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  1. #1
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    A Year in Thailand P.23 & 24 (Krabi & Phang Nga)

    Krabi

    After Nakhon Si Thammarat i headed back to Krabi. My next destination was Phang Nga which is 90km/55miles on from Krabi, so i thought it'd be nice to break the journey up a little, catch up with old friends and see my favorite town once more before i leave Thailand in 3 weeks. This is the third time i've been to Krabi this year. The first was back in February when i stayed for 1 month. The second time was in April when i returned, and spent the Songkran water festival here.

    Krabi is a lovely little town. Close by is Ao nang bay, NopharatThara beach and Railay should you need any beach time. Add to this is plethora of islands from the small and quiet Koh Jum to the jewel in the crown that is Kho Phi Phi, and a sprinkle of national parks and hot springs etc, it's easy to see why Krabi is such a great place. However, having done "most" of the activities and attractions during past visits, this was just a chill out week for me to reminisce over past visits to Krabi and also the last year in Thailand. I also met up with old friends and it was great just to hang out and walk around the town again.

    As always, i stayed at Green Tea Guesthouse. Mam, the owner, is great and there's always a steady stream of travelers passing through this place. Some new arrivals, and some have been here even longer than i have. It's great to chat with everyone and exchange travel stories. During this visit Krabi was celebrating "The Krabi - Andaman Festival 2010". Over the weekend were competitions such as casting a fishnet and shrimp and clam fishing, as well as environmental activities like taking part in a clean up around tourist attractions, beaches and islands throughout Krabi province and planting a tree or releasing marine creatures into the wild. One day at Ao Nang you could watch the ritual of tying a coloured scarf to longtail boats which is supposed to grant protection from the guardian goddess of boats. Also the main road of thannon Utarakit was closed off and turned into a giant market place with multiple stages showing performances from live music to cultural shows and stalls and vendors selling anything and everything. Add to this the centre stage at walking street which is on every friday to sunday night (not just for festivals) where anyone, from kids to elderly can do performances like karaoke, stand-up comedy and dancing etc, you can begin to imagine the buzz surrounding the town this last week.

    I also realised i'd been to walking street market and the centre stage, so, so many times in the past and had never taken a picture. It's so easy when you stay in a place for so long to take scenery and events that you walk past daily for granted... it's only when you leave you ask yourself why didn't i take a picture? While on the subject on pictures, a quick update regarding my camera. 'Big Camera', the chain of stores i brought my camera from, had a lens cleaning kit in their Krabi branch and cleaned my lens for free. However, this didn't remove the blotch, which means it's probably grease, dirt or oil that has somehow found its way inside the camera. They said as an alternative to them sending it to Bangkok to be fixed, i can goto any Samsung service centre and they should be able to fix or replace it under warranty within a few days (as opposed to a few weeks to a month). So when i head to Phuket i'll find a Samsung service centre and look into my options there. It's not a major issue, but i know it's there and it does spoil some pictures somewhat. I finally figured out the settings to take good pictures at night time too..... on the last picture i took >.< So from now on, the night time pictures "shouldn't" have a blur like effect.

    During my time in Krabi i had a look through my blog, from beginning to end. I'm confident to say that anyone who began reading it over the first few months, soon stopped. I can't believe how un-informative i was and the lack of pictures i uploaded. I suppose you could say the blog is a reflection of me, and as i've grown as a person from my experiences over the past year, this is shown in the blog by how it's progressed. I did a few minor updates of some of the early blog entries, though this was in text only as i didn't have the time or inclination to sift through 1000's (literally) of pictures and upload them. Maybe i'll do that when i return home.

    I'm in Phang Nga now. I head to Phuket in about 5 days which is where i'll spend my last 12 days before returning to the UK.

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  3. #2
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    Re: A Year in Thailand P.23 & 24 (Krabi & Phang Nga)


    small park between utarkit road and krabi river


    Standard Krabi scenery


    Maharaj road


    NopharatThara beach


    Utarakit road stage


    walking street

  4. #3
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    Re: A Year in Thailand P.23 & 24 (Krabi & Phang Nga)

    Phang Nga

    After Krabi i went to Phang Nga. This is actually the second time i've been here. The first was way back in February when i biked here with another traveler from Krabi. This is when we saw the prime attractions around Ao Phang Nga bay. These included, Khao Khian, which is a cave like mountain, and has etchings of human and animal like figures dating back to over 3000 years ago. Ko Panyi, is a 200 year old muslim fishing community built on stilts over the sea. Households, souvenir shops and a restaurant are all built around a central mosque and linked via wooden and bamboo walkways. It's the only one of its kind in Thailand. Tham (Cave) Lot or Ko Thalu Nok is a limestone cave that's been carved out by waves over the years. It has many stalactite formations and due to level of the ceiling been very low, while you can longtail or kayak through here, you need to lye down in order to do so. The main attraction of Ao Phang Nga is Khao Tapu (nail mountain) or James Bond island as it's better known as this location was used as the base of the assassin in the 70's Bond movie, the man with the golden gun. Khao Phing Kan (leaning mountain) is nearby and was also used in the setting of the afore mentioned Bond movie. Finally, a large limestone karst named Khao Ma Chu (Dog mountain) because of it's (arguably) dog like shape sculptured by high winds and rain over the years. Wether you think it looks like a dog or not, it's undeniably eye catching and can be spotted from afar. Although i took all these pictures in February, i thought it relevant to add them again to this blog entry.

    Ao Phang Nga is the main tourist attraction in this province and as i have just mentioned, is also the reason i came to Phang Nga for the first time. However, there is a lot more to Phang Nga than it's bays, beaches and islands. This time i stayed in the town which is very nice, small, quiet, and surrounded by the most magnificent mountain ranges. Every direction you look, you see naturally sculptured limestone karsts dotted around together with long mountain ranges. Bang in the middle of Phuket and Krabi, the town of Phang Nga has been accused of been "too quiet" by some, when compared to it's boarder provinces. Though a brand new T.A.T office (Tourism Authority Thailand) has recently opened on Phetkasem road (Highway 4) and also an NK shopping mall has just opened in the centre of town (though at the time of writing, only the first floor is functional, with the upper floors still been furbished and are due to open soon).

    Most attractions i visited in Phang Nga where within reasonable walking distance from the centre (depending how much you like to walk). One place i visited was Khao Chang (Elephant mountain). It's namesake comes from the fact that the mountain range resembles that of a crouching elephant. Within the mountain is Tham Phung Chang (Elephant belly cave) which is a large cave system that has 2 entry points / exits on the east and west sides. The distance between the 2 entrances are 1.2km (just short of 1 mile). There is a special tour group outside the cave that can guide you around via both on foot and by kayak. The cave is just too big to explore on your own and you NEED a good light. The tour was 500B (10pounds) though there was room for a bit of bargaining. However, due to my current funds and the fact i've seen dozens of caves, i decided to give the tour a miss, though the small grounds around the entrance are very nice and it is well worth the visit to come here wether you take the tour or not. The folk tale behind this place is many, many years ago, a herd of wild elephants trampled on a farmers crops. Enraged, he took his spear in hand and pursued the herd. He finally caught up with an elephant and speared it through it's belly to death. Unbeknown to the farmer, this elephant was another wild elephant and not part of the herd that had destroyed his crops. Because of the elephants innocence, where it once lay dead, later became Khao Chang and the cave symbolizes the spear wounds to the elephants belly.

    Close by is Somdej Pra Srinakarin Park. This is one of the nicest parks i've been to. It has the standard lake and gardens that most public parks do, but it also has a huge cave in it's centre that you can walk around (with monkeys) which sets it apart from other parks. Also you really get to appreciate the surrounding landscape of Phang Nga here with the limestone karsts and mountain ranges in full view at every direction. A wonderful place to visit. Also you can get a good view of Khao Chang from afar here and appreciate its defined shape.

    Also within town is Tham Tapan or Heaven and Hell cave. The grounds have a temple (Wat Tapan) which has many steps leading up a karst to a chedi. From here you get the most amazing panoramic views over Phang Nga. There are quite a few view points around Phang Nga and i've taken some ariel pictures from a few places (climbed up a water tower and from the roof of my hotel to name but 2) but Wat Tapan's chedi by far, has the best views. At the entrance is an enclosed bridge in the form of a Dragon. You walk through it's mouth and after about 25metres or so, you come out at the caves entrance. The cave itself is quite large and has lighting. You will get muddy/wet feet in here though, so don't bring your best footwear. You traverse over 3 bridges throughout the cave and it is one of the nicest caves i've seen. Outside the cave you begin to understand where the cave's name, 'Heaven and Hell' stems from. There is a large area displaying sculptures of people been killed, tortured and worse. This is man's Hell. While near the wat/temple is a large cliff face with statues and sculptures of all the gods and goddesses in peace. This is man's Heaven. It reminded me very much of the wat/temple i saw back in Si Saket in Isaan. At the time i had no idea what it was all about and was surprised to see images like this at a temple of all places. Though after seeing Tham Tapan, i now understand a little, the message the previous place was trying to portray.

