Krabi

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Wondrous Nature

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Krabi is my most favourite destination in Thailand. I’ve been there from time to time but never ever think of it as ‘bored’, not even once. I’m so..ooo in love with Krabi. I took a group of my friends a couple of times there and they all felt like it very much. Though, I would like anyone who has never been there go to visit Krabi once in awhile.

Krabi used to be an ancient community in pre-historic period. There is a discovery of a number of stone-age tools scattering around the place, and ancient colour painting was found in many caves in Krabi especially in Klong-Thom district area. Krabi is one of the Chinese twelve-year cycle of animal signs by having monkey as a city symbol. The city is on the west coast of the south, in Andaman Sea. Only 814 kilometers drive from Bangkok on the national highway. With 4,708.512 sqkm, Krabi has its border to several provinces: North – Phang-Nga and Suratthani at Plai-Phraya district and Khao Phanom district; SouthTrang and Andaman Sea at Koh Lanta district, Muang Krabi district and Klong Nuea district; EastNakornsrithammarat and Trang at Khao Phanom district, Klong Thom district and Lam Thap district; WestPhang Nga and Andaman Sea at Ao Luek district and Muang Krabi district.

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As a province, Krabi consists of more than 130 islands, only 13 islands are inhabited. The main islands are Koh Lanta in Lanta district and Koh Phi Phi in Aumphur Muang area. Both islands are well-known as the world top beautiful destinations. Apart from these two islands, Krabi have many places to explore, like Klong-Thom hot waterfall, Emerald Pond, Kayaking at Baan Tha-Len, Tham Rot and Tham Phi Hua Thor (Big-Head Ghost Cave), Phra Nang beach, Rai Lay beach, Nop-Phrarat Thara beach, Ao Phra Nang and etc.

Accommodations are plentiful in Krabi, ranging from a few hundreds baht per night to ten thousands. Koh Lanta (Quite a long ride from Krabi International Airport, about 1 hour by car to the port and take another 30-45 minutes by ferry or speed boat depending on the location of your accommodation) Koh Phi Phi (Like Koh Lanta, you need to take speed boat for about 45 minutes, but accommodations are limited.) Rai Lay Beach (About 10-15 minutes from Ao Phra Nang by long-tail boat, accommodation starting from 3,000 baht per night) Ao Phra Nang and Klong Muang Beach are very convenient in transportation and various accommodation. It’s not far off from Krabi city and the airport.

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Back to Krabi this time I had a chance to experience in a hotel, which is a freshman of the city, I could say that. It was opened in October 2006. The hotel name is well recognised worldwide. This new hotel is a chain of “Sofitel”. They called it “Sofitel Phokeethra Krabi Resort & Spa”. The name is quite difficult to pronounce, but it does have a good meaning. Just like the family name of the owner, “Verapuchong”. The word “Phokee” means the name of Naga living in deepest water level (the 7th level), and ‘Thra’ means the land. The meaning of these two words is well related to the Veraphuchong’s family, whose family owns Thai Nakorn Patana Co., Ltd., drug manufacturer brand “Tiffy” and “Sara”. The word ‘Vera’ means goodness and ‘Puchong’ means Naga. Co-incidentally, Sofitel Phokeethra Krabi is situated on the hill called “Kao Ngorn-Naga” (Naga’s One of land). Besides, the Sofitel Phokeethra Krabi has a natural water resource called “Sa-deu Naga” (The Navel of Naga), which is only 2 kms from the hotel. It is the long belief since the ancient time until now that Sa-deu Naga is the quality water resource, and the hotel brings the water for their guests to use in the hotel. S…soooo unique!!! Sofitel Phokeethra Krabi Resort & Spa is a 5-star luxury resort in ACCOR, the European leader and one of the world’s largest groups in hotels and services. The hotel was designed in Colonial style and decorated with materials imported from Italy and Europe. With environmental concern, the resort is cool and shady with surrounded Thai gardening plants including perennial trees, decorative plants, wide range of Thai flowering plants, and some herbs, which makes the place naturally rich of beauty and scent of flowers. And this shady tropical garden would help in protecting you from the strong sunlight and hot sea breeze. Particularly in Honeymoon Villa zone along the beach, 3 layers of shrubs of Thai flowers are used to divide the space. The same pattern is used with the hotel fence near the street in front the hotel. Trees were arranged in layer according to their type and height. With an aim to reserve the environmental structure of the place, the resort has only 3-storey in height and the building was constructed 500 metres away from Klong Muang beach.

