Friday, January 29, 2010

The most memorable meal in Krabi

What??? How can I put an ending to my Krabi trip without posts on food??? I don't come here just for the view! As soon as I made booking through 2 months before my departure, both of us agreed on not to eat any Thai food until then. And even though Ao Nang is nothing short of international food such as Italian, French, Irish, Swedish, Indian... we saved our stomach for one and only one food... THAI!!! I'm so determined to find good Thai food in Krabi to the extent that I googled the internet to look for recommendations from fellow travellers.

After Chinese, I think that my next favourite is Thai :) and I don't mind having Thai food everyday but the same cannot be said for Japanese, Korean, Italian, French, German, etc. I also love eating spicy stuff which means that a trip to Thailand is definitely not complete without their signature tomyam or anything spicy. I have learned a few Thai words recently and one word is "ped" or spicy. There is not one meal in Krabi without tom yam, and everytime I order this dish, I'd say "ped ped" and the waiter/waitress would just smile at me and nodded his/her head. Never mind that my stomach can't stand the spicy-ness, as everytime I had something spicy... I would have a case of stomachache. My motto when come to eating... EAT FIRST, THINK LATER!!! No wonder my waist is getting bigger and bigger as time goes by :P

Lae Lay Grill Spices Seafood

This is the first place that we went to as we arrived in Krabi. Frankly, this place is not in my list of place to try but it came highly recommended by the staff in the hotel. We were also told that the restaurant provided transport to pick us up from the hotel. Feeling lazy to be adventurous on our first day, we decided to settle for the restaurant. It turned out to a wise decision. Nestled on a hill overlooking Ao Nang area (Noppharat Thara Bay to be exact), the view was nice from up there.

The restaurant had just opened for business and we were their first customer of the day! Everything in the menu seemed enticing as out stomachs were literally growling (We only had breakfast but not lunch). So after placing our orders, I took some time to take pictures around. They adopted an open kitchen concept with tanks of live seafood placed nearby. Feel free to pick your very own seafood if you have a deep pocket and they will be more than happy to grill or do whatever you want with your selections - be it lobster, mantis prawns or even crabs.

If you come here during sunset, you can choose to sit at the wooden tables and chairs next to the panaromic terrace where you can enjoy the view of Noppharat Thara Bay.

How could we come to Thailand without having their fresh coconut??? My choice of pure blended coconut drink was equally refreshing :)

Initially we were given their bird eye chilly sauce for dipping (3rd from the front)... however we wanted more. So we asked, and being served with (from the front) tom yam sauce, tamarind sauce and spicy seafood sauce. All sauces were very good but the highlight was the tomyam sauce so don't forget to order it should you have the opportunity to visit this restaurant.

Tom yam goong @ 250 baht was served first and it immediately opened up our appetites. Perhaps the best tom yam that we had here during our 5D4N stay in Krabi.

Crispy soft shell crab with chilly & salt @ 250 baht - not oily and the chilly & salt alone went well with the rice

Roasted duck in red curry sauce @ 180 baht - there was occasion that the curry duck that we had in Ao Nang (not here) was tough and hard to chew but Lae Lay had nailed it right. The duck meat was very tender and the curry was done perfectly.

Steamed seabass with chilly & lime @ 400 baht - our favourites for the evening. I wonder how they actually de-boned the fish. Plenty of crushed garlic, lime and bird eye chilly were laid on top of the fish before it was steamed. We didn't even spare its head :)

Steamed tiger prawns in soya & garlic sauce @ 420 baht - Another winner for us. Fresh medium sized prawns steamed perfectly with sweet soya sauce. The meat was succulent and bouncy with each and every bite.

Fried rice with salted fish @ 180 baht - decent dish.

Pineapple fried rice with curry powder & crab meat @ 220 baht - look at the amount of crab meat on top of the rice. I like the fact that they gave cashew nut too (sucker for this stuff)
Their famous Thai fragrant rice also doesn't come cheap, costing 20 baht per bowl

Leo's verdict - Price is slightly on the high side but it's worth the money paid, given the beautiful scenery and delicious food. Do bear in mind that 10% service charge and 7% VAT is applicable while dining here. We paid 2700++ baht for all of the above. Bear in mind that some other places in Ao Nang do not charge those tax. It's best to come when the sun is about to set. Otherwise, the sun will shine directly at where you dine and it can get pretty hot too. This is what you get when you dine here.

Our very first sunset in Ao Nang
Address: 89 Moo 3, Ao Nang

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Places of Interest in Krabi and it's surrounding area

Before I started to write this post, I pondered if I should write on the places or the food first. I opt for the former, as I want to save the best for last. However I'm not going to elaborate much on the places itself (well, maybe some brief info) as picture tells a thousand words.

