After Chiang Mai, we didn’t have all that much in the way of specific travel plans for the rest of our time in South-East Asia, but we knew we were headed towards Thailand’s islands. We caught an overnight train back to Bangkok, and then, after a not-amazingly-inspiring twelve hour wait in the airport, flew to Krabi Town, from which we expected to fairly quickly move on. Krabi is a bit of a gateway for the islands down south. From there, you can catch a ferry to Ko Phi Phi Don and/or Koh Lanta and/or a number of others, but it’s not much of a destination in itself.
As it happened, though, we ended up in Krabi for a good five days.
It’s not that we suddenly discovered that Krabi had a lot more to see and do than we’d anticipated. It’s that, as sometimes happens, we stayed in a good hostel and meet some cool people; and as rarely happens (at least for most of this rather hectic round-the-world trip), we didn’t have any immediate definite plans that would prevent us from just hanging around and continuing to enjoy ourselves exactly where we were for a while, thanks very much.
Of course, the fact that it was about the fellow travellers we met more than about the place itself makes for a not a particularly great post, what with this being a travel blog and not, say, Facebook.
I guess it’s still funny to relate that we met one of our companions when he woke up as we turned up to our dorm, and shortly thereafter realised that he’d just missed his flight back to Oz, which he was sure he’d booked for tomorrow. Similarly that we met another when she had the misfortune to sit down next to a particularly hungover me one morning as we boarded the back of a van that would take us out on the unexpectedly long (one hour) trip out to a kayaking expedition. (Apparently I smelt more than vaguely of beer and wasn’t the most stimulating conversation partner. Sorry about that…)
And it’s still relevant to tell you that we stayed in the excellent Pak-Up Hostel, that we enjoyed the food in the street markets just down the street and the breakfasts in Relax Coffee, the coffee shop across the road. That we had an entertaining if exhausting and unreasonably sweaty climb up the seemingly endless steps up to the Tiger Temple…
… that we had great fun ziplining at Tree Top Adventures, near town…
… and that we had a nice trip out to the Emerald Pool park, before getting thoroughly drenched on the ride back home…
But I guess what I’m really telling you is that it can just as often be the people you meet as the things you see that make travel entertaining and worthwhile. And that sometimes it’s handy to have a little flexibility in your plans, so that you can hang around somewhere you’re having fun, or change destinations to fit in with people you’ve just met.
It’s one of my biggest convictions of travel. Yes, it’s worth making sure you plan to go somewhere you’ll enjoy. But actually, you can have plenty of fun pretty much anywhere you end up, whether you had it all plotted out in advance or not. Sometimes it doesn’t matter so much where you are as who you find there, and how you manage to spend your time with them.