Far from the typical Thailand tourist hotspots like Phuket and Ko Samui, is a tiny local town called Krabi that is bursting with authentic Thai culture, and has a jungle you definitely need to explore. I took a short flight from Bangkok to Krabi (for only about $80 on SkyScanner.com) to visit a friend and fellow blogger so that she could show me the town and give me some tips on what to do.
We were literally in the middle of a jungle.
Among her many suggestions, was one of the Krabi jungle tours, which was an experience unlike anything I’ve ever seen! Like seriously, I was in shock with each place that I saw, and have the GoPro pics to prove it, even though my selfie-skills are far from up to par.
The tours range from around $30 – $40, and can be scheduled (and negotiated) at any hostel in Krabi or along the beach in Ao Nang(where you should definitely visit). Your tour guide picks you up from your hotel, and brings you back at the end of the day, and a homemade lunch is included. Here’s what the one I did included:
Krabi Hot Springs
Hot Spring selfie when everyone finally got out
Our first stop was about 40 minutes from Krabi Town, where we hiked down a dirt pathway to get to the natural hot springs nestled in a nook above a calm river. The smooth, pillowing granite rocks form natural multi-tiered tubs that cascade the warm water down into the river below. The constantly flowing warm water made the copper-flecked rock formations feel like marble that you could easily glide over.
Hot Spring selfie with everyone in their little nooks
I climbed down to one of the naturally-made dips on the mid-level which somehow perfectly cradled me so that I could sit in a shallow pool of warm water while my feet dangled over the edge with the flow of it. After relaxing for a bit, I slid over the edge like a water slide to the bottom tier, where I positioned myself under the mini-waterfall of warm water for a natural back massage.
If you don’t want to hang out in the hot springs, there are also a few thatch pavilions back in the wooded area that offer Thai massages for only a few dollars.
Emerald Pool & Crystal Pool
Standing on a log over quicksand in the Crystal Pool
If my mind wasn’t already blown from the hot springs, the Crystal Pool definitely did it for me. Our tour guide parked in a little area where there were a few thatched huts selling authentic Thai food and little gifts, and instructed us to follow the signs for the pools.
Just hangin in the jungle. (Emerald Pool)
Except…the signs were extremely confusing and led us on a very long wooden boardwalk that was surrounded by the type of jungle you’d expect to see Tarzan in. When we finally made it to the Emerald Pool – called so because the sediment at the bottom makes it look green – I was a little discouraged. While it was still pretty awesome to see a naturally formed pool in the middle of a lush jungle, it was a bit crowded with tourists.
I slipped in anyway – literally, the limestone surrounding it is so slippery that you can barely walk – and attempted taking some underwater GoPro pics. While splashing around I overheard someone saying that there’s another pool that’s farther into the jungle, but beyond amazing to see.
Emerald Pool almost-under-water-selfie
I then noticed a few people coming from the top of the limestone, and realized there was more to see. I grabbed my stuff and carefully made my way to what I realized was a continuation of the boardwalk! I followed it for a while, gaping at the shallow pools of crystal clear water that sat serenely under the walkway, protected by a canopy of lush jungle. Suddenly, the walkway ended.
I assumed that meant that this was going to be a real treasure and that it’s so protected that they didn’t want to damage the jungle by continuing the boardwalk, so I continued walking barefoot and bikini-clad through the unknown jungle.
Attempting to walk on the slimy, slippery tree over the quick sand in the Crystal Pool
I’ll admit. I was a little concerned when after a few minutes when we saw 0 signs and 0 people, but we kept going anyway and eventually heard faint voices. We followed them, and finally got to the eerily quiet opening in the jungle where a few people were standing along a short wooden deck. A giant wooden sign read “Crystal Pool”, along with a list of rules about what you’re not allowed to do that I didn’t read.
Unlike the Emerald Pool, there was no one in the Crystal Pool, or even a way to get down into it. The deck cut off at it’s edge with no steps leading down into it. That’s because you’re not allowed to go in it. The natural wonder is actually a sink hole deep in the Krabi jungle, that goes down so deep that it makes it’s crystal clear water look vibrantly blue.
What the Crystal Pool looks like underwater…kind of creepy
It’s base is also made of quicksand…which is why you’re not allowed to go in it. But two guys had managed to tight-rope along a fallen tree anyway to get a picture, so I decided that I should do it too. It was slightly terrifying, but definitely worth the pictures!
On our way back, we snuck into the shallow crystal pools that were also prohibited from going in, and a few minutes later realized why. There was a massive snake gliding through the shallow waters below us.
We made out way back to the entrance and to a pavilion where our tour guide had set up an authentic Thai lunch of veggies and rice in a coconut broth…plus the beer I had bought from one of the local vendors for a dollar.
He looked sad 🙁
We drove to another spot in the middle of no where, that also only had a few huts, a pavilion, and stray dogs running around everywhere. Then suddenly four massive elephants emerged from the jungle, each with a barefoot Thai man sitting on its head. As much as I had been dying to ride the elephants, I was slightly disturbed by the way they were treated, and can’t fully recommend riding elephants anywhere anymore.
Alyssa is a self-made, full time travel blogger who loves adventure and typically travels the world solo. She's been to 53 countries and 6 continents so far, and believes she has mastered the art of chasing waterfalls, traveling solo, wine drinking, and making budget-traveling look good. Curious to know how she started this career? Check out the About section above!