There are some challenging yet beautiful treks to enjoy here. Bring decent shoes and water, and watch your step. Some lovely views, make sure you have enough time to get back before the sun sets though!
Wat Huay Toh.
A pleasant little temple situated on the road to Phanom Benja N.P. Inside the main temple the paintings on the walls and ceilings reminded me of the Indian temple in Bangkok. The monks are pleased to show you inside. Around the grounds are loads of wild monkeys, but as the tourists are few and far between, they're not used to people and run off as soon as there's any movement.
About 2/3 of the way to Phanom Benja once you have left the Hwy 4.
Phanom Benja national park.
Using the only really accessible way into the park, there is not much to see or do here except for the short hike up to Huay To waterfall. The waterfall has 7 levels but after the first 3 or 4 any mountain climbing you have will come in handy as the path peters out to a steep rocky surface. If it is wet, without the proper gear it is impassable, but even there you get a good view of the falls. It may be possible to gain acces to the more out of the way places using a 4X4, thus getting closer to the wildlife supposedly here, such as black bear, panther and clouded leopard. There are also possibilities of renting cottages near the park headquareters.
There is another nature trail marked on a board, but this trail seemed to wander and disappear before we got very far. Guides can also be hired if you want to go further into the jungle or up the mountain. As this is a national park we paid 100 bath pp.
To get there - Take the same 411 out from Krabi town until Hwy 4. Take a right and you'll see a sign on the left for the park written in English small under the Thai, after a couple of kms.
Nong Chik temple.
The temple is on the road about 5 kms before Tha Pom. Easily spotted with a 15 metre reclining Buddha just opposite the entrance. Most of the buildings are in a pretty dilapidated state and the couple of monks we saw were involved in renovating pieces of masonry or Buddhas. There is a large lake behind that you are invited to visit, and of course buying a packet of food for the gigantic fish.
From the Hwy 4 north from Krabi, follow the signs for Tha Pom.
Tha Pom nature walk.
This walk is a lot further out from Krabi, being up the Andaman sea north of Klong Muang, but as there is a river there you have to take the long way round. Entry was posted at 100 bath per person but we were only asked for 50, no idea why. This is a short walk, and to my mind if you had to pay the 100 bath, it's not worth it, as all the notices that are posted around are rotten with moss and are only in Thai anyway. Only interesting if you're doing some kayaking in Tha Len, as it is not far from there.
Visit of a local village, Ban Sai Kaw.
Although primarily a Muslim village, we were welcomed in here when we asked if we could have a walk around. Although veils are worn by the younger women, the rest of their dress is mainly traditional (see the Mickey Mouse t-shirt). The girls asked us if we wanted to wait and try their kebabs, but it meant waiting around for another hour, so we just had a look at the houses up on stilts and had a chat (or tried) with some kids.
Tab Kak - Hang Nak nature walk II.
Back down at the bottom on your right are a couple of pools where you can swim or just paddle your feet for a refresher, and just by the Sala Thai and the parking spot most afternoons somebody opens up a little shop and has Cokes and biscuits for sale.
Tab Kak - Hang Nak nature walk.
To get to the start of this walk you have to have some sort of transport as there are no buses or song-thaews that come out here. Start of the trail is about 5 kms from Klong Muang centre and right at the end of the road after the TubKaek resort. In Klong Muang or Koh Kwang you'll find taxis that'll give you the ride out but try to barter for a return trip around 5 hours later. This lovely but very strenuous walk takes between 1 1/2 to 3 hours to get right up to the peak at about 500 metres high and is supposedly 3.7 kms in length. The path leads up through the jungle with some viewpoints overlooking the Andaman sea and the Hong islands, and on the other side off to Krabi town and Koh Lanta (only on a clear day). The path does get steep in parts and there are a couple of wooden ladder/steps to climb up. It is very well marked and trodden so no risk of getting lost, only near the top of the peak you have to climb the rock (not dangerous) so need to take your bearings. If you've brought a picnic this is the place to rest before the trek back down. On the way up you'll see a sign for a waterfall, but we never went to see it, having enough trouble to drag our tired legs up to the peak. There are supposed to be gibbons up there and can certainly be heard, but we didn't see any.
I can only say a few Thai words and I was in a foreign land. So when a driver who was sending me back to my hotel asked, "Want to see cave?" you can say that I was more than a little apprehensive.
I would not mind exploring if I was alone. But I'd my wife and my little girl with me. But the more adventurous side of me prevail. I got a consensus from my wife and the reply that came out was "Yes! sure!"
I soon found out the true reason why the driver had suggested that location. His house was nearby the cave and he had hoped to stop by for lunch. The time was 4pm and he was too polite (Like most Thai people) to say that he has not eaten.
When we reached the cave, the driver quickly scuttled back home to bring along his candles to the cave - Lang Rongrian.
The excitement was just beginning. If you're a Archeology buff, keep your ears peeled.
Looking at the signboard which was planted at the entrance of the cave, I'd managed to pick up a couple of interesting facts about this cave. This archeological site dates back some 37,000 years.
