The mangrove swamps in Krabi were a great way to chill out in the heat and humidity, yet far away from the crowded beaches and the saltwater tides.
One of my old workmates went travelling to Thailand with his girlfriend a while back and looking at all his photos from Krabi and the Andaman coast I immediately became jealous. At that stage, I had not yet visited southern Thailand, and I promised myself that while I would one day enjoy the paradise beaches of the likes of Maya Bay and Bamboo Island, I would also MUST check out the mangrove swamps of the area, preferably in a kayak! It just seemed like a cool thing to do! Eventually, when I returned to Thailand I got this opportunity!
So what is it that I like about mangrove swamps? Well, I don’t know really. If I am honest, apart from the admittedly glorious beaches, Krabi doesn’t really have many tourist attractions worthy of the name, so unless you are coming here to lounge around on the sand with your girlfriend (just like my mate did) then you may get a little bored – at least during the day. So the chance to take a kayak or longboat tour through the mangroves here seemed like a great thing to do.
In Krabi there are two main areas to see some pristine mangroves, with Koh Hong being the main place that people go to (there are good beaches on these islands, too, if you want to kill two birds with one stone, as it were). Ao Thalane is also another good place where sea kayaking is possible through the mangrove swamps and past the twisted tree roots until you reach the open water. The tours through the mangroves can usually be booked directly and off-the-cuff with the local longboat operators who are shadily hanging around looking for custom, although I had a tour booked with a reputable company that was organised through my hostel.
If you are lucky, you may see some wildlife on your journey. Monkeys are a certainty – although I have yet to meet anyone who actually WANTS to see them. If you look hard enough, you may be fortunate (or unfortunate!) enough to see a few mangrove vipers. These are very dangerous snakes with enough venom to kill a man and you should approach them with caution.
With the scenery in Krabi being both beautiful and beastly, it is a good opportunity to explore the area and see if you can spot things you hadn’t ever seen before. For me, just being among the mangrove roots that closely-line the shallow waterways was a great experience. It was at the same time both claustrophobic but liberating. The sound of nature and the quiet, almost eerie noise of the water beneath you provide a great backdrop to the visual splendour you will undoubtedly encounter.
For this experience, I would really recommend a company called Your Krabi, which has a great reputation with many of the local hostels in the region. Not only can you explore the mangroves, but also many caves and canyons of the local terrain, which I would love to do next time!