If you look for pictures of Thailand you’ll likely see two things: temples and the stunning beaches and islands off the coast of the country. Thailand is known for its stunning shoreline and the almost 1,500 islands making for an incredibly picturesque scene. There are many small-boat cruises and excursions you can go on to see this stunning area. Here I will share my Thailand cruise experience why I recommend it.
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Ao Nang Beach
The meeting point for the cruise was a block from the beach in Ao Nang. I decided to go down to the beach before we were scheduled to meet at 1:15 to walk along the waterfront. I had read that Ao Nang is not one of the nicer beaches in Thailand, and while that may be true, it’s still beautiful. There are gorgeous green-covered mini-mountains in the distance and the water is a beautiful shade of blue.
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There are a number of hotels and restaurants along the beach as well as many tourist shops for souvenirs. Also, there are many spa-type shops where you can get a manicure and pedicure, Thai massage, or a number of other treatments. There are people outside of all the shops trying to invite people in. While they weren’t aggressive at the least, there were a lot of them so it got a bit tiring.
The massages, like in many other places in Thailand are done in the open without private rooms, and sometimes without walls on the building. Though the Thai massages I have had were all fully clothes in a loose top and pants, some of these did involve oil and bare skin. I suppose a few minutes in, even western prudish sensibilities wouldn’t care so much!
PODA Beachfront Dining Restaurant
I decided to grab some lunch before heading out on the cruise. They had watermelon juice on the menu and it sounded wonderful! Of course, I forgot to ask if it came with ice and it did. After a moment’s hesitation, I decided to take the risk and drink it, even though it’s recommended to not drink the water in Thailand.
I ordered a chicken dish that was served in a pineapple shell. It smelled amazing, Only, when I looked down, it had a weird fuzzy “thing” on the top of the dish. I asked the waiter what it is and he told me it’s chicken. Interesting. I wasn’t sure what to make of it and cautiously dug my fork in to take a small portion of it.
It tasted of chicken but had the strangest texture. I have no idea how it was cooked and it is one of the stranger ways I have ever seen chicken prepared. The dish was good, once I got past the look and texture of the chicken “fuzz.”
The Thailand Cruise I Chose: Krabi Sunset Cruises
I found Krabi Sunset Cruises on Tripadvisor and the ratings were very good so I decided to book it. I’m so glad I did as it was a wonderful experience. I met the tour group just off the beach in Ao Nang and it was easy to find them. We waited for a little while for everyone to arrive and made our way to the waterfront.
There we got into a longboat that took us to our larger boat for the cruise. There were people from all over the world on the cruise, and I met people from China, Germany, France, India, the U.S, and other countries. Everyone was quite friendly, including the staff, and it was a really fun experience.
When I was waiting for the tour to start, I met Carlotta, one of the guides. We talked for a bit as she is an ex-pat (from Italy) and moved there a few years earlier. She shared some of her experiences with living there and learning the language. I think the language sounds like a song and Carlotta agreed, sharing that the inflection of the word spoken can change the entire meaning of the word. She is now fluent in Thai, though it took some time.
Carlotta also shared that things are much lower cost for people who speak Thai, even if you aren’t a local. As with many other places, buying local foods is quite inexpensive and the cost of living is quite low as well. However, if you buy imported food as you get a hankering from home, it comes at a premium.
I spoke with another guy on the crew who was from El Salvador. His parents emigrated to Canada to the Calgary area during the civil wars in his native country and he was hoping they would move to Thailand for a while. He had been living there for two years and loved it, while Carlotta had been there for 4.
Carlotta and he also gave me some suggestions for other places to visit in the country that they enjoyed. These included Khao Sok by the coast and Pai in northern Thailand north of Chiang Mai.
Our Thailand Cruise Boat
The boat had two levels and the top was a large platform of sorts. There were probably around 25 people or 30 including the staff. We got onto a longboat from the shore, that took us to a larger boat. There were people from all around the world on the boat, and I spoke with two from the US, India, France, Germany, China, and others. Everyone was very friendly.
