Most tourists arrive at Krabi Airport and are whisked away by hotel minivan to their beachside hotel and never visit the tiny provincial capital, Krabi Town. However, Krabi Town is a great place to stay. It has 6 beaches less than 40 minutes away and has some cheap but lovely accommodation and restaurants. It’s also a base to do some hiking and kayaking to see some awesome panoramic views. Here are 6 locations close to Krabi Town which are wonderful photo opportunities and life changing experiences. We are starting with the most difficult to access and ending with the easiest. There is something here for everyone. Enjoy!
1. Khao Ngon Nak – Dragon Crest Mountain
Located in a National Park 30km from Krabi Town, at the end of Tub Kaek Beach, there is a beautiful woodland walk to a waterfal and/or a challenging hike to the peak of Ngon Nak for stunning views. The woodland walk takes 2 hours while the full trek takes about 3-4 hours depending on your fitness. You should only attempt the full trek if you exercise regularly, have good shoes and plenty of water. The entrance to both walks is behind the Amari Vogue Resort. You can go as part of a tour, hire a car with a driver, or rent motorbikes.
This picturesque trail has a stream, two viewpoints, a waterfall and the summit. After about an hour and thirty minutes the first viewpoint comes into sight and is spectacular. Overlooking the Andaman Sea between Krabi and Phuket the ocean view is beautiful. As you carry on the trail winds eastwards away from the ocean, and you get the second view which is of jungles, plantations and mountains. A fork in the path soon appears and you can take the path on the right and visit a pretty waterfall or keep left and climb to the summit. From the fork in the path it takes about 40 minutes to reach the summit which is 565 meters above sea level. Perched at the top is a large boulder which makes a great seat and provides a fabulous photo opportunity that you can see in the above photo. It’s one of the best views in Thailand for sure.
2. Tiger Cave Temple – Wat Tham Sua
Only 3km from Krabi town is one of Thailand’s finest temples and really worth visiting. The temple gets its name from a legend that says that a tiger used to live in the biggest cave. This could be true since tigers used to live in this area only 100 years ago. The temple consists of beautiful caves within an old jungle setting and many monks call this place home. The temple caves and jungle footpath is very enjoyable but the main attraction is the temple on top of the mountain. 1,237 steps up a steep limestone mountain takes you to the summit. It is a challenging climb and takes around 1 hour.
The panoramic views from the top are stunning. You get to view 360 degrees of ocean, tropical islands, limestone mountains, rainforests and plantations. The views are particularly beautiful at sunrise and sunset which is also the best time to climb up and avoid the heat. You should only undertake this climb if you are physically fit because the steps are steep and not even.
The Tiger Cave Temple is easy to reach, you can take a taxi, hire motorbikes or take a public bus known as a songthaew from either Krabi town or from Ao Nang. The bus stops at the road next to Wat Tham Sua and from there it takes about 20 minutes on foot.
3. Ao Thalane
Ao Thalane or Thalane Bay has one of the most beautiful mangrove forests in the whole of Thailand and is wonderful for a kayaking adventure. Only 20km north of Krabi Town, this section of coastline has small inlets, caves and hidden lagoons which can be explored by kayak throughout the year. Huge limestone karst mountains provide the backdrop for an adventure through a network of channels that meander through the dense mangrove.
The area is undeveloped and tranquil and you do not have to be especially fit to take this trip. It is best explored through a local tour guide which can be booked by many agents in Krabi Town or online. Ao Thalane provides great photo opportunities such as the cliffs, canyons, lagoons and also the diverse wildlife including kingfishers, lizards and monkeys.
4. Emerald Pool/Crystal Lagoon
The Emerald/Crystal Lagoon can be found in Thung Teao Forest Natural Park about one hour’s drive from Krabi Town and Aonang. The lagoon is situated in a lowland forest rich in biodiversity and forms part of a gentle 2.7km nature trail.
The emerald waters are warm and clear making them great for swimming. This spring originates from a warm stream in the lowland forest of Khao which is supposedly one of Thailand’s last pieces of virgin forest. The intensity of the pool’s turquoise water varies according to the light and time of the day so visitors who want to get the best emerald colour should visit early in the morning. When the light is right it makes for a stunning photo opportunity.
5. Khanab Nam and Crab Sculpture, Krabi River
The stunning Khanab Nam Mountains are one of Krabi’s most famous landmarks. These two mountains sit either side of the river, and are a widely photographed beauty spot. You can take photos by walking down to the river in the centre of Krabi Town. Here you will also find the large sculpture of a crab which is also photographed a lot.
If you want to take a closer look, Khao Khanab Nam can be accessed by hiring a long-tail boat from Krabi’s Chao Fa Pier which is also in the centre of the town. It takes just 10 minutes to reach them by cruising up the river. You can also visit the local mangrove forest and enjoy a walking tour of the pretty Muslim fishing village called Koh Klang as part of this trip.
6. Wat Kaew Korawaram Temple – Centre of Krabi Town
This large Buddhist temple is situated on a hill overlooking Krabi downtown and dates back to 1887. The most photographed section of the temple complex is a beautiful white temple which can be accessed via a majestic staircase lined by golden Naga sculptures. The white temple sits in the centre of a 2,500sqm terrace which overlooks the main shopping street of Krabi. Behind this white temple are other buildings that make up Wat Kaew but not all these are open to the public since it is a working temple with residing monks and a crematorium.
We hope you found this blog useful. If you are intending to visit Krabi Province, you might also find our blog on the best beach areas of Krabi interesting and useful.
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Photos courtesy of Flickr. Featured image, Dragon Crest Mountain, Crab, Khanab Nam and Emerald Pool by BORShopComputing, Tiger Cave Temple and Ao Thaland by Alan Graf and Temple by Robert Kolsek