Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Tiger Temple

Wednesday 22nd December 2010

MP3 track of the day: Wherever you find love it feels like Christmas -The Muppets

Weather: Cloudy with blue patches of sky in the middle of the day

Again, due to traffic, I was up early. This was a good thing as I was able to get ready and have breakfast with Rachael and Matt before they headed on their way. Again it was a little sad to my friends go, however we might be meeting up again in about two weeks time. I waved them off and then got ready for my final day in Krabi.

Not sure what to do with my day Rachael and Matt recommended a 'Tiger temple', with great views of the city, about a ten minute drive away. After they had gone I inquired, at my hostel reception, how to get there … all seemed simple enough. However, as the skies were a beautiful light blue, my first task was to visit three specific sites within Krabi (the waterfront, temple and the crab) to get some quality photos with a blue sky background. As I now know my way around Krabi rather well this didn't take long and I was soon back at the hostel, dropping off my bag, and heading back out to my favorite restaurant for lunch.

I have eat at this restaurant (called 'Good Dream' … it doubles up as a hostel) five times now and I must have sampled 20% of the menu, all of which has been great. This time I opted for a meal (that I can't remember the name of) that Rachael liked a lot … so much so that I think she had it three times out of five visits. It was a noodle dish and I have to say it was rather yummy.

Lunch had passed and it was time to find a red pick-up truck, converted to carry people 'army style'. One turned up and wanted to charge me 100 baht (£2) to get to the temple. It didn't take me long to barter him down to thirty baht, a more reasonable price, however I think local people paid twenty. Just like every other driver within South East Asia he didn't say much; this led to me getting dropped off on a main road and the driver telling me that I now had to pay for a scooter to take me the rest of the way. A little annoyed about this I looked around first and I found out that the temple was only 1.5km (about a mile in a proper measurement) away and that the road was mainly flat … I decided to walk it.

The sun was beating down and I was worried about getting sun burnt; I dodged between the minimal shade that was present, however I did have to get my umbrella out to guarantee not frying. It didn't take long to get to the temple; most of the buildings on the ground weren't that impressive however you don't come for this, you come to climb the 1,219 steps to the top of a mountain where the view, apparently, is excellent.

Matt and Rachael had warned me about the steps, however that didn't stop me wanting to kill them the next time I saw them. Humidity was high, the steps where very tall, with little ledges to put your feet on, and I got extremely sweaty; there were only three things that kept me going, drink, ice cream and shower, all of which would be after the climbing mount Everest.

Fortunately the stairs were sheltered from the sun, however the humidity was still very high and so I still had to rest half way up. All the way up I saw donation boards so that the Buddhist monks could erect another statue; I though that before anymore tiger carvings were erected on this mountain maybe they might want to invest in a cable car.

At the top the views were stunning, however I didn't spend to long up there as the sun was beating down. I took my photos and departed back down the stairs, which took just as long to descend as it did to ascend due to the dodgy nature of the steps.

Once at the bottom I found the nearest shop and enjoyed an ice cream, and a bottle of Pepsi, for twenty baht (40p). I then left the temple, back along the road – which thankfully the sun was now hidden behind clouds – and onto the first converted pick-up truck that went to Krabi town center. It was around 3:45pm, or to put in another way 'schools out' time. We stopped at a school to fill the truck with school children; it was so full that some boys hung on the back end of the vehicle like it was normal. Imagine in the UK if some parents child was hanging onto the back of a school bus … tabloid heaven.

Once back at the hostel I had a shower (which was lovely) before chilling at the roof top bar. After this I headed for tea at the night market. As I was eating I reflected on my time here in Krabi; another group of travelers in Melaka had warned me not to stay in Krabi as it wasn't that good and here I am on my sixth night. I have really enjoyed Krabi; yes it's annoying that people try to sell me everything from boat cruises to peanuts ALL THE TIME (and there does seem to be a lot of mosquito's around here) however the place does have a certain charm. There is more to do than you think, the hostel is excellent and cheap, there is also a restaurant here that serves the best food that I've eaten within South East Asia (and it's cheap) … what more could you want?

I now move onto Khao Lak and I am a little worried. I hope that my hostel is clean and has a common room full of travelers. There seems to be a lot to do around the area but probably not for nine days. The problem is if I don't like Khoa Lak, I don't mind leaving a few days early and losing £20/£30, the bigger problem is an alternate location. The islands around the south of Thailand are for people who want to get drunk each and every night, Bangkok is stupidly busy and I suspect not a great place for the festive season. Chang-mi is right in the north of the country and all transport there is pretty much booked. Therefore it looks like Khao Lak is really my only option ... unless I fly to Japan!

Toodle Pip!

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