Kayaking and sea-kayaking are great ways to explore Krabi’s amazing sight without damaging the environment. Slow and silent, these sturdy “sit-on-top” craft can move almost unnoticed through different coastal ecosystems, passing mangrove, canyons and caves.
Ao Thalane is one of the most beautiful mangrove forests in Thailand. About twenty kilometers from Krabi Town, this section of the coast is covered in dense foliage that wraps all the caves cliffs and amazing shaped Karsts.
This area is perfect for a kayak cruise around the small inlets, caves and hidden lagoons and the Karst Mountains provide the backdrop for this area with its complex network of channels to meander through the dense mangrove.
Kingfishers, Herons and crab eating Macaques inhabit this area along with ever present monkeys who will keep you company and sometimes even hitch a ride on your kayak. The area is undeveloped and tranquil and with caves and steep cliffs jutting straight out of the water. You will enjoy great spots for taking photos of real Krabi’s nature.
The routes followed are relatively easy and you will be cruising on flat calm water so it is quite within the capabilities of first time kayakers or kids. You can ask a tour guide to give you basic instruction of using the paddles and the kayak and he can also provide life jackets. Most of the kayaks have three seats although it is normal to use one kayak for two adults. It is quite unconvenient to have three people paddling, so it is best if one adult goes in one kayak with one child if they both want to paddle or with two adults and one younger child not paddling.
No two days in the mangroves are quite the same. On some days the place is alive with wildlife, birds calling, monkeys hooping, lizards splashing and cicadas singing away. On other days, it is very quiet, like everyone is asleep. You never know quite what you’ll get but it is always magical.
High tide is generally the best time to go, there are many more channels that you can paddle through and lagoons and caves to see. But even at low tide, it is still a wonderful place and you will be able to see more of the caves and all the nature that lives in the muddy ecosystem. You may have to paddle back the way you came, but it is still beautiful to see and as the water drops, more and more of the incredible root system comes into view along with all the wildlife that lives in the mud. Then there are the birds that come to pick up all the fresh food on offer.
How to go there:
Ao Thalane is thirty five kilometers from Krabi Town; take Route Number 4 from Krabi Town and turn left to Route 4033, then continue driving for another fifteen kilometers.