From Stone Age cavemen to present-day Hollywood stars like Leonardo Di Caprio, Krabi’s climate and natural beauty have drawn human beings to it for the last 40,000 years – a trend that seems to keep on going.
Facing the warm, wet breezes of the Andaman Sea and situated as one of the southern-most provinces in Thailand, Krabi is one of the longest-inhabited places of human settlement in all of Southeast Asia. Even by the standards of the millenia-old Thai culture this region of the country is considered very old and historically significant, as evidenced by the very name Krabi – an ancient Siamese sword that, legend has it, was unearthed when settlers laid the foundation of the city of Krabi (the province’s aptly named capital) several centuries ago.
But while the original cavemen – 40,000-year-old traces of whom have been recovered in several caves in Krabi’s Ao Luek district – primarily left behind a few stone tools, pottery shards and rock-paintings, today’s visitors are leaving markedly more permanent traces throughout the region. Krabi’s beautiful landscape, its white beaches, its limestone cliffs (favourite haunts for climbers from all over the world) and the 154 beautiful islands off the province’s coast has made Krabi a shooting star among the Thai destinations most favoured by foreign tourists, real estate-hungry expats/retirees and Western film production companies.
Phi Phi Islands
Among the many jewels of the Krabi coastline, the most prominent are probably the Phi Phi Islands. World famous for their lush palm trees, breathtaking beaches and picturesque Moken (“Sea Gypsy”) people, these islands have been featured in several Hollywood blockbusters, ranging from the James Bond movie “The Man With the Golden Gun” to the hit film “The Beach”, starring Leonardo Di Caprio. Picked by the filmmakers because of their quintessentially “exotic-tropical-island” feel, the Phi Phis are all you’d ever want from a stay on just such an island – although services, infrastructure, etc. are still recovering somewhat from the beating they took during the catastrophic tsunami that hit the area in 2004.
Combined with all the other beautiful natural attractions, the rich history, the dazzling beaches, the local culture (complete with several ancient folk festivals) and the warm Andaman waters, Phi Phi, Mu Ko Lanta National Park and the rest of the hundreds of sights and thousands of possible activities make Krabi an exceptionally interesting, relaxing and profoundly Thai destination to visit. Or, if your love for this region grows stronger than the holiday fling you’re almost certain to get yourself involved in, you could also join the more than 1,000 foreigners who’ve already put down roots and bought themselves a parcel or two of Krabi.
Whatever you choose, Krabi is an experience that is guaranteed to stay with you forever. And who knows – maybe, 40,000 years into the future, archaeologists will dig up your swimming trunks, your climbing shoes and your photos of you and your loved ones grinning happily away whilst diving into the crystal waters of the Andaman Sea. In Krabi, who knows what the waves of history might wash ashore!