I like to plan ahead of time. Jenn would call me a freak for preparing so many things in advance. Well, I'm not much of an adhoc kind of guy. Whenever both of us went for vacation, and will be fully utilised - attractions, food, etc. However, there were times when I planned too much activities in a day which caused us to be completely exhausted by the end of the day :P but in our trip to Krabi, the solution is by paying for traditional Thai Massage which Jenn loves sooooooo much!

1. Ao Nang - almost all (if not all) tourists that come to Krabi would stay in Ao Nang. Even the taxi driver promptly informed us that there's nothing to see in Krabi town (but I beg to differ this time, given the info that I managed to pull from google). This once a quiet and isolated beach town gained its popularity among expatriates after Phuket started to get overcrowded and too commercialised. God knows when Ao Nang will turn into 2nd Phuket, as I started to notice those girlie bars mushrooming in this area just like Patong Beach in Phuket. This area has a lot of international eateries (indian, italian, irish, french, german, swedish, etc) as well as the local ones. For souvenirs, pls bargain hard ok??? The price of products can be as high as 200-300%... price for food in Ao Nang is generally higher compared to elsewhere but always lookout for roadside stalls along Ao Nang road, particularly those with a lot of locals... delicacies such as BBQ chicken/fish, som tam, noodles, yellow rice, etc are abundant.

2) Shell Fossil Cemetery (or simply known as Susan Hoi in Thai) - the only one of 3 sites in the world (the other two in the US and Japan). It took about 15 minutes drive from Ao Nang by motorcycle to this place. Be prepared to pay 100 baht per person as entrance fee. Look out for Fossil Gastropod sign as you try to search for this place ok? Also ask the local if you are not sure on the direction (I did). You can take pictures while standing on the platform of fossil. Souvenir shops are located nearby so if you are interested to buy shell related gifts, this is the place to do so. There is also a shop selling pearl products which is rather big near the parking area.

3) Hat Noppharat Thara - a 3km long beach situated 6km fro Ao Nang, but it's damn near from where I stay (Aree Tara) as the hotel is located somewhere in between the 2 beaches. During low tide, you can actually walk all the way to nearby small islands. You will also encounter small crabs along the way. From far, they look just like an army of ants but don't worry as they are harmless and will avoid rather than attacking you.

4) Phi Phi Island tour - normally you will have to book with tour agent in order to visit this famous island. We booked through the hotel at a competitive rate (save the time and hassle of going outside). Pick up from the hotel in the morning and transfer to the islands using speed boat from Noppharat Thara beach, this usually take one whole day. Starting from sight seeing at nearby small islands, they will stop you at Bamboo Island where you can spend time either swimming in the turqoise sea or just take photos of the surrounding area. Maya Bay is way too crowded with people and boats ever since this island is popularised by movie The Beach. The view is still magnificient though. Snorkelling is also in the itinerary :)

5) Khlong Thom Hot Spring Waterfall and Emerald Pool - we rented a car and engaged a hotel staff to drive us there (he was on leave that day) in the morning. A word of advise.. please arrive here early before the crowd started to come, as it will be overcrowded. The nature's own hot tub jacuzzi simply cannot be missed... located about an hour drive from Ao Nang, start your journey early. Emerald Pool is located within driving distance from The Hot Spring itself. However, you have to walk about 800m to 1400m (depending on which trail that you use) in order to reach the ever popular emerald coloured pool. Be prepared to pay 100 baht per person as entrance fee... but we paid only 20 baht as our guide managed to get us the local rate :P

6) Wat Tham Suea (Tiger Cave Temple) - a visit to Thailand is not complete without visiting its most famous temple. In the case of Krabi, it will be the Tiger Cave Temple. the 99m Chadi is still under construction, and there are a lot of monkeys loitering in the area. Please do not bring any food or drinks, as the monkeys will definitely steal from you. They stole my coconut drink!!! The highlight will be the 1237 steps journey up to the summit of the limestone hill, where a golden statue of Buddha is overseeing the province of Krabi. Breathtaking view of Ao Nang, Krabi town and it's surrounding area from up there as well. For the fainthearted, you can pray at the Guan Yin statue located at the bottom of the hill. My legs ached for a few days after that, but the hard work up definitely worthwhile!

7) Krabi town - it's best to come during the weekend where the Maharat Soi 8 is closed to traffic to make way for the night market. A lot of local delicacies and produce can be found here. Don't forget to take pictures of the Neanderthal traffic light located at the intersection of Maharat Road and Maharat Soi 10. Chao Fa pier is also where you can see the Khao Khanab Nam, the famous twin rocks which can be seen from the pier.
Next post will be about FOOD!!!