I heard its fame many years ago but couldn’t find free time to travel until this year. As a weekend gateway, I went to Krabi – a paradise destination – for three days after IT&CMA.
Located approximately 814 kilometers from Bangkok is Krabi Province, one of most attractive destinations in southern Thailand. Encompassing an area of 4,708 square kilometers, the western border of Krabi is the Andaman Sea, the northern borders are Surat Thani and Phang-nga Provinces, the southern borders are Trang Province and the Andaman Sea and the eastern borders are Nakhon Si Thammarat and Trang Provinces. Krabi is an ideal getaway destination teeming with natural attractions including white sandy beaches, fascinating coral reefs, numerous large and small islands and verdant forests with caves and waterfalls.
Krabi’s topography is mostly mountains and highlands separated by plains in some parts. Flowing through Krabi City to the Andaman Sea at Pak Nam Sub-district is Maenam Krabi which is 5 kilometers in length. In addition, there are several canals originating from the province’s highest mountain range, Khao Phanom Bencha including Khlong Pakasai, Khlong Krabi Yai and Khlong Krabi Noi. Lush mangrove forests line the canals and the banks of Maenam Krabi particularly before it empties into the Andaman Sea. The provinces sandy soil conditions are suitable for growing various agricultural products, particularly rubber trees, palms, coconuts, cashew nuts and coffee.
Due to the influence of the tropical monsoon, there are only two seasons in Krabi; the hot season from January to April and the rainy season from May to December. Temperatures range between 17 C and 37 C.
Krabi is administratively divided into 8 Amphoes (Districts): Amphoe Mueang, Khao Phanom, Khlong Thom, Plai Phraya, Ko Lanta, Ao Luek, Lam Thap, and Nuea Khlong. The provinces jurisdiction covers not only in-land districts and sub-districts, but also extends to more than 130 large and small islands including the world famous Phi Phi Islands.
In addition, Krabi is the location of two world class beaches Ao Nang and Hat Rai Le which offer numerous diving trips, restaurants, shops etc. Additional attractions in the province are stunning limestone cliffs and rock formations which make it a heaven for rock climbers and a National Park located approximately 40 kilometers outside of town with lakes, caves and spectacular natural scenery.
History of Krabi
Some archeologists claim that Krabi City is one of the older settlements in the country as there is archaeological evidence indicating that this area had been home to homosapiens during the prehistoric times or between 25,000 – 35,000 B. C. The assumption has been strongly supported by the discovery of stone tools, ancient colored pictures, beads, pottery and skeletal remains in the provinces cliffs and caves.
In 1200 A.D., the area was known as Ban Thai Samo, one of 12 royal cities that had a monkey as the town symbol. During this period of time, Krabi was under the rule of the Kingdom of Ligor, a city better known today as Nakhon Si Thammarat.
During the reign of King Rama V (1868-1910), the community was known as Pakasai Sub-county and remained under the direct jurisdiction of Nakhon Si Thammarat province.
Around 1872, King Rama V elevated Pakasai Sub-county to Krabi Province with the provincial administration office situated at Krabi-yai Sub-county (currently, the office is located near the estuary at Pak Nam Sub-district) and in 1875, ordered the separation of Krabi Province from Nakhon Si Thammarat Province.
During the present reign, the corps of civil servants, merchants, and the people of Krabi and nearby provinces have collectively organized the construction of a royal residence at Laem Hang Nak Cape which is thirty kilometers west of Krabi Town on the Andaman coast to be presented to His Majesty the King.
Origin of the Name Krabi
There are two legends concerning the origin of the name “Krabi”. The first is that villagers presented a large ancient sword (or krabi) that was discovered by chance to the governor. Later when a smaller, on discovering a smaller one, it was also presented to the governor. Regarded as sacred and auspicious, the governor decided to keep them in the province. As the process for the establishment of the province was still in progress, the swords were placed crossing each other in Khao Khanap Nam cave. Since then, the crossed swords have remained a part of the provincial seal.
The second legend is that “Krabi” was derived from the name of a local tree known as “Lumphi”. The Malay and Chinese merchants mispronunciation of the name to “Ka-lu-bi” or “Kho-lo-bi” finally resulted in “Krabi” (or sword).
Distances from Amphoe Mueang (Town) to Neighboring Districts
Ao Luek 43 kms.
Plai Phraya 66 kms.
Khao Phanom 39 kms.
Khlong Thom 42 kms.
Ko Lanta 103 kms.
Lam Thap 67 kms.
Nuea Khlong17 kms.
How to Go
Where to Stay
You can find many accommodation options from guest houses to 5 star boutique hotels that you can find one for every budget and taste.
My advice to you is the Tub Kaek Beach’s brand-new 5-star beachfront resort; Amari Vogue Resort.
The Amari Vogue Resort has 57 luxuriously appointed guestrooms and overlooks the sparkling blue sea with offshore islands dotted along the horizon. For those seeking total indulgence, the Sivara Spa provides a tempting selection of massage, facial and body treatments.
This Krabi resort has an impressive array of dining options, including delicious Asian and international cuisine at Lotus Restaurant, and Italian and seafood specialties in an oceanfront setting at Bellini Italian Restaurant.
