Thailand at its Best

The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are

 Samuel Johnson

Krabi is a tourist mecca located 800 kilometres (480 miles) from the city of Bangkok and offers some of the most scenic coastlines in all of Thailand. This spectacular setting is not actually an island at all, but rather part of the mainland set diagonally opposite the island of Phuket in a northeasterly direction.

You could easily reach this rocky outcrop by road or you could simply obtain access directly from Phuket itself. The region is south of the Phang Nga Bay area and north of Ko Phi Phi islands.

The topography is characterised by towering limestone outcrops called Karsts, a name used for this particular type of landscape, seemingly shaped by the dissolving action of water over layers of carbonate bedrock such as is the case of limestone found around here and other parts of mostly southern Thailand.

Limestone Cliff

Sheer cliffs are formed which can be seen on the mainland and the surrounding islands as well as many formations rising straight out of the waters all around these parts. Some of the outcrops offer a fascinating network of cave systems and many have crystalline formations including both stalactites and stalagmites.

Now that the history lesson is all but over, why not go and visit one of the caves in the area. You’ll be more than happy you did.

Limestone Cliffs in Krabi

Caverns and Mangrove Swamps in Krabi

Caverns can only be entered at low tide and you’d need to get started before the tide rises too high unless of course, you would rather stay overnight. There are probably better options in which to stay elsewhere. Besides, it can be pretty scary stuff once inside these caves as some are quite dark on entering. Others have huge openings that allow sunlight to penetrate. Entry is by kayak.

Mangrove swamps and are a common sight in many of the caves in this region. Should you be fortunate enough to spend your time kayaking around the labyrinth of caves here, you will notice at some point during high tide, that only the upper branches of the mangrove trees will be visible with most having thick glossy green leaves, which nature designed to excrete excessive salt.

Entrance to a Sea Cave

If you are on a tour with limitations, you may only get to spend time in the caves during low tide. However, what you will get to see is an unearthly eerie swamp with the mangrove roots exposed, forming a tangled mass of gnarled and knotted archways above the muddy sea floor.

From what I understand, the roots are the fundamental breathing apparatus of the mangroves as they absorb oxygen. They trap waterborne debris brought in by the tides allowing for the gradual extension of the swamp. This is achieved by reclaiming land from the sea and by nurturing fertile conditions for the new metre-long mangrove seedlings.

I’m told that mangrove trees provide a source of weak alcohol, but I wasn’t particularly keen to try any and probably won’t either. For those of you who would like to do a bit of bird watching, there are two species that inhabit the mangroves, one being the Mangrove Pitta and the other is the Brown-Winged Kingfisher. I didn’t get to see either but got to see lots of monkeys instead.

Mangrove Swamp at Low Tide

The cooler, but more densely wooded hills of the interior are made up of mostly palm groves and rubber plantations which can easily be reached by jeep. Also, excellent if you would like to visit one of the hot springs found around here. The alternative is to stay close to the water on the beaches in the surrounding areas.

Long Boat on Railey Beach

Sporting Activities at Krabi

The spectacular coastline around southern Thailand is ideally suited for a variety of sporting activities including numerous water sports such as deep-sea fishing, windsurfing, water-skiing, parasailing, scuba-diving, snorkelling, canoeing and sailing. However, there is one far more challenging sporting activity well known in the Krabi peninsular that really stands out from the rest of the southern region. 

You may have guessed it that Rock Climbing with cliff jumping and abseiling follow very close behind. Although rock climbing has been around for quite some time now, cliff jumping and abseiling are catching up at an alarming rate. Instruction and equipment are readily available for both beginners as well as those in the know. There are literally hundreds of places to practice your skills.

Wat Tham Sua – Tiger Temple