March is the smokiest time of the year in northern Thailand, and many residents of Chiang Mai choose to travel to another region. We have been busy getting settled in, but the urgency of getting a dose of fresh air–and our love of the sea– overtakes other concerns. Off to Krabi Province, in the clear-skied (but very hot) south.
We loved Ao Nang beach on our previous visit, so that was the base of stay this week. Great sunsets… and seafood in the local restaurants, including the biggest oysters I’ve ever seen.
Nearby Railey Beach is a “hot spot” for visitors; it’s accessible only by long-tail boat. Indeed, the water is clear, and perfect for swimming. The scenery is fantastic, with dramatic cliffs on all sides, and jungle vegetation (discretely contained by private guesthouses) bordering the sand. Still, not the great experience I expected. Crowded, with no access to shade–not even a beach umbrella concession?–and the constant roar of taxi-boats coming and going resounds off the cliffs, ruining any enjoyment of the natural setting.
So I’m dedicating this post to the best feature of this visit. Our big outing is a boat tour to Koh Hong, about a 45-minute trip by longtail boat from Ao Nang’s marina. The bay is dotted with little islets of karst, making the whole journey quite scenic.
Koh Hong has an actual lagoon,accessed by a narrow chink in the cliff. A nice safe swimming or kayaking site (but full of tour boats) at high tide; a flat of exposed rocks at low tide,
After a short stop for lunch, the tour boat moors at a popular swimming beach. A few of us–the “outsiders”, I guess, who don’t want to be around the crowd–take off in kayaks. Paddling through the idyllic scenic waters, for more remote beaches.
Esso and I are not strong paddlers, and after 20 minutes we have had enough. We find a beautiful, secluded beach, and settle in to enjoy a little quiet time.
Esso goes off to explore the cliff, and suddenly I see it–a dark spot that looks like the iconic “bat cave”. Not because bats live there (possible but unlikely), but because of the shape it forms on the cliff face. Getting closer only confirms the impression.
How cool is that?