Tuesday, September 11, 2018

When in Thailand: Krabi Island Day 3

August is one of Krabi's lean months due to unpredictable weather. We'd know as we got to experience it on our second day where we thought we were about to get stranded in a different island. Thankfully, Mother Nature cooperated with us on our third day and it was bright and sunny perfect for an island tour!

Day 3 at Krabi Island
R and I decided to book a Hong Island Tour from Aonang Andaman Resort & Tours. For 900 Baht (PHP1,440), we get to ride a speed boat to the island saving us more than an hour compared to taking the long tail boat. Also included in the tour fee are hotel transfer, lunch, beverages, use of snorkeling mask, insurance, and National Park Fee. Be extra careful when confirming with your travel agent if the package you are getting is all-inclusive as some would also offer the tour at the same rate but you still have to pay 300 Baht (PHP480) for National Park Fee. 
We were told that the shuttle will pick us up from our hotel at 9 a.m. but it arrived 15 minutes earlier and we were still packing our bags then for check out. Our ride decided to pick another passenger first and went back for us after. From there, we had to make a few more stops to pick up other tourists and we got to the pier around 9:30 a.m. where our tour guide, Ice, was waiting for us.
After checking and making sure that all participants of the tour were accounted for, we were led to our speed boat about 10 minutes away from the assembly point and we were finally off around 10 a.m.. 
Our first stop was Pakbia Island and we were given 45 minutes to enjoy this island. 
Pakbia has fine white sand, clear water and beautiful cliffs as view. Though we were told that there are fish in the area and that the side we stayed at is good for snorkeling, we barely saw fish or interesting ones at that. 
Laolading Island was the next stop and this one is a lot more dense than Pakbia. With caves and rock formations enveloping the small beach, it is a nice spot to relax. The place could easily get packed though when 3 to 4 boats filled with tourists arrive at the same time. 
Known as the source for bird's nest, it has been an area frequented by locals too. It is also a better spot for snorkeling. The best spot is area near the rocks or small caves.
We also had our simple lunch of tom yum, mixed greens and chicken tender was served. I wasn't able to take photos as we were the last ones to have our share of the food. 
Our third stop, Hong Island Lagoon, was a quick one as we literally just passed by it for photo ops. 
It was a bit hard to get decent photos of the lagoon as you have to fight your way to the front of the boat amongst the rest of the tourists. 
Our last stop was Hong Island Bay which was the biggest beach among the three beaches. The fine white sand was so inviting to just walk barefoot. The water is also clear and perfect for spotting small fish. But no corals were spotted even at the deeper parts making it not that interesting for snorkeling. 
We found ourselves bored and itching to go back to our hotel after 45 minutes but we were scheduled to stay here for about an hour and half. Perhaps it was because there wasn't much to see or that there was a crowd during our visit. 
We headed back to our boat at exactly 2 p.m. and arrived at the pier half an hour or so where our ride back to the hotel was waiting. 

Overall, it was a well-organized tour. Though the tour guide, Ice, did not share much information about the islands we visited, he was very polite and accommodating to others' requests. We were just a bit underwhelmed by the beaches and could not help compare it with the ones we visited in the Philippines. We were also bummed by the fact that we barely saw interesting fish. But I read and heard that the other tour, 4 Islands, includes more snorkeling spots. 

The day was still early and we headed to our next hotel, 8 Icon, first before deciding on whether we'll avail of the other tour or not. 
8 Icon one of the newest hotels in the island. It just opened last year and has a very high 8.6 Agoda rating. We actually passed by the hotel after checking out the Ao Nang Night Market as it was just beside it.
Impressed with how the hotel's walls could mask the noise of the night market, we decided to spend our 3rd night there. 
We booked a Grand Deluxe Room (908 Baht or PHP1,453) and it comes with a spacious and modern 30 sqm. room equipped with king size bed, mini fridge, work table, ample closet space, flat screen TV with cable channels (but with very limited English channel options), bathroom (with rain shower) and reliable internet connection.
I also love how considerate this resort is by providing beach bag (which we fondly call bayong in the Philippines) with beach mat. 
8 Icon also gave us 2 sets of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel instead of just one set. 
Note that 8 Icon has two buildings, one with a lift and another without. All the rooms with king size bed are in the building without a lift and is nearer the night market. The one we checked prior to staying here was the other building and that was the reason why we booked this hotel. But I guess the staff thought that we prefer king size bed over the convenience of a lift and being further away from the night market noise. To be fair though, it wasn't that noisy. I guess 8 Icon had better sound proofing compared to the other hotels we stayed at in Thailand.
We went for a quick swim late afternoon and we had the pool all to ourselves for the next half hour. I love that they had some balls to play with and it definitely brought out our competitive side.  
We opted to go back to the street market in front of Holiday Inn Express for dinner and went with a Seafood Platter (299 Baht or PHP478) and Crab Fried Rice (50 Baht or PHP80).
For 50 Baht, our fried rice was packed with crab meat! You don't even need to order any viand to go with it! The seafood platter was bang for the buck too! One plate comes with squid, shrimps, mussels and other shellfish and crab. We even struggled to finish it.

We decided to head back to Aonang Andaman Resort & Tours to book 4 Islands Tour at 900 Baht (PHP1440) per person for speed boat including lunch, tour guide, use of snorkeling mask, insurance and National Park Fee. Our call time for this trip was 8:15 a.m. so we decided to head back to the hotel right after booking. 
Since we were on the third floor with heavy bags to bring down, we asked for help upon check out. Unfortunately, a lady came to assist us. We ended up carrying three of our four bags with us. 

Check out was fast and soon we were on our way to our next tour. 

Overall, we had a pleasant stay at 8 Icon. Though location may a bit far from the main road, this hotel is near a handful of convenience stores and right beside the Ao Nang Night Market. Those small thoughtful touches such as the beach bag and mat and modern interiors definitely set it apart from the rest. 

Stay tuned for Day 4 of our Krabi adventure.

Click here for Day 1 and Day 2 of our Krabi Island adventure! 

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