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Jamie's Phuket: The emerald pools and temple views of Krabi

Krabi Town is just 60 kilometres across the bay from Phuket Town, but more like 160km, or maybe a little more, by road. But for this trip we left home early and were driving over the bridge from Phuket at 8:30am, and by 10am, we were getting close to Krabi Town.


Jamie Monk

Saturday 17 June 2017, 02:00PM


There’s some great scenery in the Phang Nga/Krabi region so it’s a very nice drive.

I wanted to see the local town, so we chose an inexpensive hotel called Just Fine near the river and the night market. Rooms were B1,000 per night and it was indeed... just fine.

There were only two places I certainly wanted to see: the Emerald Pool and the Tiger Cave Temple (named for the tiger paw prints found inside a cave on the temple site).

On our first afternoon we drove towards the Emerald Pool about one hour south-east of Krabi Town on the way towards Trang. We arrived at the entrance to the Emerald Pool about 1:30pm.

The entry fee was B200 for me, B20 for my wife, and B10 each for the kids. Some people get angry about this dual pricing.

There were a lot of cars parked and the entrance was like a little market with food stalls and clothes and souvenir stalls.

There were two paths from the entrance to the Emerald Pool. One was marked as being a quicker 800 metre walk and the other a 1,400m walk along a mangrove walkway.

Of course, we chose the longer, more interesting route. I only saw a few foreign tourists there, although I know this place is on many tours.

The walk to the Emerald Pool was very nice, the area is full of pools of varying hues and waters which are full of minerals.

For dinner we wanted something more than street food and found a restaurant called Anchalee just over 1km north of the town centre.Had lots of southern Thai food on the menu and lots of seafood.

The prices were quite decent, not too cheap, but it turned out the portions were huge and we over-ordered. Everything very tasty, so it’s recommended and we’ll probably eat here again on our next Krabi trip.

Now, day two of our trip was meant to start with a walk up to the Tiger Temple just outside town, but I think the food the night before was a little too good, I ate too much and had stomach pain in the night, culminating in a little sickness, so we took the day very easy.

Our hotel was right opposite a good coffee shop, so I got a latte in the morning and we just took a bit of a drive around, stopped for a little walk by the river and then headed to the “shell cemetery” also known as “fossil beach” which is between town and Ao Nang beach.

I thought it would be an interesting stop to show the kids some geology, but it was high tide and the signs indicated that it was best to visit at low tide, so we skipped it.

When driving back from the Emerald Pool the day before we’d seen signs for a hot spring waterfall, a bit closer to Krabi Town, so we went that way.

The hot spring is just east of the small town of Khlong Tom. Quite a few cars there when we arrived, but it’s less busy than the well-known Emerald Pool.

It was quite nice! Me and the kids took the plunge. The water was hot! A sign recommended only 20 minutes in the water and that was certainly enough.

We headed back to town, but the weather was against us with dark clouds and some light rain falling. Nevertheless we took a walk along the river to the south and found another night market with lots of food stalls.

On a drier evening we’d have eaten there. Krabi, with the town built along the river, is a nice town.

There’s also quite a few statues and pieces of art along the river. We liked it and again wondered why we’d never been after all these years!

The rain started so we headed to the hotel, only a few minutes away, but ventured out later for dinner at a place called Baitoey, recommended by the hotel staff – it was good, and a little shopping as I needed a pharmacy and we’d seen a bookshop on the riverfront, but by 9pm it had closed already.

There was also this old, dusty looking bar on the riverfront, looked a bit like a wild west saloon and the only customer was a sleeping motorbike taxi driver.

We still wanted to tackle the Tiger Temple. I’d call this a family achievement. The first thing to say is – if you want to hike up to the Tiger Cave Temple, start early! And carry water.

We started walking at 7:20am, but it was already hot. A sign tells you there are 1,237 steps to the top and right from the start it’s steep.

The step numbers are painted on posts on the way up. 100, 200, 300, only a thousand more? Signs warned of monkeys and we saw a few, but they did not seem aggressive.

The views started to get good around the 900 step mark. It’s only when you get to the top that you see the 360-degree views with the mountains and the amazing karst landscape of Krabi.

It really is a wow moment! Once you’ve caught your breath, the view takes your breath away again.

We were all quite proud to have conquered this hill! Great views, very peaceful, and we spent about half an hour at the top, resting and enjoying life.

It took us about 1 hour 10 minutes to walk up. Hot and sweaty, but I had carried plenty of water and we’d started early.

Our little Krabi trip ended with lunch back at Baitoey restaurant by the river where we’d eaten the night before, and with us wishing we’d not taken a fourth-floor room in a small hotel with no elevator! Up and down four floors after the Tiger Cave Temple. Ouch.

Krabi – we’ll be back soon! You’re not so far from home!

 

Jamie Monk blogs about all things Phuket at his website: jamiesphuket.com

 

 

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