Is Krabi just crap?

This is the follow-up to “The headache of a train journey – Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok by train.”
The story is based on true events as they were experienced by the author. Still, there might be some minor exaggerations added for dramatic effect and the story is deliberately written in a sarcastic tone.

I arrived at the bus terminal around 10:30 to ensure I caught the 11 a.m. bus. After obtaining my ticket from the stand, I went outside and patiently waited on one of the benches facing the buses. The guy from the train journey the day before joined me for an early brunch, which consisted of a dry croissant at a lovely café close to the station, before he accompanied me to the bus.

As departure time approached, I handed over my luggage to be stowed in the nearly empty trunk before getting on the almost empty bus. Shortly after, the bus departed, and I was on my way to Krabi.

Running Out of Battery

Before deciding to take the bus to Krabi, I had done a quick Google search. According to Google, the journey from Hat Yai to Krabi would roughly take around 4 hours. However, after 4 hours had passed, I realized I was only halfway there, according to Google Maps.

After the chaotic day I had experienced the day before, I forgot to charge my power bank. Having listened to music on the bus for approximately 4 hours, my battery was running dangerously low. In a state of desperation, I began searching for an available plug to charge my phone and stumbled upon a USB cable plug located on the back of the seats in front of me.

Despite being aware that my charger wouldn’t fit into the standard USB cable plug, I decided to retrieve my trolley at the next rest stop. After a few attempts to retrieve my bag and some communication challenges, I finally managed to get my luggage from the trunk. I brought it to the bus compartment, where I desperately searched my bag for my charger. But as I already suspected, the charger did not fit in the available cable-plug.

I closed up my bag, put it on the floor on the seat beside me, and sat down. Defeated once again.

A kind stranger

Not long after, a local man seated across from me reached into his bag. He pulled out a charger, and handed it to me.

“I’ll be getting off in a few stops,” the man added. “But you’re welcome to borrow it until then,” he half said and half gesticulated.

Gratefully, I accepted his kind offer and managed to charge my power bank before the generous stranger had to disembark. Two hours later, I finally arrived in Krabi. Thanks to the kind man, I had an almost fully charged power bank, allowing me to order a Grab cab from the Krabi bus terminal.

I found a seat at the terminal and booked a Grab. Shortly after, the driver texted me, informing me that he couldn’t enter the bus terminal, but could pick me up at the nearest gas station.

How hard is it to get four stars?

On my way, I had decided that I should spend the weekend in Krabi to relax and enjoy myself. I had booked a four-star hotel with great reviews on, and I was excited about my luxurious stay.

As my Grab cab got closer to the hotel, I felt a bit disappointed with the nearby sights, but the hotel itself looked promising as we pulled up in front of the Anda Sea Tales Resort. The reception area was nice, and the room seemed fine as well, except for the weird animal-printed pillows that were placed all over the room. I quickly removed the pillows, took a quick shower, changed into something more fancy, and headed to the bar.

At the bar, I ordered something to eat along with a cosmopolitan. As I sat there, mainly by myself, trying to eat, I was constantly distracted by the huge mosquitoes that kept attacking me, making me lose my appetite.

Eventually i gave up. After a long day, I had an early night, thinking I would wake up and spend some well-deserved rest time by the rooftop pool the next day.

Why you shouldn’t plan for a beach vacation during rainy season

As I settled in for the night, the scent of old mold started creeping in on me, infiltrating my surroundings, making it impossible for me to fall asleep. The persistent odor kept me awake throughout the most of the night, and when I eventually woke up the following morning, the rain was pouring down. It continued to rain throughout the day. I therefor decided to get a Grab cab and go see the Tiger Cave Temple.

After patiently waiting for over twenty minutes, my ride finally arrived at the hotel. As I took a seat in the back, the driver immediately struck up a conversation with me. He asked me to cancel the booking and pay him in cash instead.

Initially, I was taken aback and unsure of how to respond. After a moment of awkward silence, I managed to murmur something about not having any cash. The driver kept complaining about how much of the fare would go to Grab. Still, I kept insisting that I had no cash, which was almost true. I only had 200 baht with me, while the trip I had booked would cost me 300 baht through the app.

“You must have booked the wrong destination,” the driver then insisted.

“Where you want to go is much farther,” he added.

I guess I got it wrong

At that point, I opened the door and exited the cab. I walked back into the hotel reception, with the driver right behind me.

“Is it possible that I entered the wrong address for the Tiger Cave Temple?” I asked the staff in the reception, while showing them the booking on my phone.

