Ao Nang, Thailand.

Our journey to Ao Nang from Koh Samui was pretty quick and painless compared to other journeys we had had. The ferry was fairly quick in getting us over to the mainland and then the bus took us straight from the pier directly into Ao Nang, just in time for dinner! We dumped our bags into the Ao Nang Viva Resort and headed straight out for our dinner. We ended up wandering around for a half hour but nothing was really jumping out at us. All of the restaurants that we were passing were totally empty! Then we came across a street market that was full of tourists and locals, and if it’s good enough that the locals all flock to it, then it was definitely worth checking out.

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We ended up having an amazing cheap meal here and then headed back to the beachfront where all the shops and restaurants were. Further down the strip, there was more of a buzz about Ao Nang, it was the low season but there were still plenty of shops and bars open and plenty of tourists were wandering the street. We headed into a bar on the beachfront to relax and people watch before heading back to our hotel for the night.

The next day we were up nice and early to make our way to Krabi town centre so that Gillian and I could extend our visas. We made our way to the immigration centre thinking that we would be there for a few hours. However, no sooner had we left and we were back at our apartment with our extended visas. We hadn’t anticipated being back until the early afternoon as we expected to have to wait much longer. So we ended up using the morning for workout and coffee time (since it was the only available things indoor to do). It turned out that our friends, Steve and Jess were also in Ao Nang at the same time as us. So we all met up that afternoon and booked up a day trip to the emerald pools and hot springs for the next day, since the weather was looking to be a bit better then.

The next day we all managed to hire a taxi driver for the day for 2000 Baht. The emerald pool was our first stop of the day and took us about an hour to get to from Ao Nang. Before even getting to the emerald pool we were dropped off in the car park and paid the 200 Baht entry fee and then had about a 20 minute walk through the jungle to get to it, thank god there was a proper path.

Emerald pool jungle route, Thailand

We arrived at the clearing in the trees where the pool was. We were all gob smacked at the clarity of the water, it looked so picture-perfect. After a few photos, we all decided to take a dip in the beautiful waters. The pools temperature was cool and pretty difficult to actually get into but once in we were all so relaxed and didn’t want to get out.

getting into the emerald pool, Krabi After about 45 minutes, we decided that we had better head to the next location since Steven and Jess were due to catch a bus later on that day. We wandered back through the jungle to the car park and had a short journey to the hot springs. Out of the two places we did that day, the hot springs were my favourite. The entrance fee was 90 baht and again we had a short walk through the jungle from the car park to get there. The springs were fairly busy but we all managed to get our own space together. We got a great spot in the springs, in the middle of the jungle with the sun beating down on us. It was shear relaxation! However, due to the water being so hot, we could only manage about 20-30 minutes in the springs.

Hot Springs, Krabi

We then made our way back to the car and headed to the bus station to drop Steve and Jess off. We had met Steve and Jess a few weeks ago on our way into Cambodia and spent a lot of time with them in the last couple of weeks. We wished them well with the rest of their travels and said our goodbyes, promising them that we’ll be getting a catchup next time we’re in New York City. That night we headed back to the hotel, got changed and made our way down to the beachfront again. We managed to find an Indian resturant just before the beach. The PR’s standing at the front here were saying just about any English word they could to get us into the restaurant. This included ‘happy hour’, ‘party’, ‘cheap beer’, ‘vodka’. This kind of persistent sales pitching from restaurant PR’s usually doesn’t draw us in at all, but for some reason these buzz words seemed to work on us that night… maybe it’s cause we are Scottish!?

The following day Gillian and I booked a bus and ferry over to Koh Lanta and got hair cuts later that night. My hair was getting a bit too traveler-like for my liking and Gill was beginning to look like a bit of a frizz ball as well. Again it’s amazing how cheap things are over here. Gillian had permanent hair straightening done and it only cost her the equivalent of 40 quid- she said it would have cost more than double back home. Then I paid only 4 quid for my haircut- again, half the price of back home.

Our time in Ao Nang was enjoyable but due to the weather we didn’t get to do as much as we had previously wanted. However, it was nice to just relax and have a fairly quiet few days to recover from the busy few weeks before hand. The next morning we were up early to catch our boat to the island of Koh Lanta.

Gillian O'Neil

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