Krabi, a beautiful paradise in the South-Western coast of Thailand, probably not as well-known as compared to Phuket, but it is renowned for it’s majestic angular limestone karsts jutting from the mangroves forest. Many people are attracted to Krabi for the beauty of the archipelago facing the Andaman Sea with more than 130 islands. Archipelagos in Krabi have white sandy beaches, blue greenish clear sea, and coral such as Phi Phi island which is the most popular island near Krabi. Anyway, I will touch on the island hopping on a separate post, I will just keep to mainland Krabi for now.
5 years ago, I embarked a journey to Phuket and Krabi with 2 of my buddies, Wilson and Melano. As there wasn’t any direct flight from Singapore back then, so we gotta flew to Phuket, rented a car there and did a little self drive road trip to Krabi. A long journey but was fun for the 3 “boys”. haha
The distance from Phuket Airport to Krabi Ao Nang is around 150 kilometers via main highway route 4. Not too bad I would say, take about approximately 3 hours. It was actually a very nice drive. En-route, you will drive through the peaceful Phang Nang province filled with thick tropical forest and beautiful traditional Thai houses! You will start to see many limestone mountain jutting out from nowhere once you enter Krabi Province. There are plains around foothills and beautiful coasts, a pretty nice road trip I would say.
Some tips for you if you decide to do a road trip from Phuket to Krabi. Before you go you will need:
1) Need a good car!
A good car will take you through a smooth long distance journey! haha Don’t make the same mistake like us. We went for a cheap car rental company, and the cheapest option, ended up with faulty aircon and a spoilt gps! Invest in a good reliable car with reputable car rental company, and ensure they service their car regulary. Thankfully, the car didn’t breakdown throughout our trip. 🙂
2) Need a good driver, good vehicle commander & good backseat “entertainer”!
Of course, the driver (ME!) was the soul of the car! Having a good safety driver is very IMPORTANT! Your life is in the hand of the driver, so the very last thing you wish is to end up with an unsafe driver! haha But honestly, the Thai road condition can be really dangerous, so please DO DRIVE SAFELY and better to read up more on the safety rules and warnings from the internet forum or government land authority websites before you go. Always better to be safe than sorry! Observe and obey the traffic rules, safety always comes first, especially you are in a unfamiliar foreign land. (Even though, you are in the land of smile! haha)
Having a good vehicle commander is as important as a good driver! Basically, the job of the vehicle commander is to make sure driver is alert AT ALL TIMES. Anyway it was my fate with this guy haha… he was more like a distraction to me than a vehicle commander! hahahaha So, choose wisely! haha
Last but not least,if you have a good responsible passenger, good on ya! If your passenger is as irritating as this guy below! God bless you! haha He is born to be a jester or entertainer? You name it, so be it! haha
3) Need a good map or navigator!
We rented a car together with a GPS navigator, but guess what??? LOL As I shared earlier, the aircon broke down and same goes with our GPS! Can’t screw up more for a road trip like this! haha Can you imagine, we were struggling to find a map in Phuket. The stores in Phuket only sell the map of Phuket Province (well obviously). In order for us to get to Krabi, we gotta crossed into Phang Nang Province, then into Krabi Province. So, getting a map in Phuket will not get us to Krabi for sure! Thankfully, I’m naturally blessed with a good sense of direction. I roughly knew the general direction from Phuket to Krabi and based on the little infomation I gathered before I flew over to Phuket the night before, we took off and arrived in Krabi 3.5 hours later! (well, we obviously got lost a bit) But we made it! 🙂
Well, the above are just tips if you decide to do a little road trip from Phuket to Krabi. Unless you wish to cover more places and explore Thailand via road, otherwise the good news is, there are direct flights available from Singapore to Krabi now, so logically, you don’t have to drive from Phuket.
Alright, enough of the silly but fun road trip we had. haha Now, let me focus back by giving you my top 10 things to do in Krabi!
