Krabi History Krabi is a southern province of Thailand which evidence establishes as having a very ancient history. Glass beads,stone tools and bone,drawings and paintings from pre-historic times,have been found in great number. Pottery remains have been discovered and dated to an era 27 ,000 to 37 ,000 years ago. It is theorized that Krabi is therefore the most ancient settled community in Thailand, having existed from pre- history to the present. The area is said to have been called formerly "Ban Thai Samor", and was one of twelve towns using the monkey on its coat of arms. Subject to the rule of Nakorn Sri Thammarat, who was himself vassal to the King of Thailand, Krabi experienced a period of growth at the beginning of the Rattanakosin period (c. 1782) when Jao Praya Nakorn (Noy) ordered the erection of an elephant stockade there for animals pending shipment to Nakorn Sri Thammarat. Many people followed in his tracks, whose habitations and hamlets grew so numerous the community was divided into three districts : Pakasai, Klong Pon, and Pahklao. This arrangement persisted until 1872, when King Chulalongkorn was pleased to grant Krabi the status of 'Muang', or town. It remained subject to Nakorn, however, as the military chief of Nakorn was appointed first' Jao Muang', roughly equivalent to the word , governor', of Krabi. Then in 1875, Krabi became an independent entity reporting directly to Bangkok.
Present Day Administration Krabi Province is divided into 6 districts and 2 sub-districts. The 6 districts (or "Amphur" as they are called in Thai) are: Muang (Krabi Town) , Kao Panom, Klong Tom, Plai Praya, Lanta, and Ao Luk. The two sub-districts are : Lahm Tap and Nua Klong.
Location Krabi is 814 kms. from Bangkok down Route 4 (the Petch Kasem Highway). It covers an area of 4, 700 sq. kms. and is bordered thus :
On the north: by Phang-Nga and Surat Thani.
On the south: by Trang and the Andaman Sea.
On the east: by Trang and Nakorn Sri Thammarat.
On the west: by Phang-Nga and th.e Andaman Sea.
Geography Krabi is distinguished by mountains, hills, and plains; and there are more than 30 small islands off the coast. The still pristine jungles include white mangrove and mangrove forests. The soil is mostly sandy clay and rich loam, perfect for rubber, palm, cashew nut, coffee, and coconut plantations. Within the Muang district precincts flows the Krabi River, which enters the sea at Tambon Pak Nam. Other streams include: the Pakasai, the Big Krabi (Krabi Yai) , and the Little Krabi (Krabi Noy) , which have their sources in the Panom Benja mountains,Krabi 's largest range of mountains.
Weather Krabi is affected by the northwest monsoon and has only two seasons. The hot season starts in' January and ends in April. The rainy season begins in May and lasts till December. Average temperatures range between 16.9 to 37.3 degrees Celsius. Average rainfall is 2,568.5 mm: yearly.
Places of Interest in Muang District (Krabi Town) Haad Noparatarah-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park: is spread across Tambon Nong Talay, Sai Thai, Ao Nang, and Pahk Nam. There are many interesting places to visit:
- Hahd Noparatarah is 3 kms. long. It was formerly called by local villagers 'Haad Klong Hang' (Dry river beach) because during low tide water flowing from a mountain stream to the north dries up early, thus becoming a beach stretching down into the sea to meet Kao Pahk Klong Island.
- 45 Million-Year-Old Susan Hoy (Shell Cemetery Beach) is situated at Ban Laem Po. Long ago this was a freshwater marsh populated by clams and other bi-valves, chiefly little two centimeters long 'Hoy Kohm ' or pond snails, which grouped and multiplied in such numbers that the dead formed a floor for the living. This process, repeated over eons, led to the creation of layer of fossils about 40 cms. thick, called shelly limestone. Lower down is a 10 cms. layer of lignite and below that is bedrock. Scientific tests have established that the age of these fossils is 45 million years, stretching back to the Tertiary Age. There are only three places on Earth with such old deposits. The other two are in the U.S. near Chicago, and in Japan.
- Ao Nang 'Ao' means 'bay' and this bay has on one side a hill with a cave featuring stalactites and stalagmites. The bay itself has a group of 83 islands of various sizes and shapes which the local people like to name after their shape or character. Most of them have names in the Yawi anguage which is related to Malay. Koh Yawasa, Koh Moh, Koh Poda, Sriboya, Pra Nang beach, Pra nang pond, and Rai Lay beach are places of interest
- Mu Koh Phi Phi It is said these islands were first called 'Pulau Bee Aw Bee'; 'Pulau' meaning 'island' in Malay, and 'Bee Aw Bee' being a species of tree still commonly used for firewood: the copsewood. This was later corrupted into 'BeeBee', and that became 'Pee Pee', or 'Phi Phi' as it is most commonly rendered in English. (It is not pronounced Fee Fee as at first glance it would appear).
