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Old 11th July 2018, 14:52   #1
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Thumbs up Krabi, Thailand - A Family Vacation

Day 0
Travel from Delhi to Krabi + Exploring Krabi

Here's a video of us reaching Krabi and enjoying our first evening there:


With the last few months having been a whirlwind of activity & preparation, the family needed its first vacation since my marriage. There were several plans for destinations both in India and abroad. With my wifey's birthday in May, we ideally would have liked to get away then, but had to postpone for several reasons.

Having considered all options, it was decided to go to KRABI, Thailand. The dates were fixed for the first week of July. The tickets were booked in the first week of June.

It was time to start preparing for the trip. With Amazon Prime, it became easy to get some parts in for the cameras, and also to get the necessary clothing. So for the next couple of weeks, every other day, there'd be packages waiting for me at home.. it was like a whole birthday month! :P

On the way to Krabi, there was a short layover in Bangkok, and we initially thought we'd get the visa on arrival there. Eventually though, we opted to get visas done in advance in India. This turned out to be a good decision, as the layover wasn't long enough to get the visa on arrival. Not to sound petty, but I would've assumed an international airport would have English speaking personnel. For most situations, that wasn't the case.

It soon was time to board the flight for Krabi! After the overnight travel, we were pretty exhausted. But the thought of finally seeing the islands on the flight, and landing in the beautiful destination gave us a boost of energy! This energy couldn't be dampened by the 'one item, non-veg only food option' on the flight.. people travelling Thai air to Krabi, if you like veg food, eat at Bangkok airport. Or wait till Krabi airport (where you wouldn't find too many food options).

After landing in Krabi, we quickly moved to collect our baggage and went to the vehicle waiting for us outside. I was ecstatic to see the NEW MITSUBISHI PAJERO SPORT there! You can expect a short experience video on the same in the next couple of posts!
I forgot my log book on the plane, and we had to go back to the airport to fetch it. The taxi driver did so without us having to ask him. We went back approx 8 km, so the guy added 16 kms to a trip that was in total only about 25 kms. All of it without even a request from us. A special shout out to KIWI TAXI. Their service is impeccable. I booked through Agoda.com, which redirected me to MOZIO, which further booked the KIWI TAXI for us. It cost approx 800 Thai Baht, and was absolutely worth it. For comparison, typical transport by vans cost about 150 Baht per seat, and booking a general sedan costs 500 Baht. For 4 people + lots of luggage, the ride in the Pajero Sport was worth it.

We were pretty exhausted by the time we reached the hotel - Ao Nang Phu Pi Maan Resort & Spa, Krabi. After taking a nap, we finally moved out to check out the property. I had changed the booking to this property after reading the reviews on trip advisor. And boy, were me and the family glad! We had pool access rooms that gave us breathtaking views of the famous cliffy hills of Krabi. Check out the image below.

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Views from the restaurant



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It was soon time to head out for an early dinner to a local Thai food restaurant called Bangboo Restaurant. I happily hired a small Yamaha Aerox scooter, and being Black & yellow, the scooter ended being the TAXI for my family, with me picking and dropping them one at a time


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Quite unlike the Honda Activa and its clones sold in India, this 155cc Yamaha was a delight to ride. Even with two large adults on-board, this scooter simply zipped up the steep 20 degree incline at our hotel. And with its large diameter chunky wheels, it had enough grip to be confidence inspiring even on highway rides with speeds exceeding 97 kmph. Its LED headlights worked reasonably well, and the feature I liked the most was the fuel lid in front of the rider. No need to open the seat. The fuel lid cover and the seat were both operable by switches near the key slot up front.
Just to be clear, they do collect the original passport when you rent a bike.

After dinner, we later went for some on-the-street cold stone ice cream. I've had this ice cream in India before, but the way the guy made it in Krabi was pretty awesome. I've included that in the video. Check it out below.

Will post the rest of the travelogue soon!

Cheers,
Sam.
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Krabi, Thailand - A Family Vacation-enlight705.jpg  


Last edited by samarth.bhatia : 23rd July 2018 at 17:45.
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Old 11th July 2018, 15:29   #2
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Default Day 2: Krabi, Thailand - A Family Vacation - SAMBHA

Day 2

ATVs, Go Karting & Krabi Night Market



The next day, we woke up refreshed and ready to go explore!

