Ao Nang, Krabi, Thailand

Päivi’s parents came to visit us in Asia. It was their first time outside Europe, so it was easiest for them to select a package tour. We ended up spending two weeks in Ao Nang in Thailand.

Ao Nang (or Aonang) is near Krabi (or Crappy) and an hour or so from a more famous tourism destination Phuket (or Fuck-It), and the island of Phi Phi (pipi means sick in Finnish). They are all popular holiday destinations for Finns. In fact, we have not seen so many Finnish people in the same place since our visit in Finland in 2006.

Plastic Bottles And Feasting

Ao Nang is touristy and in consequence, there are a lot of unnecessary and polluting services available. People travel even the shortest distances by tuk-tuks or taxis, and restaurants sell refreshments in tiny throw-away plastic bottles and boxes.

We were surprised to learn that the hotel (by Aurinkomatkat) refused to order us water in reusable 20-litre bottles. That is the local way for obtaining drinking water in Thailand. We managed to buy one bottle directly from a lorry and paid the deposit (2.50 €). After that, the hotel fortunately agreed to re-fill the bottle with the normal price (0.35 €/20 litres).

The place used to be a backpacker hide-out but there is nothing left from those days. Nowadays it is a just like any other tourist trap. For vegans it is a nightmare, as there are only flesh-based meals available. Luckily, there is a big Tesco in Krabi for self-catering. We ended up enjoying fresh fruit from the sumptuous local markets most of the time.

Night Crawlers But No Jellyfish

In the evenings, streets were cluttered by turtling tourists and aggressive touts jumping on everyone making walking rather an unpleasant experience. Perhaps that is why people used so much motorised transportation. On the other hand, we spoke with a few entrepreneurs and according to them, the amount of tourists had dramatically fallen this year. They were downscaling for worse times ahead. Also same old problems with visa-runs persist.

Ao Nang is not a place we are going to miss, but it made seeing Päivi’s parents possible. For them, it was a soft landing on Asian soil and we enjoyed the great weather, blue sky (after China), and the possibility to swim in a jellyfish-free sea.

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