Krabi - three-day itinerary for those short on time

Even away from the beach Krabi province is stunning

Even away from the beach Krabi province is stunning

By Rachel Jones

If your time is limited and you can only manage a three-day trip to Krabi, it may be difficult to decide what to do as there is so much to choose from. The following is a suggested three-day itinerary which includes the main sights and popular daytrips.

Day 1
Hot springs and Khao Pra-Bang Khram Nature Reserve

The southern part of Krabi Province is home to some beautiful natural wonders including Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve and hot springs. They are located 70kms out of town, about a two-hour drive away, but the time spent in the car will be well worth it upon arrival.

The hot springs are nature’s equivalent to a spa Jacuzzi. The water is extremely cleansing, coming from thermal springs, deep underground in volcanic chambers. The can be found in the middle of pristine jungle and are a great way to cleanse the body and relax while getting rid of all of the stresses of travelling. If you have any muscle pain or skin complaints, these waters are said to contain healing elements.

It is impossible to visit to these hot springs without exploring part of Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve. This reserve is home to some beautiful tropical plants as well as a wealth of wildlife. There are many walking trails to follow which will provide an unforgettable experience.

It is possible to book tours to the reserve and hot springs although you could also hire a car and visit in private. There is a small entrance fee of 90 baht to enter the hot springs and a further 200 baht fee for the nature reserve. This trip will take you all day so if you are travelling by yourself, remember to take plenty of water and some food – although there are plenty of Thai food stalls selling a range of snacks.

Once you arrive back in the evening you will have the choice of restaurants, bars and even a couple of nightclubs. Seafood restaurants abound on the beach while for something with a greater western influence, the beach road is home to international-themed establishments. Bar themes include wine bars, cocktail bars, pubs and laid-back beach bars.

The Phi Phi islands are a must see attraction

The Phi Phi islands are a must see attraction

Day 2
Daytrip to Phi Phi

Originally a small and non-descript fishing island, Phi Phi Don has grown in popularity at an extraordinary rate. Its neighbouring sister island, Phi Phi Ley is still uninhabited and boasts beautiful nature. Both should be explored and enjoyed if you are visiting Krabi.

Although there are several daily ferries to Phi Phi Don, it’s much more practical to take the day tour (or half day tour which actually takes up most the day and is better value). This takes in the lovely Phi Phi Ley island – which is difficult to get to independently – and other nature spots for an all inclusive experience. Unfortunately the public ferry times make a day trip via that mode unrealistic.

Phi Phi Ley has nature trails and these will give you the opportunity to explore one of Thailand’s most famous islands. On tours you get plenty of time to relax on this lovely beach, where no commercial development is allowed therefore you share it only with those also on day tours – which can be as many as a dozen boats at the same you are there. Once back on Phi Phi Don, you can spend your time relaxing until your ferry is due to depart.

Phi Phi Don, being the largest and most famous, is perhaps the most beautiful (if you can imagine it without the development!), and has two large sweeping beach lined bays, lovely sand and waters (at higher tide for swimming), as well as view point, and of course places to eat and down a few beers.

Many people are somewhat reluctant to visit the islands after the tsunami of 2006 for fear that they have been completely destroyed. However, the islands have been cleaned up, renovated and rebuilt. There are shops aplenty, restaurants, bars and many guest houses and five-star resorts.

More on Phi Phi Islands.

Day 3
Forest Temple at Tiger Cave, the beach and dining out

Your final day on Krabi should be about enjoying the local offerings. The beach is one of the main draws and should be enjoyed. Most visitors stay in the seaside resort area of Ao Nang (Krabi town sits on a mangrove estaury 20kms away). Although the beach here is brilliant by any standards, you should not miss Railay Beach.

Longtail boats will take you across to this famous peninsula which is cut off from the mainland by sheer karst cliffs, so you get that island feel. The beach scenery, especially at Tham Phra Nang beach, is simply stunning, with soaring karst rock faces all around you, even in the water offshore. There are some resorts here, where you can enjoy lunch, and the swimming is excellent.

While you are making the most of the sunshine, it is a good time to try some local lunchtime snacks. Many bars and restaurants along the beach sell traditional Thai snacks. Satay, spring rolls, soups, fried rice and pad Thai (fried noodles) are all popular lunchtime eats and can be enjoyed while looking out across the coastline. Thai salads are also very good although somewhat spicy.

Back in Ao Nang after lunch, taking a trip inland to the temple at Tiger Cave is well worth it and climbing up the 1,237 stairs to enjoy the view will walk off your lunch. Tiger Cave Temple (as it is known) is set in stunning surroundings, in the middle of a lush forest. There is a nature trail to follow in the grounds of the temple and a famous meditation centre. Despite the big climb, views at the top of the temple should not be missed and will provide unique eagle eye view of the karst landscape. There is also a religious shrine found here.

After spending the rest of the day relaxing, a dinner on the beach is the perfect way to end your stay in Krabi. The seafood restaurants along the coast serve up traditional Thai recipes as well as fresh fish, shells, prawns and calamari. If you are a seafood fan, you will not want to miss out on a dinner on the beach and will wish you were staying longer just to enjoy more seafood.

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