A traditional starting point and base for visitors, there’s considerably more to find around the provincial capital of Krabi than the town itself. Just a tailboat trip offshore, you will find a large number of islands floating in the Andaman Sea, which also form part of this charming province. These islands form an integral part of Thai tourism and are visited by thousands of tourists every day.
The islands are all part of the Mu Ko Lanta National Park, which has its headquarters on Ko Lanta Island, one of the largest in the group. It’s not all paperwork on Ko Lanta though; this island is one of the most popular among tourists and features 9 pearly white beaches along its 30km coastline. Favoured for its peaceful atmosphere, Ko Lanta is frequented by an older crowd who are past the partying stage and just want to relax. That said, the many bars on Ko Lanta are quite capable of providing a good time, if you know where to go.
The other well-known islands surrounding Krabi are the Similan Islands, Phi Phi islands, Ko Poda and Ko Gai. All of them are excellent dive sites and well-known for sightings of manta rays, with many caves and caverns to explore. You can charter a dive out to the islands from Krabi town, or even stay on one of the islands, and there are numerous accommodation providers offering beachfront bungalows for that purpose. Viking Cave is famous for being the home of Sea swallows, whose gummy nests are highly used to create bird’s nest soup and for the ancient murals of Viking sailing ships on its walls.
Some of the more popular dive sites are Richelieu Rock, Koh Bon, Ko Tachai, Hin Daeng and the Similians. There are over 200 species of fish found in these waters, and apart from the mantas, you will come across whale sharks, leopard sharks, white tip reef sharks, sea horses, shrimps, crabs, snappers and vast amounts of colourful tropical fish among the soft corals of the reefs. Diving is possible all year round among the islands but conditions are best from November to April.
Activities on the islands are not restricted to diving though; you can paddle in amongst them with a longtail, explore the deserted beaches, or just simply ‘be’ in a secluded spot on one of the less visited islands. This is one of my favourite activities on a Sunday afternoon in preparation for a new week of teaching English in Thailand.
If you would like to enjoy your own island paradise, sign up and set the boat adrift.