stalls in front of the McDonald’s.

Halal stalls

One thing I notice, the locals take care of the environment – the forest of the hill goes right up to the back of the shops. No tree-cutting or bush-removal.

Behind shops, untouched forest

There’s a little lane at the back with some interesting outlets … and we spot the ice-cream man!

Halal restaurant

Nothing beats ‘cut’ ice-creams. Blocks of the delicious stuff cut into cubes and served. Only 10 bahts each!

Ice-cream

Yummy stuff, but soon we realise we are messing the footpath when it melts and starts dripping. Then it’s time to gobble it up as fast as possible.

Yummy!

Many shops are transport agents, and they display prices for the trips. Hey, there’s one to the Malaysian border at 5,500 bahts per way – mainly used for visa runs.

Transport fares

Boat routes. We are doing Phi Phi tomorrow.

Main routes of boats

Good environmental message along the road.

Sharks are friends

At the bend of the main road, there’s a small police station, manned by friendly Senior Sgt Major Ban. He’s proud of his Aonang, …

Snr. Sgt. Maj. Ban is proud of his Aonang

… as he is of his collection of police badges from around the world. By the way, Mr Ban also owns a restaurant and a night club in this town. 🙂

Inside police station

It’s low tide in the afternoon, so we take a walk on the beach. Note the tsunami warning tower.

Wide beach at low tide

A beach pose.

Low-tide Aonang Beach

A boat discharges its passengers, who have to wade through the shallow water.

Low-tide passengers come ashore

Nearby a long-tail struggles to free itself from the sand.

Long-tail stuck in sand

In the calm, shallow seawater I spot many shellfish and other sea creatures. This is very clean water.

Shellfish aplenty in seawater

The sand is also very fine, powdery in fact. I mean when it’s dry.

Very fine sand

You just can’t get tired watching the sea – the islands, the limestone outcrops, the long-tails, the speedboats, the occasional sailboats, the bikini-clad bathers, etc. 😀

Admiring the seascape

As the sun sets, the long-tails turn ochre …

Sunset time

… and more arrive to be anchored for the night.

More long-tails arrive

Enough of the sea, we decide to find dinner.

Main road down to beach

Yes, a cheap but tasty halal dinner. In front of the McDonalds.

Cheap dinner tonight

Waiting for our fried rice and phad thai to be ready. Open-air, sidewalk dinner is cool.

Halal stalls outside McD

On the way back to the hotel. a quick stop at the biggest convenience store in the neighbourhood for some snacks and drinks.

Largest convenience store

But nothing beats my take-away roasted chicken as a night cap. 😀

Delicious roasted chicken for dinner

> NEXT: Island-hopping

GEAR: Canon 450D + Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC


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