Although it has been almost 2 years since the first time I set foot on the far away province of southern Thai Land, all the memories and experiences are just like in a meantime of yesterday. I even can feel exactly the scent of “Green Thai Curry”, spicy but still can’t help it. The palm forest streches along the road makes it seem like endless. And definitely, the peaceful evening at Chao Fah park with interesting animal sculptures is the best that one should enjoy…

Krabi or Phuket?

On a hot day of early May that year, I still stuck in the mood of being over excited for just a simple reason that Phuket is the best choice of myself for the first journey in southern Thai. Who in this world may deny that the famous Phuket shouldn’t be the top priority when you think about Thai’s best beaches and non-stop social activties all night long? I can bet that the most articles you see on traveling forum say yes! But then, the moment I changed my mind to give space for Krabi is just another story.

It’s not hard to know how famous Phuket is – from Phuket101

My eyes glided on Malindo Airline’s official website to search for the best deal of flight to this destination. As a matter of fact, there are tons of this direct flight route from Bangkok – the captial of “cheap life” (that was what I think about it, thanks to the viral contents of internet) to Phuket with many options from economy to promotion sections. Then, suddenly, an automatically pop up banner on the right side (which is a normal thing to see on internet these days) catch me with a highlighted red tittle “Dream of Phi Phi islands? Why not a resort at Krabi this summer”. I just didn’t even figure out where  Krabi is and how I can reach Phi Phi island from that place, which, according to my search, is accessible from Phuket.

It is for sure that I didn’t click on the advertisement, but have a quick look at wikipedia travel and Tripadvisor, the extremely recommended sites for anyone who find themselves a travel addict. In some seconds of time, I thought about giving Krabi a chance instead of Phuket (anyway, I’m still a person who prefer undiscovered beautiful destinations, or at least less croweded in high season). But was it worth going to a place that most comments on the forum say “boring”, “nothing to do with an old town”…? Actually, I just considered the information  references for my trip. Who in this universe know what I may encounter for such a place!

Hence, I made up my mind to change all the travel plan for Krabi just because of a premonition. I still had to wait for two months to know if my decision was insane or not.

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View of Krabi from plane’s window

Krabi Town

Back from the Phi Phi islands, I had 2 days and a morning to fling all myself into this old town. On the first day in the town, I penetrated the truth that you should view things through your eyes, not by strangers. The town itself may be old by its appearance with normal and kind of outdated house structures with a gloomy atmosphere in a very first moment. However, it offered me somethings called familiar feelings. It recalled me the past of my hometown, not too big but with a warm welcoming to anyone.

In fact, you can’t do manything in Krabi Town except for wondering around the town itself. But I appreciated all of that, which I rarely pay attention to when visiting other places. The steep and narrow streets lead you to a normal wet market but sells numerous dishes that I have never tried before. I can say that the market is nothing more than that you may see at any other places in Thai Land but it does bring you another joy. The sellers were really hospitable to give me extra foods or drinks and even discounted on a dish when I made compliments on her cooking. On the same roads to the markets, I was totally confused when it takes me to a non-stop one way street with many bizzare scuptures of ancient homo sapiens, smilodons or even spieces of mammut connected with traffic lights. It can be considered as an interesting feature of this old town though I had no idea why they made the traffic lights with those shapes.

In the whole morning, I spent time at a temple called Wat Kaew Korawaram. Not attracting many tourists as Tiger Cave Temple, this one gives me a surprise in its structure. A traditional Thai structural temple is normal in this country but with a highlighted blue and white color is not common itself. I often love those unusual details and this one didn’t disappoint me at all. The mild and fresh air in the morning with some winds flowing through the white blossomed trees inside the area made my day become pleasant. At around 9 or 10 am, some units from nearby schools brought their students with colorful costumes. Excellent traditional Thai dancing from them blowed away the quiteness. They celebrated a small festival for which I still didn’t know until now. It was really funny and memorable when you were surrounded by things you were not supposed to see.

