Thursday, 19 November 2015

Spa & Shopping in Krabi

Best spa in Aonang, Krabi?

Well, according to TripAdvisor Atta Rak spa is one of the top ones. While it looks more classy than the average Krabi spas, I thought it was just okay. I am not sure why the western tourists were raving about Atta Rak. Yes, the ambiance is nice but if you're used to Thai Odyssey outlets in Malaysia, Atta Rak kinda pale in comparison. Sure the price is half of what Thai Odyssey charges but their rate is at least 100 THB higher than average local charges.

Attarak Spa

So is Atta Rak a no-no? Not really. They offers good value treatment packages. Pick one of those 2-3 hours long packages and *maybe* it will be worth it. They do have one of the better ambiance as compared to the other massage parlours dotting Aonang.

I took the 450 THB (or was it 500 THB?) mix & match package: 1-hour Thai massage + 30 mins back & shoulder massage with oil. Booked a day earlier.

As per usual spa etiquette, I arrived about 15 minutes earlier and waited for a bit. Then I was assigned a masseur who gave me a foot bath & tea. Foot bath is not a standard practice in the average massage parlours in Krabi (or Phuket and Bangkok). Only the "proper" spas have them.

Then, I was taken to a room to change my clothes. I believe it was the mani pedi room. Afterwards, I was led to one of the mattresses in the main room. Unfortunately for me, I got the mattress nearest to the door and was disturbed each time someone opened/closed the door, which was quite often. My masseur also only drew the curtain for oil massage. Another patron (a guy) was going out and he was looking at my direction. It was dark and he probably couldn't see much but I still felt uncomfortable.
I felt shortchanged. 

I had a high expectation on Atta Rak and was disappointed. So if you're going, manage your expectation. Get one of the longer hours packages and try to request for private room. 

So, what if you want just a foot massage or an-hour Thai massage?

I recommend Dear Massage Beauty Salon.

Dear Massage Beauty Salon

Finding Dear Massage is easy as it is located along the main road from Aonang Mosque to Aonang Beach. If you walk on the McDonald's side, it is very likely that you'll get one of their flyers. You'll be getting a lot of flyers just walking that road anyway. I chose Dear Massage because the lady who approached me was friendly, courteous and wasn't too pushy.

 I promised her that I will come back later at night and when we returned, she remembered us! My girlfriend was having a pretty bad back pain and so she was skeptical about going for a massage. I explained to the lady about it and she assured us that it was safe for my friend. She arranged a special masseur for my friend and to our delights, my friend's back pain lessened. 

They even scheduled a second session on the next day and I am happy to report that at least one of my friends is now a convert! Yay! New kaki to teman me go spa.

An hour Thai Massage or foot massage here is only 200 THB. Hair wash & blow 300 THB (my hair was long, reaching my lower back). 

Dear Massage is not a fancy spa mind you so don't expect foot bath and ambiance music. They offer nice tea though and their massage area offer some privacy. No ogling at other customers here. Unless you chose the massage chairs at the front of the parlour la.

I'd say Dear Massage offers good value for money. You don't want to miss it!


Shopping is another favourite activity in Krabi. It is difficult to compare price with lets say Bangkok or the nearby Phuket because some things can be cheaper/more expensive here. I guess it depends on your haggling skills and how much you're willing to pay for the item.

  Some shops displayed price tags that cannot be negotiated. However, if you go around and compare prices you should be able to get some idea on how much a good is really worth. I was looking at some basketball jerseys and was initially told a quite high price. I just returned from Phuket and told the seller so and he slashed the price down to even lower than what I paid in Phuket. 

  The girls bought some pants and clothes at cheaper price than those in Krabi Night Market. However, the design aren't quite the same and T said she liked the one in Krabi Night Market better. If you face this problem, ask yourself, "how much am I willing to pay?".

  My girlfriend bought 2 paintings from Dao Art Gallery along the main road. Beautiful and affordable arts. Friendly and pretty owner/artist too! She'll pack the painting for you. I wanted one for myself but wasn't sure how to mount it back later so I thought I'd see how my friend do hers first :p

Roadside fruit seller in Krabi

I don't usually buy street foods but Krabi sellers were clean and I ate a lot of street foods there. Easy on the pocket :) 
We even bought fruits. Usually only the aunts buy fruits on a vacation.

Aside from the shops along the Aonang main road, in front of the beach, and a the stretch opposite Halal Food street, there is a new(er) shopping further away on the posh hotels side called Nopparat Thara Plaza, operating from 1000 to 2200 (supposedly). It was pretty deserted on the rainy afternoon I visited.

Nopparat Thara Plaza Krabi

Read more here.

Krabi Night Market

Krabi Night Market

Only happening on Friday to Sunday from 1700 to 2200.

Read more here.

Krabi Night Market souvenirs
Some of the cute souvenirs I got from Krabi Night Market.
Already gave away all the pretty mini notepads and vials of scented oil.

No I did not have to add extra luggage on the flight home. Everything fitted into my cabin size trolley bag =)

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