07 January 2010
Located in Thailand's deep south, Krabi is considerably more tame than it's coastal resort counterparts. Much of the emphasis in this region is on the stunning natural beauty and there are many opportunities to venture out into forests or coral reefs. The entertainment scene is fit for the whole family, and there are plenty of planned activities to keep you engaged during your stay.
Krabi is known the world over for its excellent rock climbing.
The abundance of unique rocks formations and limestone cliffs make for thrilling climbs and the best marked and bolted climbs can be found at Ton Sai Beach. Independent climbers usually head here first, although local outfitters can arrange trips to other more remote locations and offer lessons to help beginners get started.
Daytrip to Wat Tham Seua
One of the most striking cultural phenomena of Krabi is the Tiger Cave Temple, or Wat Tham Seua. It's located in the jungles of the Ao Luk Thanu Mountains and is the largest temple in the province. Buddhist monks live within the caves, worshipping in their labyrinth. A long climb up more than 1,200 stairs brings you to a summit on the limestone cliffs where you can view the chedis and Buddha statues as well as take in spectacular panoramic views of the area.
Than Bok Khoranie National Park
A daytrip to Than Bok Khorani National Park is a good way to enjoy the natural geology and plant life of Krabi. The park takes its name from a pond here that is hemmed in by wild gardenia, asoka and other botanical treasures. Camping is allowed in the park, though you have to bring your own supplies; there are no hotels or guesthouses on the premises.
Shell Fossil Cemetery
The Shell Fossil Cemetery is one of Krabi's most popular attractions, consisting of an enormous slab of rock that has been forming for the past 35 million years. Over the millennia, the composite of fossilised shells has grown to a thickness of nearly 16 inches. This archaeological find is located at Ban Laem Pho Cape, only 10 miles from the Krabi Town.
Scuba diving and snorkelling is a must while you're staying in Krabi. All of the Andaman Islands sport wonderful coral reefs and the clear water makes for fantastic snorkelling or diving. Diving certification courses can be completed in four days and expeditions lasting up to several days can be chartered through one of the many diving companies.
Koh Lanta Marine National Park
A trip to Koh Lanta Marine National Park will bring you face to face with the unique culture of the Chai Leh, or sea gypsies. These people speak a distinct language and have their own animistic religion. The island also hosts some pristine rainforests, spectacular beaches
, coral reefs and laid-back guesthouses.
Exploring the archipelago
A great way to see the archipelago of islands is with a paddle in hand. Sea kayaks can be rented for offshore exploration and from Ao Nang, you can paddle to several nearby islands for great views of the many karst pillars, caves and remote beaches. Organised daytrips are easy to arrange and are well worth the expense, as they'll take you to secluded beaches you'd never have found on your own.
Any holiday in Krabi warrants a visit to Railay Beach, one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline that the Andaman has to offer. Two crescent beaches are removed from the mainland by enormous limestone cliffs making the beach only reachable by boat. The most popular attraction here, other than the beaches themselves, is the enshrined cave at Phra Nang. Resort accommodation is available if you'd like to stay overnight.
The nightlife in Krabi isn't as high-powered as in some of southern Thailand's other hotspots. Most of the establishments that cater to tourists are confined to the Ao Nang Beach Resort. There are a few places aimed at visitors in Krabi Town itself, though it is mostly a local scene here. Ao Nang hosts a string of restaurants and bars. There aren't any discos, and for the most part, an evening in Krabi will be comfortable and low-key.
Biking is another good way to see the island, particularly the area immediately around Ao Nang. Cycling inland will open up vistas holding the signature landscape of limestone outcroppings, coconut groves and quaint villages. You can hire a bike in the resort area and the inland loop can be stretched to as much as a 15 or 20-mile ride.
Web writer Andy Burrows frequently visits Thailand and plans his trips online using web;