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Sofitel Phokeethra Krabi is located approximately 20 minutes from Krabi city, and about 35 minutes from Krabi International Airport. There are 276 well-equipped spacious luxury rooms, starting from 45 sqm to the biggest President Suite 160 sqm, and 8 bars and restaurants in service. When come to food, how do I miss it? Definitely have to taste them! At Venezia, Italian restaurant, their hot dishes are fresh mozzarella cheese with roasted peppers, artichokes, crignola olives, and pesto and golden scallop salad. In scallop salad, you will find a huge size of scallop mixed with tomato sauce, parsley leaves, olive oil, mushroom, garlic and balsamic salad dressing. These are just an appetiser. As for main course, their star is pasta bags filled with fresh lobster cooked aldente with light tarragon cream sauce. Oh…wow! This one is really really good. Piece after piece of lobster on your dish will make you full for hours. Thai food by the chef here couldn’t be overlooked. Have to try Miang Pla-Kraphong, Talay Jarn-Ron (Stir-fried seafood on hot plate), Tom Yum Kung in thick coconut soup, and Pla Sum Lee Tod Kratiem (Deep-fried cotton fish topped with garlic) at White Lotus restaurant. Oops…forget to tell. There are heaps of choices at breakfast here that I couldn’t decide. Want to eat them all. So…o tempting! Though I’m not an early-bird, but I got myself out of bed to have breakfast!

As mentioned earlier that this resort is very unique, level-upfree form pool with sea view is one excitement. It is the biggest pool in Krabi with 6,000 sqm. Swim back and forth till you’re beat. Then, fill up your energy at Koh Poda Bar in the pool. Having a cool drink while soaking yourself in the pool makes me so…o happy.  Another highlight is massage programme at Le Spa. It is the first and foremost in Thailand that has Lancome brand in the programme. The treatment programmes at Le Spa are a combination of French and Thai traditional culture. Head-to-toe spa courses are offered. This spacious resort with full facilities could serve a big seminar group or event with a capacity to hold 600 persons as a maximum. If you’re looking for a new venue for your seminar, Sofitel Phokeethra Krabi could be a choice. Or if you just want to relax and rest in the place. The resort provides you lots of activities like jogging amid the natural scene behind the resort, fitness gym, games’ room for children, cooking school, water sports, tennis court, 9-hole golf course, and cruising to neighbouring islands in private yacht. Good news for so-called “Golfers”, the resort owner is to expand their business sector under Phokeethra name, the 400 millions baht golf course project. Coming attraction in the year of 2008!

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Krabi has loads of choices to offer for visitors; just out to sightseeing, taking adventurous tour or hopping to the nearby islands. Whether pick one or another, you can’t finish all in one day.  A couple days visit is highly recommended.

Ao Phra Nang – Or “Ao Nang” is called by the local. Ao Phra Nang is adjacent to high limestone cliffs on its left and on its right is Noppharatthara beach, fine golden sand beach straight along the edge of Ao Phra Nang beach, paralleling with the road. Ao Phra Nang beach is one of the top famous destinations of Krabi. Tourists both Thais and foreigners usually start their trip here due to all kind of facilities and activities provided, such as clothes, souvenir shops, painting galleries, seafood restaurants, fast food shops, food stalls in the night market, tour operators which provide one-day trips, both off-shore and on-shore. As for off-shore trip, you can either take a speed boat or a reasonable package with long-tail boat. Additionally, a private trip is available if you wish.

