Took more rest than usual due to aching muscles. Had the usual simple breakfast, packed our day bags and checked out. We were going to move to a new resort today and would be doing that when we returned from Tiger Cave. Initially wanted to do an extension but was told that it was not possible due to peak period.
Cross the road and tried to stop the white songthaew but as 4 went past us, filled to the brim, we walked and waited at the bus stop further down the road instead. A few minutes later, a near empty songthaew stopped for us! What luck! Told the driver we are going to the Tiger Cave Temple and we were on our way.
The bus took the same journey to Krabi town and even further. It arrived at the bus station some 1hr later with almost just 2 of us for the whole journey. In another 10 mins later, we arrived at the Tiger Cave temple. We were advised that there was no songthaew back to Ao Nang. We need to get a scooter or taxi to either the bus station or Krabi town in order to board the songthaew back.
The temple location was a large compound with with a few temples in the area. The Tiger Cave Temple was actually just one of them closest to the entrance. We went into the temple that now had a building covering a dug out cave from the cliff side. There was a staircase that led to another part of the temple and a signboard displays the history of its name.
After leaving the Tiger Cave Temple, the arduous journey of climbing to the top of the mountain began. After walking further inwards, we soon saw a stairway up the sides of a mountain and people going up the stairs. There was a sign to indicate the number of steps to the top -1237. Started climbing and was fooled by the initial gentle steps. There were alternating high and low steps but mostly were slightly higher than normal. This was like a giant step machine and it was a tough way up definitely. We took an hour with multiple rests along the way. It was not easy, and definitely not with slippers too. It was funny why people come in skirt cos the steepness of the steps would allow everyone below to have a clear view upwards. Since it was still early, the weather was still bearable and the wind was a real gift for the climbers.
On the top was a pagoda, a huge Buddha statue and some smaller statues and a great 360 view around. Definitely worth the climb. Spent some time up there for a rest and some photo shooting before making our way back down. Going down was much easier though it wouldn’t be a good news to those with joints pain.
Went to the toilet to wash our hands as we were using the railings all along the way. There was a Goddess of Mercy temple which we donated a tile each for 100b and was given a receipt that looked like a certificate. Was thirsty for something cool and went to a nearby stall selling drinks and bought one of the coloured drinks which was actually tea. It was concentrated and required to be mix with a cup of ice to taste ok, just like our Teh-Peng. Also bought an ice cream to cool off further.
As we sat near the motorcycles parking area to consume our ice cream, a guy on a scooter was seen moving towards our direction when we waved out to him. He immediately knew what we wanted and asked if we wanted a taxi to Krabi town and quoted 300b for it. We told him scooter and he quoted 150b, and when subsequent bargaining from us proved futile, we agreed to it. After a quick visit to the toilet, my wife and I boarded the mini scooter with camera and bag sling onto my side and a cup of cup tea in another hand, making it a 3 persons scooter ride.
As we moved onto the main road, the man reached for his helmet and put it on. That was when we saw that we were passing by the police headquarters but that to me was pure ridiculous. My wife and I were still without a helmet! There weren’t any issues with getting into town, all about 15mins ride and he alighted us at Chao Fa pier and pointed us to the nearest bus station, although the place didn’t look familiar. Still with some tourists in view, we didn’t think too much. Paid him 140b cos I didn’t have the exact change nor did he had enough to return me, he accepted it. I can’t resist not taking a photo with this chap.
The pier side had some bronze like statues of some giant crabs and that together with the cliffs behind made a interesting photo opportunity. We moved towards the direction of the bus stop and at the same time looking out for lunch place. Most of the shops that were closed, possibly because it was a Sunday. We stumbled onto an Italian restaurant (Viva Restaurant) which served some really good pasta. I tried the special Italy flown in mushroom pasta which was tasty though the ice cream shake wasn’t cold. On the whole, food wise was satisfying and there was wifi too.
We left the restaurant and after asking the cashier on the direction of the bus stop, we got up the songthaew outside the 7-11 with a 1lit bottle of water that we bought in a pharmacy a few meters back. The driver waited till the songthaew was almost full and started the journey back. Along the way, the songthaew picked up 3 more Koreans and a Caucasian where 2 of them stood outside and the Caucasian sat on the floor, really packed to the max.
By now it was almost 2nd nature in taking public transport back to our hotel. Retrieved our luggage from the temp storage room and enquire about the Hong Island tour but was informed that the tour would start at Ao Nang beach, therefore it would be much better to enquire when we transferred to Rai Leh beach. Thought of getting a Tuk Tuk to the Longtail station but was advised to keep the money and stroll to the pier instead.
The midday sun was turning on the heat as we pulled our 2 wheeler luggage towards pier. Our baht seemed to be under budgeted and so we got into Siam Commercial bank exchange to change out 80sgd at 25.4b per $, an amazingly better rate then what we had in Singapore. We also went into one tourist shop that was selling airport shuttle tickets but was informed that the bus would pick up near the shop which was still far from the pier and we got them at another of these shops closer to the pier.
The Longtail boat tickets were sold at an obvious ticket counter just a few meters from the beach. Bought the tickets to Rai Leh for 100b each, thinking that it was going to the shore where our hotel Bhu Nga Thani Resort. As we approached the pier, there was a staff ready to dispatch the passengers. We were told to sit till it was time to board which was really quick. The longtail boat was close to shore but the low tide water still washed up onto the shorts. I had to lift up the luggage above my head and lift it into the boat before getting on, a little troublesome.
There was about 8 passengers on board and the journey to Rai Leh beach was smooth. While we arrived, the reverse took place and if it was not for another passenger that helped with my luggage, i wondered how I would get it off to shore dry. Then we realized that Rai Leh beach meant West Rai Leh. Asked around and managed to take the walking route to East Rai Leh beach. Most of the route was sand and that meant that I had to hand carry the luggage. After some 5mins, we reached East Rai Leh and the resort was just to the left of it.
Checked in and given some welcome drink and a nice cold towel to clean up. The porter helped with the luggage, the introduction of the resort and the room. We were pretty impressed with the first view of the room, large, had separate tub and shower, a balcony with a daybed and a side daybed in the room – felt really comfortable. But our first priority was to get the activities settled for the next day, which was a Hong Island visit. Went back to the reception where we first enquired on the tour and agreed to one that was recommended by them. Paid 1500b/pax for the tour and also borrowed a DVD that was available in the resort library that we could watch in our room.
The wifi in the room was fantastic and we spent the afternoon on the internet on the daybed and also had a bath to wash off the sweat from the afternoon’s climb before leaving for dinner. The rain shower did not have a constant water pressure and was alternating, between heavy downpour and passing shower, which I thought was one of the not so good thing about the room. The whole east beach was more swampy than sandy. The tide was high and the water had crept up close to the walkway that ran north south, linking up the various resorts and many more restaurants and bars. Walking up and down this walkway, we finally decided with Mum’s Kitchen II. Ordered quite a bit of food, including a fish cooked in special sauce. This was a place that served good food with a great value, 680b in all. We also had take away for a Thai pancake, which was very much like the Roti Prata in Singapore, in Nutella and banana flavour. We also checked on the tours offered and it was cheaper than what we had booked. The only thing we could take comfort was that the tour for the next day was sold out already.
Spent the rest of the night having pancake and watching DVD. Slept early as fatigue from the climb kicked in.