The Phi Phi islands were declared a National Park in 1983. There are 6 islands in all: Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Lay, Bida Nok, Bida Nai, Yoong, and Pai, lying at a distance of 43 kms. from the coast of Krabi. They are mountainous, and form themselves around nearly enclosed bays. The most interesting places are : - Koh Yoong : lies to the north of Phi Phi Don. There is a rocky beach on the east side; a small beach in a fold of the hill; and perfectly preserved coral gardens.
- Koh Pai Also to the north of Phi Phi Don, and not very far from Koh Yoong. There are lovely beaches on the north and east sides, and coral gardens spreading to the south.
- Koh Phi Phi Lay is an island of 6.6 sq.kms. It is mountainous and rocky. Tall cliffs rise straight up from the sea's surface almost all around the island. Water depth averages 20 metres offshore; and 34 metres is the deepest spot, at the south end of the island. The semi-circular bays are very lovely and include: Pilae, Maya, Losama, and others. On the northeast is the famous 'Viking Cave' so-called from the paintings therein, which His Majesty King Bhumibol was pleased to grant also the name 'Payanak' meaning 'Serpent Lord', in honour of the villagers who gather swallow's nests on the island. Inside, on the east and south walls of the cave, are paintings from historical times of an elephant, and boats of various kinds: Arab prows, junks, sharp- stemmed vessels probably of European origin, steam ships, and propeller-driven sailboats. It is theorized that these are the work of sailors, or perhaps even of pirates, because the island provides refuge during the monsoons and lies on the main shipping lane from west to east. It was thus a place suitable for offloading cargo and conducting repairs.
- Koh Phi Phi Don is an island of about 28 sq.kms., 3.5 kms. wide and 8 kms. long. On the north side is Laem Tong, where about 15 to 20 sea gypsy families reside. Most of them emigrated from Koh Lipe in Tarutao National Park. The undersea life in the vicinity of Laem Tong is quite lovely, and perfect for diving, as is Laem Hua Ragaet's tip. There is a long beach and rock landing. Aside from this there are 2 beaches of considerable beauty among the world's most beautiful at Ao Lodalum and Ao Ton Sai, where accommodation is to be found. To get to the Phi Phi Islands, a boat can be boarded at Jao Fa Pier in Krabi; or, alternatively tour boats leave daily from Phuket.
- Tahm Sadet is a beautiful cave with stalactites and stalagmites in Tambon Sai Tai , 7 kms. from Krabi Town. Named by King Vajiravudhi, 'Somdetch Pra Borom Orasathiraj'. It became known after his visit as simply 'His Highness's Cave'by the local villagers.
- Sa Kaew in the forest in Tambon Kao Tong. The name means 'Crystal Pool'. To get there, follow the Krabi -Nai Sa Rd. There are 8 pools in all, arising from natural sources. They each have names: Nam Lod, Cherng Kao, Jorakeh Kao, Nam Tip, Nam Kram, Moragoat, Hoon Gang, and Noy.
- Tahm Sua Kao Kaew Meditation Center, Ao Look Tanu is at Ban Tahm Sua in Tambon Krabi Noy,about 9 kms. from Krabi Town. It is called Tahm Sua (Tiger Cave) because there was once a huge tiger living nearby. lt is located at the front of the Ao Look Tanu Mountain Range, or Kao Kaew (Crystal Mountain). Inside the cave there are what appear to be tiger paw prints in the stone. The surrounding area is covered with large trees hundreds of years old,particularly in the Kiriwong Valley. Mountains are on all sides and there are smaller caves in great number. Chang Kaew, Look Tanu, Tahm Pra, Tahm Kon Tan, and Tahm Lod are the main ones. Aside from being the site of the meditation center, it is also a place of archaeological and historical interest. Stone tools, pottery remains, and the mold for making Buddha footprints have been found in excavations.
- Nam Tok Huoy Toe is in Tambon Tap Prik on the way to the old market, Sri Trang- Pracha-utit Rd. Its source is in the Panom Benja Range of mountains. The waterfall has 11 levels, each of which contains a natural pool of clear water at least 4 or 5 metres wide. Wahng Tehwada, Wahng Sok, and Wahng Jahn are the main ones.
- Kao Kanab Nam 100 metre high hills rising from the water. Kanab Mae Nam Krabi are regarded as the symbol of Krabi. It sits before the city and can be visited by long tail boat from the Jao Fa Pier. Travel time is about 15 minutes. From the boat, one climbs a staircase to see caves with stalactites and stalagmites. Many human skeletons have been found in the area. It is theorized they are the remains of immigrants who became stranded and died after a sudden flood.
