Friday, Sep 21, 2018 | Last Update : 05:49 PM IST

Between peaks and beaches

THE ASIAN AGE. | ASHIS KUMAR NAYAK
Published : Jul 8, 2018, 3:06 am IST
Updated : Jul 8, 2018, 3:05 am IST

Thailand’s Krabi is a perfect holiday spot for everyone, from foodies to nature lovers.

Railay Beach
 Railay Beach

Thailand features on everyone’s travel list. While people plan their itinerary for Thailand, Krabi rarely features on the radar. I visited Krabi on one of my backpacking trip and was happy I ticked it off my list. Krabi unlike Bangkok is a tranquil experience. Beyond the parties and imposing crowds, Krabi is one of Thailand’s most beautiful provinces with thick forests, imposing mountains and gorgeous beaches. What was once a sleepy town in Thailand has now exploded in recent times, thanks to it’s incredible natural beauty.

I planned a trip to Krabi last April which also surprisingly had the dates matching with the Songkran Festival, the biggest water festival. Think of Holi, but without the bust of colours and just a giant water fight out on the streets. The locals in Krabi are very welcoming and always go out of their way to help.

If you haven’t thought of visiting Krabi, here’s a quick list that can help you plan your trip this year.

Ao Nang
If you’re in Krabi only for a day, you’d definitely want to head to the beach and relax. Ao Nang which is Krabi’s main beach has everything that you need without the hassle of travel. You can either choose to relax and get some “me-time” at one of the massage spa or indulge in Thai food at one of the restaurants. The stretch turns into a night market to help you discover local food and souvenirs.

aaa

Ao Nang also acts as the main beach point where you can either choose to hire a longtail boat to the numerous islands or be part of a group tour that leaves every morning.

Tip: If you’d like a quieter setting, visit the neighbouring Nopparat Thara Beach which is a better alternative and is a cheap songtaew (shared taxi) ride away.

Railay Beach
Railay Beach features peaks and mountain faces rising dramatically above the aquamarine Andaman Sea. For its sheer limestone rock-face backdrops, there is nothing quite like Railay. Railay Beach is cut off from the mainland by mountains and can be accessed by a short boat journey from Ao Nang. The sand is super soft, the water warm and it provides for the perfect setting for photography.

Is it less crowded? Absolutely not and yet it’s one of my favorite beaches in Thailand. Railay Beach also is a popular spot among rock climbers with some challenging spots right off the white sand beach. I spent a whole day relaxing in the serene waters of Railay, only getting out during dusk.

Hong Island
There is a whole another world to discover underwater. And the best spots to snorkel are around Hong Island.

I arrived at Hong Island to see it bustling with tourists. There were groups which had set off kayaking among the many karst peaks which dot the islands. I found myself a secluded portion of the island and with snorkelling gear on set out in the sea.

hong

The beautiful corals and fishes nearly brush past you and are mesmerising. The clear, still waters of the Andaman act as a playground, waiting for underwater world to be discovered.

Night Markets
Undoubtedly the best food you’d get in Krabi is at the night markets, the largest of which is at Walking Street. The food is the typical Thai fare with dishes like basil chicken (pad kapow), pad thai, coconut ice cream and my personal favourite, the som tam salad.

boat

Also loved going through the varied market stalls selling handcrafted clothes, paintings and souvenirs. I always have a habit of picking up few fridge magnets and souvenirs for friends’ back home, whenever I travel.

salad

My Krabi trip couldn’t have been better. A massage by the beach, relaxing by the majestic blue waters of the Andaman Sea surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. There is so much more to Krabi than what are shown on travel itineraries and blogs. Most importantly the people are the best. Kayaking, snorkelling, food explorations, hiking… if any of these are your kind of scene, then Krabi should rank high among destinations to visit.

Tags: railay beach, hong island