Noppharatthara Beach – as local calls it “Had Klong Haeng” as the tide ebbs, a few water left on the tide or almost dry. The tide becomes a long sandy beach stretching to the sea meeting the edge of Koh Khao Pak. You can walk along the beach during the ebb. Noppharatthara is a long golden sandy beach, almost 3 kms long. With shady pine trees standing along its skirt makes it suited well for relaxing or wandering along. Throughout the beach, there are a number of fresh seafood restaurants providing mouth-watering dishes in reasonable price.

Rai Lay Beach– is situated on the left of Ao Phra Nang. It is not on the island, but you can only reach there by boat because the beach is blocked by the high and steep cliffs. Cannot walk through or be there by car. Rai Lay beach is a long curving white fine sandy beach with greenish crystal clear sea. It’s always crowded with foreign tourists sunbathing. Rai Lay beach is also famous worldwide known for its rock climbing destination. Rock climbers from all over the world are dreamt of having rock climbing here once in a life time because of its spectacular nature and splendid view from the cliff when looking out on the horizon.

Koh Phi Phi – is a group of islet. It is number one most visited island in Thailand. Divers come for scuba diving to see coral reefs, multi-colour sea fans or sun-bathing on the beach, though the tsunami years ago have reduced the beauty of the coral reefs. Phi Phi has breathtaking natural scenery. The highlight of the islands are a twin curving bay at Koh Phi Phi Don, namely Ao Ton Tsai and Ao Loh Darum. From Ao Ton Tsai where Koh Phi Phi pier is situated, you can climb up to the viewpoint for magnificent scenery of the twin bay. It might need an effort to get there. However, it has an easy and safe pathway, quite a long walk but it certainly gives you a good exercise.  Once you see the panoramic view over the islands, it’s what we’re so called “Wow factor!!!”.

Ao Maya – is a part of Phi Phi islands. Its name is widely recognised throughout the world as it was once the main film location called “The Beach”. Ao Maya is a white fine sandy beach in a vast valley with very greenish crystal clear water; you could easily see a school of fish swimming along. Ao Maya is continuously packed with tourists.  Sometime it’s too crowded that you couldn’t have a picture of ONLY YOU with beautiful sea view. Instead, a shot of yourself with a crowd and tiny gap of sea in the background might be something you would get. This may give you an idea how big in number of the crowd on the beach and in the sea. If you get there with your loved one, you might want to try having a very closed-up shot together in the sea rather than on the beach. This would give a nice shot of you two together. J Ao Maya can only visit as a day trip.

Koh Hong – Koh Hong consists of numerous sizes of islands. It is under the responsibility of Protection Unit of Than Bok Khorani National Park, which is also situated on the islands. The island is high steep limestone mountain with two curving beaches on the front. Two beaches are divided by a limestone hill; this has formed the beach into two rooms of white sandy beach that you can walk along. Or you can have a boat tour around the islands taking a few nice shots.  There are boat services to Koh Hong throughout the day.

Koh Poda – is an island with white sandy beach and reflecting clear green sea. From the beach you can see a shape of a boat-like mountain in the front of the island, which is a symbol of Koh Poda. Snorkeling, can be done here to see different kinds of coral reefs.

Koh Kai – “Kai” in Thai means Chicken.  The name is already a self-explanatory that the island has a chicken-like shape. There is a snorkeling spot on the west of the island, where you can see a number of fishes and enjoy feeding them with pieces of bread.

Koh Tup – is an exotic island, ideal for easy snorkeling and exploring on foot and is listed as one of the unseen destinations of Thailand. It is a place where the two islands are connected by their white sandy beaches when water level moving to its lowest point and you can walk along between the two islands. It looks as if the sea is divided by a long stretching white sandy beach. The connection of the two islands can be clearly seen during five days before or after of the lunar month.

There are many offshore destinations that you should not miss. However, this depends on the length of time you want to spend in Krabi.  What to explore on shore; the historic places, find out their secretive background, and touch the spirit of nature.  A combine programme tour both offshore and onshore is recommended.

