Krabi, Thailand 2017 Day 5-8: Ao Nang Town, Railey Beach & Tiger Cave Temple

After a 3-week hiatus, I'm back with another travel post! As I said, I am going to finish my Krabi posts before working on my recent Singapore escapade. And as I'm nearing the end of this amazing trip's chapter, I couldn't help but feel a bit sentimental. You see, this trip almost didn't happen. A few weeks before our departure, Nico and Gio's dad passed away. It was unexpected and sudden, and it left all of us heartbroken. After it happened, Nico cried himself to sleep every night with me fearing he might actually die of a broken heart. We actually considered cancelling the whole trip. But one day, to my surprise, Nico told me that he talked to his younger brother Gio and they decided to push through with it. You see, this trip was more than just a trip, it was a journey to healing. This trip was for their dad, Tito Alan, who loved the sea and water (he even works as a professional diver) as much as his sons do. Throughout our trip I saw how they looked up the sky smiling yet with slight tears in their eyes, during every sunset and in every beautiful moment. It was sad and beautiful at the same time. This trip was a gift, a celebration of life and love.  And celebrate we did. :) Photos and stories below...

I already shared with you how I planned our trip, our arrival in Krabi, as well the Ko Phi Phi island tour we experienced. On our 4th to our last day in town, we explored more beaches and ate a lot. Haha. We found the best place to see the sunset, saw the magnificent Railey beach (which is famous for its gorgeous limestone cliffs) in person, conquered the Tiger Cave Temple and even made new friends...

Nongthale resort owners Banyen & Guido gave us a free ride to Ao Nang town and they even dropped us off in front of our new hotel! HUHU. Thanks guys! We miss you already!

 Beautiful view on our way to our new accommodation in Ao Nang Town

 Our hotel is beside the Taj Palace india resto

 Ao Nang Easy Room! Booked our rooms through Agoda.

 It has 2 floors


Aonang Easy Room is a serviced-apartment. This contemporary style accommodation comforts you with its easy designed-rooms, pleasant service and atmosphere. Its crystal clear mirror decoration allows you to view from inside their green courtyard and also people watch if you want! Haha. 

 Reception Area

So many books!!! Guests could borrow as much as they like.

Borrowed these

 Since we arrived early, we left our things muna at the reception area and went out to eat lunch somewhere near.

 Had a few bills exchanged again. Rates were mostly the same with other money changers. 

From Ao Nang Easy Room, just go left and walk straight until you reach the corner. 

 A few steps away is the long tail boat ticketing booth going to Railey and other destinations. More on this below!

 On our way back and a few steps away from the hotel, we saw this "FAMILY Thaifood & Seafood" Restaurant sign on the street. We got curious so we decided to check it out. 

This is the alley! (Taken at night)

 It's actually located inside an alley. You'd see the signage immediately

 This is it! Family Thai Food & Seafood Restaurant.

Nico and I ordered seafood fried rice, beef satay and kangkong something. I think we only paid 230 baht for everything! 

 Thai milk tea for life! 

I think this was one of our best finds in Ao Nang, Krabi! Food is authentic and delicious, there are lots of dishes to choose from (they have a thick menu) and everything is budget friendly! Perfect for backpackers like us. Hihi. If you're looking for fresh yet cheap Thai food, this is the place to be. We ate here thrice! :)

Across our hotel are establishments such as Starbucks, Mcdonalds, 7-11, banks, convenience store and pharmacy. 

And we're back! Time to check-in!!! :)

Nico and I stayed on the 2nd floor. :)

2nd floor hallway

Aonang EasyRoom consists of 21 well-equipped rooms available for one-day, long stay or more. They provide daily room service throughout your stay. It was my first time to stay at a unique place like this and it's quite an experience! I actually booked the place because I got curious and of course, it was cheap!!! My first impression was that it looked like an abandoned office building. Do you see it? I don't know, that's just me. I love the glass windows and doors!

Our room!

This is their Standard Double room (w/o breakfast) and we paid P4,290 for 4 nights! Quite cheap na din!

 Our huge bed! 

