One of the most pleasurable things to do in Krabi is to hop on a boat and set off on a cruise around the myriad islands of the Andaman Sea. Krabi boasts 132 of these under its jurisdiction, from dramatic rocky outcrops to picture postcard deserted islands. The most popular trips from Ao Nang and Railay are the island tours. This trip visits local islands – Chicken, Poda and Tub which are visible from the shore, and there is also the Hong Island tour which involves a tour of the four beautiful islands in the Tharnbok Khoranee National Marine Park.
You can also make day trips to the Phi Phi Islands from here; a highly recommended excursion. This tour is by passenger boat or speedboat, and it is also possible to rent a private speedboat for your family or group. All Phi Phi tours stop off at the stunning Maya Bay, where the blockbuster movie The Beach was filmed. From Koh Lanta, you can visit the islands of Koh Rok, with their astonishingly clear water and memorable snorkelling.
Trips can be made by longtail boat or by speedboat. Longtail boats have the advantage of being quite cheap and easy to charter, meaning you don’t have to join in with a tour and can set your own itinerary. However, they are less reliable, and can be slower and often wetter rides. Speedboat tours are the way to go if you want to cut your travelling time; they are definitely recommended for trips further a field, such as to Koh Phi Phi. However, they do make for a bumpy ride, especially if there are big waves.
All sightseeing tours on Krabi will include snorkelling and beach stops (with equipment provided), soft drinks and lunch. One of the most memorable full day trips is to Phang Nga Bay, northwest of Krabi. Made famous in the Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun, this fantastic theatre of karst pillars and cliffs is pure eye-candy – the trip includes excellent kayaking and lunch on the water gypsy village of Koh Phan Yee.
Watermark Charter is a luxury cruise experience that takes tourists on private tours all around the Andaman Coast. Visit beauty spots such as Phi Phi, Koh Hong and Phang Nga Bay in style upon your own millionaire’s yacht, but without the prohibitive price tag. Boat Lagoon Marina, 60/2 moo2 Chalemprkiet R.9 Road, Kohkaew, Phuket, tel: (076) 377 961, +66 2 712 9991 (Bangkok), email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you prefer to spend a day on dry land, there are many sightseeing activities on the mainland. A day wandering around Krabi Town is a great way to gain insight into Thai culture. Start at the bustling morning market – one of the biggest in the region – and then take a stroll along the pretty riverside walk. Krabi Town is also a great place to sample some truly authentic southern cuisine. Visitors to Krabi Contemporary Art Gallery can appreciate the works of local artists.
Further inland, Tiger Cave Temple is a popular tourist attraction. This meditation centre is located in a cave and there are a monumental 1,237 steps that lead to a mountain-top Buddha statue. As well as being an impressive sight in itself, you’ll also be rewarded with an unparalleled view of the Krabi countryside. On a clear day, you can see right out to the islands, around 50kms away.
The tour to Tiger Cave Temple can be combined with a trip to the Hot Springs, some 40kms farther south. This natural outdoor Jacuzzi has been carved into the rock by the action of thermal spring water, which comes from a source nearby. By the time the water reaches the hot springs site, it has cooled to a pleasant 35 degrees Celsius, so you can lounge in your ‘tub’ in the middle of the forest while the fast-flowing mineral water pummels your body into relaxation.