Living in Singapore, life sometimes gets too automated and monotonous. The country being a central point in South East Asia, Shreekant and I decided to go on a trip to Thailand, to unwind and break free of the rigorous city humdrum. We planned a 4 day trip to Ao Nang, a coastal town along southern Thailand’s Krabi Province, overlooking the Andaman Sea. Our search for a laid back getaway spot found a perfect match in this cosy little town, which exclusively caters to International tourists and backpackers from all over the world.
We reached Krabi on the afternoon of Saturday, 20 February, 2016. After checking into our suite at Holiday Inn Resort at Ao Nang beach and freshening up, we quickly left to explore the Weekend Night Market hosted in Krabi town. Ao Nang is about 20 km away from Krabi town, and we took a tuk-tuk from our hotel to reach the bustling town market in Krabi.
Our tuk-tuk driver Malik was fluent in English and pointed out various landmarks on the way, like the Cobra Snake House and local markets that cater to the town’s residents. It would be a shame if I didn’t mention the excellent roads here. I assume it is the same everywhere else in Thailand too, potholes conspicuous only in their absence. The traffic is least and the long ride to and from Krabi town felt like a breeze, in spite of travelling in a tiny, open vehicle.
The weekend night market is a loud and colourful world filled with street performers, makeshift stalls and hordes of customers. Tourists again top the numbers here, and judging from the array of souvenirs, I assume that it primarily serves outsiders. The market is a gastronomic paradise; it has an endless number of food stalls that satisfy different kinds of taste buds, ranging from local and indigenous Thai food to cocktails to fusion dishes that incredibly combine traditional and Western cuisine. Like in every coastal town, seafood is one of the prime attractions here too. Being a vegetarian, my choices were drastically limited; however, I amusedly observed tourists ravenously devouring these delicacies, like oysters baked in their shells and various meat chops and steaks sizzling on the grill. My favourite was the spicy potato twists, while Shreekant loved the sprinkle topped coconut ice cream.There was even the rare take away cocktail in a bamboo glass! However, the famous sticky rice and mango dessert stole the show.
The market presented not only an amazing array of food, but also had numerous stalls which sold uniquely designed cotton clothes with batik patterns. We loved the handicrafts like jewelry, bags and toys, and got a nice drum for Shreya to play with crafted from coconut shell and cow’s leather. I was particularly impressed by the local ladies’ flower soap skills and the children who played traditional Thai musical instruments like suem, khim and taphon.
One striking feature of the market, and Krabi in general, was its immaculate cleanliness. Having told by one of my friends Arathy, who recently visited Krabi, that “the place feels so much like Kerala, with its lush greenery, humidity and heat!”, I was expecting a similar level of hygiene as well. I was happily surprised when proved wrong; the streets were completely litter free despite the lack of dustbins! We haggled and shopped for the rest of the evening, and our friendly tuk-tuk driver Malik came back to drop us off at the hotel.
We were exhausted, but looked forward to our next days in Krabi with excitement and delight! Have you too been to night markets? Tell me about your trips to South East Asian markets, weren’t they just as much fun?
Read about the 2nd day here.