Krabi is a southern province on Thailand’s Andaman seaboard with perhaps the country’s oldest history of continued settlement. After dating stone tools, ancient coloured pictures, beads, pottery and skeletal remains found in the province’s many cliffs and caves, it is thought that Krabi has been home to homosapiens since the period 25,000-35,000 B.C.
At the start of the Rattanakosin period, about 200 years ago, when the capital was finally settled at Bangkok, an elephant kraal was established in Krabi by order of Jao Praya Nakorn (Noy), the Rajah of Nakorn Sri Thammarat, which was by then a part of the Thai Kingdom. He sent his vizier, the Pra Palad to oversee this task, which was to ensure a regular supply of elephants for the larger town. So many emigrated in the steps of the Pra Palad that soon Krabi had large community in three different boroughs: Pakasai, Klong Pon, and Pak Lao.
In 1872, King Chulalongkorn graciously elevated these to town status, called Krabi, a word that preserves in its meaning the monkey symbolism of the old standard. The town’s first governor was Luang Tehp Sena, though it continued a while as a dependency of Nakorn Sri Thammarat, This was changed in 1875, when Krabi was raised to a fourth level town in the old system of Thai government. Administrators then reported directly to the central government in Bangkok, and Krabi’s history as a unique entity, separate from the other provinces, had begun.
During the present reign, the corps of civil servants, the merchants, and the population generally of Krabi and nearby provinces have together organized construction of a royal residence at Laem Hahhg Nak Cape for presentation to Her Majesty the Queen. This lies thirty kilometres to the west of Krabi Town on the Andaman coast.
Krabi’s mountainous physical geography is broken by highlands and plains on the mainland; the provincial administration also covers more than 130 islands big and small in the Andaman, include the world famous “Phi Phi” and “Lanta” islands. Natural forest cover is chiefly mangrove and Cassia trees. Krabi’s sandy clay soil conditions are perfect for a variety of agricultural products, including: Rubber trees, palms, oranges, coconuts, and coffee. The Krabi River flows 5 kilometres through the city and falls into the Andaman at Tambon Pak Nam. There are other streams as well: The Klong Pakasai; the Klong Krabi Noy; these have their source in the province’s highest range of mountians, the Kao Panom Benja.
Weather in Krabi is typical monsoon, providing the province with just two seasons, the hot season from November to April, and the rainy season from May to October. Monsoon winds, which change according to season, blow from the southeast, the southwest, and northeast. Temperatures for the year range between 16.9 and 37.3 degrees Celsius; yearly rainfall averages 2,568.5 millimeters.
Attractions in Muang District
Khao Panom Benja National Park : Khao Panom Benja is the tallest mountain of Krabi (1,397 meters above sea level) that has ancient forest with high humidity, moss, fern, and many tropical plants. It is the origin of streams for maintaining Krabi people such as Klong Ton, Klong Bangsan, Klong Krabi Yai, etc. The park headquater locates at moo 4, Muang district, Krabi province. It covers 3 districts; Muang, Khao Panom, Ao Luk.
Nopparat Thara Beach : In times past villagers in the area called this three kilometers long beach Haht Klong Haeng, meaning Dry Stream Beach, because when the tide ebbs the stream flowing from the northern mountains almost disappears, so that the beach has no shore and stretches all the way to Koh Kao Pak Klong Island. In the vicinity of the beach are many places to stay serving tourists. Details and further information may be obtained by writing to Nopparat Thara Beach National Park, P.O.Box 23 Muang District, Krabi 81000, Tel: (075) 637436 or call National Park Headquarters, The Royal Forestry Dept., Tel: (02) 579-0529
Shell Cemetery : The shell graveyard at Ban Laem Poh was once a large freshwater swamp, home to a kind of snail. Over eons dating from the Tertiary Age, about 40 million years ago, these snails lived and died by the million, to the extent that the dead snails formed a layer upon which existed the living. Eventually, weather changes precipitated the swamp’s disappearance, but by then the layer of fossilized snail shells was forty centimeters of lignite below which is the subsoil, Because of geographic upheaval, this shell limestone is now distributed in great broken sheets of impressive magnitude on the seashore at Cape Laem Poh.
