Yes, I love exploring new places and consider myself as an explorer. However, for the explorers in us it was a vacation of a different kind. We had planned a quiet romantic holiday but little did we know that this journey would have its own thrills and drama.
NOTE: This blog-post is written for ‘I am Explorer’ Indiblogger contest. To discover, the real explorer in you check-out Tata Safari Storme by www.tatasafari.com/.
The Boarding Saga
Earlier this year, we had embarked on a trip to the beautiful island town of Krabi and the memories of that thrilling holiday are still fresh in my mind. Early in the morning, we headed to the T3 terminal of Delhi airport and reached well on time. The excitement was evident and the happiness of heading to Bangkok en-route Krabi was visible in our eyes. The executive at the Thai Airways desk confirmed our destination with us and we replied that we were heading to Krabi via Bangkok. He handed over the boarding pass of Delhi to Bangkok to us and asked us to wait for the boarding pass of the connecting flight from Bangkok to Krabi. We waited patiently and moved sideways to make way for the next person in the queue.
I checked again and asked the executive if there was any problem. We were in for a shocker! He told us that our connecting flight from Bangkok to Krabi was shifted ahead of its departure time by an hour. We were in for disbelief as we were now left with only half hour for transit between Bangkok and Krabi. I told him that it’s not possible at all as were never informed about the change in schedule. I asked him if there were any hopes of catching our flight on time. He said that the same problem had happened with passengers in last evening’s flight and they were able to make it on time. He said, let’s hope for the best but did mention that the flight from Bangkok to Krabi was the last one for the evening and the next connecting flight was only available after 14 hours. God, this was meant to be a leisure holiday and not a nerve racking one is what I told myself. Still not satisfied, I called up the Yatra.com executive and asked him how on earth could this happen without we receiving any notification! Pallav, the Yatra.com guy was in panic and said, ‘Sir, it’s not possible. Flights are never shifted before schedule and incase of any changes, you would have received a notification’. Hoping against hope, I asked Pallav to check with his team and get back to me with a solution.
Lastly, I tweeted and tagged the thaiairways handle in my anger and frustration.
We were relaxed and calm once the flight took-off! We thought that despite only 30 minutes of time between transit we’d still be able to make it. We were praying to god as we were on a vacation and we really didn’t want to start it on a bad note. We told the Thai Airways flight attendant about our problem and he listened to us patiently despite the language issue.
About 3.5 hours into our flight the attendant came back and asked us to take out our cabin baggage. We were clueless as to why was he asking us to do that as we were very much in the air. Nevertheless we followed his instruction and also followed him as he walked ahead of us. We were in for a surprise as he shifted us to the ‘Business Class’ and handed over a small chit of paper to us. It had some note in Thai language and he asked us to give it to the security. We landed at the Bangkok airport but only after the 29th minute of transit time.
Just as we moved out of the plane, we met a couple of security personnel with our name placards. They asked us to move fast towards the security check. We started walking very fast, really fast and they personnel started running.
So did we as we could see a glimmer of hope. We were at the gates again for a security check. There was a small queue and the staff asked us to stand in the queue.
The staff member requested the security guy to consider us first and shouted, ‘Sir, I would request you to please help them as they are the last 2 passengers to board this evening flight to Krabi. Sir, this is the last flight for the day and there is no more flight to Krabi for another 12 hours so I would request you to let them go’.
He understood what the problem was and we zipped through the security check and rushed towards the boarding gates. Within the next 3 minutes we were in the flight and as the guy had rightly said, we were the last 2 people to board the flight which was delayed by 15 minutes. We were so happy as if we had achieved a milestone. We looked towards each other and knew that the adventure had begun :)
The Arrival Drama
As if this was not enough, there was more in store for us! We reached the small airport of Krabi at about 8.30pm in the evening. It was so dark outside, there were hardly any lights and you couldn’t differentiate land from water. The airport wore a deserted look and the only people in the airport were those from our flight. There was a separate queue for international passengers and we waited at the conveyer belt to collect our baggage. We were happy to have landed in Krabi and that the journey had finally begun!
15 minutes went by and our bags didn’t come. We had 3 bags in all and we were wondering what was happening! Slowly all the passengers went away with their bags and there were only 3 families left at the airport.
One of the french men shouted, I am here for a vacation with my wife and 1 year old son and I have nothing but our passports and some money. I don’t have clothes, I don’t have baby food and I have nothing.
The airport was really getting spooky by now as there were hardly any people around. We located the Thai Airways help-desk at the airport but there was no one around. After sometime, one girl from the staff walked into the desk, didn’t look at us, didn’t say anything and handed over a pink slip to us. She didn’t understand a word of English language but did figure out that our baggage had gone missing. She took down all our details in the pink slip including the details of the Pakasai Resort where we were staying. A Swedish family told us that there were no taxis at the airport and they just booked the last one.
Thankfully, we had the YourKrabi.com taxi driver for our assistance as we had booked our taxi to the Pakasai resort well in advance. We were given the assurance by the staff-member that our baggage would reach Pakasai resort by the next day.
The Serene Beaches of Krabi
With no bags, no clothes we reached the Pakasai resort. Next morning with nothing to do, we walked towards the Ao Nang beach in the same pair of jeans and t-shirt. It was hot and the sun was beating down hard on us. We headed to the nearby Railay beach and went back to the hotel in afternoon. The bags were there in the lobby of Pakasai Resort!
The virgin beaches of Krabi were divine and a treat to the shutterbugs! The photologue paints the real story :)
The Lifetime Experience of Kayaking in Mangrove forests at Ao Thalane
On one of the days, we went to the hidden gem of Krabi, Ao Thalane to Kayak in the mangrove forest. Although we were Kayaking for the first time, we thought that it would be like one of those rafting experiences in Rishikesh.
The chirping sounds of the jungle, the monitor lizards, the limestone cliffs and the monkeys make Ao Thalane so spectacular. We were given a 5 minute drill on how to Kayak and next we were up there in the waters. We had to negotiate the forests, the obstacles and the narrow pathways. Although Shalini was wearing a life jacket, knowing swimming would have helped in cutting risk if the Kayak toppled over.
Since she was doing any form of water sports activity for the first time, she was a little nervous and that made our Kayak go slow. 6 km is a really long stretch and you can easily get tired. The tough path didn’t make it easy either and to make matters worse we were way behind our group and the guide.
As we entered the dense forest, we were caught off-guard by one of the obstacles and our kayak toppled over. For one moment it seemed that everything will be over. We shouted for help but the Kayakers next to us were French nationals so they didn’t understand a word of what we were saying. Although I wasn’t wearing a life jacket, I realised that we were close to the branch of a tree and I moved her to safety. I held the branch with one hand and started searching for the dry bag. In the meantime, one of the guides came to our rescue and helped us find the bag and get back to the Kayak.
It was a thrilling experience and those moments of going into the water as the monitor lizards and monkeys watch you are something I can never forget.
Here are some pictures from the Kayaking trip.
Despite the obstacles, the overall joy of exploring the unknown surroundings of Krabi during our journey was simply fantastic! Something similar to the journeys with Tata Safari Storme.