04 Feb Different Things to Do in Krabi
Krabi, nestled on the coast of the Andaman Sea and with a coastline of limestone mountains rising majestically out of the ground is for good reason, primarily known as a beach destination. It should not only be known for this though, inland there are many attractions, beauty spots and activities. It’s this combination of sea and land that makes Krabi such a unique destination.
The center of tourism in mainland Krabi is Ao Nang. Ao Nang started out just a few years ago as a sleepy fishing village and although it has grown fast and continues to do so, it still very much has a village feel to it. If you start from the beach and walk in any direction, a short 15 to 20 minutes and you will be in countryside. For many, it’s this closeness to nature that really separates a Krabi holiday from almost any other destination in Thailand, Asia or the rest of the world.
Ao Nang itself is split into multiple areas by mountains and cliffs that have ensured that wherever you are, you are never far from an amazing view.
A few km further up the coast is Klong Muang Beach and a little further up is Tup Kaek beach. Klong Muang and Tub Kaek have established themselves as home to many of the higher starred and international resorts like the Sheraton and Sofitel Resorts. These sort of resorts appeal to customers who want to spend most of their holiday either within the boundaries of the hotel, on the beach and with a few organized excursions out. The village of Klong Muang has a few restaurants, but cannot really consider itself as being tourist friendly. The road from Ao Nang to Klong Muang has recently been widened and improved (actually still under construction in places) and journey time from Au Nang is about 20 minutes by car. A popular method is to rent a moped, its inexpensive and lots of fun to just cruise around the local roads.
The beaches at Klong Muang and Tup Kaek have really beautiful sand and clear water. For swimming, it’s great at high tide, but at low tide it is quite rocky which can make it a bit awkward. The beauty of the beach really does make up for this though, it’s always covered in a scattering of shells and for kids, its paradise to just spend the day playing. Along the beach there are plenty of trees creating some shade.
The beauty of Krabi is that every beach area is actually A National Park. There are no private beaches, no areas excluded to the public and resorts are not allowed to mark areas for their exclusive use. This means that you can stay in a 2 star guesthouse and use the same beach as any of the 5 or 6 star resorts. Another benefit of the National Park status is that there are no permanent structures allowed on the beach, no banana boats and no jet skis.
Krabi has a great infrastructure with mostly good quality roads linking it up with Phuket to the North and Trang to the South. These are mostly dual carriage roads and traffic is moving quickly. Other than these roads though, there are hundreds of small country roads that wind their ways through the countryside in every direction. Most of the countryside in Krabi is actually Rubber and Palm Oil Palm plantation which means that most of the smaller roads are beautiful and cool.
The main town in the province is actually still a small place. Its right on the river and the town center is just two roads that run parallel with the river. At the center is a very newly constructed Temple, which although it’s quite spectacular, lacks the history and character that makes Temples in Thailand usually so interesting. The choice of shops is not great from a tourist point of view. There are some gift, souvenir and jewelry shops along the river side road, and the next road in has Vogue shopping center, a three floor shop that mostly sells branded and upmarket products at reasonable prices.
There is a wide choice of eating options from street-food and noodle vendors to sit down restaurants of all varieties and tastes.
There are hotels and guesthouses in Krabi Town but, considering Krabi is becoming a major tourist destination, it still does not feel anything like a tourist town.
Tiger Cave Temple, just outside Krabi Town is one of the ‘must see’ attractions. It’s a truly beautiful place and if you can muster up the energy to get up the 1237 steps, it’s well worth the view.
The Hot Springs and Emerald Pool
These two attractions, being close to each other, is easy to visit in one trip. Either one does deserve its place though. The hot springs are quite remarkable, a river and waterfall of hot flowing water is a truly amazing experience. The Emerald Pool (also known as the Crystal Pool) is also a fantastic place. The scene features beautiful jungle setting and the water really is as Emerald and shining as the name suggests.
Phanom Bencha National Park
This park is one of Krabi’s lesser visited locations. The most popular feature though is the waterfall. There is a car park and visitor center and then about a 1km walk to the waterfall. At low season, it’s not very spectacular, but at high season, it’s a really nice place to spend an afternoon with three tiers of waterfall each with its own pool for a cooling dip. The park is never busy, is well-kept and great for young children.
Thalane Bay is one of the most amazingly beautiful bays in the world rivalling Ha Lung Bay in Viet Nam. A drive along the road that runs along its edge is really well worth it. There are no tourist centers as such or popular swimming beaches, but the scenery makes it well worth the trip. At the end of the road is the Thalane Bay kayak center, here you can take a kayak tour through the mangrove forests. The mangroves are full of amazing wildlife and whether it’s baking hot or raining, it’s a trip that no-one ever complains about. Kids particularly love to kayak, there is something about paddling a boat on the river that appeals to them and keeps them interested.
There are, of course, all the local Islands at Krabi that are the main reason people visit this amazing province, but If you visit and don’t see some of the Inland gems that Krabi has to offer, you really are missing out.