Any town with a waterfront is liable to win me over. And Krabi Town, gateway to some of Thailand’s more stunning scenery and sandy beaches, has done just that.
The waterfront is lined by a long boardwalk or seawall that stretches for about at least two kilometers. It is ideal for a morning or evening walk. In the early evening, dozens of locals put on their running shoes and jog its length. The opposite shore is mangrove forest. Not so far away, across the river to the North sits a towering limestone rock formation – one of many enormous outcrops that define Krabi Province. Across the inlet from the seawall the setting sun illuminates a traditional Thai village built on stilts.
For a few baht you can cross the inlet and pay the village a visit. Yesterday morning I made the trip. Following a brick sidewalk takes you from one end of this tiny fishing village to the other. On my walk I passed an old house where four beautiful young women sat talking on the veranda. From behind the house a man appeared. He held a slingshot. Contrary to my expectation, he said nothing about the women. He simply said “marijuana.” I politely declined. (Later a local farang said, “I’ve never heard of any tourist actually receiving the marijuana a fisherman has sold them.”) On the dock, outside every home on stilts, boats; and hanging from overhead beams, bird cages. Everywhere bird cages, homes for small songbirds.
The walkway terminates at the old town port (there is also a new port about eight kilometers out of town). On the street before the dock is the night market, where I ordered curried barbequed chicken skewers. The old lady gave me a plate stacked with a dozen hot skewers, a spicy dipping sauce, and a salad consisting of raw onions and cucumber in vinegar. Hungry I consumed three orders of her offerings, and from another stall I ordered a bottle of water and fruit salad for desert. The bill came to four dollars.
Just up the street above the market I found what might well qualify as the friendliest coffee shop in Thailand: “Relax Coffee and Restaurant.” The Thai couple who run the place are extremely attentive to their customers’ every need and comfort. The food is outstandingly fresh; the sidewalk seating area is almost always full. The name is apt. Because the street has very little traffic, the location makes it the perfect place to relax.