Our Chaotic Introduction to Krabi, Thailand
Maybe something was wrong with her, or maybe we had the wrong place, but the old woman who finally opened the door at the guesthouse, oddly locked at 6pm, seemed utterly confused as to why we were standing there. “We have a reservation,” I said to the woman. She stared at me blankly. “Reservation? We booked online?” She hesitated, clearly not comprehending anything.
Eventually she seemed to remember she was working at a guesthouse and appeared to want to show us a room, but she didn’t understand we were already booked. Andy somehow managed to get the wifi password and showed her our confirmation email, but she still seemed confused. We started wondering if we should just abandon ship and find someplace else to stay. We’ve never encountered someone running a guesthouse who didn’t at least speak a dozen words of English, especially the ones pertaining to their job. It was an ominous start to our time in Krabi. But finally after about 15 minutes she handed us a registration sheet and a room key.
Crabby in Krabi
It was a long day and two flights getting to Krabi from Siem Reap, so we didn’t waste too much time before looking at a map and setting off to find dinner. But after walking for a few minutes, something didn’t feel right. The brightly lit street lined with shops suddenly looked dark and empty up ahead. It didn’t seem like we were walking towards the center of town, and I just didn’t have a good feeling about it. I was starving and started to panic. There were a few people sitting outside chatting, so we turned back to ask for help.
Unfortunately their English wasn’t so great either. Andy got paper and started drawing a river, fish, and a big crab statue we saw on the way in. The crab picture finally clicked with the two guys. Before we knew it, one man was walking toward his car and waving us along. This kind stranger was giving us a ride. We later realized Google had our guesthouse on the wrong side of the road, so we were walking in the complete opposite way from where we should’ve been going.
By this time we were starving and snippy. There seemed to be fewer restaurants than we remembered seeing on our way in. One looked ok but loud music blaring from a parked car nearby made it unappealing. I was starting to lose patience with wandering, the stress of the evening still with me. Eventually we saw something across the street that looked interesting, so we dodged a few cars and half a dozen motorbikes to check it out. It wasn’t fantastic, but it was good enough and it quieted our hunger.
The second unexpected ride
When we asked the friendly Frenchman running the place how to get a taxi or tuk tuk back to our guesthouse, he explained that they were near impossible to find while the night market was going on. “We have no idea how to get back,” we told him, along with the name and address of our guesthouse. Luckily he knew the area and almost offered to give us a ride himself, but he only had a motorcycle so he’d only be able to take one at a time. “Hold on,” he said and went outside. A few minutes later he came back, pointing towards two guys on motorcycles.
He had called for two moto taxis and explained where we needed to go, in Thai because they spoke no English. “It’ll be 30 baht each,” he said as we thanked him profusely for his help. Without much thought or hesitation (we’re not motorcycle people, but how else would we get back?) Andy and I each hopped onto the back of a motorcycle and held on for the ride. Ten minutes later Andy’s motorcycle pulled over and mine followed. We made it back to our guesthouse.
It was a night that started with a massive language barrier and a lot of frustration. At several times I thought I might cry in the middle of the half-crumbling sidewalk. But as the evening wound down, the wind was blowing through my hair and I was smiling at the craziness of our first night in Krabi, and in Thailand. Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow.
The next day when we saw the old woman from our guesthouse, she suddenly understood a lot more of what we said. She was also able to speak enough broken but relatively clear English for us to have a basic conversation.
I think maybe she was high when we met her the previous night.
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March 6, 2014 @ 10:37 AM
So, that’s an accommodation option you’d recommend then? haha!
March 6, 2014 @ 9:11 PM
Ha! Nope, I don’t think we would!
March 6, 2014 @ 11:52 AM
You always know it’s going to be an interesting trip when it starts out a shambles. I’ve arrived in countless places exhausted hungry and in the verge or tears. The next day after a nights rest it’s like nothing ever happened! I hope the rest if your stay got better Ali.
March 6, 2014 @ 9:12 PM
Thanks Jen, things did get better, and we enjoyed Thailand. Definitely an interesting start though. And at least I can laugh about it now!
March 6, 2014 @ 8:20 PM
Despite your rough start, you’ll love Krabi Town … quiet, real, but only a songthaew/boat ride away from the beach!
March 6, 2014 @ 9:14 PM
Thanks Ronny! We didn’t get to see much of Krabi Town itself but we did go see some of the nearby beaches and islands, and they were gorgeous!
March 6, 2014 @ 9:53 PM
Strange how when things just start off wrong they tend to just spiral downward the rest of the day. It’s the frustration of being in a different environment and then to not be able to communicate. Ahhh sorry y’all had to deal with all that, but I’m glad it wasn’t worse, cus well we all know it could have been. I love that y’all think she may have been high…lol.
March 8, 2014 @ 9:38 AM
Thanks Jaime! It was certainly a crazy night, but our time in Thailand did get better. And yeah, I can’t think of another reasonable explanation for that woman’s behavior!
March 8, 2014 @ 4:38 PM
Quite a wierd experience that! Seems that she had a temporary memory loss that she worked in a guest house or was just high as you suggested!!
March 9, 2014 @ 6:54 PM
Who knows, it was so strange! At least we can laugh at the situation now!
March 9, 2014 @ 6:01 AM
I’d be surprised if many of us serious travelers don’t have stories like this- isn’t it strange how the confusion always hits when we are most tired?
March 9, 2014 @ 6:55 PM
Exactly! Being that exhausted magnifies everything too. Thanks Erik!
Lauren | JustinPlusLauren
March 10, 2014 @ 1:05 AM
I don’t know how I would handle the situation where the guesthouse lady didn’t understand who you were…that is so frustrating! I am sure you are right that maybe she was on some drugs or something….but yes, I am glad you were able to stay there and it all worked out!
March 10, 2014 @ 2:39 PM
We really almost walked away but I’m not sure where we would’ve gone because we were so isolated there. Luckily it did work out in the end, and our time in Thailand was great!
March 10, 2014 @ 11:49 AM
Well, when things start out rough like that there’s no where to go but up. Hopefully your trip got better!
March 10, 2014 @ 2:43 PM
Luckily it did!
Brandon @ Green Global Travel
March 9, 2015 @ 12:07 AM
I really enjoyed reading your post. Traveling around a crowded city where there is a language barrier can be scary.
March 10, 2015 @ 2:43 PM