We hope that you recovered from visiting all the best national parks in Krabi we mentioned in our first part. Today we are going over the few remaining places you should visit, when your lungs and liver crave fresh air and water. Afterwards you can accost your liver again with some Leo and brag about your epic outdoor adventures. For now, grab your hiking boots and let’s get into the wild… again!
Tubkaek National Park
This isn’t as big when compared to the national parks like Khao Sok or Khao Nor Chu Chi. It’s worth a visit nonetheless. It’s roughly thirty minutes away from Ao Nang and can easily be reached with a scooter or a Taxi. The reason why it is so popular amongst backpackers and tourists is because of Khao Ngon Nak or Dragon Crest Mountain. In fact, when people talk about Tubkaek, they actually mean the hike to the top of the mountain. It is a 3.7km (2.3 miles) walk and it takes about 2 – 2 ½ hours to reach the main viewpoint. Unless you are one of those insane speed climbers, who complete petty trails like these before breakfast.
The trail starts fairly easy and you can walk the first thirty minutes at a nice pace, but don’t get fooled! After that the hike begins to get progressively steeper. Your legs will burn, but the reward is totally worth it. Once you’ve made it to the top you will have a breathtaking view over the province of Krabi. On a clear and sunny day you can see as far as the Hong Islands and even Koh Yao Noi. A very popular spot for taking pictures is the cliff ledge with the tropical jungle as the stunning backdrop. Next to the viewpoint on Koh Phi Phi, this might be the most famous vista in Southern Thailand. If there is a baby nearby, grab it and reenact the legendary scene from “The Lion King”*!
There is a waterfall on this nature trail, but if you want to cool down after the strenuous hike, why not check out Tubkaek beach? It is a beautiful one and not nearly as frequented as the beaches in Ao Nang. You will recognize it as the beach in the wedding scene of “The Hangover 2.”
*We are just joking. Please, for the love of God, don’t do this. Slumber Party doesn’t take any responsibility for your foolish behavior… Although, it would be pretty cool…
Hat Nopparat Thara – Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park
If you have been to Ao Nang or Koh Phi Phi, then technically you have already visited this national park. Beaches like Nopparat Thara (obviously), Railay and the main one in Ao Nang are all part of this park. It covers an area of 388 km² (149 mi²) and as the name suggests, includes the six islands of Koh Phi Phi as well. Because it contains not only coastal area, but also parts of the islands in the Andaman Sea, it is sometimes being referred to as a marine park.
The mainland is home to large areas of rainforests and mangrove forests. As a matter of fact, 40% of the entire park is covered by forests. If you are an avid rock climber, then the famous limestone mountains may be of more interest for you. As we have mentioned in our blog on staying fit in Ao Nang, Railay and Tonsai Beach are THE go-to spots when it comes to climbing. But even for someone who is not that into this extreme sport; those high mountains are just spectacular to look at.
Hey, do you want to know what’s rock hard and almost 16 inches thick? Then head on over to the Fossil Shell Beach!
It’s about 10 km (6.2 miles) away from Ao Nang and this coastal shell site is the only one in the whole world. The entry fee is 200 Baht and what you see once you are on the site are… concrete slabs? It might look like that at first sight, but it’s definitely not concrete. When you take a closer look you can see the actual fossils. The reason why the cemetery looks this way is because of countless layers of snail shells congregating over the course of millions of years. The stone plates that you can now see are 40 cm thick and are called shelly limestone.
How about the numerous coral reefs, seabeds, coralline algae and the aforementioned islands. They are all over the Andaman Sea, which makes this area one of the most famous for underwater excursions. This national park is home to 19 certified diving and snorkeling spots. Unfortunately, due to mass tourism and construction this natural beauty is severely endangered. This is particularly the case for Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi – by far the most frequented tourist destination in Southern Thailand.
If you want to avoid the mass amounts of tourists, then there are still many other small islands around to explore. All it takes is an adventurous spirit.
Mu Ko Lanta National Park
Last, but not least, we are leaving Leo DiCaprio and his famous bay behind and travel south-east to Koh Lanta. Many people actually don’t know that large parts of the Lanta Islands are part of a national park, which covers an area of 134 km² (~52 mi²). The southernmost coast lines of the biggest island, Koh Lanta Yai, can be considered the main park. At Laem Tanod is the park’s headquarters and tourist center.
From here you have access to different hiking trails and two twin beaches. For example, you can hike up the Ta Noad Cape. At the peak you will find a lighthouse as well as a fantastic viewpoint. It’s not an easy or a particularly safe hike, but if you manage to make your way up, the risk is worth the reward. The entrance fee is 200 Baht (plus 20 Baht if you come with a bike/scooter) and the opening times are from 8am to 5pm.
If you have some experience as a climber, then the surrounding caves might be something for you as well. Exploring the depths of Tham Khao Mai Kaew for example is a great adventure. Not only do you have to climb, but also crawl on the floor to get around the cave. Makes you feel like a real Indiana Jones or Lara Croft. Other caves in the area include Tham Seua, Khlong Chak and the adjacent waterfall. It’s also important to mention that you have to hire a local guide to accompany you for 300 Baht per person.
If you enjoy your time in Lanta Yai’s park area so much that a single day is not enough you, the park can provide you with a tent (250 Baht per night) or a bungalow (around 1000 – 1500 Baht per night).
But with an area of 134 km², there certainly is a lot more to see than just a lighthouse and a few beaches. This is where the surrounding islands like Koh Rok, Koh Haa, Koh Ngai and Koh Krodan come into play. These are just the more popular ones, since the marine park include 16 islands in total. It’s good to know that most of those smaller islands are closed for visitors from mid-May until October, due to the recovery of the marine life. The park authorities are doing their best to preserve the magnificence of the coral reefs, which are the main attraction for passionate divers.
Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, are known to be one of the best dive sites in the world. This is because there is a possibility to see aquatic creatures like manta rays and whale sharks. Although these spots are popular, they are not optimal for beginners.
Maybe after all this excitement, you just want to relax and give your body some time to rest. In that case, the islands of Koh Rok Nok and Koh Rok Nai have some beautiful beaches like Ao Man Sai. Both islands are so close together you can swim from one to the other. You can even rent a tent from the ranger station and camp there for the night. But just like all the other islands in this national park, you have to pay admission fees.
Go Explore the Best National Parks in Krabi!
Stop reading this and get out there! You now have two posts dedicated to the national parks in Krabi! You can use these as rough guides to find out what there is to do and to see, but truth to be told – there is so much more. More than we could fit inside two, three or four blog posts. But for now this should be enough. We trust your adventurous soul will find hidden caves, smaller beaches and other uncharted territories. Go forth and explore!