I’d feel like a massive fraud coming ten thousand kilometres all the way to Thailand and not experience, or at least see, some of the real country and what it’s about…the food, hear a bit of the language, chat to the locals…find out about some of their customs and traditions. Now don’t get me wrong, drinking buckets on Khao San Road was also up there on my list of priorities. I am only human, relatively young and need to experience it all before making my mind up on a place (Bangkok after dark post to follow!) and you’ve got to see that street to believe it. So when given a chance to live with locals in Thailand, I jumped at it.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Instead of staying by Krabi beach, I joined the Life Before Work YogaLife tour which brings you about an hour and a half from the coast to the KrabiLife Homestay. Ex bar owner and tour guide Rong runs the property along with his family and partner Jamie, (who came on holiday, fell in love and never left…it’s that kind of place!). Ten igloo-shaped rooms (random, I know!) dot the perimeter of the property surrounding a pool, massage area, elevated yoga platform and my favourite, the wooden shack-style bar draped in Bob Marley memorabilia, twinkly lights and messages left from travellers passing through (complete with wall of fame of the highest bar tabs – I decided 76 cocktails in two days was hard to beat, so best not try to compete!).[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]To gain access you’ll come through the family quarters by their modest home, plus where they keep the animals, do the washing, prepare food etc. One of the family will even come and pick you up at the airport! For me, this is rural enough…I’m in the middle of nowhere, but still have a/c and wifi. There’s a steady supply of ice for cocktails and while the food is authentic, they’ve thankfully downplayed the heat for us westerners. Everything is so fresh and local, you know it’s good when you’re eating the same food as the Thai people.
The fact that I could help myself to a cold beer (about €1) at any time of day or night and just mark it on my tab, (Tip: don’t write your name on the first page if you have alcoholic tendencies) was kind of a deal clincher for me.
I also managed to fall in love with the newborn kittens on the property, there must be some seriously good vibes here because I AM NOT a cat person![dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]From the Homestay you can go and visit the natural hot springs, hike to a waterfall or visit Railay Bay, take the four islands and glowing plankton boat trip tour or go sea kayaking. I still get nervous on boats, especially small ones, but after the first few minutes out on the calm sea I was getting the hang of it. We found ourselves a a tiny secluded natural bay and kayaking through mangroves with monkeys overhead.
En route stop at the local shops, they do snacks GOOD here. Not that I knew what anything was, but everything is so cheap it’s good to try a few random things…I was walking around the shop like, “just shut up and take my money!”.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]The purpose built yoga shala back at the homestay is pretty special with hanging lanterns, tea lights and music. My favourite time to practice was in the evenings when it was slightly cooler and completely dark out with the call to prayer from the local muslim community the only sound echoing back.
While I was there, Jamie and Rong’s mum brought us around to some of the neighbours houses where we learnt a few words of Thai and were able to thank the women who welcomed us in their language for generously allowing us to pick the colourful flowers from their gardens.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]This place is just the right mix of comfort and authenticity, with a seriously welcoming vibe. Credit to hosts Jamie, Rong and his family… I hope to be back one day![dt_gap height=”10″ /]