We spent our last full day in Krabi by renting a scooter to explore a unique place. We got very lucky to hear about it from another backpacker whom we met at the Tiger Hill. He told us that if we liked the view from the top, our jaws would certainly drop at the sight of the Dragon Crest – a mountain located 30 km outside Krabi Town.
On a quest to Dragon Crest
Our informant gave us only a vague idea how to get to the Dragon Crest but we were sure we’d be fine with the Google maps. We couldn’t be more wrong. Following the Google maps to ‘Dragon Crest’ led us to a small, idyllic road among rubber and palm tree plantations. It took us a long time to find someone speaking English who’d understand where we were heading.
Eventually, we came across on some blog a Thai name of the place: ‘ Khao Ngon Nak‘ and with that piece of information we were able to ask for the directions. Ironically, getting there was in fact pretty straightforward: after taking a highway towards Ao Nang beach we had to turn into the road number 6024 and follow the signs to Tubkaek beach. Once we reached the Klong Muang beach, we turned right and rode along the coast in the direction of the Tubkaek Beach. We carried on until the road came to an end at the national park’s entrance.
The way up
Surprisingly, there was no entrance fee to the Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, we just had to put our names down in the park ranger’s log book for safety purposes. This place was still relatively unknown- we saw max. 40 people during the entire half-day hike. Be warned it is a hike, not a leisurely walk: take plenty of water and some refreshments with you. Most of the trail is through the forest- only the peak is entirely exposed.
We barely started walking through the jungle, when we heard some noises overhead. We were extremely lucky to spot an entire family of langur monkeys high in the trees. We watched them for around 15 minutes while they were just jumping from branch to branch or sitting in a row, grooming each other. It was such a treat! We continued up through the forest and after quite a long hike (it’s 9 km distance), the views started opening.
The unparalleled beauty of the Dragon Crest
The views from the viewing platform and -most of all- from the top of the mountain were incomparable to any other place we saw in Thailand, simply jaw-dropping. On one side, there was blue sea, beaches and karst rock islands. On the other, oddly shaped, island-like hills and mountains stretching all the way till the horizon, all covered with a carpet of tropical forest. There was even a river winding its way through the plains.
Just after coming down from the peak you’ll see a small, narrow rock jutting out. Don’t miss the best photo opportunity ever: sitting at the very edge of a jutting rock makes you look as if you’re hanging in the air. You can hold on to a rope which would be invisible on the photo (I did that!) Skip it if you have a vertigo!
The entire hike took us over 4 hours but we were taking it slow, stopping frequently to enjoy the views. We also made a completely unnecessary detour to the waterfall which turned out to be a tiny trickle.
After the hike we drove to the Klong Muang beach. It was completely deserted and quite pretty but unfortunately also rocky hence not suitable for swimming. We just took a quick dip to refresh and headed back home.
Krabi was a fabulous destination but we were ready to go further. It was a huge dilemma whether we should go to Ko Phi Phi and/ or Phang Nga as we knew they were both overly crowded and possibly overrated. In the end, we settled for Phang Nga and decided to take a tour of Phang Nga bay only if we managed to negotiate the price significantly down.
How to get to Krabi?
In the peak season, you can get to Krabi by ferry from most of the islands of the Andaman coast, like Ko Lanta, Ko Phi Phi, Phuket and more. All those ferries stop running between May and September.
Krabi is not very convenient to get to from Bangkok: a journey by bus is 11 hours long and it costs minimum 400 THB. The journey from the east coast takes similar amount of time but is much cheaper- 150 THB for a bus from Surat Thani to Krabi Town. The short bus journeys include also Phang Nga Town, Khao Lak and Phuket.
The tourist minivans would drop you off at your hotel but if you’re using a public bus, be aware you’d need to take a songthaew from the bus station to the town centre.
Prices in Krabi [in Thai baht as of May 2018]:
900 THB a half-day kayaking trip to Bhor Tor
300 THB return long tail boat to Railay beach
300 THB minivan Koh Lanta- Krabi Town
200 THB scooter rental for one day
200 THB a large double room with en-suite bathroom and hot water
70 THB dinner with a drink at the night market
35 THB lunch at a Chinese vegetarian eatery
20 THB songthaew from the town centre to the bus station
20 THB fresh coconut
5 THB one pineapple at the morning market
5 THB postcard