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Wat Kaew Korawaram
The white structure
Funny dancing made my day at Wat Kaew more interesting

I made most of my time in that evening walk around the riverside of Chao Fah park, which according to some reviews on Tripadviosr, saying that it’s just a view with a river. But what I saw was not just so simple like they described. Not only did I had a wonderful time with magnificent views like in the 19th century but the beautiful sunset at that place. Just imagine that you jog along a river bank, looking over to streching bushes in wet lands with some strange moutains. The river itself was calm though not really clean. I were not disturbed by vendors, streetfood stalls or noise from tourists, simply that there were only 2 or 3 persons at that time. Such a brilliant idea to go there at that time! I stayed there until nearly night to enjoy the peaceful scence, relieving all the stress and worries. Life was never easy and enjoyable like that before.

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I had a romantic time at Chao Fah park
A Sculpture at Chao Fah park

And The Natures

Once coming to Krabi, I couldn’t ignore Tiger Cave Temple, which is rated as the top activity that likely to give you the unique joy in the “nothing but boring” Krabi province. And I did feel the joy, not for the temple but the “never land garden” and “buddhist platform”. Tiger cave? Actually there was a legendary claiming that there used to be a tiger living in a cave. Of course it was well trained to be a good pet of a monk with whom it learned to be a good buddhist. Not really far from the town center, the area of Tiger Cave did have some but not as many people as I expected. I really love the “Never land” forest inside the temple. Hardly any temple own such a mysterious but well protected inner forest than this one. You may accidentially see real turtles, squirrels and monkeys when treking around the trail for around a half an hour or so. A little bit dark and quite is what I can say about this forest.

Inside the “never land” of Tiger Cave Temple

So, I have to say that the experience of the buddisht platform with a 1250 steps on the path to reach the top of the moutain is a must to do and amazingly marvelous. I went through 3 stages from excitement, exhaustion and reward with this challenge. The path is not so steep but high stairs. There were even some using stick and rest between the way. And the reward for you? It’s unbelievably stunning! The top with a huge buddha statue under a blue clear sky offers you a widespread view of the moutains, palm forest and a part of Krabi town. I have almost bursted into tears when I reached the top, it was not simply that easy and worth every step I took. The fresh air, slight wind and sunlight of July all combined to bring the unique feeling for this place. 2 hours for a return climbing is not that bad for the truth that I just wanted to stay there and grabed all the view for just myself.

Half way of the stair
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And on the top

I acknowledge that I’m a nature lover, so in every trip, I try my best to adapt that hobby. And this time, I knew that I was right to rely on Krabi, instead of Phuket. It is my dream to ride motorbike in a wild path with forests aside. Not only did I fulfil my wish to do so, but also I managed to enjoy the value of being a nature lover. During the 70km of the route from Krabi to Emeral Pool, I did many times feel like I was in heaven. There is no word to describe the beauty of the Khao Phanom national park but you have to experience your self. In front of me is a collection of limestone moutains, besides the green and spacious forest with no one in the road. That momment swept away the hot noon on that day. I was once more willing to say that Krabi is really a hidden gem while walking in the Emerald Pool area. They have vast of green forests with crystal clear ponds and natural small water stream. You could have a real feeling of being lost in a small jungle when you come there.

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The magnificent view of route to Emerald Pool
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Path inside Khao Phanom Park


The Emerald Pool

Time To Say Goodbye

I had a great night sitting at the Ao Nang beach listening to waves, an activity that I had never done before. Despite full of resorts, restaurants and souvernir shops, Ao Nang is by far less crowded and lively than Phuket (it’s just my own opinion). You can still let the sea eliminate all the bad emotions in Ao Nang. The view at the morning is also perfect.

Ao Nang Beach in the morning

The last morning was just so sad that I had to say goodbye to Krabi. Lying in the Tuk Tuk for more than 30 kilometers from Ao Nang to Krabi Airport, I reviewed all the things I had done at Krabi and really appreciated it. I understood that it would be funnier if I made it Phuket this time, but as a traveler, I didn’t regret having good times in Krabi. Before leaving, I made a promise to vist this place again one day. Perhaps until then, I have to be ready for some undiscovered aspects of Krabi that I should do when coming back.

Saimon Tobi


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