Now let us introduce you to a mangrove sanctuary unlike any other: Thapom water canal. A blend of fresh mineral water that seeps out from the depths of a rich blue pond. Flowing outwards to the ocean, mixing itself with the warm salty waters of the ocean as they ebb and flow through the mangrove forests. The national park is located approximately 30 minutes by motorbike from downtown Ao Nang. It is a popular destination among the locals which live close to the park’s entrance. It intends to expand its facilities in the next few years.
Thapom water canal is an interesting phenomenon – fresh mineral water springs up the middle of a dense jungle collecting in a deep blue pool where trees have fallen creating a truly beautiful sight. The overflowing water for this rich blue pool gurgles out over a line of limestone rocks and eventually opens up into a small canal. As the canal gets closer to the ocean, its riders allowing for the incoming salt water ebbing and flowing with the tide to flow freely into the canal.
The mangrove forests that thrive on brackish water have crept inland following this tract of crystal clear freshwater surrounding both banks of the canal. The water has been flowing here for thousands of years and over time has crawled its way out into the open ocean.
How the salt and fresh water blend together is what makes this space most special. Typically, when freshwater and saltwater come into contact with one another, they naturally mix together and become brackish (sea water with a lower concentration of salt). But due to the density or possibly some mineral content in the freshwater, when the saltwater and freshwater at Thapom water canal come into contact they form two distinct layers, each keeping their original properties. The saltwater remains below while the freshwater stays on top. This unique phenomenon is called stratification and can be seen in other places in the world, but in Krabi, this is the only known location where you can observe the phenomenon of saltwater and freshwater fish swimming side by side.
Most of the crystal clean freshwater emanating from the earth is off limits to swim in, but closer to the point where the saltwater is in high concentration, swimming is allowed. A number of locals come down to this wonderful refreshing water to cool off from the heat of the day. The pathways leading throughout Thapom water canal takes you through primary jungle where a number of reptiles, birds, mammals, and fish live, making it a great place for nature lovers. Some of the snakes in the area can be a bit dangerous, but will rarely bite – just don’t venture into the jungle unsupervised. Thapom is a great place to visit by motorbike as it is relatively close to Ao Nang, difficult to get lost, and will take you through some breathtaking viewpoints throughout the countryside.
Outside the park entrance area, there are a number of restaurants that cook a range of dishes and serve them daily from 10 am – 6 pm.