Travel writer and blogger Deborah Dickson-Smith, of Where To Next, takes a diversion from Krabi’s white sandy beaches to explore Krabi’s eco-tourism options.
We all know Krabi for it’s beautiful beaches and coral reefs, but if you’re looking for something greener, here are seven ways to explore Krabi’s greener side.
1. Take a walk through Tha Pom Khlong Song Nam, a tidal mangrove forest on the edge of the Andaman Sea. As you walk inland from the coast, the water changes from brackish salt water to crystal clear fresh water. The trees lining the banks of the estuary are Camphor trees, known locally as ‘Lumpi’ trees, and have adapted to the mix of salt and freshwater by lifting their roots up, exposing a gnarled root system above ground, which makes for quite a fairytale landscape.
2. Challenge your fear of heights at the The Tree Top Adventure Park, in Ao Leuk, one of the most creative high ropes courses I’ve ever seen, incorporating the trees as well as the surrounding cliffs with a system of rope bridges, high wires and ziplines. There are number of tricky obstacles to get past including a rope bridge you need to cross via pushbike, a flying broomstick, even a flying skateboard.
3. Visit Koh Klang island, a little Muslim enclave, only a 5-minute boat ride from Krabi town, yet it seems a million miles away. In this peaceful little rural community, the locals will show you how to dig up shellfish in the low tide, and if you’re lucky, take you out to inspect their fish traps to find something for lunch.
4. Have lunch at one of the floating seafood restaurants in Koh Klang. The fish and crayfish caught in the traps here are kept in floating tanks for guests to choose from.
5. Go for a kayak through Koh Klang’s thick mangroves, stopping along the way to climb up and into a large cave in the side of a limestone mountain, once used by Japanese troops to hide from the Allies during the war.
6. Meander through Khao Nor Juji, one of the last pieces of virgin rainforest left in Thailand. It’s famous for the concentration and variety of birdlife found here and clear fresh water pools, including the famous Emerald Pool, coloured by limestone deposits.
7. Have a soak and a massage at Warareek Hot Springs Spa near Klongtom. Treatments here include a mix of hydrotherapy and traditional Thai massage and usually start with a body scrub, before you enter the hot pools, which range in temperature from 38 to 41 degrees Celsius. After a soak in the pools, head for a thatched cabana overlooking the valley for a relaxing 90-minute Thai massage.
Eco tours are available throughout Thailand, an initiative of the Thai Ecotourism and Adventure Travel Association (TEATA), which is supported by the Thai Ministry of Tourism. We did ours with Friends of Nature – www.friendsofnatureecotour.com