Krabi, Thailand, is the perfect place to try kayaking, no matter what your skill, experience or fitness level might be. There are an abundance of waterways that are sheltered and calm to gently paddle your way down and there is no better way to take in the majestic scenery the Krabi region has to offer. Kayaking along the Srakaew river was indeed a real treat.
Klong Srakaew meanders 5km through the Khao Thong sub-district of Krabi and boasts the deepest freshwater pool in Asia. We headed out 28km from Krabi itself until we reached our destination – the base of our kayak tour operator, Long Klong Srakaew. Stepping out of our minivan, we were greeted in true Thai style by our guide for the day, who happily gave us a rundown on the history of the place whilst showing us a detailed map of the rivers, mountains and thick vegetation that the area harbours. We were then shown to our rides for the morning, the brightly coloured kayaks waiting at the river’s edge. We were equipped with lifejackets and paddles, before settling – albeit in a wobbly fashion – into our rides. We pushed off from the jetty and were soon gliding gracefully out into the middle of the river itself.
The one great advantage of river kayaking over sea kayaking is that the river version is a lot gentler! This makes it a perfect activity for anyone able to get into a kayak – young or old. As we gently paddled along, we took in the incredible sights, sounds and smells of nature that enveloped us from all sides. We were dwarfed by the towering trees on either side of us, as well as the iconic limestone karsts that this area of Thailand is famous for. Bright explosions of flowers adorned the river’s edges and exotic looking birds swooped and chirped above our heads. This was amazing, and the colours were surreal! We felt like we were paddling down the Amazon River, 100 years back in time!
As this is an untouched part of the world, we did have to keep our eyes peeled for the odd obstacle that included a few tree stumps and rocks that poked up out of the water. But they were easy to spot and our guide made extra sure that we gave them a wide berth in plenty of time. All too soon, we reached the end of our trail and were guided in towards the riverbank to disembark. Waiting for us were a couple of trucks to take us back to our starting point, where we would begin the second part of our day of exploration.
After a delicious Thai lunch and some refreshing drinks, we set off up a dirt track to explore some of the lush jungle that surrounds the area. Heading towards the base of the mountains, we came across a small oasis of natural pools filled with cool, clear water. A perfect discovery on a hot and humid day like today! A few of us decided to make the most of them and jumped in to cool off, which was just what we needed. Our guide handed us some food for the little fish that were swimming around our bodies, and they hungrily gobbled it up. This brought squeals of delight from some members, and it was great to see so many happy faces of people enjoying the whole experience. We were enveloped by nature, and all around us we had birds singing in the trees, large butterflies dancing around our heads, crickets chirping and water gurgling. Taking a deep breath of the sweet air was invigorating to say the least!
Our guide took us further until we reached the base of Sa Kongsi Mountain, where he showed us an incredible natural display of stalactites and stalagmites that have formed in the soft limestone over millennia. It’s easy to guess how this part of the world has become a favourite location for several Hollywood blockbuster movies, such as “Around the World in 80 Days” and “The Beach”, to name just a couple. I highly recommend a visit to the Srakaew cave area, where at least one hour should be dedicated. The colour of the pool of water is a weird blue, and the pool is 200 meters deep, the deepest pool in Asia!
As we made our way back to the start to begin our homeward journey, we passed farms with locals working away at the rubber trees – one of the major industries in Krabi. Fascinating to see and smell, it was a lasting impression on top of everything else we had experienced that day.
It was wonderfully relaxing, informative and downright fun day; kayaking along the Srakaew river is a must for anyone visiting Krabi.
There is hardly any reference of this area in the Krabi generic tourist maps, so I relied on the Internet to find out more. Drive from Krabi Town towards Phuket on the main road, the sign to Klong Srakaew is at about 20km out of Krabi. Turn left into that road and drive on for another 5km, then turn right on the tarmac road and follow it until you see the sign, to the right, to the kayaking area. If you are driving from Ao Nang, ask for directions to Tha Pom.