The natural beauty of Krabi and Khanom
Travellers heading to Krabi often use it as a base to hop around Phi Phi Island and the other offshore paradise islands of the Andaman Sea. But head inland to explore Krabi and its neighbouring region Khanom, and you might be surprised by what unusual things you can do in this part of Southern Thailand.
Mangrove Kayaking in Klong Song Naam Sai
Instead of suntanning on a crowded beach, pick up a paddle and head inland to explore Krabi’s dense mangrove swamps at Klong Song Naam Sai, also known as Klong Rood. After a quick briefing, we launched our kayaks into a clear lake, set against the backdrop of Krabis’s famous towering limestone karsts in the distance. When the squeals of excitement finally quieted, the only sounds were the splashes of our paddles, creating ripples as we navigated past fallen logs and hidden underwater stones covered with mosses and orchids.
Our guide pointed out a crop of overhanging mangrove trees that we carefully steered towards, and before long we found ourselves at the Crystal Lagoon, a shallow clearing named for its cold clear quality. Diving into the water was the perfect way to relax after all that paddling, and we waded there for some time before turning our kayaks back around.
Exploring the scenic temple of Wat Tham Sua
One of Krabi’s most visited spots is Wat Tham Sua, better known as the Tiger Cave Temple. Its name comes from the tiger paw prints found on the cave walls, as well as a tiger paw shaped rock. These days you’ll encounter more cheeky monkeys than ferocious tigers, so hang on to your things as you explore the warren of limestone caves, adorned with statues and other religious artefacts.
The truly intrepid can brave the 1,237 steps that takes them up an undulating stairway to the top of the 278m tall hill, where you can enjoy a stunning view of Krabi and the Andaman sea.
Photo by Flashpacker Travelguide via Flickr
Pink dolphins and pancake rocks in Khanom
If you have the time, take a 3-hour bus ride eastwards from Krabi towards Khanom on the opposite coastline facing the Gulf of Thailand. Khanom’s coast is lined with beautiful white sand beaches but is a much less well-known spot compared to Krabi, so you’ll have the beaches all to yourself, especially on weekdays when the local Thai people in the know are at work.
Beaches aren’t the only natural wonder that Khanom holds – Take a traditional long boat out along the bay and you’ll pass by some impressive striated rock formations. Known locally as the pancake rocks thanks to their visible layers, these geological formations are millions of years old and make you feel very small, towering over you as you sail past in the tiny boat.
And keep an eye peeled for sightings of dolphins around your boat. Schools of Indo Pacific Humpback Dolphins live in the waters off the shores of Khanom’s coast, sharing a symbiotic relationship with the local fishermen who use the dolphins as markers of good fishing spots, and share their spoils in return. If you are lucky, you’ll spot a pink fin or two amidst the dark grey dolphins, a rare sight of an old dolphin who changes colour with age.
The legendary freshwater spring in the sea
Another odd phenomenon to look out for is at Nui Nok island just off the Khanom Coast. This tiny island is just big enough for a shrine to the revered monk Luang Po Taud that you can visit with the help of a boat, but the best time to go is actually at low tide, when the ride recedes and exposes a little water spring. While seemingly unremarkable at first glance, take a sip of the spring water and you’ll find it’s actually sweet and not saltwater.
Legend goes that the spring was formed when a shipwrecked Luang Po Taud and his crew were marooned on the island, and some fervent prayer resulted in a miracle, where sweet water filled a hole formed from his footprint, resulting in this odd spring in the middle of the sea.
With its dazzling beaches and impressive landscapes, you’ll find that there are plenty of natural wonders waiting to be discovered in and around Krabi. What’s more, with direct flights from Singapore to Krabi that only takes two hours, it’s an ideal destination for a quick weekend getaway with family and friends.
Tips for first time visitors to Krabi and Khanom
- Khanom does not have its own airport and is about 3 hours by bus from Krabi, so you do need to buffer in more time if you plan to visit. While Koh Samui is nearer in terms of distance, it’s more of a hassle to transfer from there as flights are more expensive, and you’ll need to change to a ferry and a taxi.
- The best time to visit Krabi and Khanom is from November to March, when the weather is cooler and drier.
- Before embarking on your trip, ensure that you’ve done your homework as some attractions may be closed for good. For example, it was recently announced that Maya Bay is closed indefinitely due to overtourism.
- Krabi and Khanom are perfect for a relaxing trip, but it never hurts to be prepared especially when outdoor activities are on your itinerary. Income’s Travel Insurance plans offer comprehensive coverage to make sure you are protected even while you are out having fun.
This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as financial advice. The precise terms, conditions and exclusions of any Income products mentioned are specified in their respective policy contracts. For customised advice to suit your specific needs, consult an Income insurance advisor.
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