The first thing we did was chalk out the activities we all wanted to do. It was important to figure what everyone wanted. Having done that, we fixed tentative days on which we'd like to do the activities.

We would be doing two of my favourite activities that day.. ATV riding through rubber plantations around Krabi, and Go-Karting! Both of these activities were near each other, and approx 8 kms away from where we were staying.

Me and wifey went on the Yamaha, while my parents decided to book an entire tuk tuk taxi. These taxis aren't the 3-wheeler tuk tuks found in Bangkok, but rather Suzuki mini trucks with open air seating at the back. When in any of the coastal holiday spots in Thailand, do ride at least once in these.

The roads in Krabi are good, and these spots are easy to reach by scooter. It would be recommended to stay on the left of the road, as larger vehicles tend to travel at speeds upwards of 100 kmph. People generally drive safe and follow the traffic rules. The roads get curvy as you exit Route 4302, and go onto the 'Krabi Romantic Road'. The road takes you between the beautiful lush green mountains. As you exit this patch, you cross 'Hub Cafe, Krabi', a very pretty looking cafe/bar. Fuel costs vary across locations - at tourist costs, it was approx 40 Baht/litre of 91 octane Gasohol, while only 4 kms away, it was less than 30 Baht/litre.

As we reached the SaiThai ATV spot, I saw the mean looking Chinese make ATVs standing at the entrance to the jungle trail. We immediately got three ATVs, one for mom & dad, and one each for me and wifey. It was mom & dad's first time on an ATV. It was a 40 minute gruesome ride through mud, slippery path, sharp inclines and declines, water filled patches, and rare dry spots. There were parts where there were multiple challenges together. All in all, I would say it was a fairly challenging track. We had a leader on an ATV, and a guy following behind on a regular motorcycle. There was only static training given before starting. No training on actual moving ATVs. This can be dangerous for first time riders. Specially in the rainy season. Thankfully, it went really well. I had ridiculous amounts of fun just sliding on the slippery bits and towards the later half, I even started to deliberately make the rear step out, a lot of times lifting up one of the rear wheels! Even my parents had a blast . That said, the ATVs I rode at RAMOJI Film city were genuine Polaris ones, and a league apart from these cheap less powerful Chinese look-alikes. We were offered some awesome watermelon and water as refreshments post session.

Ready to Go!
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Chickens and a funny bird found at ATV lot
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ATV Rules - Very entertaining
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Trees along the ATV Track - collecting Sap?
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Me and wifey, then, went to the Go-Karting track, where I took a 15 minute session on the 560cc kart capable of hitting 100 kmph (claimed). It was quite a hot sunny day. The kart didn't feel particularly fast on straight paths, but really showed its capability on corners.
It was a torquey monster, capable of sliding on turns with even slight throttle inputs. I had fun with it.

Woo hoo!
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Fishing outside Go-Karting Lot
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Cool Mazda at Petrol Pump - found on the way back
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Funny eggs at supermarket
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Later, we went for lunch and chilled at the hotel.
In the evening, we took a shared Toyota van to the Krabi Night Market. For street food lovers, this place is paradise. Most things are suitable for general non-vegetarians, and there're loads of vegetarian options as well. The place also has performances by local children. There's a lot of memorabilia and apparel for sale. We went there for the food and the general experience. We sampled some Quail eggs, and some cake made a local baker. As with most outings, I chose to have some fresh mango too. After this, we went back to Ao Nang beach in the Toyota van. The cost for the transport was about 150 Baht/head pick up from and drop to the hotel. Me and wifey decided to get dropped at Ao Nang beach instead of the hotel and make the most of evening by exploring things of interest.

On the way to night market
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The Toyota Van driver asking us to return by 9 pm
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The only memorabilia I bought
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It was then time to call it a day.

Here's an immersive video log of this day:



Cheers,
Sam.

Last edited by samarth.bhatia : 23rd July 2018 at 17:46.
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Old 14th July 2018, 16:31   #3
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Default DAY 3: Krabi, Thailand - A Family Vacation - SAMBHA

DAY 3
Exploring the Hidden Gems of Krabi

Here's the immersive experience by SAMBHA Official:


On Day 3, we had an early breakfast.