Number 1: Sunset in Krabi
I’m sure many of you probably read my recommendation for Botswana especially the sunset in Nata. Well, that was in Botswana, Africa. Take a look at the photos below and i believe you would agree with me that the sunset in Krabi, sort of makes South East Asia proud! Need I say more? LOL
Number 2: Ao Nang Main Shopping Street & Market
Along Ao Nang main beach road has a stretch of beach front shops among the wide variety of restaurants. From beach wear, board shorts, tee shirts, swimmers, toys and many more. After a long day at the beach or hopping around the neighbouring islands, you can stroll along the roadside stalls and small shops lining and bargaining is a must for sure! Purchase at a price when you think is worth it. A general rule is always slash more than half of the price quoted. There are many massage palour and good restaurants along the beach front as well. It is less commercialise as compared to Phuket, which is something I appreciate here in Krabi.
Number 3: Portrait Drawing
Wilson decided to try the Thai’s portrait drawing in Krabi. It was hilarious! haha I had a GREAT time watching him. haha If you are into arts, or maybe you want another perspective of your self image, do give a portrait drawing a try in Krabi! 🙂
Number 4: Krabi La Playa Resort
We stayed in Krabi La Playa during our stay in Krabi. First of all, the hotel has a great pool and very beautiful decorated garden. There was a gym for the hardcores and the rooms were very clean, airy and comes with a nice view of the pool. 🙂
Breakfast was pretty nice every morning, with many vegetarian options! Accompanied with a nice view of the pool, a sensory satisfaction from both visual and mouthwatering food. Yummy! 🙂
The hotel is peacefully situated slightly at the corner of the beach front walking street. Even though it is not smack in the middle of the busy beach front street, (which was something I appreciate as well) but the hotel is within walking distance to the beach front shops, restaurant and beach. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes walk to the beach, and roughly about 15 minutes to the MacDonalds.
Number 5: Fish Spa & Massage
Submerge your feet into a warm pool of finned therapists for an exotic exfoliation by heaps of tiny mouths from the Garra Rufa fish. All you need to do is to sit back and relax! Be mesmerized by the sensation of silvery scales as they dart through the water, softening and cleansing your skin. Their suction mouths gently lift away dry skin without damaging the healthy new cells underneath, to reveal soft, supple and smooth skin. So the fishes get a good feed, while your feet are exfoliated. Win win situation for both! haha
The Garra Rufa fish will be more attracted to your feet if there are more dead skins on your feet! Just like my dear friend Melano! Ewww… gross. So choose who you share the fish tank with carefully! haha
Don’t forget to fully relax yourself in either your hotel spa or the massage parlour along the beach front shops. It cost only 200 to 300 THB approximately $9USD. Cheap cheap! haha
Number 6: Vegetarian Food in Krabi
Generally you need to spend some effort in locating a full vegetarian restaurant in Thailand, especially in Krabi. Unless you are fortunate enough to be around in October, when the Buddhists celebrate their annual vegetarian festival, which is a GREAT festival! haha Otherwise, there are many off-menu options from the series of restaurants you can choose from. Mostly, the Thai, Indian, Chinese or even Western cuisine will have something for the vegetarians. Do speak to the waiters and waitress. Treat them nicely and charm them to provide some off-menu options for you.
Pizza Hut’s Pizza
Vegetarian Buffet Options at Rasoi Magic
Delicious Donuts at Mister Donut
Taj Palace Ao Nang
Some general words for you to practice:
- ‘kin a-haan djeh’ (I am a vegetarian)
- ‘mai kin neua sat’ (I don’t eat meat)
- ‘mai kin plaa’ (I don’t eat fish)
Some dish you can NEVER EVER miss it: Thai Mango Salad & Thai Tomyam
Even the Thai Yakult taste a bit different as well. haha
Number 7: Sra Morakot also known as – Emerald Pool, Emerald Pond, Crystal Pool, and Crystal Lagoon
This is one of my personal top favourite things to do in Krabi, Thailand. Pamper yourself with the underground natural springs that flourish in Krabi province. Emerald Pool or pond is not a hot spring, but it is cool water that is just heavenly to swim in. The water is replenished by a natural streams running into the pool from freshwater sources on the hill above.