 Other room inclusions-- mini ref, TV, shelves, sink, separate toilet & bath

Toilet was small but okay! I just didn't like the sliding door hehe

Tiny bathroom with hot & cold shower. Had a slight problem with the door because it doesn't close well so I had to put a towel outside so the floor won't get wet

 Sink was also separate which was good because we can do things simultaneously! For example if Nico is doing his business in the toilet (he takes so much time OMG), I can brush my teeth na or take a bath. Hihi.

View from our window!

For privacy, you could just fully close the curtains! Blackout curtain to guys so mejo nakakadisorient sa morning LOL. Mag alarm kayo!

Bagong ligo and outfit, so aura sa hallway

Walking shot

Mini garden/courtyard 

 Saw this huge room with 3 beds! Perfect if you're traveling with your family or barkada.

 Staircase. There's a bar on the top floor

 I was craving for pizza so we stopped by this restaurant called Bawarchi Delight. It's an Indian resto but they also serve pasta & pizza! yas!

 We ordered their Pizza Margarita (our fave) for 155 baht

 My forever pizza date. Water for him...

 ...Coke for me! Haha

So good!!! Only 155 baht

 Shopped a bit for pasalubongs

 Merchandise are more expensive in Krabi than Bangkok, I think.

 Was looking for more pajama pants

 I think this is where I bought a few pieces for 180 baht each

 After shopping, went straight to Ao Nang beach for sunset

So pretty :)

Ate dinner again at the local food market near the beach. I don't know why I don't have photos haha. We also checked out more souvenir shops before going back to the hotel. The next day, we woke up quite early to visit Railey Beach

Bought food from Family Mart for brunch

To be honest, at this time, we were already over budget and our funds were running low. Krabi is not that cheap, people! Haha. I still have money in the bank but since I allot a certain budget every time I travel, I try not to go over it as much as possible. Nico and Gio (his brother) casually mentioned our dilemma to their mom when they were video chatting and to their surprise, she sent them extra pocket money through Western Union! So sweet! Thanks Mama Gi for saving our broke asses. Hahaha.

While waiting for the bank to open so they could get their money haha

You can buy tickets to Railey, Tonsai, Phra Nang cave, etc. from this ticketing booth located at the corner intersection of main street and beach road.

ito o!

Long tail boat ticket is 100 baht one-way (8am to 6pm). We paid 200 baht each. 

Local vendors

Boat dock. This is where you need to go after buying your tickets. 

Kuya checking our tickets and which boat is available. Someone will then lead you to your boat.

Ready to board!

15-minute boat ride to Railey

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi!

And then there it was, the mother of limestone cliff beaches-- hello, Railey!!!

The beach is quite wide

 Andami ding tao but tolerable naman. You just need to find your spot.

Our tiny spot! 

Railay Beach (Rai Leh) is a large peninsula between the city of Krabi and Ao Nang in Thailand, accessible only by boat due to high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access. It is one of the most sought-after beach in Thailand (or the world) because of its simple splendor. Imagine a beautiful 600-meter long pristine beach surrounded by limestone cliffs, framed by towering coconut trees, white fine sand, dazzling emerald water and maintained by friendly locals. It's really something straight from a postcard. 

Kayaks for rent. I think they also have paddle boards.

Aside from sunbathing, napping and lazing around, a lot of other things could also be done here. While Nico was swimming and I was reading a book, our companions rented a kayak for 250 baht per hour. Aside from kayaking, you could also rock climb (this place is frequented by rock climbers and base jumpers from all over the world!), island hop, hike to Railey viewpoint, visit Phra Nang beach, explore Phra Nang caves, enroll in a cooking class, get a massage, grab a drink (lots of bars in the area), play beach volleyball and watch the stunning Railey sunset!

Can you see Nico taking a photo? Haha

Didn't stay long in the island so we weren't able to explore

Got thirsty so looked for some refreshment. Fruit shakes for only 50-70 baht? Yes please!

Ordered my favorite shake of all time-- Papaya! 