Tourist Attractions in Kao Panom District Kao Panom Benja National Park : lies 20 kms. outside Krabi town along the old market road to Ban Huoy Toe. It covers 50.12 sq.kms. in Kao Panom,Muang (Town) , and Ao Luk District. It is mostly dense forest and rugged hills among which are various interesting spots, such as:
- Tahm Kao Ping a cave lying 3 kms. from the National Park Office. It includes 5 places with stalactites and stalagmites of various sizes and shapes, some resembling a stupa, a curtain,or a mushroom. The cave wall has beautiful glittering white streaks. There is tourist accommodation which can be reserved. For details,contact the National Park Office, Tambon Tap Prik, Muang District, Krabi 81000
- Nam Tok Huoy Saday Springs from a tall cliff. It is 1.2 kms. from the National Park Office.
- Nam Tok Klong Hang It is about 500 metres high and springs from Kao Thaep Benja, which is the tallest mountain in Krabi and is 10 kms. from the District Headquarters.
- Nam Tok Ton Hahn is 16 kms. from the District Headquarters. Its source is the same as that of Klong Hang Waterfall, but it is not so high.
Places of Interest in Klong Tom District
- Wat Klong Tom Museum is in Tambon Klong Tom Tai, about 1 km. from the District Headquarters. It is where all the discoveries made in the diggings on 'Bead Hill' behind the Wat or temple, are kept. There are stones and bronze tools, coins, pottery, ceramic and stone decorations, and beads on display there.
- Tung Tiao is in Bang Tiao Village, Tambon Klong Tom Nua, 25 kms. from the District Headquarters. It is a rainforest where one can go hiking. The distance is 2.7 kms. It is perfect for nature lovers and conservationists wishing to know more about the virgin forest. Ask about forest manuals at the Unit Station and be sure to bring along good shoes and some mosquito repellent.
- Sa Nam Pu is a deep clear water pool with astonishing properties : when a loud sound is made, its echo seems to bubble up from the water.
- Koh silla is 2 kms. from the beach at Bormuang. It has beautiful beaches and brightly coloured birds of many kinds frequent there in large numbers.
- Nam Tok Hin Perng is at Ban Hin Perng, Tambon Klong Pon, about 2.5 kms. from the District Headquarters. It is a 3 level waterfall 800 meters up in shady surroundings.
- Nam Tok Ron is in Tambon Klong Tom Nua, 12 kms. from the District Headquarters. It is surrounded by shady forest and springs from beneath the earth. 'Ron' means 'hot', and the temperature of the water is higher than at others nearby.
- Kao Pra-Bang Krahm is a wild animal reserve covering 170 sq. kms. in Klong Tom District of Krabi, and Wang Wiset District of Tarng. Birds found there include Gurneys, the Black-breasted Pitta ; the Chestnut -Collared Kingfisher; the Black Hornbill; and the Crested Partridge.
Places of Interest in Lanta District Moo Koh Lanta National Park covers 150 sq.kms. on Lanta Island. It is the furthest point south in Krabi Province and was formerly called 'Pulau Satak' which means in Malay that there are long beaches. Later, both Buddhist and Muslim Thais emigrated to the island in large numbers, which was dazzling, and so from this it came to be called 'Koh Lanta' meaning in English 'Dazzling Island'. There are many important places within the National Park
- Koh Lanta Yai is where both the District Headquarters and National Park Office are located. The island itself is generally rugged and mountainous. There are beaches both gravelly and sandy toward the south. The 'Chaolay', or Sea Gypsies, still reside on the island, maintaining their old way of life. They have peculiar traditions, such as setting a boat adrift to drive out evil and bring good luck. This is done during the full moon in June and in November. There are regular ferries to Koh Lanta leaving from Ban Hin Pier in Tambon Koh Glahng,Bormuang Pier, in Tambon Sai Kao, and Jao Fa Pier in Krabi town.
- Koh Taleng Beng A rock island similar to Phi Phi Lay. Swallows make their nests there and at low tide a small beach and a tunnel can be seen.
- Mu Koh Hah A group of 5 islands. Hah Yai has a meadow on the ridge. Aside from that, the island is shaped like a sail boat. Water passes beneath the islands and there is coral in some shallow waters.
- Koh Ngai long beach and coral along the east shore of the island; perfect for diving. The easiest way to get to Koh Ngai is by regular ferry from Pak Meng Beach in Trang, where charters are also available.
- Koh Rock Nai has tall cliffs ; on the east are beaches and corals. On the north lie San Jao Bay and Tohn Point.
- Koh Rock Nok on the southeast and south are long beach; coral in shallow water. At the far end of the island are Mahn Sai Bay and Talu Beach.
