IF YOU are looking to take your family or friends on a relaxing vacation to an affordable seaside destination without travelling too far, Krabi might just fit the bill.
Krabi has been growing in popularity over the years as an alternative tourist destination to Phuket and Koh Samui in the south of Thailand, thanks to its proximity and easy access to some of the most beautiful islands in the Andaman Sea.
But unlike Phuket and Koh Samui, Krabi is not nearly as crowded with tourists, making it the perfect place for a quiet and peaceful getaway.
To achieve this, rather than staying at Krabi town itself, try to get a hotel in more tourist-oriented locations such as Ao Nang and Railay Bay, or even on islands such as Lanta and Phi Phi.
Even if you are not one to enjoy scuba diving or snorkelling in the beautiful coral reefs of the Andaman Sea, island hopping is a must as the pristine white sandy beaches look like scenes right out of postcards — no Instagram filter needed.
Hong Island (Koh Hong) is a great place for relaxing on the beaches or sea kayaking, where you can explore its many bays and hidden coves.
There are way too many good islands to mention but the Poda Group Islands, with its satellite islands connected by sandbars that submerge in the high tide, are worth highlighting.
Although distant and secluded, adults can relax and rejuvenate their tired bodies in a number of hot spring spas in Krabi, where they can get a full body scrub treatment, a hydrotherapeutic bath, a traditional Thai massage and more.
Kayaking along the mangrove forests up north at Bor Thor is quite popular among the adventurous, as they will get to explore the Tham Lot and Tham Phi Hua To caves.
In recent years, Krabi has been trying to promote itself from an ecotourism angle too, as the district is home to various national parks with beautiful waterfalls.
Keen ecotourists can consider the option of a homestay with the rural Muslim community on Koh Klang, located just minutes away from Krabi town by long tail boat.
The local people and villages bear a striking resemblance to rural Malay villages and ecotourists can experience their everyday activities, which include coastal fishing, shellfish digging, batik painting, wooden boat model carving and more.
> Firefly will be launching a new flight route from Penang to Krabi from Sept 16 onwards, starting from RM149 for a one-way ticket. For more information, visit www.fireflyz.com.my