Day trippers arrive from 9am til 5pm

The Walking Street links Railay West with Railay East skirting past dozens of shops and restos around the area

So chill

Aura aura nalang coz I was not in the mood to swim hihi

We headed back to Ao Nang at around 2pm 

 Passed by this resto called APPLE Thai Fastfood and decided to eat lunch here!

Parked our motorcyles here muna. Can you guess which one is ours? D ko rin alam eh. Haha. By the way, bike rental is 200-250 baht per day! 

 They have set meals for only 95 baht!!! 

Their other dishes are also very affordable!

 D ako ready bes

 Nico and I shared this meal! Grilled chicken skewer with fried rice and pad thai (not in photo). I think we paid 250 baht for everything. 

 After lunch, we decided to go back to Thap Kaek (Tubkaek) Beach for sunset! 

 Just use waze and follow the signs

 Long and winding road hehe

 Until we saw this open street that goes straight to the ocean

 Here o!

 Hello pansin mo me sabi ni Nico

 Super duper low tide but push!

 See that alley on the right? That's where we came in. Didn't get the name of the resort.

 Looking for the perfect spot

 More more lakad

 So near, yet so far

Am I in another planet?

Finally found our spot!

Nico, reading a book while waiting for sunset. Joke props lang yan. Wahaha.

Sorry constipated mga once palang ako nag you know the whole trip. Namamahay talaga ako. Komang din po ako. Ayan wala nakong secrets sa inyo noh? Haha.

 Swimsuit: I LOVE KOI SWIM

Sunset was magical.

We packed up and drove back to the hotel just before it got dark. For dinner, we just bought food from 7-11 and then ate it inside the room. But sleep was scarce, so we went out again at around 9pm and downed a couple of beers at a nearby bar. The next morning, we hopped on our motorbikes and went on a 30-minute, 20km ride from Ao Nang town to Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Sua). Photos below...

Heading out of town

It was a nice and pleasant ride! I super enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

We used WAZE for navigation 
(I brought a portable wifi device with me)

Can you see the temple on top?

Welcome arc

Parked our motorcyles here!

We made it! Travel time was more or less 30 minutes to and from Ao Nang Town

Octagon pagoda was under contrsuction

Donations are welcome!

Tiger Cave Temple, also known as Wat Tham Sua, is a Buddhist temple based on the teaching of Vipassana. The temple was founded in 1975. Legend has it that a huge tiger used to live in the cave and made loud vicious roars once in a while. Later on, a group of Buddhist monks and nuns inhabited the cave to meditate and live. Since then, the huge tiger migrated to another mountain and had never set foot in the cave again. That is how the naming of “Tiger Cave Temple” came about. According to another legend, the naming of the temple actually refers to tiger paw marks found on the wall of the cave. 

Tiger Cave Temple is both a religious site and an archaeological site surrounded by mountains, caves, jungles, and forests. At the top of the mountain there is a 278-meter large golden Buddha statue that you can only reach through a 1,237 (but sign said 1,260) steps staircase. I know the climb may sound tedious but believe me, it's worth it! This is one of the best spots to get a panoramic view of the whole of town of Krabi. 

As an archaeological site, the temple is part of the many limestone caves in the area. The more well-known caves include Tum Chang Kaeo, Tum Lod, Tum Luk, and Tum Khon Than, on top of Wat Tham Sua itself. Walk around the area and you will see ancient artefacts including pottery remains, stone tools, molded Buddha footprints, as well as decorated skulls and skeletons. There are also many old and growing trees, including a 1000-year-old tree. Beware of monkeys around the area. They are pretty playful and can be a nuisance to tourists.

Inside the tiger cave temple! No footwear allowed. Remember to dress respectfully! 

The foundation of the temple dates back to 1975 (B.E. 2518) when a Vipassana monk named Jumnean Seelasettho (Ajahn Jumnean) went to meditate in the cave. During his meditation, he witnessed tigers roaming around. This discovery led to naming the temple Wat Tham Suea. Another legend says that an actual huge tiger used to live and roam the cave and its paw prints were discovered on the walls.

tour group being blessed by monks

Stairs going to the area where the tiger once sought refuge

Tiger shrine 

Throw a coin and make a wish!