    On the way back, i took a small detour through a soi off Phetkasem road to Chedi Khao Langbart Ancient monument. This is a small stupa built in the late Ayutthaya period (18th - 19th centuries) ontop of a large limestone rock. It's decorated with a lotus petal design at it's base with a spire on top. There are also great views of Phang Nga from here.

    The last attraction i saw was Sa Nang Manora Forest Park about 6km/4miles north of town. This is a nature trail that's supposed to be 2km long (it's clearly a lot more) with 10 attractions on the way in the form of caves, a waterfall, rock formations, plants and a giant tree. The many small waterfall tiers, all belong to Sa Nang Manora waterfall. Most of the caves are just indents in the rock, though Shell cave (#6) halfway through the trail is well worth looking at/in. You're also rewarded with a stunning cave at the trails end called Bat cave (#10). While these caves are big, they're not no deep that the light doesn't reach in, so they can be explored without the need of a torch. The trail itself (while sometimes it does take a moment or two to find it again) is easy to follow, Some difficult terrain needs to be negotiated at certain points and the "bridges" arn't always there, so expect a wade now and again. It was great fun and i highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys trekking through the jungle.

    That pretty much concludes Phang Nga. I only spent 5 days here but having already done the main attraction previously, i didn't need to stay longer. I did a lot of walking here and while i've hired a bike a lot during my time in Thailand, at the same time, i've never forgotten what it's like to walk. I always like to walk around an area and explore by foot. You seem to see (and have time to appreciate) so much more. When you're whizzing past on a bike and concentrating on the road, it's easy to miss many great things. Plus it's nice just to stroll and look in awe at the stunning scenery that surrounds you in a place like Phang Nga.

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    Re: A Year in Thailand P.23 & 24 (Krabi & Phang Nga)


    Khao Khian


    Ko Panyi (muslim village)


    Tham Lot


    James Bond island


    Khao Ma Chu


    Phang Nga town

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    Re: A Year in Thailand P.23 & 24 (Krabi & Phang Nga)


    Views from roof of my hotel


    Khao Phung Chag


    Khao Phung Chag


    Khao Chang


    Views from water tower at Khao Chang


    NK shopping mall

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    Re: A Year in Thailand P.23 & 24 (Krabi & Phang Nga)


    Somdej Pra Srinakarin Park


    Somdej Pra Srinakarin Park


    Somdej Pra Srinakarin Park


    Somdej Pra Srinakarin Park


    Somdej Pra Srinakarin Park


    Somdej Pra Srinakarin Park

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    Re: A Year in Thailand P.23 & 24 (Krabi & Phang Nga)


    Heaven & Hell cave (Tham Tapan)


    Heaven & Hell cave (Tham Tapan)


    Heaven & Hell cave (Tham Tapan)


    Heaven & Hell cave (Tham Tapan)


    Heaven & Hell cave (Tham Tapan)


    Heaven & Hell cave (Tham Tapan)

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    Re: A Year in Thailand P.23 & 24 (Krabi & Phang Nga)


    Heaven & Hell cave (Tham Tapan)


    Heaven & Hell cave (Tham Tapan)


    Heaven & Hell cave (Tham Tapan)


    Chedi Khao Langbart Ancient monument


    Views from Chedi Khao Langbart Ancient monument


    Sa Nang Manora forest park

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    Re: A Year in Thailand P.23 & 24 (Krabi & Phang Nga)


    Sa Nang Manora forest park


    Sa Nang Manora forest park


    Sa Nang Manora forest park


    Sa Nang Manora forest park


    Sa Nang Manora forest park


    Sa Nang Manora forest park

    As always, unless i state a price. Entry is free.

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    Re: A Year in Thailand P.23 & 24 (Krabi & Phang Nga)

    I'm disappointed that you are heading to Phuket for so long. This doesn't sound like you at all!
    Enjoyed this bit because I'm quite familiar with Phang Nga and Krabi (also stayed at Green Tea with my family in April). So many things to see. If only there were more beaches (or any beaches) near Phang Nga town, it would be an ideal place to live.

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