The province of Krabi has some remarkable places listed in the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s “Unseen Thailand” campaign. One is a thermal waterfall, another a crystal lagoon featured in Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Beach.” The hills thrust up out of the earth like monoliths and are covered with green.
From Phuket I rode a minivan for 117 baht (less than $4) over the bridge from Phuket, around Phang Nga Bay (home of the famous James Bond Island), and down to Krabi Town where I would spend the night and continue from the west coast and Andaman Sea to the east coast and Bay of Thailand.
Last year I wrote an article about Mr. Sutin, a local Rotarian and the Krabi Rotary Club’s relief efforts after the tsunami. I returned to Thara Guesthouse which he had recommended, and when the staff recognized me, Pinky the receptionist pulled out a copy of the article with the hotel’s name highlighted. A call was made to Mr. Sutin and within minutes two of his lovely assistants at his law office arrived as envoys to invite me to dinner that night at Ruang Thip restaurant (Krabi town’s best restaurant but strictly a local spot, hard to find). Mr. Sutin arrived soon after to greet me personally. Thai hospitality with strangers is great, but when they know you and consider you a friend, it’s simply incredible. After dinner I was taken to the Rotary Club meeting and gave an impromptu speech on my experiences in Krabi and with Mr. Sutin. One of those rare times that one feels like royalty.
The next morning after reminders that I should come back soon, I took another bus to the town of Surat Thani (3 hrs) on the coast and then a second bus to the port (1 hr to Don Sak) and the ferry (2 hrs) to Koh Samui. (350 baht total, $10)
That night was the famous (infamous?) full moon party on nearby Koh Phangan where thousands of mostly farang (foreigners) gather for an all-night party. By the end of it another tourist was dead, knifed while trying to break up a nasty fight. Just a coincidence but it was all following me. Then I had my own dangerous moment…