Today would be our last day of convenient, urban travel for a few weeks so we had to make the morning in Singapore count. We got an early start again at 7am with our last breakfast at Cocotte. Maurice did shake his head at me for sleeping through yesterday evening instead of trekking to Night Safari.
With only two hours before we had to head to Changi Airport for our flight to Krabi, Thailand, we grabbed our backpacks and set out into Singapore as if we were contestants on The Amazing Race. We still haven’t seen the Merlion yet, let’s go!
Took our obligatory poses in front of the Merlion after jostling through crowds of other shutterbugs. Maurice thought that’s it? Everyone is here for this statue? I mean, I told him it is the symbol of Singapore as the Statue of Liberty is the symbol of New York City. Maurice was immediately offended with my comparison. No it’s not! This tiny thing?!
Then we rushed over to the Raffles Hotel to explore the grounds. The hotel’s Sikh doorman with his distinctive colonial uniform is so popular they sell a plush version of him at the gift shop!
We wanted to get a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar as every travel guide says to do but alas the bar was closed, it is 10am on a Thursday after all. Instead we wandered around the courtyard.
Then it was already time to take the MRT back to our hotel, pack up and take the MRT to Changi Airport. The airport itself is a kids paradise with interactive art like its Kinetic Rain sculptures and various gardens, a giant slide and an entertainment center.
At security check, Thai AirAsia staff stopped us since both of us carried small scissors in our carry-ons. They confiscated our scissors. Interesting to see that airlines back home care a lot about liquids but don’t have a problem with concealing sharp objects.
After a short (less than 2 hours) flight over the Malaysian peninsula, we landed in Krabi “International” Airport. Going through the immigration was a breeze: Thailand sure makes it easy for Western travelers as neither French nor American citizens need a visa to visit this tourism heavy country.
After getting our passports stamped, we were picked up at the arrivals area by a taxi driver I reserved in advance online. He held up a sign with my name on it, we felt like true VIPs. The driver took us about 30km South to Laem Kruat, a small Muslim fishing village which runs a handful of daily trips to Ko Jum. Cost us 800 THB (22 USD), pricey for Thailand but the alternative was to flag down 2 different buses aka converted pickup trucks from villages in the area.
After arriving by taxi to Laem Kruat, we waited an hour to board the next leg of our trip, a longtail boat that would take us to Ko Jum, which is known for being a laidback island that’s not too difficult to get to.
For us this was quite an adventure since our afternoon flight was too late to catch the once-daily tourist-class ferry from Krabi pier, we had to go the long and slow way through Laem Kruat pier, 40km south of Krabi town.
We traveled for 45 minutes on the longtail boat loaded up with the day’s produce, a tuk tuk, a motorcycle, a fridge, random building materials and about 15 other tourists and village locals. We sat up top next to the stacks of eggs. 100 THB (3 USD) per person.
Upon arrival at the pier we were offered a ride to our hotel via converted pickup truck. The older German couple who got in before us and got dropped off at a closer hotel than us paid 100 THB each after trying to negotiate the price but accepting it after the driver refused to bargain. Maurice asked the driver what the price was. 100 THB. Is that per person? Um together (he points at both of us). We only had to pay 50 THB each to go even further away. I guess that’s the benefit of both of us looking like young backpackers, we don’t even have to haggle to get a discount.
A short bumpy ride later through Ko Jum, we finally made it to our little island paradise at Season Bungalows.
There was a mixup between myself, the hotel reservation company Agoda and Season Bungalows. I won’t get into the details but long story short, they gave away my reservation for the standard bungalow for the first of our three nights. Felt a little painful to scoff up 1,200 THB for the premium bungalow with A/C when I originally reserved for 500 THB / night. Realized later the A/C plus the larger room with nicer marble-like flooring felt great compared to the basic fan-only, no hot water bungalow, but I kind of like the back-to-basics approach. After all, the whole reason we came here was to spend time on this beach and not in our bungalow anyway.
We finally set our luggage down, kicked off our shoes and relaxed in true island-style. We’ll be here for the next three nights for some hard won relaxation.