After Koh Tao we had no set plans. We knew we had to be on the West side of Thailand to catch our flight up to Chiang Mai in a few days, but we left some days unbooked and unscheduled on purpose so we could stay somewhere longer if we really loved it, or cut somewhere short.
Knowing that we would only have a few days on the West coast if we moved that direction immediately after Koh Tao, we decided to book one night in Koh Samui, and then move on from there to the Krabi/Railay Beach area (where I was wanting to go the most).
Here's a map of Southern Thailand- you can see Koh Tao, Samui, and Krabi to get an idea of what we were trying to do.
We booked our hotel in Samui very last-minute, but based on reviews, and the fact it was across the street from the beach and was connected to a popular bar, I was fairly excited that we were able to get two rooms. We left Chintakiri and hopped on the ferry over to Koh Samui, where we then found a taxi driver to take us about thirty minutes away to our hotel. Samui was not what I was expecting; it was packed with people, and cars, and stray dogs, and seemed to be in a state of chaos. After being in sleepy Koh Tao, I think we were all surprised to see this side of Thailand!
When we got to Rich Resort I was a little worried. It was down a back alleyway, and yes, it was across the street from the Swing Bar and the beach, but the hotel itself wasn't anything special. As we walked down the halls I got a peek into one of the rooms and it looked super nice; unfortunately, that ended up being one of the deluxe rooms and we just had a standard. Both of our rooms were sleepable, and clean enough to not be concerned, but they definitely weren't nice. Think of a worn out motel. BUT, they had working AC and a bed and that was about as much as we really needed. Although I was relieved we were only staying for one night.
The beach was nice and after a long walk on it in the evening we settled in for a fire show and mediocre dinner at the Swing Bar, before calling it a night so we could get a ride to the airport in the morning over to the other side of the country.
We took a quick flight over to Krabi Airport and were picked up by a driver sent by our next resort, Phu Petra. I couldn't have been more delighted once we arrived! This was a beautiful resort, although small and simple, it had a friendly staff and a great location away from the bustle of Ao Nang and Krabi town. Not only that, but our rooms were huge and gorgeous with a real bathroom! Including a shower separate from the toilet and a bathtub to boot! I literally jumped up and down as we were getting our tour- this was one last-minute booking to be thankful for, especially after a night in a not-so-nice hotel.
We kind of wanted to relax in luxury all day and not move, but with such a tight time schedule, we decided to make the most of our day and we took the free shuttle into town to explore.
We were surprised, yet again! Ao Nang was the busiest place we had been to yet- but in a different way than Samui. At first I was relieved to be somewhere that felt like any other beach town- the familiar is sometimes nice after so much difference. But then the crowded, touristy, more-expensive-than-the-rest-of-Thailand area got old pretty fast. It was one of those places that you couldn't even walk down the sidewalk because of all the people wandering and all the shop owners trying to sell you something. This was what the Thailand area of Disney would be like... Luckily, there was one major redeeming factor of Ao Nang (besides the large beach)- MONKEYS!
We wandered to the far end of the beach and ended up in monkey-heaven! These little creatures were quite the handful- they were actually kind of intimidating, but the little babies were super curious and friendly. We hung out with them for a bit, and then had to take a dip in the ocean to get the poo smell off of us. Those were some dirty, stinky monkeys.
We ended the night by meeting up with EJ and Merissa who had gotten to the area a day before us and we had a so-so dinner on the main street. With so many restaurants to choose from, it was hard to distinguish the good from the bad! We bailed on the night kind of early, like the geezers we are, and rushed to catch the last shuttle home so we could just laze about in our comfortable room and sleep the night away….
( I feel as if I am being a negative-nancy in these posts- but its hard to give an accurate description of these places by only writing positively. Please know that we had a ton of fun and enjoyed every place we went- but there were also things about each place that were not so enjoyable, as well!)