Places of Interest in Ao Luk District Tharn Boke Koroni Arboretum : covers 37.5 rai in Tambon Ao Luk Tai, about 1 km. from the Ao Luk Nua market intersection on the Ao Luk- Laem Sak road. It is a shady forest with many species of trees Apocyana Pond is at the confluence of several streams running beneath the mountain. Nearby is a copy of Buddha's footprint carved from wood. Also nearby is a shrine dedicated to the local deities, Toh Yuan and Toh Chong.
- Tahm Pee Hua Toe or Tahm Hua Galok is a large cave with many grottos, situated on a hill in the middle of the water, surrounded by mangroves. Formerly, a human skull of larger than ordinary size was found in the cave from which became the name 'Pee Hua Toe', or 'Big-headed ghost'. Aside from this, there are prehistoric drawings on the cave walls in large numbers of people,animals,and various organs. There are also vast numbers of shells in the sedimentary rock. To get there, take a boat from Bor Tor Pier, the same place you would leave from to get to Tahm Lod Nua Tai.
- Tahm Lad Nua -Tai Cave is in the vicinity of the Ta Prang Canal, 2 kms. from the District Headquarters down the Ao Luk- Laem Sak Rd. There are 2 caves:
- Tahm Lod Nua : is a large grotto which is very twisted but very beautiful
- Tahm Lod Tai : is a long tunnel beneath the mountain rock, narrower than the one in Phang-Nga. There are stalactites and stalagmites around the mouth of the cave that are very attractive. Also, curiously bent quarter- moon shaped rocks and boulders are strewn in rows. It is best to go at low tide by long tailed boat from Bortor Pier. Travel time is only 10 minutes
- Koh Garose is on the east end of Laem Sak. There are coloured drawings of both men and animals in the vicinity of Ao Hin Bai.
- Tahm Pra is located at the monastery on Kao Pra Suanyataram about 2 kms. from the Ao Luk District Office. Inside, there is a very old image of Buddha which was later braced by 2 other equal-sized images. There are also smaller wooden images round the base.
- Tahm Petch is 3 kms. from the intersection at Ao Luk Nua market. In front is enshrined an image of The Buddha. The name of this cave 'Petch' means 'diamond', and indeed sparkling stone casts beautiful reflections on the cave walls. The best way to get there is to first contact the National Park Office at Tharn Boke Korani for a guide. Be sure to bring along a flashlight.
- Tahm Chao Lay is in a beautiful cave on the west side of Laem Sak. Inside,there are stalactites and stalagmites as well as prehistoric cave paintings of people, animals,and various geometrical shapes. It is believed they are from the period after those at Pee Hua Toe Cave. To get there, take a long tail boat from Sapan Pia at Laem Sak. Travel time is no more than 15 minutes.
- Tahmv Song Pee Nong or Tahm Poon Nua - Tai is to the west of Pee Hua Toe Cave. Inside are Human skeletons, pottery remains,earrings, and bronze bracelets.
- Koh Talu A 45 metre hill is in the center of island, which has a 30 metre wide hole in it large numbers of swallows nest on the island.
- Tahm Hua Galok Nai or Tahm Boonmak is just 100 meters from Pee Hua Toe Cave. It was discovered by a local villager, whose name was Boonmak, and is filled with stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is very large and dark. Prehistoric clay artifacts have been found in the vicinity of its opening. Most have distinctive rope-like striping, thicker and rougher patterns than found before.
- Tahm Toh Luang is near Ban Nob in Tambon Klong Hin. There are actually 3 floors, and each of the floors has stalactites and stalagmites of various shapes. Some are shaped like monks, some like serpents, etc. It is understood that this cave is the house of the local deity, named Toh Luang.
- Tahm Sua Noy is the site of the Sua Noy monastery , about 2 kms. from the Hua Galok Cave in Ban Bortor. In front is a broad incline. Old pottery has been found in diggings there as well.
- Tahm Sua Nok or Tahm Thep Nimit : is the site of Thep Nimit Monastery. The rock face is filled with shells owing to a sea tunnel beneath the cave. The upper level is a large dark cave and next to that, 50 metres off, is Tahm Orahan, or the Saints' Cave, which is filled with stalactites and stalagmites like long glass tubes. Very beautiful and very strange.
- Klong Chai Kao has characteristics similar to Ao Maya in the Phi Phi Islands. You can pass by long tail boat through a tunnel to the other side. It takes about 5 minutes.
- Koh Dang There is a 25 metre long sandy beach and a cave, 70 metres wide and 20 metres high.
- Mu Koh Hong There are both large and small islands. The main ones are: Laga or Saga Island, Lao Riem Island, and Lao Lading Island. These islands have great hollows inside them. Koh Hong is the largest island. It is the rocky island with coral formations in both shallow and deep water, they are great for diving, fishing and boating. Boats can be chartered for the journey at Ao Nang. Travel time is about 1 hour.