In January and June we spent altogether 4 weeks in different areas of Thailand. Our first destination was Krabi. We arrived there with a rental car from Phuket.
One of the most beautiful beaches in the Krabi area is Railay Beach. It can be reached only by boat. Railay Beach has actually three beaches which are connected by short walking trails. We stayed at Railay West, where most of the hotels are located. It’s a lovely sandy beach with spectacular mountains in the background. It is often a bit crowded, but the mix of package tourists, families, backpackers and climbers (Krabi is a climbers paradise with countless routes) can be fun to watch for a couple of days. And as a side effect of the popularity of this beach you have many nice restaurants to choose from.
A short walk away from Railay West is Railay East. A muddy mangrove beach, but less crowded and with cheaper hotel options.
From Railay East you can easily reach Hat Phra Nang. This is the most beautiful of the three beaches. There is only one hotel located at this beach, the Rayavadee luxury resort. Extremely expensive, but according to the available reports and ratings on the net worth the money. During the day the Phra Nang Beach is typically also very crowded, but if you arrive early (or stay there after sunset) you are pretty much alone there.
At the end of the beach, you can find an unusual shrine in a small cave. Local fishermen believe that offering a phallic symbol will result in a good catch.
On two days we rented a longtail boat to explore the surrounding islands like Koh Poda and Koh Hong.
On the Krabi Night Market, it was interesting to see all the exotic offerings like all kinds of fried insects.
After a week we left the Krabi area and drove with our rental car to Phang Nga, where we stayed at the lovely Manora Garden guest house. The owner Gerard and Nui are extremely friendly and helpful. Close to the guest house are the Sa Nang Manora Forest Park and the Wat Suwan Kuha with a nice cave and many monkeys.
But the main reason for going to Phang Nga was the spectacular Phang Nga Bay with its about 100 islands.
We rented again a longtail boat with the help of Gerard and Nui and explored the highlights of the Phang Nga Bay.
An interesting visit was the Muslim fishing village Ko Panyi. Again, if you go early (with a private boat and not a group tour) you can avoid the hundreds of tourists visiting this place during the day. We arrived there at 8:30 a.m. and were the only tourists in Ko Panyi at this time.
But the photographic highlight and my main reason for going to the Phang Nga Bay was, of course, the famous James Bond Island Khao Phing Kan with its spectacular rock formation Khao Ta-Pu.
On the way back from Phang Nga to Phuket, we stopped at the Natai Beach with its old rotten bridge.
In Phuket, we stayed at the Casa Blanca Boutique Hotel which is located nicely in the old town of Phuket.
Besides exploring the old town we had some fun at the … guess what? …
Right … the Upside Down House!
This was the end of our two weeks trip to Phuket and Krabi in January.
On our next trip to Thailand in June, we took the plane directly to Bangkok and started with some exploration of the markets around Bangkok. Probably the most famous one is the floating market in Damnoen Saduak. Go very early or you will be overrun by thousands of tourists.
On the Amphawa Floating Market, you will find much fewer tourists and more arts and craft stores and better restaurants compared to Damnoen Saduak. The Amphawa market is definitely worth a visit.
Another very interesting market is the Mae Klong Railway Market. All the goods are offered directly next to the railway track. A few times a day a train passes through this market which is fun to watch and should not be missed.
After a quick visit to Pattaya, we drove with our rental car to the Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, where we had planned to spend the second week of our trip.
Most tourists travel to Kanchanaburi to see the famous River Kwai Bridge.
The bridge itself is not very spectacular, but most people visit this place for its role in history and of course due to the famous film about the building of this bridge.
I preferred other bridges in the Kanchanaburi province. For example the wooden Tham Kra Sae Bridge of the Death Railway near Sai Yok.
One of the most beautiful bridges in Kanchanaburi is the Mon Bridge in Sangkhla Buri near the Three Pagoda Pass close to the border Myanmar.
But my main reason for traveling to Kanchanaburi was neither the historic relevance of this area nor the interesting architecture of some of the bridges. Kanchanaburi is the home of some of the most spectacular waterfalls in Asia.
Best known is the Erawan National Park with its many waterfalls. It takes about half a day to explore all of them.
Close to the Erawan National Park is the even more spectacular and less crowded Si Nakharin National Park with its Huay Mae Khamin Waterfalls.
Lesser known are the Kroeng Krawia Waterfall, Pha Tad Waterfall, and the Sai Yok Yai Waterfall.
During the week in Kanchanaburi, we stayed at the Yayei Homestay close to the Sai Yok Waterfall. A nice place with extremely friendly people. Definitely recommended.
Before going back to Bangkok Airport we stopped at the beautiful Wat Tham Sua close to the city of Kanchanaburi.
You can find the best images of my five trips to Thailand in my Thailand Gallery.