We drove ourself there based on a pathetic map we had and it was about a 75km drive, but the roads were good and at the last 15km were through the rural Krabi’s Klong Thom district, with very little traffic.
The national park cost about 200THB which is approximately $6USD. Not a bad deal at all. Best to wear some comfortable walking shoes because the Emerald Pool is 800 meters from the parking area. The walk was quite nice for me, through the thick tropical forest, and it was mostly large dirt path that leads to the Emerald Pool. For female, it is better to travel with a companion, unless you are comfortable of walking into the thick forest by yourself.
Of course, you cannot miss drinking the coconut juice when you are in Thailand! haha
Number 8: Namtok Ron (Hot Spring) – Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve, Khlong Thom
I strongly suggest you spare a full day doing the Emerald Pool together with a visit to the hot springs in Krabi. The hot sping at Nam Tok Lon is very worth seeing and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me! haha It is located in the Klong Thom district very near to Emerald pool by driving. It is in a shady forest area with numerous hot springs. The hot springs and cool streams converge on a slope to form lovely cascades of warm water with a temperature of 40-50 degrees Celsius. The admission fee is 10 THB per person. (I don’t even wanna spell it out actually – 0.30 cents USD). You really miss out one of the greatest natural treat you ever can get if you skip the hot springs in Namtok Ron!
There are many hollowed ‘bathtubs’ which are caused by the running water from the natural thermal springs. Enjoy the natural “hot-tub jacuzzi” filled with running spring water at a pleasant 35 to 40 degree celsius and hear the unceasing flowing of warm spring water. A feel of paradise! haha 🙂
The water contains many major minerals such as copper, which gives the stony deposits a dark green color. While soaking in the water is considered good and beneficial, be sure you don’t drink it. In addition to copper and fluoride, the water also contains traces of lead. So just bear it mind. 🙂
Number 9: Krabi Town
The Krabi Town is the capital of Krabi Province which situated in the little upstream at the mouth of Krabi river, with over 25,000 populations. The river and sea used to provide Krabi with its main fishing industry. Of course staying at the resort or commercial beach area will not give you the real Thai experience, unless you head straight to their towns or villages.
Here are some cool things I saw at the Krabi Town Centre:
The Cavemen Traffic Lights
At first sight they can easily be mistaken for monkeys or apes, but they are in fact depictions of cavemen. I have no complete idea why is it so special, anyway it caught my attention and I think it looks kinds scary yet cool. haha
We saw a street baby elephant. How cute, weird and random to see an elephant in the middle of the street in Krabi town centre. haha
Khao Kanan Nam Rocks Landmark
At the Krabi river side area, the Kanab Nam mountain is the two limestone rocks jutting up from the water. These two hills, roughly 100 meters high, flank the Krabi River running between them to form a distinctive and prominent landmark in Krabi. Of course, your photograph will look as cute like Melano and Wilson if you take it in this manner! haha
Well, probably because Krabi town is situated at upstream mouth of the river and fishing is the main industry, there are many statues of sea “monsters” at the river side area. Wilson and Melano decided to be naughty with them. haha
Do remember to visit the local market or walking street in Thailand. It’s very fascinating, vibrant and colourful. From the range of fresh products such as vegetables and fruits, as well as dry goods and household items; not forgetting many local and cheap street food stalls; clothing, jewellery, other souvenirs and many more…. A bonus to this, all these comes with a cheap price and bargains! Sometimes, there will be some featured performances from street artists, bands and dance groups. A culturally rich place with lovely atmosphere.
Number 10: Wat Kaew Temple Krabi
Wat Kaew Temple has a very laid back atmosphere in the center of Krabi Town. With only a fraction of the steps to climb, it is definitely worth visiting.
Alright, I hope you love my recommendation for the 10 things to do in Krabi, Thailand. Krabi is a very lovely and peaceful place. As much as I enjoyed mainland Krabi, I loved the islands even more!!! haha I will post my island hopping tips on a separate post soon! (hopefully) haha 🙂
“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark