When Harmony and I first arrived in Krabi, we weren't sure whether we'd like it or not. We certainly didn't like the smell of the littered streets and how it seemed like there was nothing to do in the town. The market wasn't very nice either, and the hassle from the taxi drivers wasn't very fun. However, after exploring the area a little the following day, we eventually found some beautiful scenery by the bank of the river, with an endless sea of trees and large, limestone karsts on the opposite side. It was absolutely stunning!
Khao Khanap Nam
At the bank of the river, we were talked into going on a quick boat trip for only 500 Baht. That's 250 Baht each and a boat all to ourselves! Firstly, we were taken up the river to one of the two mountains that form what's known as Khao Khanap Nam. We then paid a 30 Baht admission fee each and were free to follow a path up to some stairs that lead us into a cave.
Amongst the many stalactites clutching onto the cave's ceiling was an opening that allowed light to flood in and illuminate the interesting and impressive features inside. These features include prehistoric paintings on the walls and a collection of stalagmites that had formed on the floor. Outside the cave was the 43,000 year old remains of a human body, which (like everything else) was signposted and described. It wasn't the easiest place to photograph, but it was okay once I had the light to my back. We were even the only ones in the cave for a while!
After 20-30 minutes in the cave, the boat took us back down the river with the mangrove forests by our side. We also saw run down buildings, sunken boats and children playing on beaches and amongst palm trees. We eventually came to a fish farm, which I wasn't too fond of, but it was good to be able to look at how the locals live and sustain themselves. We didn't stay there long and soon headed back to the pier. Here, we walked around a little and admired all of the sculptures by the side of the river.
After our boat trip, we headed back to where we were staying (JP Mansion). We actually stumbled across this hostel and, luckily, they could accommodate us as we didn't book anything prior to our arrival. It was a little bit out of the way and they didn't serve food, but the owners were lovely and we could get a cheap breakfast a couple of doors down. We even got the price of our room down by 100 Baht a night, as our air con stopped working. Of course, we started to struggle with nothing more than a fan when it was hideously hot, but we knew what to expect by now.
It wasn't necessarily a negative thing that our hostel didn't serve food - hardly any hostels that we stayed in did - it just meant that we had to eat elsewhere. As I said, we could get a cheap breakfast just a few doors down. For coffee, May and Mark's was our favourite. For dinner, I really liked Hometel for their sandwiches and the friendly and humorous waiters.
A Stunning Sunset
A couple days into our stay, and there was a stunning sunset! So, on our way to eat dinner one evening, we decided to walk by the river. I had my camera with me, but no other equipment, so I kept things simple. The tide was out, which meant that there weren't many boats at the pier. Instead, I focussed on an old, broken boat. I think it worked really well against the dirty river bank!
Next, I moved down to a metal sculpture of an eagle, which was really hard to photograph because of its design and the tourists surrounding it. Then, a long tail boat luckily pulled up to the pier, which made for a fantastic photo with the colourful clouds, an orange glow and a beautiful backdrop.
The following day, we wanted to see Wat Keaw - an incredible temple in the centre of the town. We previously spotted it as it was next to the health clinic that I had to pay a visit to due to a burn on my leg. When we saw the wonderful, white temple from the bottom gate, we were amazed by it's ornate design and the two golden dragons that lead you up the stairs. There was even some kind of celebration going on outside that was all a bit too crazy to understand, and a relatively nice woodland area to escape the chaos and leave the locals to it.
River Mangrove Boardwalk
Later that evening, we walked up the river to what we thought would be a cool walkway through the mangroves. All we found was a dilapidated concrete pathway. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see the plant life and tall trees sprouting out of the water and river bed.
Tiger Cave Temple
Another temple that we knew we had to visit was called the Tiger Cave Temple. We made our way to the 7-11 in town, as that's where the taxi drivers hang out. One driver offered to take us there and back for 500 Baht, but weren't sure whether we had that much to spend. Fortunately, he later offered us 400 Baht, which we were more than happy to spend.
Thinking we would be about to jump on the back of a motorbike each, he showed us to his truck. In some ways, we were relieved and, in others, disappointed. Nevertheless, the 20 minute journey to Tiger Cave had begun. The thing about Tiger Cave is that you have to trek up 1,237 stairs to reach the temple. Honestly, Harmony and I were struggling by the 100th step. By the 200th, we knew that it was going to be well worth the effort and that the views were going to be really impressive at the top!
The higher we got, the more incredible it got, which made the climb that bit easier. Some of the steps were scarily steep, whilst others were less substantial. Thankfully, the stairs were somewhat shaded for a lot of the climb and free drinking water was available at the top. There were also a lot of toilets on the way up, but every bit of water we drank was immediately sweated out anyway, so cleanliness wasn't a concern.
After about half an hour of climbing, we finally reached the top! The view was awe inspiring and better than what we had ever imagined - even after admiring it on the way up. Past the big Buddha statue was a mind blowing backdrop of mountains and karsts just like the Khao Khanap Nam mountains... Better in fact! The surrounding area was absolutely stellar, and something I'll remember for a very long time.
Unfortunately, we didn't find any actual tigers at the temple, but there were lots of monkeys! They were up to their usual antics of chasing each other around, getting into small scraps and stealing snacks off all the tourists. That said, there weren't too many tourists at the temple - even though admission is free! I think the trek must put people off!