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I hurriedly created my signature burger


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A speed boat was waiting to take us out to on the Four Island Tour, covering some of the famous islands surrounding Krabi - Chicken Island (Koh Gai), Koh Tub, Koh Mur, and the Phra Rang Caves. After breakfast, as we headed to the departure location of the boats, I started to feel a little unwell. Upon reaching there, I decided to head back to the hotel to rest for a while, and wifey decided to join me. And we ended up missing the Four Island Tour. In the video below, the footage included from this tour was taken by my father.

After reaching the hotel, we chilled in the pool adjoining our room.


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Then, we booked the Yamaha for another day and took it for a spin to Ao Nang and Noppharat Thara beaches.

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While exploring the Noppharat Thara beach, we found a swing, and a nice tattoo parlour. Later, we had lunch at a very empty beach side restaurant with overpriced food.

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Chilled at Ao Nang beach for a while too (check out the video for more).


Later, we headed to the very under-rated Fossil beach that finds no mention on most tours. Most tourists miss out on this geological marvel. It has what appears to be a beach made with broken concrete slabs. These slabs are in reality snail shells with layers and layers of different soils. It's one of only three such places in the world, and the only one of its kind on a coast. The approach to the beach had concrete steps leading to a soft path, possibly because the steps were broken in the tsunami a few years back. Check out the video for an immersive experience.


Views from the Four Island Tour (more in the video)



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It was then time to head back and turn in for the day. There was more excitement in store for the next day.

Sam.

Last edited by samarth.bhatia : 26th July 2018 at 19:16.
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Old 16th July 2018, 13:59   #4
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Talking Day 4 - Krabi, Thailand - A Family Vacation - SAMBHA

Day 4
A Road Trip Through Krabi, and a visit to the Emerald Pool & Hot Springs


For this day's experience, check out the video below:




It was finally the most awaited day of the trip. We would be driving approx. 80 kms away from our hotel to the Emerald Pool and the Hot Springs. As a team-bhpian, I don't need to explain what made me wait for this day

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We had a beautiful 200,000 kms old Toyota waiting for us in the driveway. With only a few thousand insects inside, same the crawling type, some the more adventurous flying type, this beast of a car seemed to have a life of its own. It even came with a 2-DIN head unit featuring an AUX point, and some awesome Thai radio stations. My Bose Mini II Soundlink was a perfect fit for these situations.

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As we drove away, I marvelled at the immense power of this beast. It enjoyed throwing people back in their seats when the throttle was lightly tapped in 1st gear. This made every little stop at a junction or a traffic light immense fun with my parents and wifey in the car. 65 year olds love being thrown back in their seats, as you can imagine. The Toyota even featured a grocery list in the trunk, left behind by the previous traveller undoubtedly.


As we got out of the AoNang area, and got on Road 4 (highway), the car got filled with the shouts (of joy) from the people on the back bench.

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The drive itself was genuinely nice with good roads and even better road manners. We found ourselves in slow moving traffic only on a small patch where multiple lanes were being worked upon. After having driven extensively in many countries around the world, I found the road manners of drivers in Thailand comparable to most developed nations. This drive made me realise the peace of mind we miss out on in India.


Our arrival at the Emerald Pool was interesting, to say the least. It was the first place we had to pay for parking (30 Bahts). The washrooms inside also required payment (10 Bahts per person), and our parking ticket allowed free use of the washroom for one person. Changing areas weren't too well equipped, but were clean. I also found a bunch of BMW GS1200s in the parking. They belonged to travellers from Malaysia. (Check out the video for more)

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The path from the parking lot to the Emerald pool took us through a forest. The walk is about 800 meters, and its recommended to take along mosquito repellant creams. Watch out for interesting mini dinosaurs along the edges of the path (more in the video).


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Wear appropriate footwear. Wifey had a bad fall on the slippery stones we had to walk over to reach the pool. This twisted her ankle quite badly, leading to ligament damage. To swim in the pool, its recommend to walk backwards, feet sliding on the slippery rocks, holding the knotted rope. We also saw others jumping in from another end of the pool. The water is very emerald-y. Hence, the name. The sand bed is slightly rough to walk on. And the fishes use up most of the room. There's a mini waterfall at one end. Standing near it can be a challenge if you're not into public nudity (read. the falling water pushes the swimming trunks off).