The boat was a good size and comfortable for the number of people on it. It had a second level and people were jumping off onto the water. The crew offered a free drink to anyone who did a backflip and very eagerly chanted ‘backflip, back flip’ to encourage. Even so, only one tried, an American girl from California.
We stopped to swim at five islands, Koh Poda, Koh Gai, Koh Si, Ko Yawasam, and Ta Ming. The current was pretty strong at times but it was so beautiful. The water seemed really salty and buoyant, and floating was no problem. It was a little choppy and I got more than one mouthful of the salty brine while snorkeling. So much for not drinking the water!
The boat offered snorkels so we went to check out the island we stopped near. There were large schools of fish that were mostly silver, and black and yellow striped. The second site we stopped at had more of a reef and had more different fish and sea urchins.
There are a lot of islands to visit — nearly 1,500 in total. A lot of them are large enough for people to stay on, and others like these, are smaller. Many people go to visit the islands and never even see the mainland of Thailand.
Sunset on our Thailand Cruise
The sun set in some of the most beautiful tapestry of yellows, oranges, and reds. It went surprisingly quickly with streaks of pink coming up from the horizon and some of the islands in the backdrop. One of the guys from the staff went out onto a paddleboard and had some fun smacking the setting sun with his oar. Then he started doing handstands which were impressive.
Dinner was served as the sun was setting and it was a yummy affair after with pad thai, masaman curry, and another chicken and vegetable dish. There were lots of vegetarian dishes as well. Just after dinner, someone proposed to his girlfriend. He had created a number of laminated signs for her. Carlotta got some of the other folks on the cruise to help out and ran out with them so we could all enjoy them and of course, the bride-to-be. She said yes, of course.
After Dark on our Thailand Cruise
I was feeling a bit “swum out” and waterlogged from swimming all afternoon but the last stop is a big one. There is a night swim with bioluminescent plankton! This kind of plankton glow when the water around them is disrupted. When you wave your arms in the water it was like a night sky of fireflies lighting up the water. It was really amazing to see! I had read about bioluminescent plankton in Puerto Rico and this was not at all what I expected.
We got back to the shore on the smaller longboats. I was still soaked and my towel managed to get dunked in the water when I got off the boat. Since I wasn’t sure where to change and the tuk-tuk was leaving to return to my hotel soon, I decided to just head to the meeting place. It was unfortunately very full, and I felt bad about my sopping towel. My long hot shower felt wonderful after such a full and fun day.
My Thoughts on this Thailand Cruise: Krabi Sunset Cruises
I highly recommend Krabi Sunset Cruises and had an amazing day on this Thailand cruise. It was fun to see the islands, swim with the bioluminescent plankton, and meet some great people, both tourists, and crew. It’s an amazing experience to do a boat cruise in this area and I highly recommend a sunset cruise to enjoy the lovely views with such a stunning backdrop.
This isn’t the least expensive cruise available and in fact, it’s a bit on the pricy side. But, I felt it was well worth it for the wonderful care that was taken of us during the cruise. If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t forget, this is one I’d recommend.
Krabi Sunset Cruises‘ office is located at 282/19 5, T, Soi Krabi 11, Sai Thai, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi 81000, Thailand. The meeting point is at Phra Nang Inn Hotel, 119 Moo 2, Muang Tambon Ao Nang, เมือง Chang Wat Krabi 81000, Thailand. The cost of their sunset cruise is 2800 baht (around $90 USD). You can book a cruise directly through their website or through Tripadvisor.
Where to Stay
The Ban Sainai Resort is a beautiful and convenient place to stay at if you decide to do a Thailand island cruise from Ao Nang Beach. It’s a luxury resort with gorgeous and spacious rooms, wonderfully landscaped grounds, a luxurious pool, an incredible restaurant, and decadent spa treatments. The beach and the meeting place is only a few minutes away and they offer a free shuttle to take you there.
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Note: this is not a sponsored post so I was paid nothing to write it. It was an unsolicited write-up I chose to do as I enjoyed this cruise so much.
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