There are 2 routes leading to the Emerald Pool, one is wide gravel path 800 m long and another is a nature trail 1400 m long.
A sign says: Sa Marakot or emerald lake is a pool fed by hot springs, 25 m in diameter, 1-2 m deep and the water temperature is 30-50 degrees C. It is likely that this is the water temperature before it reaches the surface because the water in the lake is slightly cool. The water flows into the lake from porous rocky layers and through cracks in the stone at the bottom. Bacteria and algae living in the pool, along with high temperature tint it with different hues. Water is greenish-blue in the places where the temperature is higher and pale green where the temperature is lower.
The lake is indeed very beautiful, One shore is sloping and rocky and another is overgrown with trees. The yellowish color of the stones at the edges is caused by deposits of calcium carbonate on its surface which makes them very slippery. Please, be careful while getting in or out.
500 meters upstream there is another lake with blue water. The path to it passes through a mystical landscape, over wooden bridges, and through the jungle.
Directions: 2 km from the hot springs described above.
Parking: 20 THB
A 200-meter long path along the crystal clear stream leads to the stone bathtubs. However, it is better to go a little further, to the hot waterfall.
The waterfall consists of about 5 levels. Every level is like a small pool. There are signs that say: the water temperature is about 40 degrees C; mineral composition (mg/l) – lead is less than 0.0001, nitrogen 0.09, fluoride 1.09, copper is less than 0.0001. For health benefits, it is advised to spend 20 minutes in the water, but no longer than 20 min! What can be better for your tired feet and body after a climb than a hot bath? The water here is very clean; there are many natural ledges in the tubs, where you can get comfortable. The waterfall flows into the river where water is cool, perfect for contrast baths.
Go for a Thai massage by the river (50 m from the waterfall) and you will reach nirvana. Don’t forget to take some cash with you.
At the exit of the Park, near the Parking lot, you will find a few restaurants with delicious Thai food, the prices are low. I suggest you order a bowl of fried rice with chicken and egg (Kao pad Gai Kai Dao in Thai.)
! Directions: from the city of Krabi head South on highway 4 for 38 km to the village of Khlong Tom, continue on route 4038, 4021 and follow the signs.
Ticket: 90 bath
Parking: 20 bath
The sign at the entrance says this is a place for meditation. Founded in 1975 by a monk Chamnian Silsetso, known for his knowledge in teachings of Vipassana in 1975 (Note: Vipassana — means to see things as they really are. www.dhamma.org). It is believed that in one of the caves used to live a leopard (not a tiger as the name suggests).
This is a large complex. At the entrance, you will find a small shop. It is better to buy food on the way out otherwise furry tailed inhabitants won’t leave you alone.
The entrance to the Tiger cave is immediate to the left along the cliff. There is a structure built in front of the rock for meditation and meetings with the monks. To enter the cave you need to walk through this structure. Inside you will find a footprint of the Buddha, where you can leave a coin and make a wish.
Going further along the road deep into the complex, on the left side, you will see two paths to the mountains. The first leads to the top of the mountain (1237 steps), the second to the "old" forest.
There are 1237 steps leading to the top of this 600 feet high mountain. It's not an easy walk. The steps are narrow and steep. In some places stair risers are up to 40 cm high, you have to use your hands to help yourself. To keep you occupied this 25-30 min, this is how long it takes to get to the summit, columns are installed along the staircase at the edge that show you how many steps you have ascended. Once you get to the top you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the surrounding area. Also, cold drinking water is available there.
One day on the way up I passed an old Thai man. He got to the top only 10 minutes behind me. He was 72 years old! This is for those of you who after reading this decided not to climb to the top.
Old forest: once you get over a small hill you get to the forest, it is truly a forest, not a jungle. The walk is easy here, there are many different paths. If you take the far left footpath it will lead you back in a circle to the starting point. On the way, there are a few caves with rock paintings. People come here to enjoy the silence. The trees are tropical with large and wide buttress roots. The largest tree I found was about 9 meters wide at its foundation! Standing next to that tree it was hard to believe that it was a living thing. It felt like I was leaning against a rock. The temperature in the forest is cool so that 20-minute walk around the circle is not tiring.
In the middle of the complex, before the staircase to the summit or in front of the Tiger cave, you will find monks and nuns. If you approach with a smile and ask they will tie a braided bracelet to your wrist, blessed for good luck. Make a wish or they themselves often wish for foreigners a lot of money, do not say “No”.
! Directions: from Krabi head East on highway 4, before you reach Big C supermarket turn left onto highway 6017, follow the road for 2 km.
Formation of the cave dates to the Carboniferous and Permian period of the Paleozoic era, about 230-340 million years ago. The floor of the cave is made from numerous shells pressed together. According to legend, a huge human skull was found here. This fact, as well as related prehistoric drawings, gave the cave its name Big-headed Ghost Cave.
70 rock paintings depict people, animals, and other strange creatures. The drawings are about 3000 years old. The authorship is attributed to a prehistoric tribe of sea Gypsies called Chan Chao Nam. Natural ingredients were used to make the paint, for example, rubber and animal blood were mixed to produce a red color.
! Directions: from the Thasai restaurant head East on highway 4, 415, 4, 4039, continue straight at the traffic light until highway 4012, then follow signs.
Canoe 2 pax: 300 thb/hour
Boat 8 pax: 400 thb/hour
The restaurant is located on high river bank and has great views.
! Directions: from the Monkey Temple head North on highway 4, 415 and 4044 for 2 km.
The path to the temple and the statue of reclining Buddha is “guarded” by dozens of monkeys. But you can bribe them with bananas. These furry creatures are not shy and will steal your food given a chance. Keep a firm grip on your belongings. Once you pass the first domed section of the cave you end up in the second part where there are many beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. You can climb to the top of the cave, but be careful – the path is slippery.
In the middle of the first section sometimes you can find a monk who if asked will tie a string around your wrist that will serve you as a protective amulet.
! Directions: from Phuket head towards Phang Nga on highway 402, then turn onto highway 4 before you reach Phang Nga.
This is what we gathered from local guides and information signs. The Cave is located inside the Elephant hill and has two entrances, one on the East and one on the West. The one on the East side is not in use at this time. There are many stalactites and stalagmites of different shapes that resemble various animals. Some parts of Cave’s walls are covered with sparkling crystals. There is a stream running through the cave all year round. The length of the Cave is about 1200 m. According to legend, a farmer by the name Yomdung used to live on this land. One year his crops were trampled by a herd of wild elephants. The angry and frustrated farmer armed himself with a spear and went in pursuit of the herd. When he encountered an elephant that belonged to another farmer Yomdung mistook it for one of the wild herd and struck the spear in its belly. Then Yomdung cut off the tusks of the innocent animal. The dead elephant became the Elephant hill and the speared belly became the Cave.The Cave was discovered in 2000 and Thais spend 200 000 baht to build a park around it.
The hill indeed resembles a laying elephant. You can clearly see the shape of an elephant trunk, its head, back, and legs. It takes one hour and 500 baht for a guide to explore the cave. The guide will take to the end of the cave and show you different crystals shaped like elephants, crocodiles, birds, mushrooms, etc. That demonstrates that cave explorers had a very good imagination. Some of the crystals are simply striking in their originality. Part of the journey inside the cave you will be traveling by a kayak, its narrow part - by a raft and another part - on foot (water can be knee deep).
!Directions: from the Monkey Temple head North on highway 4. It is located 150m from the cross roads heading toward Phang Nga. On your left you will see a sculpture of an elephant and a farmer with a spear.