On heading out, we found another path taking us back to the parking. This one was much prettier, with a narrow wooden boardwalk on the most part. It was deserted, and was perfect to enjoy the deafening noise of the crickets. It also had more water bodies to stare at. (Check out the video for more)

Just before this parking lot, there's a small market with restaurants and a couple of shops. We stopped to have some refreshing coconut water, and to buy an alligator to swim with in our hotel pool.

We then drove to the Hot Springs, which are about 7 kms away. An entrance fee of 200 Baht per head is applicable there, and another 20 Baht per head will get you a ride in the electric buggy - from the gate right to the hot springs. We gladly accepted the ride.

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The hot spring is basically a mini-river with water flowing into large rock crevices, and eventually forming a water fall leading into a brown basin of sorts. The brown colour results from the mud from the bed getting lifted in to the water. We lay in the warm spring water for about 30 mins. That afternoon, we got lucky being the first ones to arrive there. We blocked the best rock crevices to lay in. A swarm of Chinese and Indian tourist arrived a few minutes later, and whoosh! The calming silence with the water flowing turned into sounds reminiscent of a flight with a million crying babies on board.

We made our way back to the entrance gate in the buggy. We weren't allowed to use the washrooms near the gate. Instead, we were asked to use the ones near the market outside. Now these washrooms were messy. We managed to change into dry clothes quickly. In the market, I got a lady selling fruit smoothies to cut up some fresh mango. She was happy to do so, but gave it to me in a plastic smoothie glass. With a very long toothpick. It was time to find a place to get some lunch. We decided to head back towards AoNang and stop at a dhaba on the highway. Dad drove till the dhaba. Now he's a very careful driver, and not too adventurous with speed or acceleration. This drive, though, was different. On the curvy roads leading back to the highway, he was driving in excess of 80 kmph. I had to point it out. He was quite surprised.. the smooth cambered roads didn't make one feel the speed at all. And the 'Etios like' centrally placed instrument console didn't help matters.

On reaching the dhaba, we faced a bit of a language issue, which google translate helped with. We eventually got the food, and it was freshly made delicious thai cuisine.

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On the way back, we also stopped at The Outlet Village - a place selling branded apparel items on discount. Pretty reasonably priced, and good variety.

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The day ended with me and wifey booking our tattoo appointments for the next day. She opted for a traditional bamboo tattoo, and I for a machine tattoo. The next post will feature the video with that.


Cheers,
Sam.
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Krabi, Thailand - A Family Vacation-enlight721.jpg  


Last edited by samarth.bhatia : 23rd July 2018 at 17:49.
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Old 26th July 2018, 14:38   #5
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Cool DAY 5: Krabi, Thailand - A Family Vacation - SAMBHA

Day 5
Thai Massage, Exploring the Hotel, and Getting a Tattoo in Krabi

Take a dive into the pool of my memory here (VIDEO):




After the last couple of days of moving around Krabi, we decided to keep our last full day a relaxed one. After a long, time-lapse filled breakfast, we lounged around our rooms and jumped in to the connected pools. I also moved about trying to capture the beauty of Ao Nang Phu Pi Maan Resort & Spa, with the hills and the clouds giving the greenery around good company.

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We were also attacked ferociously by alligators. Swimming in Krabi is definitely adventurous.

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Eventually, we got out of the pool and headed to the in-house spa. We had a very non-oily painful Thai massage there. When it comes to massages, I enjoy the oily ones with low pressure, so this was very different for me. My wife and parents enjoyed the massage.

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We then headed out to Ao Nang beach for lunch.

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I rented out a smaller scooter for a day as we had some more things to do in the evening.

It was time to head to the tattoo parlour for our appointment. We had chosen to go to the Perfect Skin Tattoo parlour, next to Holiday Inn resort.

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We were there till late in the night. I got a band on my forearm, while my wife got a ring made using a traditional bamboo tattooing process. Check out the video to see how these tattoos are made.

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On the way back to the hotel, we stopped to meet Mr Ronald.

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Cheers,
Sam

Last edited by samarth.bhatia : 26th July 2018 at 15:25.
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Old 26th July 2018, 15:24   #6
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Exclamation DAY 6: Krabi, Thailand - A Family Vacation - SAMBHA

Day 6
The Last Day + The Departure + Arrival x 2 = So Much


I've catalogued stuff from this day in this VIDEO here:




Met this cute baby at breakfast:

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It was going to be a long day. And night.
We had to check out of the hotel at 11:00 am (the plan originally), and had a flight to Bangkok at 7:30 pm. With an SUV boot full of luggage, it was important to get the latest possible check out. The new friends at Ao Nang Phu Pi Maan were sweet enough to offer a 2:00 pm checkout.


