Our arrival in Krabi did not go as we planned. The flight was short and smooth, but once we landed, everything took a wrong turn. Our host was supposed to have a driver waiting for us at baggage claim but he was nowhere to be found. We called him but he did not answer and since it was after 7pm and dark out, we decided to get a taxi to our villa. We sent him a text notifying him that we would be coming with someone else. He replied saying his driver was waiting for us, that we did not provide him with any information about our flight, etc (we sent him all the information, including our flight number, time and gate of the arrival through AIRBNB message center).
When we got to the villa, he admitted that he had the information but perhaps, we did not search enough for his driver at the airport. Then, he immediately started to inform us about all of the different trip and excursion he had to offer - it was 8pm, our kids were tired and so were we. All I wanted to tell him was shut up, give me our key and leave us alone. We really liked our two Bedroom villa, it had a private pool, jacuzzi and lots of space. After showers, we put the kids to bed. The master bedroom where we put Mila down had a weird smell to it, like fumes. After an hour, I went to check on her and what I saw made me almost throw up. As I pointed the flash light towards the bed, I saw bed bugs everywhere!!!! Crawling on the pillows, bed sheets and her legs, so freaking gross and disgusting. I grabbed her, changed her and ran to the other bedroom where Leo and Rick were sleeping. We examined the other bed and did not see any bed bugs there. We immediately sent a message to the owner and told him about the issue. He informed us that those were not bed bugs but some type of bamboo bugs. Believe me, there is no doubt that those were nasty bed bugs and we could not believe that this man would not admit that. Since we booked this villa through AirBnB, we also sent them an email with the pictures of the bed bugs. We got a response from them saying that they will reimburse us for the entire week stay. Our host sent his manager to our apartment and she offered another villa but we did not agree to that. Pretty much for the rest of the night we stayed up and made sure that there were no more bed bugs crawling on our kids.
Rick immediately began searching for alternative accommodations. Here we are, at 1am in the morning, trying to find a new place to stay for the next 6 days during the beginning of tourist season in Krabi. After a long search, we booked 6 nights at the Holiday Inn Ao Nang Beach Resort. We are not big fans of staying in resorts or hotels, because you miss out on the “living like a local” experience but in this situation, we did not have many choices, plus we always look for what is best for our kids. This resort was a 5 star place with several pools, very kids friendly, so it was a no brainer.
In the morning, after a sleepless night, we met with the owner. This Western European man was trying to convince us to stay there. He first said he would remove the bed and the mattress from the room and bring a new one, hahaha! He never asked if our kids were ok nothing, just pure business. The funny thing is that all the reviews (almost 60 of them) were 5 starts and that’s mainly why we chose that place. Once again, he refused to admit that those were the bed bugs and started to blame the factory that made the bed…I wanted to go and punch him but was afraid that would put me in thai jail…We politely declined his “wonderful” offers and grabbed a taxi to our resort. It was only 6 km away from the bug infected vila. We arrived there at 8:30 am and check in was 3pm. We were greeted with all friendly smiles and warm welcomes. The manager was able to get us a room at 9:30. We felt like two lunatics lost in translation. Leo and Mila were thrilled once they saw an amazing pool with slides, playground, and trampoline. For the rest of the day we lounged around the pool, took naps, and simply tried to erase the last 24 hours.
When we made the decision to do this trip, we promised each other that we will not let any negative experience impact our journey. So far, we have had very few mishaps but this one, by far, was the worst one. They say 10% is what happens to you and 90% is how you react and approach the issue. At the end of the day, we were all healthy and that’s the most important thing. We did not lose our cool, although I was close, and found a solution to the problem (kind of like our first day in Paris when we didn’t have an automatic car). So for the next week, we are going to relax at the pool, catch up on needed sleep, and do some island hopping. Another small bump in the road on what has been an amazing 4 months so far, with so much more to experience.
After a few days of pure relaxation around the pool, we took a long boat taxi to a nearby island Railay Beach. The cost both ways was only 300 BHT for all four of us. After 15 minutes cruising through the ocean we reached our little paradise. This island was really beautiful, quite big and most importantly, not very crowded. There were some people, mostly backpackers from all around the world but most of them, after a short beach break, headed towards the bars and pubs along the beach. The spectacular white sandy beach was surrounded by gorgeous cliffs partially covered by greenery. We set our blanket under a tree and ran straight to the water. With the beaming hot sun, this beach looked like a little slice of heaven. Leo and Mila absolutely loved it there and again, both were constantly harassed by people because of their blond hair. It is slowly starting to bother us that people keep stopping them and ask to take pictures. I think I'm going to start charging for that service :- ) After several hours of fun in the sun we decided to return to our resort and finish the day at the pool. Kids were happy, parents were happy, a great day in paradise.
