Southern Thailand

Destination Krabi

Hints of the stunning landscape to come greet you the moment you get off the plane in Krabi. Once you leave the small airport, you will soon see the junglevine-covered limestone rocks which mysteriously line the roads. As you get closer to the shoreline, the spectacular scenery from the surrounding islands will simply take your breath away.

Krabi is perched on the Andaman Sea which sparkles around the islands of limestone karst. This mesmerising scenery has been the backdrop of Hollywood films such The Beach and James Bond's Man with a Golden Gun and in Star Wars, as Chewbacca's home planet of Kashyyyk. At low tide, the taller of the limestone karsts resemble Gulliver's floating island, seemingly suspended above the water, crashing waves still eroding the rock. They are topped with vegetation, palms, trees and shrubs, clinging for existence and sometimes falling from the craggy undulating rock.

The islands around Krabi provide spectacular opportunities to enjoy the sun and the sea, with sandy beaches and lush tropical jungle. Drift along in a longtail boat, discover life underwater by snorkelling in the clear warm waters but beware the little blue and yellow striped fish - if you don't keep moving they will want to nibble you! Most visitors to the area who want to visit the islands will go on a tour which take in the ones nearest to the mainland, including Chicken Island, named as it really does look like one.

"Monkeys are often used to
harvest the coconuts,
a well-trained monkey
can pick as many as
150 coconuts a day..."

Tell Tale Travel prefer private boat trips to quieter places like a limestone archipelago known as the Hong Islands. This contains a hidden lagoon, edged with mangrove forests - silently paddling around this will soon bring the sounds of birds and monkeys. The secret hongs (caves), filled with stalactites and stalagmites, will make lessons learnt at school come alive.

Tell Tale Tip Ko Hong contains some of our favourite beaches, deserted and sandy, but you may have to share them with the local residents, giant monitor lizards, who love lazing in the sun.

On the mainland, the locals go about their daily business. Krabi (or Krabee as the locals pronounce it) is both the name of the town and the large province it is located in, the whole area is rich in agriculture. In the markets you'll see an abundance of tropical fruit - depending on the season, juicy sweet pineapples, huge dates, lycees and mangoes, unripe ones are a particular delicacy in this area. On the roads, you'll see lorries carrying palm fruit, grown on smallholidings, on their way to be processed into bio fuel. Rubber also grows in this area which is so close to the equator. Once the rubber is harvested, the resin is put through a mangle and the resulting sheets are hung to dry, from a distance they look like fresh towels on a washing line.

Krabi Thailand

Coconuts are grown in the Krabi province and you don't need to go far out of town to see the plantations which reach up to the roads. Monkeys were commonly used to harvest the coconuts, a well-trained monkey can pick as many as 150 coconuts a day, these days it is rarer, you have to be in the right place at the right time to see them in action.

Tell Tale Tip One of our friends has family in this monkey business so always knows where their workers are.

In Krabi town, stalls in the large, covered food market sell everything: seafood, Thai spices and exotic vegetables, even frogs. Fresh fragrant lemon grass is in regimental order, coconuts are stripped of their liquid and flesh, bunches of small live crabs, swinging on strings, hanging from the stalls, bright orange, fresh turmeric root is piled high and the shoppers are bustling with huge bags. The local women get here early and have breakfast as they catch up on the gossip of the day. Roti, an influence from neighbouring Malaysia, is a rice flour and oil mix, stretched, twisted and twirled with a degree of showmanship, then cooked on a large griddle pan, ready to be eaten, accompanied by one of the curries on display.

As the sun sets, the streets turn into an amazing night market with vendors busy cooking food, selling flowers and making sweets. On offer, sizzling kebabs, spicy soup with noodles and delicious curries made with seafood, vegetables, coconuts and local spices. The locals 'graze' around the street life and coffee shakes, a kind of local 'frappe', are a fantastic after-dinner drink.

Discover the insider experience of Krabi away from the hordes for yourself. For adventurers, we recommend Action on Shore which is a great family itinerary (but also a popular couples getaway, it is a private tour in either case), for culture-vultures Real Thailand, and for the real foodies, one of our cooking trips. You can also add a beach extension in Krabi, staying at a boutique beach resort to any Tell Tale trip in Thailand.

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