Thailand has always been a popular tourist destination with several places to visit. The Kingdom of Thailand in Southeast Asia covers an area of 513,120 square kilometres and is composed of 76 provinces. The country is known for its good food, several temples, martial arts, and beaches. Touted as one of the most relaxing places on the planet, is Krabi province in southern Thailand. Krabi lies on the shores of the Andaman Sea. Its geography is a mix of highlands and plains, including nearly more than 130 large and small islands. The province offers a wide assortment of activities tourists can engage in, ranging from the activities on the beaches to underwater escapes and treks along magnificent hiking trails. Compared to other travel destinations in Thailand, Krabi is said to be much more relaxing and enjoyable, and these are some of the reasons why.
1. Phi Phi Islands
The Phi Phi Islands lie on the southwest of Krabi’s coastline and arguably the most famous beach of the province, having been the location at which Danny Boyle’s movie; “The Beach” was shot. Phi Phi is made up of two islands, the much larger and known, Phi Phi Don and the smaller uninhabited Phi Phi Leh. The islands are also part of a marine national park. The larger island has fine sandy beaches, hidden coves, and steep limestone cliffs. The island has numerous activities to partake in, such as; kayaking, snorkeling, and swimming at Ao Pileh Bay, rock climbing on the numerous limestone cliffs, or just enjoying the sand on the beaches.
The smaller island is almost uninhabited and is dotted with several caves and rocky coves. Phi Phi Leh is best known as a site for nesting swifts. The nests are collected and used to make the lucrative bird’s nest soup, a popular Chinese delicacy. The island is also home to Viking Cave that is said to have prehistoric paintings.
2. Ao Nang
Probably, Krabi’s most famous tourist town, Ao Nang, is a beach resort town that embodies the friendliness that is Thailand. The town is so small that it takes only about 30 minutes to walk from end to end. The town offers a variety of hotels to choose from, several dining, shopping and nightlife options, and easy access to the islands. However, it is good to know that due to frequent visits, unchecked development has impacted the beauty of the stunning karst scenery.
3. Phra Nang Beach
Close to Ao Nang is Phra Nang beach on the southern part of Railay Bay. The beach is about five minutes by boat from Railay West Beach. The island has soft sandy beaches surrounded by shallow, clear waters that are safe for swimming, two islands in proximity, caves, and coral reefs, making the beach an all-around experience.
4. Krabi Shell Cemetery
Also known as the graveyard of shells or fossil shell beach is a large rock plate of limestone that is said to have been formed about 40-25 million years ago. It is believed to have been formed when a shift in the tectonic plates caused saltwater to mix with freshwater where the shellfish lived, triggering a reaction that fused the shells. It is a great place to visit for those interested in geology and history.
5. Tiger Cave Temple
Another one of Krabi’s defining tourist attractions is the Tiger cave Temple locally known as the Wat Tham Sua, about 5km from the northeast from Krabi Town Center. The temple is made of natural limestone caves that developed from the side of a cliff. The journey to the temple is one long one that might require you to hike up about 1,237 steps up a limestone tower. Though difficult, the reward at the end hike is breath-taking. The panoramic view of the Andaman Sea, rainforests and limestone cliffs is simply splendid. The main attraction at the temple is the “footprint of Buddha,” which is exactly as it sounds; an imprint of Gautama Buddha’s foot. There is also a giant statue of Buddha at the temple. The temple teaches a form of Buddhism known as Vipassana (insight meditation) based on the teachings of the earliest Buddhist texts. In the temple you will find photos of internal organs and split cadavers that are meant to remind the monks of the temporary nature of the body and for them to focus on the spirit.
6. Krabi Markets
Krabi’s vibrant markets offer several options for tourists. The Krabi Night Market/ Thanon Khon Dern is the highlight of all the markets. It is a weekend shopping event that takes place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights from 5:00 pm to 22:00 in Soi Maharaj on a 2,000 square metre plaza in downtown Krabi. The event offers tourists a glimpse into life in southern Thailand. One can find everything from local artisan creations, artist work, and various scrumptious Thai street food.
7. Klong Thom Hot Springs
The Krabi Hot Springs are natural ‘hot tubs’ that are channel water from thermal springs in volcanic chambers deep in the ground. The waters are said to have healing properties because of the large components of mineral salts it contains. The waters of Klong Thom can reach up to 35-40 degrees Celsius. The hot springs are about 70 kilometres from Krabi Town and are located in the heart of a jungle preserve that houses the Emerald Pool and Thung Teao Forest Natural Park. Visiting the hot springs would be a good way to relax in beautiful rainforest scenery.
The province is mostly coast and islands, so tourists visiting should expect to move around by boat a lot. Signature to the province are long-tailed boats, locally called Ruang Hang Yao are the most common mode of transport for ferrying tourists to different destinations. So be ready to spend a lot of time on the waters. Though not a tourist activity, it is an experience into the way the people of Krabi live.
The province of Krabi is truly a beautiful place to visit with many activities for those visiting. It is best to make a plan of where to visit and do some recon on where is best to visit at the time you will be on holiday. All in all, Krabi is indeed a top tier tourist destination.