Ao Nang : This bay is beautiful and at the same time very strange to the eye because of its limestone mountains. Its famous beaches include Rai Ley, Tahm Pra Nang (where the Tahm, or cave, is sacred to local villagers). And Nam Mao; none of these can be reached by road. However, boats leave regularly from the accessible part of Ao Nang to take visitors to them. There are also other islands to visit as well: Kai island. Tap Island, Mor Island, and Podah Island, where there are clean sandy beaches, clear water and schools of colourful fishes in abundance – perfect for diving, snorkeling, or swimming. Boats to the islands are boarded Ao Nang.
Phi Phi Islands :The name is derived from Malay, and the original was Pulao Pi ah Pi, where in pulao is the Malay word for island, and pi, pronounced with only a half p sound, was very close in pronunciation to the English word be; the ah was eventually dropped, so the name was said something like Bi Bi. Later the p was pronounced with a stronger aspiration and the name became the Pi Pi we know today (the h with which it is usually spelled is confusing and superfluous). The name refers to mangrove wood found there. Six islands are in the group; Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Le, Biddah Nok, Biddah Nai, Yung, and Pai; total area is 42 square kilometers, They were incorporated into the national park in 1983. Some of the interesting places to visit include:
1) Phi Phi Don Island covers a total area of 28 square kilometers in length and 3.5 at its boardest point. At the north end is Cape Laem Tohng, where there is a Chao Ley, or sea gipsy village. These sea gipsies emigrated from Koh Lipeh in Tarutao National Park, near the border with Malaysia. Diving at Laem Tohng is excellent, as it is also at Hua Rah Ket to the extreme south. There are long beaches with rocks scattered about. Two curving bays are especially beautiful: Ton Sai and Loh Dalam. This is also where accommodations and tourist services are found.
2) Phi Phi Le Island is 6.6 square kilometers in total area: 3 kilometers in length and 1 at its broadest point. The island is entirely limestone and steep cliffs rising from the sea very nearly ring it. Surrounding waters average about 20 meters at the deepest point off the island’s southern tip. Phi Phi Le has several beautiful bays: Pileh is very nearly enclosed by the limestone walls of the island’s cliffs, so that the water appears almost to be an island sea. On Phi Phi Le’s northeast is the famous Viking Cave; this was renamed by H.M. Rama IX when he visited it in 1972, Tahm Pya Nak, from the shape of a particular boulder, which resembles in shape the head of the great serpent of Buddhist legend, the Naga. It is a place much revered by the local people who come there to collect the swift’s nests used to make Bird’s Nest Soup, a Chinese delicacy. On the eastern and southern walls of the cave are coloured drawings dating from historic times. There are pictures of elephants and also of various boats: European, Arab, and Chinese sailing ships; barques, motorboats, and steamshios, It is theorized that these pirates who paused in their travels from west to east, sheltering in the cave to escape the monsoon winds, transfer cargo, or make repairs. Travel to the Phi Phi islands Tour operators in both Phuket and Krabi provide transport and tour packages to this popular distination. Regular boat service is available from Jao Fah pier in Krabi.
Attractions on Koh Lanta District
Lanta Islands National Park covers 152 square kilometers of Lanta Islands. This island forms the most southern district of Krabi Province. It was known long ago by its name in the Malay language, Pulao Satak, which means Long Beach Island. Later so many Thais, both Buddhist and Muslim, came to live on the island that there seemed to be a million eye, which is what some people think Lanta means in Thai. Others hold that the name is corrupted from Javanese lan tas, and means a fish grill (which is built of wood with a square grill on top where the fish are set in a circle). Several important islands are in the national park:
Lanta Yai Island is where the District and National Park offices are located. Island geography is mountainous and rugged, especially near the southern tip; some beaches are gravelly, others have fine white sands. A clan of Chao Ley, or sea gipsies are resident on Koh Yao Yai, and they preserve many of their ancient customs and ceremonies; e.g., the setting of ceremonial boats adrift to bring good luck and prosperity on the full moon nights of the sixth and eleventh months. This and other features of their lives are open to view. To visit the island take a regularly scheduled ferry from Ban Hua Hin Pier in Tambon Koh Klahng; Bor Muang Pier in Tambon Sai Kao; or Jao Fah Pier in Krabi Town.