Our next excursion was island hopping via speed boat. Rick was pushing against a full day tourist excursion but I really wanted to visit the most famous beaches in Thailand. Clearly, I had no idea what I was getting us into. We booked the full day trip and was told to be ready by 8:45 am the following day. The next morning a mini bus picked us up at our resort and we were transported to the harbor. Once we reached the port, I had a flash back of waiting in line to get visa, back in 2003 in Poland. People and lines everywhere, a mad house and complete chaos...this is going to be interesting, I though to myself. We were finally able to check in and received our wrist band that associated with a particular tour. The segregation process started and we were put into a group with all of the pink band holders. We were the only people with kids. We jumped on a boat along with other 20 people, were given a life jacket and a seat. The four of us sat at the back of the boat which was not the best idea since the engines were right there. Our captain explained the itinerary for the day and we were off. We were speeding through the Indian Ocean, passing different island and fighting with the waves. At times, when we hit a stronger wave it felt as if your whole body was being thrown in the air. Several people got sea sick and threw up right into the trash cane, gross!
After 30 minutes, we arrived at our first destination - Bamboo Island. It was quite beautiful, minus the fact that there were at least 25 other speed boats and hundreds of tourists doing exactly the same thing as us. The sand was super soft, the water an emerald color but it was hard to enjoy it. Our captain gave us 45 minutes so by the time we took a swim it was time to go back to the boat.
Our next stop was Phi Phi cave where we were given some time to snap a few pictures and before you knew it, we were moving to the next place. Maya Bay was our next destination, made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie "The Beach”. Some say that this movie made Thailand so popular since the whole set was filmed here in Maya Bay. 20 years ago it probably was an enchanted Thai paradise but now it was flocked with tourists, boats, and trash. You couldn’t even swim because of the amount of boats and waves they brought with them into the bay. We left Maya Bay feeling really disappointed and a bit shocked...I knew that it was a popular spot but what we saw there made me second guess this excursion (as Rick rolls his eyes at me). We really wanted to go back and finish this bizarre experience.
Our next stop was Phi Phi island. Once we anchored, we were taken to a cafeteria where they served us lunch. It was buffet style and I must say, it was quite delicious. The next hour we spent relaxing on the beach and trying very hard to stay positive :-) I guess they saved the best for last...First, we passed Monkey Beach and witnessed several monkeys chilling on the cliffs surrounding the beach. Next, it was time to snorkel. Since we were the only crazy people with kids, we took turns. Rick went first and he saw plenty of colorful fishes. Honestly, the water was so clear that the kids and I were able to see plenty of exotic fishes straight from the boat. After about 30 minutes our captain took us to another snorkeling spot and it was my turn to get into the water. We tried to convince Leo to do it but he kept saying no, no, no, and seemed a bit scared.
It all changed when he told daddy he needed to go potty and Rick said the only way he could go was by jumping in the water. I guess when you have to go you have to go. He jumped in the water with no hesitation. His mammal like instincts took over, snorkeling and loving ever second of it. All of the marine life was awesome, and Leo kept saying he touched a fish. He was so excited and happy to see all of the fishes, they were everywhere and he kept poking them with his finger. Although, the entire boat trip left a lot to be desired, this moment alone made it all up. Seeing a beautiful smile on my sons face was the highlight of my day. Mila was pouting the entire time with Rick because she wanted to snorkel too : - ) She was none too happy about being left out of the adventure! It was close to 4pm and it was time to return back to the pier.
Leo snorkeling in the Indian Ocean
It was quite an interesting experience and something I would never do again. The whole excursion cost 5500 BTH ( around $200) and it was so fast and chaotic - my head is still spinning from all that jumping around. Yes, we saw some beautiful islands but the overcrowded beaches make it far from enjoyable. Compared with the rest of the world, Thailand is fairly inexpensive but to balance it out, you are going to feel very crowded. What is sad though is the fact that we humans are becoming so good at destroying what Mother Nature created. How can you call an island a paradise while it's full of trash, empty water bottles and other junk. Thailand is an amazing country with some of the happiest people we’ve met. Although today was a bit of a disappointment, we are not giving up and are ready for more Thai adventures...