Amari Vogue Resort
149 Moo 3, Tambol Nongtalay, Amphur Muang
Tel. +66 (0) 7560 7777
Fax. +66 (0) 7560 7700
What to do
There are many attractions and tours that you can enjoy during your stay in Krabi. You can take Thai cooking classes, enjoy Sea Canoeing, Rock Climbing, Elephant Trekking, and Island Tours to Phi Phi, Phang Nga Bay, Similan Islands or famous James Bond Island Tours.
I preferred to take a tour to Phi Phi Islands. Tour companies can pick up you from your hotel around 8 o’clock in the morning and takes you to pier. After lovely hours at islands, you return your hotel around 17.00. Tours have a price tag between 1,000 – 1,800 Baht including hotel transfers and lunch. Beware that some travel agencies at the hotels may charge you over 2,000 Baht.
Phi Phi Islands
Regarded by travelers from all walks of life as being among the most beautiful tropical islands of the world, Phi Phi Islands have become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand. In addition, the islands are famous as the location where the movie “The Beach” featuring Leonardo Di Caprio was shot. The islands, together with the nearby Noppharat Thara Beach, a total area of 390 square kilometers, were recently established as a national park.
Phi Phi Islands are located just 40 kilometers away from both Krabi and Phuket. Thus, despite the fact that both Noppharat Thara Beach and Phi Phi administratively are a part of Krabi Province, most tourists think that Ko Phi Phi is part of Phuket Province.
The islands and the coastal hills are composed mainly of limestone and are an extension of the limestone mountain range in Phang-Nga Province. The main characteristics of these mountains and islands are their steep cliffs, large caves and dwarf trees growing out of the rock crevices, like those in Phang-Nga Bay.
Interesting Attractions of Mu Ko Phi Phi:
The island group is composed of two rocky, tree-covered islets Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Le.
Ko Phi Phi Don – covers an area of 28 square kilometers. Outstanding attractions are the twin bays with curving white sandy beaches of Ao Ton Sai and Ao Lo Da Lam. Ko Phi Phi Pier, accommodation, and restaurants are situated at Ao Ton Sai. Visitors can walk from this bay uphill to the scenic spot where the visibility of the twin bays is generally excellent. Beside Ao Ton Sai, there are also other attractive beaches and bays around the island. A number of accommodations are available at Hat Laem Hin, Hat Yao, and Ao Lo Bakao. At the northern end of the island is Laem Tong, renowned for its underwater natural beauty with lodging available. A huddle of fisherman’s huts (15 – 20 families) is located here. Most of them have previously migrated from Ko Li Pe of Tarutao National Park, Satun province. A day trip by boat or snorkeling spectacular coral shallows around. Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Le is recommended.
Ko Phi Phi Le
Covering an area of only 6.6 square kilometers, this islet is surrounded by limestone mountains and sheer cliffs plunging hundreds of meters to the sea. The sea is 20 meters deep and the deepest point in the south of the island is around 34 meters. Ko Phi Phi Le offers superb scenic bays such as Ao Pi Le, Ao Maya, and Ao Lo Sa Ma. In the northeast of the island is a large cave called Tham Viking. The cave was renamed Tham Phaya Nak or Naga Serpent Cave by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej because of a stone resembling the mythical creature, which His Majesty saw when he paid a visit here in 1972. The cave is considered sacred to locals who come here to collect swallow nests. Inside the eastern and southern parts of the cave are ancient rock paintings of elephants and various types of boats, including a European sailboat, an Arabian sailboat, a sampan, a Chinese junk, a waterwheel sailing boat, and a steamboat. It is believed the paintings were the works of sea merchants or pirates because the study of west-to-east ship routes indicates that this area may have been a stopover for boats seeking shelter from storms, transferring cargo or making repairs.
Ao Maya and Ao Lo Sama
Phi Phi Islands scenic coves are favorite snorkeling places while the sea around the islands, especially the southern part, which are deep and full of coral formations are popular diving spots. With its emerald crystal sea, secluded beaches, mountain cliffs, colorful coral reefs and undersea life, Phi Phi is a paradise in the Andaman Sea. The best time to visit Phi Phi Islands is from November to April, when the sea is calm.
An island to the north of Ko Phi Phi Don, has a stone beach on the east and small sandy beaches amid valleys. In addition, the island is teeming with diverse colorful coral reefs. Ko Phai, another island to the north of Ko Phi Phi Don and not far from Ko Yung, has spectacular beaches in the north and east of the island. The bank of coral reefs comprised mainly of antler corals stretches from the north to the south of the island.
Ko Mai Phai
Ko Mai Phai is north of Ko Phi Phi Don and not far from Ko Yung. Marvelous beaches are in the north and east of the island. The bank of coral reefs with staghorn corals, in particular, stretches from north to south of the island.
Alternatively, a one-day trip on a speedboat is available at Ao Nang. Departure time is 9.00 a.m. On return, it reaches Ao Nang at 5.00 p.m. Contact Ao Nang Travel and Tour Co., Ltd. for more information, Tel. 0 7563 7152 – 3. The trip costs 1,200 baht per person with lunch included.
Boat fares are subject to change without notice.
Admission to Phi Phi Islands and other attractions in the Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu ko Phi Phi National Park : Adult 400 baht, Child 200 baht
Visitors travelling from Phuket can contact tour operators in Phuket’s provincial city for a one-day trip to Ko Phi Phi (boat fares are subject to change without notice, please contact tour operators directly for more details.)
On arrival to Ao Ton Sai in Ko Phi Phi Don, trips to the surrounding islands can be made in a long-tail boat.