Krabi kayaking tours

The limestone landscape of karst Krabi is stunning

The limestone landscape of karst Krabi is stunning

The stunning Andaman coast boasts one of the most revered landscapes in the world, with yellow-black sentinel pillars bespeckled with velvet moss jutting out over the stunning azure ocean. Whilst it is pleasant just to relax on the golden sand of Railay or Ao Nang for a few days and gaze at this towering backdrop over the brow of a good book, a much more active way of getting to know the scenery is by picking up a paddle and booking a sea kayaking tour.

Joining a group for a day kayak trip from Krabi is a superb choice for both outdoorsy types and those that like to take things easy. Young and old can marvel at the hidden lagoons, caves and tunnels uncovered by the expert guides. In general, a minibus picks up participants from their hotel or guesthouse at around 08:00 with around a dozen bleary-eyed tourists making up most groups.

At the water’s edge a safety demonstration is given as tourists get acquainted with their sit-on-top moulded plastic kayaks. These modern versions of the traditional two-person kayak are effectively ‘bubbles’ without the need for ‘spray skirt’ and 100 per cent unsinkable under normal conditions.

Excursions normally commence from a tidal estuary just inside the coast proper. The water here is calm and gives everyone a chance to become accustomed to their craft before heading farther out into the deep blue yonder. Mangroves line both banks of this salt water inlet and limestone karts cliffs dot the shoreline as you progress.

On the way are many floating houses which are home to a Thai minority group called the sea gypsies, who live perpetually on the ocean and only begrudgingly return to land for occasional supplies and to give birth. This nomadic life revolves around fishing and the sea gypsies have a sixth sense when it comes to understanding how the oceans behave. Crabs, oysters and snail are the mainstream catches. More on history.

When the tide is low it is possible to stop for a while by the muddy banks of the mangrove forest and look at the diverse wildlife within. The mud is teeming with tiny crabs, with the males of the species having just one large yellow claw and the females glammed-up with gleaming blue patterns on their backs.

Kayaking into caves can be a spooky experience!

Kayaking into caves can be a spooky experience!

There are also many bizarre lung fish, which drag themselves out of the water and across the mud with two small fins. Apparently they also sometimes crawl aboard the boats. Soon adventurers come to the end of the creek where it meets an enormous limestone cliff, and then the whole troop paddle through a cavernous entrance through to the other side. There are interesting rock formations and stalagmites hanging from the ceiling.

The next stop on the tour is Ghost Cave, so called because human remains were discovered inside. This cavern is protected within a national park, but visitors are allowed to clamber inside and explore. Of special interest are the cave paintings here, with the most famous one believed to date back two millennia. It is painted quite high on the cave ceiling and depicts a stripy indeterminate animal/human figure only around 18 inches long.

Then it is back to the boats where a delicious buffet lunch will be waiting. Typical dishes include fish curry, mixed fried vegetables, omelette and steamed rice. The afternoon holds more exploring with miles of mangroves to explore through narrow waterways and cave tunnels.

After kayaking the transfer back to your hotel is by the same minibus, but there is a refreshing swim to be enjoyed en route in the pool of a river. The warm water is incredibly relaxing with fish visible through the clear stream.

Krabi kayaking tours represent a real ‘soft adventure’ activity for the whole family to enjoy and will create many memories to regale loved ones with back home. More on activities.

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