Friday, June 3, 2011

Diving into Krabi adventure

Source Website:
Joy Fang,, my paper | Mon, May 30 2011

PHOTO: The writer kayaking on the Ao Thalane, which winds through canyons and mangrove forests.
Photo by Joy Fang


PHOTO: The sweet life on pleasure island

In Krabi, amateur thrill-seekers enjoy plenty of opportunities to get their feet wet.
SAY the words "adventure junkie" and you'll probably think of those who are mad about skydiving, bungee jumping and the like.

Adventure of a different but no less exciting kind awaits in Krabi, where amateur thrill-seekers enjoy plenty of opportunities to get their feet wet.

Known to many as a near- pristine beach getaway, Krabi is anything but a sleepy holiday destination.

The coastal province in southern Thailand faces the Andaman Sea, offering sports activities such as white-water rafting, rock climbing and canoeing. There's even a shooting range available. With so much to do, a day in Krabi is never dull.

my paper highlights a few activities that even amateurs can try. The many tour operators in Ao Nang - arguably the most popular beach destination in the province - offer packages for the activities mentioned here. Or, check with your hotel for more options.

PHOTO: White-water rafting on the Khlong Song Phraek river offers plenty of wet and wild fun.
Photos: myp, Joy Fang


Splashin' good time
White-water rafting on the Khlong Song Phraek river, which flows from Phang Nga province north-west of Krabi, is like being on a ride at Disneyland, except it's about 10 times crazier.

Prices range from 1,800 baht (S$74) for a 5km trip with lunch, to 2,300 baht for a 9km trip.

White-water rafting can be found in other Asian destinations like Bali, but while the boatmen at that Indonesian resort tend to be cautious, those in Krabi push for maximum thrill in the waves.

They charge forward, yelling with excitement at every surge, and gleefully splash cold water at you at every chance.

Paddle fun
If the rush of thundering swells doesn't float your boat, a relaxing day spent canoeing is another option.

Krabi has plenty of nooks and crannies that serve as perfect canoeing spots, and several tour agencies offer half- or full-day tours to these places.

Those heading to Ban Bor Thor will enter a maze of mangrove trees and caves containing wildlife and ancient cave paintings, while those heading to Hong Island will get to snorkel and visit sparkling lagoons.

This writer settled for a trip to Ao Thalane, where she wove lazily through narrow limestone canyons and dense mangrove forests.

The scenery was breathtaking, with sun rays striking the lovely karst formations towering overhead, sending rainbow colours across the sky. There was also a brief stop at a sand bank, where millions of tiny crabs scuttled by before diving into their shelters in the sand. [Karst is a distinctive topography in which the landscape is largely shaped by the dissolving action of water on carbonate bedrock (usually limestone, dolomite, or marble). ]

Based on the experience of this writer - who spent 500 baht for half a day of canoeing with lunch - scouting around to compare prices is a must. The same package can often range between 900 and 1,050 baht.

PHOTO: Gentle Creatures. The elephants used to give people rides through the rainforest taking a break from work.
Photos: myp, Joy Fang

Safari goodness
An elephant ride is another activity that tends towards the leisurely. Led by guides, the lumbering creatures will take you through rubber plantations and muddy streams.

An hour-long ride costs around 750 baht for adults, while a half-day tour including a two-hour ride and lunch

would set you back about 1,700 baht.

Alternatively, you can opt for a horse-riding tour, which takes you on a trek along the beach or through the forest.

A one-hour ride along the beach costs about 750 baht, while a half-day tour, which allows you to swim with your horse at high tide, costs around 1,800 baht.

PHOTO: A horse-riding tour in Krabi usually means a trek along the beach or through the forest.

On the rocks
Rock climbing is the sport to try in Krabi, where courses for beginners take place amid gorgeous surroundings. A popular choice is Railey Beach, a short boat ride away from Ao Nang.

Half-day tours might be best for beginners, who'll get four hours of climbing at heights from 10m to 27m.

Adults pay about 1,000 baht for such sessions.

Trigger happy
Want to relive your childhood dreams of wielding a gun and shooting the baddies?

You can do so by heading to Ao Nang's shooting range, where you'll get to choose firearms ranging from semi-automatics to shotguns - including Beretta pistols and Magnum revolvers - and shoot rounds at still targets.

A 38mm revolver with 10 bullets will set you back 980 baht, while a 9mm semi-automatic pistol with 10 rounds costs 1,150 baht.

Now, that is a surefire recipe for an adrenaline rush.

How to get there
Tiger Airways flies daily from Singapore to Krabi. Prices range from around $42 to $130 for a one-way ticket (excluding taxes).

Flights take about one hour and 40 minutes.

What you need to know
- For white-water rafting, canoeing, elephant trekking, adventure tours and island hopping, visit Ao Nang, where a long trail of shops and travel agencies line the beach front.

Agencies usually cobble to- gether different packages. For example, a white-water rafting package might also offer all- terrain vehicle rides or elephant trekking.

Prices can range from 500 baht (S$20) to more than 2,000 baht, depending on what you choose. For Ao Nang Shooting Range, visit 99/9 Moo 2 Ao Nang Rd (tel: +66-075-695555). It is open from 10am to 8pm.

- The best time to visit Krabi is from November to March, when temperatures are cool and rainfall is at the lowest. Avoid July to October, which coincides with the rainy season.

- To get around, take a tuk-tuk, which costs a fixed price of 20 baht per person.

For longer trips (for example, from Ao Nang to Krabi Town), look out for songthaews - white or red taxi-trucks that run along set routes. Check with your hotel for their schedules and tips on how to hail one.

You can also rent a motorcycle. Long-tail boats are available between islands.

- Take sufficient baht along as most small shops accept only cash. There are only a few banks with automated teller machines and currency-exchange centres.

By Joy Fang,, my paper | Mon, May 30 2011

我的字典: Wǒ de zì diǎn

Beach getaway: 沙滩度假地 - shā tān dù jià dì
Boatmen: 船夫 - chuán fū
Full-day tours: 全日游 - quán rì yóu
High tide: 高潮 - gāo cháo