The day we were supposed to go to Sapi Island it rained in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. I love beaches (after mountains) and I was disappointed. However, the visit to the Mari Mari Cultural Village which we did in lieu turned out to be wonderful! Our guide John Prudente called the Coral Flyer Zipline in the afternoon to see if the zipline was open but we had no luck. So, whether the island to island zipline happened or not was in the hand of rain gods!
The next day I woke up to some clouds and rain. We got a message from John that the zipline was open and we were going to Sapi Island. He collected us from Hyatt Regency Kota Kinabalu where we were staying for two nights. The third night we stayed at Le Meridian, Kota Kinabalu. We went to Sutera Harbor to take a speed boat to the Sapi Island. We walked around the harbor till it was time to board the speedboat.
The sea was a bit choppy. The speedboat was landing with a small thuds on the waves. Suddenly John who was sitting at the front of the boat was lying on the floor in pain. He hurt his back on one of the landings. We were all worried and concerned. The boat dropped speed. John was able to walk once we reached Sapi, but we could see he was in pain. He took a painkiller and sat in a corner. He told us to go ahead on the zipline, he would wait for us. We walked around Sapi Beach. It was crowded. Due to the bad weather the ferry service was suspended the day before, so the tourists were out in number.
Soon it was our turn to head to the zipline. A speedboat took us to the nearby Gaya Island. The zipline is between Pulau Gaya Island and Pulau Sapi. It is 250 meter long. It is the longest island to island zipline in the world. Pulau means island in Malay.
Once we landed at Gaya Island we could see the signs to follow for the zipline. It involves climbing uphill for a short distance. There is a harness station mid way. The staff put a harness over me and handed me the pulley. Then the staff at the main platform did further checks before letting me loose on the line! As it is a double line, two people can go in tandem.
A group of five people were going before us. One girl was almost in tears before the start but she did fine! Soon it was our turn. Taking pictures is always tricky on ziplines. Luckily one member of our team, the most senior too, had a deep pocket where he kept my cell phone after clicking my picture! That is how I managed to have one picture of mine on the zipline. One boy in the group ahead did the zipline holding his GoPro in one hand. And to his credit he did not drop it.
The ride happens on tremendous speed, it gets over in less than a minute. The view from the line is spectacular. At the end of the line are brakes for slowing the speed. Except them and you would be fine!
We walked back from the landing point to the Sapi Beach again, all in high spirits. Though we were anxious about John. When we saw him, he was still in pain. The weather was turning bad. After a while the zipline was stopped again due to the rains. I saw the instructors zipping back in the rain to Sapi.
The sea looked entirely different by now. We were wondering how we would go back. But the folks at the island organized a speedboat for us with John so that he could lie down while going back. He was talking to the organizers in his own language but I could guess John was asking to arrange raincoats for us. I told him none of us needed raincoats! We started back with the boat going with extreme caution.
We could not see the shore in any direction. It was quite unnerving. However, we got to see the building around the Sutera harbor after a while. We were in safe waters.
John messaged later that he has been ordered bed rest for 3 months. His back was injured. I felt so bad. I wish him a speedy recovery. Even when he must have been in so much pain he was worried about raincoats for us!
If you plan to go on the island to island zipline make sure that it is open that day. The Coral Flyer is a lot of fun but it is weather dependent.
PS. I was on this trip to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia with Silk Air.
I love being outdoors and if it is in the mountains or by the sea all the more better. So, when I went island hopping in Krabi, Thailand it was a lot of fun for me! I got such a lot of sunburn on this trip! Krabi is in south of Thailand by the Andaman Sea, which is truly beautiful.
There are many island hopping options from Krabi. Hong Island is offered as one trip, then there is a ‘four island trip’ and another to Phi Phi Island. I did the Hong Island and the four island trips.
It was a lovely evening with gorgeous blue skies when I went to the Hong Island from Krabi. I had a private speed boat all to myself for this trip courtesy Sofitel Krabi. The water was nice and warm, just the right temperature. I did a bit of snorkeling and kayaking too. There was sparkling wine for me on this trip, so I had one good pampering session.