I went to drop the scooter back, and to look for some plastic wrap for the new tattoo. Since I couldn't find the plastic sheet, I was speaking to the owner at the scooter rental shop. A guy standing there heard me and asked me to come with him. Turns out he ran the MINI BOXTEL at Ao Nang, and had lots of his guests who would get tattoos and need the plastic wrap It was so sweet of him to help me out. I've included this experience in the video. His visiting card is also attached here for reference. He also runs the Lion & Shark Smoothie cafe in the same premises. Also below is the card for the car & scooter rental shop, WANNALEE.

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We called in the same taxi that dropped us to the hotel on Day 1. We got the driver to agree to making 2 stops enroute, one at Hub Cafe for lunch, and the other at The Outlet Village for some last minute shopping.

The Hub Cafe surely was worth the wait, and absolutely worth the stopover.
It had some amazing beverage options, and plonked most fruits on top of the glass. It also had mountains that looked like scooped out avocados for view from its gigantic windows.

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After this, we got ourselves some stuff from the Outlet Village, and carried on to the airport. The driver pointed to some dark clouds in the distance, and mentioned that rain is on its way. An interesting point to note: the forecast for the last 5 days had been rains. And we had not had even one of our plans spoilt by rain so far.

While the ladies shopped, I was able to make a very quick first look video for the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 2018 that we were travelling in.

Here's the video:




We then made our way to the airport, only to realise that we had arrived TOO EARLY (3 hours to depart), and weren't allowed to check in at the time. A note of caution for travellers, there are BARELY ANY SEATS near the check in counters. Krabi airport isn't too large. Hence, try to be in time, and not too early here.

While waiting, we suddenly heard LOUD NOISES from outside.
It sounded like bullets on metal.
Turns out it was the driver's forecast coming true.

It RAINED like nothing I've seen before. So much so that the airport's electricity failed for some time. The rain was so sudden that my poor phone's weather app still showed MOSTLY SUNNY.

Anyway, we finally checked in and were made to wait for a long long time. A lot of flights got cancelled. We were lucky. I assume that's because of our larger aircraft (with 2-4-2 seating configuration in a row). We took off late, but reached Bangkok on time. The only problem was we were made to shuffle about from one part of the terminal to another in the rains (in the bus).

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At Bangkok, I saw these interesting buggies with TOYOTA logos.


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Due to the long walk + security check, our 2.5 hrs layover flew by.

We were soon the flight to Delhi.

The flight also flew by.
Literally.
During its final descent in to Delhi, at an altitude of approx 2000 ft, the pilots suddenly had to raise the nose and increase the throttle, engaging a go-around. There was an aircraft on the runway. I found out later that these instances have become fairly common at Delhi airport. (Check out the video for more)

We landed on the second attempt.

It was nice to be back.

And just like that, the trip ended.

To all my new friends in Krabi, thank you for the interest in my videos, and becoming a part of the story. It was lovely to meet you all.


Cheers,
Sam
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Old 27th July 2018, 08:23   #7
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Default re: Krabi, Thailand - A Family Vacation

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 30th August 2018, 15:40   #8
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Default Re: Krabi, Thailand - A Family Vacation

Thanks for the travelogue.
Could not watch the videos though.
If you don'd mind, can you please mention how much does the trip cost per head?
And did you plan for yourselves or any travel agent or cox&kings kind of assistance?
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Old 19th September 2018, 16:35   #9
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Default Re: Krabi, Thailand - A Family Vacation

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolmind View Post
Thanks for the travelogue.
Could not watch the videos though.
...how much does the trip cost per head?
...did you plan for yourselves or any travel agent or cox&kings kind of assistance?
We booked our travel from Delhi to Krabi and back to Delhi including hotel transfer to the hotel at Krabi before hand.Air travel was booked on Thai airways website, and the hotel booked on agoda.
The cost was about 43k per head including return air fare via Thai airways, and stay.

