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Krabi, Phuket's cheaper cousin

By Li Jing | China Daily | Updated: 2016-01-01 07:28

Krabi, Phuket's cheaper cousin

Emerald Pond in the Khao Nor Chu Chi forest is a large natural pool filled with pure spring water. Photos By Li Jing / China Daily

For those seeking a quieter seaside experience, there is another gateway to paradise opposite Thailand's famous name resort. By Li Jing in Krabi.

Krabi town is a pretty small place, with a single main road, despite being the capital of the province of the same name in southern Thailand. Its appeal as a gateway to the wonders of seaside Thailand, however, can hardly be overstated.

Krabi is located on shore of the Andaman Sea, opposite its internationally famous cousin Phuket. But Krabi is quiet and rustic, and much less expensive. The town has many tourist agencies and it is easy to book tours, even late into the evening before the day of departure. Bargaining on tour prices is customary.

About 38 kilometers southwest of Krabi are the incredibly beautiful islands of Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Leh, sometimes called Thailand's Shangri-La, featuring white sand beaches leading up to lush jungle growth. They are the top choice of many first-time visitors to Thailand. A one-day trip usually ranges in price from 1,000 to 2,000 baht ($28-$55; 26 to 51 euros), subject to seasonal changes.

In the morning, a van picks up travelers at their hotels for a 30-minute trip to Ao Nang port and a ride aboard a fast boat for the Phi Phi islands. Wearing a swimsuit under your clothes is recommended since there's nowhere to change on the boats.

People start to oooh and aaah as they pass small islands set in the crystal blue sea. As Phi Phi grows nearer, colorful coral and exotic fish become easily visible in the exceptionally clear water.

Maya Bay, sheltered by limestone cliffs on three sides, is famous for the 2000 movie "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and is stunningly beautiful. Inside the bay there are a series of beaches, small and large, with the main beach made up of some 200 meters of soft white sand.

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