More staff began to gather around my phone, all of them nodding. Some even verbally agreeing with the driver, implying that I had indeed entered the wrong location.

“You can use our transportation service at the table over here,” one of the senior staff members suggested, guiding me to their tour service desk.

I approached the desk, with the Grab driver still trailing behind me. I then asked the staff responsible for arranging transportation how much they would charge to take me to the temple.

“It’s 500 baht,” they informed me. Just as I was about to agree to the price, I realized that the Grab driver had already “started” the trip. Consequently, I was already being charged 300 baht on the app.

“I won’t pay 800 baht to get to the temple,” I declared, and asked the Grab driver if he would be willing to take me to the temple for an additional 200 baht (making it 500 baht in total), to which he agreed.

Or did I?

As we drove towards the destination, I tracked our movement using the map on the app. After five minutes, we were still heading in the same direction as the location I had initially entered. At the 10-minute mark, we were still on the correct route. After 20 minutes, the driver stopped. To my surprise, we were not going further than the original drop-off point. In fact, we were 10 minutes short of it.

“I cannot take you any closer to temple,” the driver stated, while motioning for the additional payment we had agreed upon for a longer journey.

“This isn’t farther away,” I snapped, displaying the map on my phone.

“You told me I had entered the wrong address, and that the temple was further away. That is why I agreed to pay extra. But this isn’t further away. In fact, you haven’t even taken me all the way there,” I proclaimed firmly, showing him the map once more before exiting the car.

Once again, the driver followed me, insisting on receiving the extra 200 baht, despite not providing the additional service.

Please let us know if you need assistance

As we argued in the rain, a message from Grab popped up on my phone:
“It seems like you have been dropped off before your destination. Please let us know if you need any assistance.”

The driver, who had been quite vocal in explaining how I had entered the wrong address, suddenly claimed not to understand any English. Still, he managed to persist in demanding an extra 200 baht.

Tired, wet, and pissed off, I retrieved my wallet and handed him a hundred baht. I then reminded him to be grateful for receiving anything at all, as it was obvious that he had attempted to overcharge me.

Shortly after, I attempted to book another Grab to return to my hotel. I was upset not only by the driver’s behavior but also by the treatment I had received from the staff at my four-star hotel. Tired from being unable to sleep due to the smell in my room. Wet from walking around in the rain. I was done with Krabi. I just wanted to get back to Bangkok.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t secure a Grab cab, but I was fortunate to find a local driver willing to take me back at a more reasonable fare than the previous driver (or my hotel). Upon my return, I informed the hotel reception that I would not be extending my stay as I had originally planned. Instead, I booked a ticket to return to Bangkok the following morning.

Are you sure this is you?

The next morning, I packed my things and headed to the airport. I deliberately planed to arrive three hours before boarding, as is the norm in Bangkok.  Plus, I just wanted to feel like I was on my way home. However, upon reaching the Air Asia counter, I was informed that check-in was only possible two hours before boarding.

Feeling defeated again, I wandered around the small airport, searching for a Starbucks, but to no avail. There were only two cafes, one of which had a name vaguely related to coffee. I queued up for a coffee, but when it was my turn, the friendly staff regretfully informed me that they couldn’t serve coffee due to a lack of hot water.

At that point, exhaustion overwhelmed me, and tears started flowing uncontrollably. I gathered my belongings and retreated to a seating area, where I sobbed like a baby. Desperately, I rummaged through my handbag, searching for a Kleenex to dry my runny nose. I remained in this state for 40 minutes. The only blonde girl in Krabi airport, crying her eyes out.

When the check-in finally opened, the man at the ID control is on the verge of questioning whether the person in the passport picture is really me. The photograph displays a smiling girl with radiant eyes and a normal-looking face. Quite different from the current state of a crying mess with a swollen face, red, watery eyes and mascara down the cheeks. After scrutinising my passport and my tearful appearance back and forth several times, he seemed to decide that it’s probably not worth the risk of me breaking back into tears, and he let me through.

Not the only one

While waiting for my flight, I struck up a conversation with an American girl who was also traveling solo. As I shared my story about being hustled in Krabi, she revealed that she had experienced a similar situation. To my surprise, another girl joined the conversation and had her own tale of being hustled to share.

As I boarded the flight bound for Bangkok, a sense of relief washed over me. I finally felt safe, knowing that I was headed back to Bangkok. However, what was even more comforting was realizing that I wasn’t alone in my experiences. Maybe solo female travelers are in general at greater risk of encountering hustlers in popular tourist destinations like Krabi?

About Miabell Mallikka

Miabell Mallikka is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

View all posts by Miabell Mallikka

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