See photo for explanation

Huge temple ground

Okay, this is it! Ready to climb to the top!

IMPORTANT TIP: Don't forget to bring drinking water and snacks (fruits or jelly-ace or anything that could give you more energy). 

There are lots of monkeys in the area and according to my research, they could be really aggressive. There are multiple reports where they bit people, so always be careful! I placed my backpack in front, hid all valuable items which could be snatched by them and ultimately just ignored them. They didn't bother me naman. Hihi. 

The stairs are steep and uneven so more effort and pagod!

Whenever you're feeling tired, just stop, rest for a bit, and enjoy the beautiful view!

Hulas!!! Can you see how much I'm sweating? Haha! They say that the best time to do the climb is sunrise and sunset for an awesome view! We did it before lunch so it was humid and hot. HUHU.

Never-ending stairs. Waaah.

Okay guys, before anything else, I'd like to say that I am not a fit person. I don't workout, I don't jog and I don't exercise. I also smoke. So the ascent was VERY challenging, and I almost gave up halfway through. But I've always been competitive and I am not one to give up easily. On my 700th step, I found myself walking alone. My companions decided not to continue anymore because one of them suddenly felt dizzy and then started throwing up from the heat and fatigue. The discussion to give up and just turn back was so tempting, but I thought, I am already halfway there so might as well continue. Lavarn bes! Susuka pero walang susuko! Haha. 

I was alone and thirsty and tired (and in need of a massage haha) but push lang! Almost there!

I freakin' made it!!! Gaaah!!!

Tip for a successful climb: Don't rush! Unless you're super fit and athletic then by all means, go. But for people like me, the secret is to stop once in a while and take all the rest you need especially when you feel your heart racing and you can't catch your breath. The climb might take a while but that's okay. Don't pressure yourself 'coz it is not a marathon okay? One of the reasons why I was able to make my way to the top, were all those kind strangers (of all ages!) who smiled at me and gave words of encouragement when I looked & felt like giving up. Patience and perseverance is key! Hehe. Also, don't forget to bring water! It's your lifesaver. It could be super hot and tiring so it's important to hydrate. We also brought banana for snacks (just make sure there are no monkeys around when you eat them!) which helped give me energy. 

Ngiting tagumpay!!! A kind stranger took my photo. :) 

Life saver! 

I was just resting, savoring the moment and reveling in the quiet and beauty of the place when...
... after 15 minutes, Nico suddenly appeared!!!! I thought he already gave up 'coz he too headed down when our companions aborted their climb. 

Okay inom ka muna water. Water refilling station at the top of the mountain! 

Yey may taga picture nako! Haha.

Beautiful view

Small staircase leading to the tall golden Buddha statue, more shrines and footprints of Buddha. Shoes off! 

Tall golden Buddha which you could see from the road daw from afar!

Highest point

Footprint/s of Buddha! Ring the bell for luck.

Limestone mountains

huge pagoda

Equally grueling descent. My knees were trembling na coz of exhaustion haha. Nico's strategy was to go down backwards. Hehe.

Rest again muna

Almost there!!!

Shrine at the bottom. 

More monkeys!

So would I recommend this place and the climb? YES!!! The climb was hard BUT the rewards after was what made it all worth it. On top you'd see a 360-degree panoramic view of Krabi-- forest, limestone cliff, mountains, houses beneath (no beach). You would also see the magnificent huge Buddha and the footprints on top. And more than conquering the mountain, you will also conquer yourself. Even today, I still feel an immense feeling of pride and freedom when I look back on that experience. ALL WORTH IT. So, do it! :)

Chinese style pagoda with a giant statue of Guan Yin or goddess of compassion and mercy

There's another set of stairs going up which lead to the other caves! We didn't go up na 'coz we were already hungry and tired. Hehe.

25 baht coconut ice cream to help us cool down a bit

Nico feeding the pigeons

After getting enough rest, we bade the temple goodbye and headed back to Ao Nang. On the way near the town proper, we saw a nice local restaurant serving cheap food so we decided to stop here for lunch...

