Sunday, 18 August 2013

That little hotel bar in Krabi


We didn't have to go searching for the 'real' Thailand once we had settled into our new accommodation in Krabi. It found us. 

I'm not talking about the Thailand of golden sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and turquoise waters. We knew that would come soon. I'm referring to what happens after dark and how most of us tourists want to get a glimpse of it for ourselves.

Luckily for us it came right on our doorstep.

We’d arrived in Krabi, a 6-hour drive north from Penang (and a very quick border crossing into Thailand), late in the evening. So far we’ve ‘winged it’ with accommodation. Being the low season most places have rooms available and booking in advance (unless you just have to stay in a particular place) isn’t really necessary.

On a scrap piece of paper we had a few recommendations jotted down. The first two didn’t quite live up to expectations (even for us fairly carefree travellers). The last presented the challenge we’ve faced on several occasions so far, seeing an amazing guesthouse with a fantastic room and host (plus AC) than explaining that you can’t take it as we are after a twin room. Then needing to explain further why, to ease a disappointed face, that you are travelling with family and would prefer to have your own bed. Gestures and smiles would eventually result in laughter as a mutual understanding was made that I just didn't want to share a double bed with my brother.

I could only wear a 17kg backpacker for so long and our last resort was a rundown looking hotel just off the main drag of Krabi Town. After explaining the 'family living situation' a double room was shown by a very young looking bell boy who in a attempt to sell the room had to fight with the window latch to get it open for some fresh air. Second time lucky; after more hand gestures and explanations we had found a room with twin beds. 

Krabi Town definitely has some of the best street food markets in Thailand. Our first evening was spent sitting between locals and Westerners sipping Chang Thai Beer and taking in our surroundings. From the woman working the woks, to the hustler holding a laminated menu, the stray dogs desperate for a bite to eat and the 'dishy' dunking plates in a huge bucket behind each stand, everyone had a certain responsibility and it was interesting to sit back and take it all in. 

We thought we'd wander back through the bar of our Hotel and check out what was happening before calling it a night. Music blared out through the windows as we entered the tinted glass doors. Everyone in the bar seemed to all turn at once to us and give us a look, checking us out. It did make me laugh for before I realised what we'd accidentally stumbled into. Normally it is us, the 'tourists' that stare at everything. Little did we know that we'd walked uninvited into a late night karaoke joint, where anything is possible and anything can happen. I guess arriving before midnight was far safer as everyone seemed to still have their clothes on (just a few loose ties and some leg only shown at this time). 

Once everyone had stopped staring at each other, the singing and dancing quickly resumed like there had never been any interruptions. We took our time walking through the bar. Stopping when a very relaxed but slightly dishevelled looking man called out, 'Where are you from?' in excellent English. Our response, 'New Zealand,' his quick reply back, 'Good country, good country' before returning to concentrating on mastering the slow swagger to the new R&B track that was playing. Swinging through the door back into the sterile world of the hotel reception we joked how we never expected to get this glimpse into Thailand so soon. I had imagined it would only really be made obvious in Patong. 

Later on that night we did a quick search on Trip Advisor. Most of the reviews were from businessmen who all made the same compliment that the restaurant/bar area was well stocked and a great place in Krabi to get a late night drink. 

I'll have my Dirty Martini straight up please....

Toodle pip x

PS - no photos were taken in the Krabi Hotel bar and Google images would not do it any justice. Here's some 'safer' photos of the night markets.