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Exploring Krabi’s national parks

A huge tree in the forest, Krabi
Towering trunks in Krabi’s ancient forests
There are only eight degrees of separation between this area of southern Thailand and the equator: most of the wooded land is thus tropical evergreen rainforest (so defined because rain falls more than nine months of the year), with some lowland swamp and mangrove forest. It forms part of the rainforest zone that sweeps through Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo and Java and is home to a whole host of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects. There are also hundreds of different birds species, many of which are endangered.

A lot of these forest areas are easily accessible, with clear trails to follow. Popular trekking spots in Krabi include the National Park area of Khao Phanom Benja with its beautiful seven-level waterfall at Huay Toh; and Khao Nor Chu Chi’s verdant tangle of lowland vines, bamboo and ancient trees, at the heart of which lies the astonishing ‘emerald pool‘. Treks vary from a short, half-hour-long nature trail, to overnight camping trips to the summit cloud forest of Phanom Bencha mountain.

The bottom tiers of the Huay Toh waterfall, Krabi
Take a refreshing dip at the bottom of the Huay Toh waterfall
For a more relaxing time, visit the Tharnbok Khoranee National Park, in Ao Luk district, some 40 minutes drive from Ao Nang. It’s a peaceful spot, ideal for a picnic, with many small waterfalls and a deep pool for swimming. This could be combined with a trip to the Bor Thor caves and canyons in the same area, which can be visited by kayak, or simply by chartering a longtail boat from the pier.

The mangrove forest in Bor Thor can also be found all along the coast, and on some larger islands, particularly in the north of the province around Ao Thalane and Ao Luk, and is best explored in a kayak.

For a rainforest “taster”, which is also close to the tourist areas, visit Tiger Cave Temple, which has the pristine Khiriwong Valley forest at its centre. Surrounded on all sides by high mountains and caves, it is accessed by steep stairs over the lowest cliff. Once over, there is an easy 20 – 30 minute nature trail leading in and out of caves which would make a nice “adventure” for younger children.

On the other hand, those looking for a more in-depth experience of the tropical rainforest should consider the overnight trip to Khao Sok National Park in neighbouring Surat Thani province. This area comprises a diverse range of caves, lakes, mountains and tropical evergreen forest and can be explored on this trip departing from and returning to Krabi.

If you dislike group visits, it is just as easy to go to any National Park yourself – although it is still recommended to take a local guide if you would like to learn something about the flora and fauna; and always stick to the footpaths.

MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Want to add a National Park tour to your itinerary? The available tours are listed below (including some combo tours that include a National Park visit); click on the links to see full itinerary and make an instant booking.

Note this page features both one day jungle trekking tours in Krabi and visits to the Hot Springs & Emerald Pool, even though there is little to no trekking involved at these sites.

Last updated: October 24, 2016