Baan Thalane – Baan Thalane is a seaside village nestled amid rich mangrove Forest Mountains and cave. The ecosystem here is so fertile. From what I’ve seen, sounds of animals I’ve heard, scent of nature and atmosphere I’ve felt of. I’m so in love with the place. The first time I had been there, I hardly believed this kind of place still existed in our country. I’m so proud that I’ve been living in Thailand. You can go to Baan Thalane by car, and then shift to canoeing. The journey will pass through Crocodile Cave, large and small canyons amid the mangrove forest.  On its way you can also visit Tham Kang Kow (Bat Cave) to see stalagmites and stalactites. At the lagoon you will see the stunning unspoiled natural beauty with the chance to observe birds, monkeys and other animals in their natural habitat, plus the ancient cemetery of “people of the sea” who lived here many years ago. This would take you a whole day at Baan Thalane, but it’s a MUST!

Thum Lod – is situated in Amphur Ao Luek, 6 kilometres from Than Bok Khorani National Park.  Take a ride to Bor Thor pier and hire a long-tail boat or kayak, whichever you prefer. After 15 minutes through the mangrove forest, you will find Thum Lod, which is a cave that has spectacular tunnel in a limestone mountain. Inside, there are stalactites and stalagmites, and they still keep growing in number. You can kayak into the cave to see the beauty stalactites and stalagmites. Not far from Thum Lod, you will find Thum Pee Hua Toh (Big Head Ghost Cave) or Thum Hua Ka-Lok (Skull Cave). It’s called by its name because in the ancient time there was a super size human skull once found in this cave. On the cave’s wall and ceiling there were numbers of mythological people and animals depicted in rich ochre, yellow and black pigments.  It’s believed that there were ancient humans living in the cave.  The Big Head Ghost Cave is also a limestone mountain, which is surrounded by fertile mangrove forest. Don’t be scared by its name.  It’s another amazing destination.
The beauty of the sea and the secretive background of Krabi are countless stories to tell. Nonetheless, Krabi also has a reputation for health, a real natural treatment to release the muscular fatigue or aches over the body. Not a spa or massage, it’s actually a natural hot spring, Klong Thom Hot Waterfall, which is situated in Baan Bang Tiao, Amphur Klong Thom. Hot waterfall passes through limestone swamps and down to Klong Thom. The water seeps out from underground and forms a small hot waterfall. Shady sparse forest in this area creates a cool and breezy atmosphere for visitors.  The hot waterfall is in an average temperature of 40 – 50 degrees Celsius.

If we all collaborate in protecting the nature, it will stay with us for decades unless any unfortunate natural disaster happens. BE HAPPY

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Sunset in Krabi

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Travel memo 

Currency: Thai Baht (THB)

Climate: Krabi’s climate is tropical and warm throughout the year.  There are two very hot periods, the first between April and May when the average temperatures range from 30 to 36°C and only the occasional tropical thunderstorm brings relief from the heat. It is also very hot between September and October but the frequent rainfall has a wonderful cooling effect.  Tourist High Season is from November to April. However, it’s best to avoid December and January and in particular Christmas and New Year if possible, as this is Peak Season, when accommodation can be hard to find and is expensive.  Whether you are coming to Thailand on a holiday or not, I would recommend you try to come from February to April. There are fewer tourists, accommodation is much better value-for-money, the weather is at its best, and the seas their calmest.

January-April: Very hot with breezy clear days and fragrant cool nights.
May-December: Rainy season.  Seas can be quite rough during this season and swimmers should be careful. Tour programmes can be cancelled due to the bad weather during this time of year.
How to get there:  By bus, there are VIP and first-class bus by Lignite Tour and Mass Transportation Company. By air, you have choices from Thai Airways International, Nok Air, Air Asia, Krabi Airlines, to Tiger Air (Singapore).

 

Special thanks

Sofitel Phokeethra Krabi

200 Moo 3 Haad Klong Muang

Amphur Muang

Krabi 81000

Tel. +66 (075) 627 800

www.sofitel.com/asia