Southern Thailand’s Krabi Beaches on the Andaman Sea
Thailand’s Exotic Krabi Beaches
If you are thinking about an exotic tropical vacation from a dreary office, the Krabi beaches in Thailand are probably what you are thinking about. The coastal Thai province of Krabi is full of sights and sounds that seem to have been taken from some fantasy world of beach vacations.
[pullquote]There are an infinite number of natural attractions to catch your attention. This coastal area of Thailand has little coves, hundreds of islands, limestone cliffs and glamorous white sandy beaches. [/pullquote]
The best thing about this part of Thailand is certainly the beach. The exotic Krabi beaches are beautiful and set on the Andaman Sea. This is one of those great beach spots that many tourists return to every year or call it quits and move to. I have become friends with a number of long term expats in Thailand over the years. While at first, I had trouble figuring out what the attraction was past the cheap beer. I think I get it now. Every beach is better than the next. While the beaches of Krabi are less commercial than nearby Phuket, it is still a massively popular beach vacation destination. Two million people visit each year, so it is hardly an undiscovered paradise.
Where is Krabi? 8°09′N 98°91′E
Best time for a Beach Vacation to Krabi
Breathtaking sandy beaches and scenic vistas of islands have made Krabi internationally famous. Additionally, Krabi has some tremendous diving opportunities for certified divers on coral reefs. This beach spot is located 500 miles south of Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. Krabi is set on the Andaman Sea. The province consists of 130 islands spread over an area more than 1800 sq. miles. In general, Krabi is a mountainous area with mangrove forests.
Found on the west coast of southern Thailand at the mouth of the Krabi River where it leads to Phang Nga Bay, Krabi is the main town of the Krabi province. The population in 2010 was 52,000.
Like Phuket, Krabi is on the Andaman Sea and has a 6 months rainy season. During the monsoons, between May and November, there will often be heavy rains for days at a time.
Visit Krabi between the months of November and April, when it is not quite as hot. In March 1998, Krabi had its highest recorded temperature of 102°F. In January 2009, the lowest ever recorded temperature in Krabi was 60°F.
Cheap Beach Spot with Warm Water
Typically, at this time of year, nothing but blue skies and star lit nights as the island enjoys pleasing northeasterly winds. For the rest of the year, expect a lot of rain. In fact, Krabi gets the most rain in Thailand. The weather is not bad every day, but if you have a limited vacation period, it is worth considering. To compensate for the potential showers, prices are considerably less. No matter when you visit, the water will be a balmy 84°F.
One of the most frequent reasons that visitors to Thailand provide for why they chose Thailand are the gorgeous beaches. Of course, the amazing food and elephants are also strong contenders. Krabi features some of the most jaw dropping beaches in the world. If you are looking for social media images, you won’t be disappointed.
A lot of the perfect beaches from Krabi province are found on idyllic little islands that are magnificent for island hopping adventures. This coastal region mesmerizes visitors with its wide variety of natural beauty. Besides the many islands in the area, there are enticing coral reefs, waterfalls and fun sandy beaches with crystal clear water.
So many islands in Krabi
A sampling of the many sights to see in Krabi are the following: Koh Phi Phi, Tha Pom Khlong Song Nam, Noppharat Thara Beach National Park, Koh Lanta, Railay Beach, Ao Nang, and the Khlong Thom Hot Spring Waterfall.
[pullquote]Karst – an irregular limestone region with sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns.[/pullquote]
Both the island of Krabi and Phang Nga feature tremendous limestone karsts that extend vertically from the sea. These features lead to wonderful rock climbing opportunities near spectacular beaches as well as nice scuba diving.
With more than 200 islands nearby, jungle, and stunning scenery, the beautiful white sandy beaches of Krabi are the most chill part of Thailand. To visit the various attractions of the Krabi province, one must travel over a decent sized area because Krabi is huge.
The town of Krabi, is a good starting off point for exploring the Krabi province in Southern Thailand and Andaman Sea in the Indian Ocean. From Krabi town, trips to the offshore islands, cliffs and jungles are all easily arranged. From the riverside pier tourists can take ferries or private transport to the best white beaches, diving and rock climbing on the coast. The number one local attraction is Tiger Cave, a Buddhist shrine used by the area’s monks.
