Some holidays are unplanned, unaccounted for and served on a platter. You have to be lucky to get one of those, and lucky we surely were when the hubby’s uncle decided to plan a holiday for the extended family to (hold your breath) Thailand for his 60th birthday. Thank you Banti mama and Renu masi!
2019-2020 was the year of minimal travel as the teen was in grade 10 and behaving as though she were giving the IAS or CA exam (the toughest Indian exams). We had already enjoyed a small trip to the golden beaches of Tarkarli (Tarkarli-May 2019) and a wonderful holiday in Bangalore with my sister and adorable niece in May of this year. I was busy researching destinations for the long holidays post-Grade 10 exams and having the hubby reject them all (sad face). That’s when Banti mama’s 60th birthday party got shifted from a Lonavala farm house to Goa to Phuket and Krabi. Great jump I say!
Banti mama plans trips at 10x the pace I plan them. He promptly hired Thomas Cook for a 5N Phuket and Krabi package and added 2 extra nights in Bangkok for good measure and booked the tickets before we could even get our heads around the idea. Leaves were sanctioned and the teen coaxed and cajoled to miss her precious classes. The Thomas Cook UK collapse certainly added a big set of flutters, but of course it all worked out.
It only helped that I had colored my hair blue and teal a month ago for my 45th birthday. I was all set for Thailand! Frantic thepla and Gujarati and Punjabi snack shopping, and desperate downloading of songs and movies on mobiles took us to D-day where 14 adults, 2 teenagers and 3 kids assembled in matching tee shirts (courtesy Bharti Sodhi) at Mumbai airport.
We had a stopover at Bangkok airport, where we walked almost 2 km and stood in a crazily long queue for visa on arrival and then another long walk and queue for security check before the domestic flight to Krabi. In all the sleepy haze and mayhem, we forgot the food bag at the counter and only remembered it at the gate, when we were very hungry.
Luckily, Gujju food bags have a sense of belonging and stay true to their owners. We rushed back to security, retrieved the bag and hogged and hogged before the flight. While on it, the teens and the kids were too excited to sleep, but the adults merrily caught their 40 winks.
We loved Krabi best of all the places we visited. If I ever go back to Thailand, I will spend a full week relaxing in Krabi. Lovely beaches, clear waters and great food are all a direct flight away from Mumbai. However,I have no idea when that will happen, given the current mess the world is in and the many other places yet unticked on my bucket list.
Krabi airport is a long drive from the beachfront, but the lovely hotel with its huge rooms and pool livened us all up.
We freshened up and headed for a quick lunch, planning an afternoon trip to climb a thousand steps to the tiger cave temple with a great view. Hungry as could be, we ate and ate, while it suddenly started pouring, effectively cancelling all plans for the hike. I was so relieved as I wasn’t sure that I could climb a thousand steps!
The long walk back to the hotel in the now-gentle drizzle was very enjoyable, past the market area. We had fun peeking into the tiny shops with their charming wares.
While the older people enjoyed an afternoon of shut-eye, the rest of had a great swim in the huge pool and delicious French fries, pizzas and cocktails.
Too tired to walk to the beach, with a long day ahead of us the next day, we relaxed in the pool till night, where we headed to a night market right beside our hotel.
I love quaint market places with their myriad artefacts, wares and food. The different colors and smells, the hustle and bustle, all appeal to me. If there’s a night market where I am visiting, I will land up there. Luckily for me, this one was too close to miss and all of us went to see what was on display.
This tiny market was filled with stalls of tacky clothes, handbags, jewelry and souvenirs to carry home. As always, I was too busy clicking pictures to even pick up a fridge magnet for my sister, who loves them. That ended up as a repetitive pattern on this trip.
There were lots of food stalls with small tables laid out and we wandered through all, hoping to finish dinner here itself. Sadly, most of the food was seafood, and most of us were vegetarians. There was even a Bavarian beer garden here and that was tempting for a few in the group but they held on for now!
Even though there was no food of our choice, there is always the universal favorite – icecream! A couple of cold stone ice-creams and delicious fruit slushes later, we headed off to the main Aonang beachfront for dinner at a multicuisine restaurant so that everyone could have food of their own different tastes.
The signboard was enticement enough and those that had held off earlier gave in now!
With a heavy meal in our tummies we walked back slowly, listening to the waves lap along the beach, deciding that we’d wake up early the next morning to walk along the shore at dawn.
Needless to say, only two people went on that walk, Banti mama and me! Used to the solitude (Did I leave Banti mama behind? I really don’t remember!), I enjoyed the fresh breeze and the sun lighting up the entire beach.
Having started the day on a happy note, I headed back to the hotel for a delicious breakfast and later, headed off to the waterfront to some of the most gorgeous beaches I have ever been to, as part of the 4 island tour. But that tour deserves a full separate post, so here I sign off, happily dreaming of turquoise waters and golden sands.