Restaurant's name is MAMA KITCHEN.

Our table


Nico and I ordered Pad Thai, Spicy Stir-fried Shrimp with chili and Stir-Fried Shrimp with Curry and we paid 170 baht for our meal. Gio & Harth ordered Batter-Fried Prawns, Shrimp Fried Rice and Curry Beef. 

My clingy friend!

Saw this beautiful mosque on the way

We freshened up and napped for a few hours before heading out again to catch this beautiful sunset...
Ao Nang beach:)

Ao Nang street food market again for dinner! Ordered grilled snapper fish and shared it with the group.

Also made a new friend! We're still friends on Instagram! :)

Retired early because our companions had to catch their early morning flight back to Manila the next day. Meanwhile, we woke up late and spent our last day/night in Krabi just chilling and walking around. Our amazing 8 days in paradise has finally come to an end! I was actually more than ready to go 'coz one, we had no money na and two, my melanin has gone into overdrive. Sobrang itim ko na guys! Haha.

Ate again at FAMILY Thaifood & Seafood resto on our last day

Just taking it all in. :) What an amazing trip.

Last sunset in Krabi. Can't wait to be back!

This is it! We've finally reached the end of our Krabi journey, and (at that time) the beginning of another chapter in Nico and his family's life. I was supposed to publish this last Saturday, Tito Alan's birthday, but we had a mini celebration and was not able to work on it na. Huhu. Anyway, happy birthday, Tito Alan! We miss you everyday. :) And as for you Krabi, we will see your beauty again! Can't wait. :)

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BUDGET (Airfare, Accommodations, Others in PHP)
Airfare - 6,627.67
Airport Tax - 1,620 
Accommodation (Younique Hostel, Malaysia, 1 night) -  1,283 / 2 = 641.50
Accommodation (Naga Peak, Krabi, 1 night) - 1,600 / 2 = 800
Accommodation (Nong Thale, Krabi, 3 nights) -  9,451.46 / 4 = 2,362.87
Accommodation (Ao Nang Easy Room, 4 nights) - 4,290 / 2 = 2,145
TOTAL = P14,197.04

Budget for Malaysia & Krabi Day 1 in PHP
NAIA Airport snacks - 200
Grab to Younique hostel - 120
Dinner - 150
Snacks - 100
Airport service to KLIA - 66
KFC Lunch at airport - 140
Airport service to Krabi resort - 200
Motorbike rental - 160/2 = 80
Dinner at local resto - 200 /2 = 100
Family mart snacks = 100
TOTAL = P1, 256!!!

Budget for Krabi Day 2 in Baht 
Motorbike rental - 250/2 - 125
Lunch - 75
Coconut ice cream - 30
Thai Pancake - 35
Dinner - 120
Miscellaneous (water, c-100, etc) - 80
TOTAL = 465 baht or P760

Budget for Krabi Day 3&4 in Baht 
Motorbike rental - 250/2 = 125
Lunch = 75
Convenience store run = 100 
Tip for ladyboys = 25
Mango sticky rice = 60
Dinner = 100
Phi Phi Island tour = 1200
Dinner = 75
Miscellaneous = 100
TOTAL = 1860 baht or P3, 052

Budget for Krabi Day 5-8 in Baht 
Lunch at Family Resto = 230 / 2 = 115
Pizza snack = 180 / 2 = 90
Dinner = 200/2 = 100
Shopping = 500
Boat ride to Railey = 200 (two way)
Papaya shake = 50 
Lunch at Apple resto = 250/2 = 125
Motorbike rental day 6= 250 /2  = 125
Dinner 7-11 = 100
Beer at nearby bar = 150
Motorbike rental (for tiger cave) - 250/2 = 125
Coconut ice cream = 25
Lunch at Mama Kitchen = 170/2 = 85
Dinner at market = 120
Lunch (Day 8 Family resto) = 150/2 = 75
Miscellaneous = 200
TOTAL =  2,185 or P3,585

Total KRABI Budget = P22,850!!!

*budget depends on shopping habits and food preferences

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