Raevian and I went on the Krabi Four Islands Tour with Andaman Camp and Cruise recently. We had a fabulous time and and you can read about our experience here. We were also lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with Elizabeth, the co-founder of Andaman Camp and Cruise. Find out below why her company’s tours are ranked as one of the TOP Krabi activities on TripAdvisor!
Picture with Elizabeth and the friendly crew of Andaman Camp and Cruise
1. Tell our readers briefly about Andaman Camp and Cruise, and a little about yourself and Sun ☺
I am originally from Melbourne, Australia where I was a lawyer. I decided I needed a change of scene and eventually ended up in Thailand working for a tour company. Sun is a native of Krabi and has worked on boats and in the sea since he was a child. We set up our business offering private day trips at sea and on land, which are designed to show our guests the local area and lifestyle in a relaxed and friendly way. We also do camping and extended trips around the islands and can arrange accommodation, transfers and activities. We welcome families with young children and older or disabled travellers and are pleased to accommodate special needs where we can. The style and content of our trips are inspired by my own experience as I got to know the local area, people and cuisine, as well as suggestions from friends, family and customers about what they would like to do. We are always willing to try something new!
2. What is your business’ Mission Statement?
To provide a service which no-one else is currently offering in our area, namely, private, customised tours which allow each of our guests to enjoy their day to the full.
3. When did you start this business? Why did you choose Krabi? What inspired you to start the business?
About 12 years ago. I spent all my childhood summers and holidays at my parents’ place by the beach where I sailed, swam, paddled kayaks, fished and snorkelled with my two brothers. When I came to Krabi and saw the amazing seascapes and islands that reminded my of the adventure stories I used to read, and saw the lovely wooden long tail boats, I just had to have a turn driving….. When I announced my intention to drive a long tail boat I was told that I could not do so under any circumstances, due to my sex, size and nationality. At that point I knew I most certainly would, so I set about buying a small second hand long tail boat and invited Sun, as a licensed and experienced boat driver, to come and work with me but on the strict condition that I would do the actual driving under his supervision.
4. What is the biggest challenge you face in your business?
Bridging the culture gap between Thai and Western concepts of customer service so that our local staff are trained to achieve their maximum potential.
5. Where do you see your business in five years?
We plan to maintain the boat business at its present size and rather to expand into related areas including accommodation and restaurant, applying the same principles of service.
6. Where do you see Andaman Camp and Cruise’s next growth opportunity? Any plans in the pipeline?
We have plans to open a guesthouse and restaurant in Klong Muang to provide reasonably priced, friendly and comfortable accommodation in an area where there is mainly only expensive beachside resorts. We have found a location only a few minutes walk to the beach, with pool access and spectacular rooftop views which we plan to use as a bar and lounging area.
We have inspired to do this by our current customer base, many of whom really enjoy the food on our trips and ask for recommendations for a place to eat. We have an experienced western chef, Elaine, who has joined our team and combined with Sun’s Thai cooking skills, we hope to offer a small and flexible menu of Thai, light western and fusion cooking which will make use of the range of fresh vegetable and seafood available at the market on a daily basis.
We plan to have stage one open in time for next high season, so look out for Elephant’s End Restaurant and Guesthouse!
7. There are many rave reviews online about Andaman Camp and Cruise. To what do you attribute your success?
First, we give accurate and honest information about the service we offer including what to expect, as well as what we do not provide. Secondly, we aim to remain as flexible as possible throughout the booking process and during the tour itself, to allow people to create and realize their dream trip. Thirdly, we only offer private tours so that we can provide a personal and friendly service;
8. What is unique about your business?
We treat guests as if they were friends or family visiting the area for the first time.
9. How do you spend your free time? What are some of your hobbies?
I like to practice Ashtanga yoga and spend time with our son, Noah, who is 6. Sun enjoys sleeping. We all love travelling if we get the chance.
10. What is your view about Sun as a spouse and as a business partner?
Being from different backgrounds, we have the advantage of understanding both Thai and Western culture and thus being able to introduce the best of the local lifestyle to our customers.
11. Can you leave us with a quote today?
We keep in mind the advice given by the hermit to the king in “The Three Questions”, a short story by Leo Tolstoy: When is the most important time? Now. Who is the most important person? The one you’re with. What is the most important thing to do? To care.
You can check out Andaman Camp and Cruise’s tours at http://www.andamancampandcruise.com/