Tup Island, Part of the Island Hopping in Krabi
The next day I went on the four island tour. All the islands carry Tsunami warnings, as they were affected in the past. Tup Island was our first stop. It is popular with tourists as well as locals. We could walk all the way to the island in the middle. I was told that one could actually walk to another island (not in this picture) if the tide was low. But when I was there it was high tide.
We went snorkeling a little ahead from Tup Island. It was the first time I went to snorkel in the deep sea. In all my previous experiences I did snorkeling off the shore. After a while I forgot that I was in the deep sea and had great time. I had a life jacket too, hence it was easier to concentrate on fish.
Poda was the third island we visited on the trip, and to me the most beautiful of the lot. We also had packed lunch here. They had a vegetarian packet, which was mighty nice of them. And if you are wondering that I gobbled up the second island on this trip, you are right. It was called the ‘Chicken Island’ because one of the mountains looked like a leg piece of a chicken dish! It was because of the high tide we could not get down at the Chicken Island.
Boats at the Poda Island, Krabi
I walked a bit and reached this serene spot on the Poda Island. The water once again was delicious. At one point, a school of fish went by me, visible to the eye. It was such fun.
Railay Beach, Krabi
Railay was the last island we visited. It is quite popular with rock climbers. It is a pity that I did not any decent pictures of the climbers. You can walk a lot inside as well from where the boat drops you. This was the only island which has five star property on it. I guess there are no other hotels on the Railay Beach. There is a Buddhist Shrine in a cave on the island right on the main beach.
The other islands are part of national parks and no one stay overnight. Maybe that is why they are so pristine. However, island hopping in Krabi is very popular and the islands are crowded for sure. I still enjoyed it a lot!
PS. My trip to Thailand was sponsored by TAT New Delhi
Koh Lanta is a beautiful island in Krabi. To reach the island one has to take a boat or ferry from Krabi. My speed boat, was waiting for us at the private Pimalai Resort and Spa jetty. The jetty was about two hours drive from Krabi International Airport. It is not everyday that I take speed boats from a private jetty!
The speed boat ride was a lot of fun. When the boat starts moving at full speed the wind becomes a hairstylist! It also tries to snatch away your camera, so be careful!
The public spaces of Pimalai Resort and Spa are stunning! I so wanted to sit down on the wooden bench and read a book but it was part of their spa I believe!
One of the major attractions of Koh Lanta is Mu Ko Lanta National Park. You can go on a small hike to the watch tower inside the park. It gives a beautiful vantage point. The beach was truly peaceful and a delight to walk through. There is an entry fee to visit the park.
While walking through the Old Lanta Town I was fascinated by the petrol being sold bottles. You can guess immediately that it is meant for motorbike users. Hiring a motorbike is a popular to explore the island. It reminded me of so much of Goa!
While walking on the pier of the Old Lanta Town I saw this fisherman cast his net. I must have been the only tourist on the pier! He had his catch in the green bucket and he had plentiful!
We went walking around the mangrove forest area too. If you like seafood the rustic restaurants of the area can cook fresh catch for you. I could not sample it as I am a vegetarian.
You can walk around the fisherman village close to the city center. Even though it was right next to the parking lot, it felt so remote from the civilization! No one seemed to be in any hurry in the village!
The tuk tuks at Koh Lanta were a variation of the ones I see in Bangkok. They were as colorful and had many women drivers.
I just loved the colors and the setting of this local restaurant aptly named Swedish Pub and Restaurant! I went there for lunch and a hot sun was blazing on the deck. But I would love to go back and have a dinner there. They did excellent veg pizza too!
Sunset dinners are very popular in Thailand. That meant I had my dinner by 6.30 pm or so. At home this is a real early hour for me to even think about dinner! I was initially reluctant but I did enjoy the idea of the sunset dinner in the end. I went to a local restaurant called ‘Same Same but Different’ which was right by the beach. As dinner was over at an early hour, I was forced to retire early too! And it was a blessing, as if left me refreshed when I got up the next morning!
If you wish to explore a quiet place in Krabi, go to Koh Lanta!
I was invited by TAT New Delhi on this trip and I really had a blast.