Krabi Town sits at the mouth of the Krabi River the waters of which flow into Phang Nga Bay, much of which is now protected as part of the Ao Phang Nga National Park, one of Thailand’s many natural treasures, a breath taking, dazzling wonderland of astonishing beauty.
Ao Phang Nga National Park, a lush paradise
Within this park are the stunning limestone cliffs that have made the area so famous, hidden bays and coves with intriguing caves, some of which contain important archaeological sites. And, of course a large number of gorgeous islands with pristine white beaches and jungle-clad hills that are home to some very exotic wildlife, all surrounded by turquoise seas that abound with marine life.
The breath-taking vista of Phang Nga Bay
The Krabi River and the nearby wetlands, either side of Krabi Town, of over 200 square kilometres of extensive mangrove forests, is home to a diverse array of bird species, some of which are extremely rare. The area has become a popular destination for serious birdwatchers hoping to catch a glimpse and perhaps take a precious photo of such avian wonders as the Ruddy Kingfisher, Blue-throated Flycatchers, the Striated Swallow and the very rare Masked Finfoot and the Brown-winged Kingfisher.
Many tourists hire boatmen to guide them through the mangroves and with their excellent local knowledge and experience they are able to locate the favoured spots where the likelihood of spotting these amazing birds is all but guaranteed. Many species of birds can be seen at the riverside of the town, Plovers, Sandpipers and Egrets are common visitors and the skies are always full of agile Pacific Swallows performing their aerial acrobatics in search of juicy insects.
Kaewkorawaram temple in Krabi Town
The waterfront is a particularly good spot, not just for spotting birds, but perfect for relaxing and inhaling the salty sea air at any number of bars and restaurants, meeting fellow travellers, swapping tips and recommendations and making plans for day trips and excursions for the huge number of island adventure options available.
What draws the tourists
Internet and Wi-Fi can be found almost everywhere and there are a number of reputable companies that rent out mopeds, scooters and bicycles at daily and half-daily rates. Krabi is the hub for booking bus and train tickets to outward bound destinations and Krabi also has its own international airport.
Sunset over the sea
As the sun begins its downward descent towards the horizon this is the best time to take a leisurely stroll along the riverside footpath, which begins at Chao Fah Park and takes you to Thara Park at the southern end. At the end of the walk you can stop to refuel at one of the seaside seafood restaurants sheltered by some lovely tropical almond trees.
One of the towns nearby attractions is Khao Khanab Nam, a famous local landmark, and standing over 100 metres in height these two imposing limestone hills with the Krabi River running between them provide great photographic opportunities. Deep within are a number of caves which feature some quite amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations as well as a number of prehistoric paintings and a collection of human skeletons whose origins and manner of death are still a matter of speculation.
The coastline off Krabi Town is dotted with little gems set in the azure seas
It is also well worth paying a visit to the nearby fishing village at Koh Klang where you can see the local villagers demonstrate their cotton weaving skills and visit the museum and craft centre there. The best way to see it all is to hire a long-tail boat at Chao Fa Pier, the journey taking about fifteen or twenty minutes. For those in need of some pampering after a hard day of fossicking about a visit to the Maritime Park and Spa, bang in the middle of all this natural splendour, might be in order.
The Wat Tham Sua, spectacular all-round views over the province
Some five kilometres north of the town, Krabi Tiger Cave is the perfect spiritual stress reliever. Wat Tham Sua, to give it its proper name, is a temple set among a labyrinth of limestone caves located at the base of a seriously steep and impressive cliff. In the main temple there is a collection of Buddhist figures and icons, but in order to get to the site’s main attraction, ‘the Buddha’s Footprint’, you face a climb of 1.237 steps up the cliff, which, given southern Thailand’s often fierce heat and humidity, can be a formidable challenge. Once at the top though, the rewards are a spectacular all-round view of the surrounding area overlooking the azure splendour of the Andaman Sea, the mangrove and wetlands and the regions iconic limestone rock formations.
Krabi Town has a very relaxed and laid-back feel and the local inhabitants too share this approach to life. Though tourists are made very welcome, the Thais go about their daily routines in much the same way as any market town in Thailand. It has long been the commercial hub and distribution point for goods for the locals and now that tourism has taken off it has become the point of entry and exit for countless numbers of tourists of every stripe from backpacker to five-star hedonist.
From here all the fantastic local attractions, the Klong Thom Hot Springs, the Emerald Pool and offshore islands like Koh Hong can be reached as well as the far more popular and visited locations of Railay Beach, Phi Phi Island, Koh Tup and Koh Mor, Koh Lanta, Ao Nang and Koh Poda.
The pristine, dazzling-white beaches and turquoise waters of KohTup
Krabi is in many way one of the best getaway destinations in southern Thailand. There is none of the hedonistic madness of Phuket, nor does it offer much for the shopping addicted, but the tranquillity and laissez faire attitude of the town’s inhabitants is infectious and soon you’ll find the daily grind of eating and drinking, watching the sunrise and sunset, relaxing at seaside bars and eating at the many excellent seafood restaurants a walk in the park.