This cave shelter is the oldest archeological site in the whole of South Thailand. When I stepped in, the cave gave me a very homely feel. This was home to so many families along the years. Men going out to hunt, the children playing at the mouth of the cave. Can just imagine the buzz of activities.
It felt like the cave had started to close in on me as I went deeper into it. It reached a point where if I had wanted to go deeper, I'd have to go on my hands and knees. Everything in front of me was pitch dark. My driver then threw a beam of light towards the cavity and my eyes followed the light. It could only illuminate that much.
My driver told me that you can go on for kilometres and still not see the end of the cave. I will take that as the truth. I bet you will too.
Extracting a sentence from a report I found online:-
"Lang Rongrian overlaps the period when homonids may have been evolving to Homo Sapiens, which was also a time of lower sea levels."
- National/State Park
- Family Travel
Sra Morakot - The Emerald Pool
Not far from the hot mineral springs - Klong Thom, you will find the stunningly beautiful Emerald Pool and its visit-worthy surrounds. The main point of attraction is the Emerald Pool, but its surrounding waterfalls, forest and pools are just as beautiful. You take the track straight to the pool, (700m) then make sure you do the nature walk on the way back which is 1.4km. Please check my travelogue for pictures.
Sra Marakot is another natural feature of warm water, around body temperature or maybe a little warmer. It is about 1.2m deep in the centre and shallower to the sides. The warmer the temperature, the more dense the blue/green colouring. This pool is fed by a small stream of water from the Magic Pool (which we didn't see) and also through the porous rock in the bottom. The water is crystal clear, you can see everything - the fish, every leaf and rock in it. You cannot drink this water, as it is high in Calcium Carbonate. Please check the website below for better pictures than I took. : )
On the slope above the pool there is a build up of Calcium Carbonate which is algae-like and extremely slippery, so if walking that way around the pool, beware!
Once again, nothing but water is permitted to be carried into the park. Entry is 200 baht for foreigners. There is Thai massage available at the park entrance, along with food and drink. Please check my warning/danger tip for further information.
- National/State Park
From Railay West to Railay East takes about 5 minutes to walk. On Railay East there is a tiny vendor selling shaved ice. It's not as soft as shave ice in Hawaii but definitely refreshing on hot, hot day! The Thai shave ice includes a choice of native fruits or beans. I had it with melon syrup and holy basil. Not exactly sure what holy basil is but it sorta look like frog eggs. It has no taste or flavor but a jelly like texture.
- Food and Dining
We took the local bus to Krabi town. The night markets open from 5pm and closed around 9pm. We did some shopping here and tried some local delicacies at this market.
The stalls in the market are mainly run by Muslims.
Finding Nemo - Marine Animals Breeding Station
It is a breeding area for marine life - baby seahorse, large, marine pond of garoupa fish, etc... quite interesting for my little tike who loves looking at marine life and fish. You really do get to see the clown fish in a tank. It is near the gastropod fossils at the end of Nammao Bay. If you are unable to snorkle, this would be quite interesting (of course the experience is not the same).
Klong Thom - Hot Mineral Baths/Waterfalls
Wow, I loved this one! The first time I came (and every other time) I didn't want to leave, a fantastic experience. After walking along the platform walkway through the jungle/forest, you emerge at the hot springs/jacuzzi. It's totally natural, nothing of the spring is man-made or enhanced.
Khlong Thom is a naturally formed hot mineral spring that cascades from one pool (or bath) to the next. The water is a thermal spring that ranges in temperature from 40-42 deg cel to 15-20 deg cel. The basic mineral composition is magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, fluoride and chlorine. Reputedly, these minerals have therapeutic value for such ailments as arthritis and skin conditions.
The "baths" look as though they've been formed by the roots of the surrounding trees fossilising into rock. In one of the pools a log has fallen into it and turned to stone. I thought the rock surface would be slippery, but it's not, which is lucky as it would be highly dangerous otherwise.
You can sit under the cascade from each previous, higher pool and have a great massage from the water flowing over your neck, shoulders and back. At the bottom, there is a wide, flowing stream which, once you're away from the rocks is pretty cold, but you can stand underneath a cascade, having hot water pummel you while you're standing in cool water, very therapeutic and enjoyable. All of this is under a canopy of trees which protect you from the sun. I felt fantastic when we left here, really revitalised and relaxed.
Klong Thom is located about 3-3.5 hours' drive from Phuket, about 30km from Krabi. Entry is 90 baht per person (foreigner). There is a 20 baht for parking a car and 5 baht fee for parking a motorcycle. No alcohol or food allowed. There are some food/drink shops including souvenirs at the entry.
- Road Trip
- National/State Park
Tiger Cave Temple
This may be the most famous cave temple in Krabi Province. The cave used to be the home for tigers, hence the name Tiger Cave Temple. It's a big compound and it could be crowded on weekends and holiday. Climb to the top of the hill and get a nice view of Krabi.
You need to take a tuk-tuk to get here because it is out of Krabi town.
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