I awake after another perfect night of deep sleep, the kind of sleep where you don’t think you’ve moved all night and you can’t remember waking up once. Maybe it was the comfortable bed that continued to hug me to sleep at Islanda Eco Resort, or maybe it was because my belly was full of some fantastic Thai cooking which Ishita (who writes at IshitaUnblogged) and I watched being made last night and then ate with full gusto, or maybe it was the exquisite frozen strawberry daiquiri which I sampled back at the hotel bar.

In any event it can’t have been from the games of cards I played with the Emirati students who made up the rest of Team Dubai – I am sure I still have bruises on my hand from the hearty slaps involved in a simple but competitive game of snap which we played loudly and with much laughter and just a little bit of trickery or cheating or card fixing, distraction – whatever you want to call it.  Anyway, it was a perfect night and I awake fully refreshed and ready for a morning of adventure and an afternoon of relaxation.

Sadly today, we check out of Islanda Eco Resort, but as I do I know that I will return as I’ve fallen in love with this tranquil and peaceful place as well as with the island itself.

Today is day 3 of our itinerary and we have two activities planned.  In the morning we are scheduled to go kayaking and in the afternoon we are scheduled to visit some hot springs at a day spa.  We are also transferring back onto Krabi mainland and moving into a new hotel which is exciting.

After a sad farewell with the staff at the hotel, who now feel like friends and family, we once again board a fleet of SkyLabs and rush around the island  in a multi coloured convey, weaving in and out of the villagers who are going about their daily business on the island.

Koh Klang has a vast mangrove forest covering tens of acres which provide nursery grounds for fish which then serve coastal fishery.  The mangroves also provide a great natural habit for a diverse marine life including shore and sea birds.  And so we return to kayak through the mangroves from Maying Restaurant where we lunched yesterday and where Ishita and I cooked with chef Bao last night.  Here we are given a brief safety talk, told how to steer and paddle our kayaks and given life jackets before choosing our kayaks and more importantly our kayak partners.  I choose a strong local guide who I’ve decided can be my engine for the trip if I fancy taking a little break from time to time – after all I’m on holiday right ?  Most of us take to our kayaks, whilst a few of the group take to the comfort of their long tailed boat and they get to motor along behind or beside us whilst we get to paddle either at slow speed or full speed mostly forwards, sometimes sideways or even backwards, along the beautiful river.

The river is slow flowing and is an easy place to kayak along.  We have fun, splashing the other kayaks, soaking up the views, taking pictures of those on the boat, who in turn are taking pictures of us, we are so used to be ‘papped’ by the camera crew and fellow travellors now. Sometimes we race towards the camera crew for some action shots at other times we slow down and glide along the river soaking up the scenery.  Sometimes, we stop to take pictures of the view or of other kayers and yes, I even took time out on the water to tweet and instagram!  We’re told there are monkeys in the mangroves but sadly we don’t see any, possibly as we were making a bit of noise as we generally had fun on the kayaks.

All too soon it’s time to leave our kayaks and climb aboard the long tail boats as we power at full speed to  Khao Khanap Nam which is a large cave close to mainland Krabi.  We walk up the steep steps into the cave which is famous for bats at night time, and step into a slightly surreal world where scenes of how the caves have been used during pre-historic times right through to war times are depicted with models of caveman and soldiers placed throughout the cave.  The inside of the cave is bright and sunny and the models provide a venue for some fun as we all pose for pictures with cavemen or giant stalactites before heading on our last long tail trip to mainland Krabi where we indulge in another fantastic lunch buffet of some great Thai dishes at Kotoong Restaurant (details will follow in another post).

Fully fuelled after lunch, some of us took a quick nap as we headed to Waree Raksa which has been awarded the title of The Amazing Day Spa and Traditional Thai Experience in the 2012 Thailand Spa and Well Being Awards.  I’d not done any research on our venue so was delighted to find out that we were visiting some natural hot springs and would be treated to hydrotherapy, a body scrub and a shoulder and neck massage – it sounded like bliss – after all – we had had a busy morning of kayaking and deserved a treat no ?

Discovered by chance in 1989 when digging the ponds for a plantation the hot springs water is rich in beneficial minerals and is therefore an ideal condition for bathing and hydrotherapy  Each hydrotherapy pool contains 3 different temperature zones; hot, warm and cool designed for hydrotherapeutic activities, water exercises and relaxation providing 3 levels for the body to adjust to the heat of the water, starting from foot bath, knee height and full body bath.

The first order of our visit is to get dressed up or should I say down, as the ladies are equipped with fisherman thai trousers along with a wrap around tied top (more for the Emirati ladies who must maintain appropriate cover) and just a pair of trousers for the guys. This is not a place to be shy 🙂  Our first stop is to wet ourselves with water before we are given a natural rice, yogurt mixture which smells good enough to eat and which we use to exfoliate our legs, arms and back giving us glowing healthy skin before we shower and rinse off.  We then head off to the hydrotherapy pools starting with the coolest area where we receive a neck and shoulder massage – once this is over, which is all to quickly, we move to the warmer pool which is pleasant before braving the hottest pool which at 42C is very hot – I now know how it feels to be a lobster cooking  and later in the evening find myself googling “ideal temperature for a hot bath” – I’m sure it’s cooler than the 42C that I led in for a while ! – as I soak in the natural surroundings of the spa, I can slowly feel my body getting warmer and warmer and it’s a relief to move to a cooler pool for a while to relax with the Emirati lady students and to use the rice scrub for a good old natural facial which feels so good.  A quick shower and change back to normal clothes and now smelling of coconut oil which we were encouraged to rub onto our skin after showering sees us enjoying a platter of sweet ripe local fruits before we head off to our next pit stop, or should I say hotel,  Beyond Resort Krabi where we get to take in a beautiful sunset view before joining the group for a Buffet Dinner.

By now Ishita and I have developed an adventurous side to our eating and have become ever so slight obsessed by Thai food, so on finding that the buffet is more international (which the Emirati students love), we bid our adieu to the group and following the advice of our waiter, we head to a local eatery called simply Food and Beverage which he recommends.  It’s just a ten minute walk from the hotel, it’s packed full of Thai families and couples and with a smile we realise that we are in for a fun evening of Thai food and people watching, not to mention a beer or two.  Here I get to negotiate with the chef about how long it will take to cook the food and serve dinner, we get to watch Thai TV and to take more pictures of food, we meet the friendliest of cats who wants to be our dining companion and we also get tempted by the always open tattoo shop – ok I admit that was just me !  – more about our evening in another post.

And so ends day 3 of our trip, a day of outdoor adventure and relaxation ending with a great sunset, tasty Thai food, some local beer and a cocktail as we sample another strawberry daiquiri, purely for research purposes I assure you.  So day 3 ends as the cicadas chirp outside my room and the Egyptian cotton sheets are once again lulling me into a deep and peaceful sleep.

Thanks for reading

Disclaimer : This is part 3 in a series of posts about my recent trip to Krabi and Bangkok as a guest of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Middle East and Aviareps Group.  All opinions are my own based on my experiences of the trip in April 2013.

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