Set on the Andaman Sea
Krabi’s trademark karst structures are representative of the popular vision of the Andaman sea as they wind along the shoreline. “Rock climbers will find their nirvana in Railay, while castaway wannabes should head to Ko Lanta, Ko Phi-Phi or any of the other 150-plus islands swimming off this 120km-long bleach-blonde shoreline.“
With an international airport open since 2006, the Krabi province opened in a big way for tourism. The two million visitors annually enjoy the many miles of coast, rock formations, water activities and lush jungle interior.
Tropical Beach Paradise
Even with all the development, a main draw to the Krabi area is that it still appears to be unscathed by the modern world and keeps its charm as a tropic beach paradise. Your options for accommodations along the beaches of Krabi are great, ranging from expensive 5 star resorts to simple bungalows.
At its heart, Krabi town was a market town long before it was on the backpacker or exotic beach vacation circuit. It’s refreshing that while Krabi is friendly and inviting, it doesn’t exist solely because of tourism. It still remains a center of commerce and a transit point for other beach spots. This economic independence allows the town to maintain its character.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) uses the slogan “Amazing Thailand” to promote Thailand internationally.
Krabi Town: more than a transit spot
From the river, you will find both river taxis and fishing boats looking to transport people to distant destinations. While if you are looking to visit local beaches or the nearby islands, stop by the pier on the Krabi’s west side. Most people use Krabi town as a means to get to one of their dream destinations, but the town is a good spot for those with more time.
As most people know, in the Kingdom of Thailand, tourism is a huge part of the economy and very big business. The international average for tourism revenue is 9% of a country’s GDP. In Thailand, the figure is bigger, much bigger. “When including indirect travel and tourism receipts, the 2014 total is estimated to have accounted for 19.3 percent (2.3 trillion baht) of Thailand’s GDP.”
With its swaying trunk and wrinkly grey skin, the elephant is a good luck symbol for the Thai people and is seen to represent the country. Inspiring affection and respect, the elephant is a mix of astounding intelligence, power and gentleness.
For a period spanning decades, elephant trekking has been a major tourist attraction in Thailand. Elephants have been putting on shows in camps and giving rides to tourists, since logging was banned in Thailand. In the elephant camps, the Asian elephant is the main species found. This giant is native to Thailand. The Asian elephant is a tourist attraction, yet it has been designated as classified since 1986.
It is estimated that Thailand had approximately 100,000 captive or domesticated elephants at the start of the 20th century. Most were employed to drag tree trunks for the logging industry. Rampant deforestation led the Thai government to wisely ban logging in 1989, with less than 30% of their forests remaining.
Spectacular Andaman Sea Beaches in Thailand
Frequently, elephants were abandoned and set free to fend for themselves once their mahouts could no longer support them. There was a 28% increase in tourism in the years immediately after the logging industry’s closure. Unexpectedly, the tourists loved the elephants who were then put into camps. Once again, the elephants were back working and looked after. There may be up to 4,000 domesticated elephants in Thailand right now.
It’s not perfect, but by carrying the tourist masses, elephants are able to earn a living with a modicum of freedom. Every day an elephant eats about 500lbs of food. They are expensive to maintain properly and there is no natural habit left for them. Maybe elephant trekking wouldn’t exist in an ideal world, but these camps keep the elephants from being resigned to a fate of either begging on the street or living in a circus.
Thailand’s oldest communities on the Krabi beaches
It is known that the beaches of Krabi are thought to be one of Thailand’s oldest communities, from archeological findings. Krabi is thought to go back to prehistory. An ancient legend is thought to give Krabi its name, which means sword. The legend says that prior to the founding of the city, an ancient sword was discovered.
On the Andaman shoreline, Krabi is found in southern Thailand. It is quite likely that Krabi has had the longest period of continued settlement in Thailand. It is believed that Krabi has been home to mankind since at least 25,000BC. In the caves and cliffs of the area, many beads, stone tools, colored pictures and skeletons have been found and carbon dated.
Today a large part of the Krabi province has been made into several national parks. The Krabi beaches are popular with both Thai nationals and visiting tourists. The region is well known to yachties, scuba divers and also people visiting for the day from the beaches of Phuket. In addition to water related activities there are fine opportunities for eco-tours, hiking and bird watching. Don’t forget that the best time to visit for an unforgettable exotic beach vacation is during the drier months from October to April.
Thank you to my friend Rosmery for contributing the photos. As you can see, she is big fan of both her native Venezuela and elephants. Rosmery travels the world with her partner and always has a big smile. Salud!