Krabi, Sea, Sand and Sun
Situated on Thailand’s West Coast, Krabi’s coastline is studded by sheer limestone cliffs, mangrove forests, and more than a hundred offshore islands, the most well-known being Phi Phi Island. Krabi caters to every diverse taste, fabulous beaches on which to laze away the days, adventure activities and cultural hotspots.
For beach lovers Ao Nang, Phra Nang, and Railay beaches are powder white with turquoise warm waters and backed by towering limestone cliffs that provide shade from the afternoon sun. Many of the cliffs are dotted with caves to explore and for the more adventurous rock climbing is readily available. Offshore islands abound and are accessible by local boats. Many surrounded by vibrant coral reefs for snorkeling, kayaking and even scuba diving.
Sa Morakot, or the Emerald Pool, is 15 km from Krabi town, Khao Pra BangKhram Nature Reserve. It is a stunning eco-tourist spot with aquamarine waters surrounded by tropical rain forest. The entire area around the Emerald Pool is also ideal for trekking and bird watching.
Another natural wonder is Susan Hoi, or Krabi Shell Cemetery, an archaic petrified shell cemetery up to 40 million years old located 17 Km from Krabi town.
Local restaurants, both simple and extravagant, serve up fresh Andaman seafood Thai style or international for lazy sun drenched lunches or moonlit dinners.
Phitsanulok, City of Two Rivers
Phitsanulok is the gateway to the North of Thailand and once named ‘Muang Song Kwae’, the city between the Nan and Khwae Noi rivers, it is rich in history, culture and nature.
Phitsanulok is one of the historically significant cities of Thailand and home to the Shrine of King Naresuan the Great, the liberator of Thailand from Burmese occupation. Visiting the sacred shrine and Chan Royal Palace, where the revered King was born and raised will transport you back in time to the era of his rule. Also not to be missed is Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat Temple or Wat Yai, which houses the sacred Bhuddha Chinnaraj, regarded by many as the most beautiful Buddha image in Thailand.
Around Phitsanulok are an abundance of national parks, and waterfalls, Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park, Kaeng So Pha Waterfall, Namtok Chat Trakan National Park and in Thung Salaeng Luang National Park magnificent caves with both stalagmites and stalactites.
In September don’t miss the traditional King’s Cup Long Boat Races on the Nan River, a tradition from ancient times that continues to this day.
Mae Hong Son, Enchanted in Mist
Nestled in a deep valley surrounded by high mountains, Mae Hong Son seems to be isolated from the outside world. The mountains contribute to the cool temperatures on the valley floor and “The City of Three Mists” is indeed shrouded in romantic mist in all seasons.
The entire province of Mae Hong Son is fascinating province, a cultural blend of Burmese and Lanna styles. With remote hill tribe villages, hidden hot springs, trekking paths and river rafting and more, you may have to stay longer to explore.
In the Old Town, there are wonderfully restored 19th century buildings that house galleries, local shops, restaurants and cafes, and where street art is always a photo opportunity. The sacred City Pillar or San Chao Lak Muang Songkhla, an ancient and sacred monument in the heart of the Old Town as well as Songkla National Museum housing ancient Srivijaya Kingdom artifacts are sites at the heart of Songkhla’s rich heritage.
Finally, Hat Yai is just 30 kilometers away, a bustling commercial and transportation hub for the deep south and neighboring Malaysia, is far different from its laid back Songkhla. A visit to Kim Yong Market in downtown Hat Yai is a shopper’s paradise for imported snacks fresh or dried seafood and much more. Relaxing and slow, or exciting and fast, the Songkhla area has it all.