Expenses for activities were all separate, and we preferred making these on the fly. That way we got the best possible prices (compared to multiple pre-booked planned trip options). And that also gave us freedom to go about these activities based on our mood for the day.

On a separate note, you weren't able to watch the videos because they weren't playing or due to other reasons?

Sam
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Old 19th September 2018, 20:05   #10
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Default Re: Krabi, Thailand - A Family Vacation

Nice write up. Reminds me of my trip to Thailand with friends earlier this year and I totally agree with your observations on the traffic, roads, and it is such a joy to drive/ride there. However, we did a ten day tour of almost all places in South and Central Thailand. Any reason you didnt consider visiting the rest of the places? Or have you already been there?

In short, we did a circuit of Thailand this way:
BLR - BKK(Overnight) - Krabi(2 nights) - Phi phi islands(1 night) - Phuket(2 nights) - Pattaya(3 nights) - Bangkok(1 night) - BLR

Overall, the trip didnt cost a bomb at all, and ended up at around 70k per head including flights. We did all the bookings ourselves and the local runs were done with two wheelers in most of the places, except airport and port transfers by Taxi. Through Airbnb, we found excellent accomodation options with Villas or Apartments in all the places. Only in Phi-Phi islands where accomodation is very expensive, we booked a shared hostel.
In Krabi, the Tiger Cave temple is an amazing experience but very taxing. The hike upto the hill top is a steep 1300 step climb which is very challenging but the view on top is just amazing. This is one thing no one should miss, at least if you are in the younger age group. Would not recommend for families.

I feel that making own arrangements work out to be a lot cheaper here compared to going in a package tour. A little talking should be done, but there is flexibility and a relaxed schedule can be followed.

Yes and regarding the Visa, you did a good thing by getting them beforehand. One of my friend as well as colleague was in Germany till the previous week of our travel hence, he could not get the Visa done before travel. The rest of us had obtained it. His Visa on arrival process took quite long and thankfully we had enough time till our next flight to Krabi.

VOA is more expensive, takes time and is not worth it unless you are not able to procure visa from India itself due to some reason.

Even I had a blast on these scooters in Krabi and Phuket.

The only thing that didnt work in our favour was we went during the time of the Thai new year(SongKran festival) so it was really horrible to get drenched in water all of a sudden which is thrown by the people. I almost drenched my passport and when it is unexpected, you can easily lose your phone or other gadgets. The people get tanks of Ice cold water on the streets and throw them on just everyone and everywhere. So if one is planning to go to Thailand in the months of April-May, then please check the dates of the SongKran festival. Else you will be in a rude shock. The more decent form of this festival is throwing water using small guns, but the intensity of celebrations vary.
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Old 20th September 2018, 08:27   #11
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So if one is planning to go to Thailand in the months of April-May, then please check the dates of the SongKran festival. Else you will be in a rude shock. The more decent form of this festival is throwing water using small guns, but the intensity of celebrations vary.
Songkran week always fall in April; kind of aligned to Hindu calendar - its like Songkran = Sankranti.
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Old 24th September 2018, 07:31   #12
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On a separate note, you weren't able to watch the videos because they weren't playing or due to other reasons?

Sam
Thanks for info Sam.
I could not watch videos as Youtube/any other web link to watch videos is blocked in our office
At home, my 2 year kid has taken over the ownership of the laptop
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Old 28th September 2018, 16:36   #13
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Thanks for info Sam.
I could not watch videos as Youtube/any other web link to watch videos is blocked in our office
At home, my 2 year kid has taken over the ownership of the laptop
Haha. In case your the kid gives you a chance, do give your feedback about them
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Old 16th October 2018, 09:12   #14
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Nice writeup Sam and what timing. I was planing Phuket/Krabi trip when your travelogue came up. I will be travelling end of this month and want to ask if IDP is needed to drive in Thailand. Please note I have India DL in English(smartcard).
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Old 16th October 2018, 12:00   #15
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Thumbs up No need for IDP as a Short Term Tourist in Thailand

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Nice writeup Sam and what timing. I was planing Phuket/Krabi trip when your travelogue came up. I will be travelling end of this month and want to ask if IDP is needed to drive in Thailand. Please note I have India DL in English(smartcard).
Hi,

You do not need an IDP to drive in Thailand. An Indian DL in English is good enough. For long term stay (over a couple of months, I guess), the rules may differ.

Sam
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