It was a bright and sunny morning. A cool breeze beckoned, the water was a brilliant blue.
It was the perfect day to laze on the beach, the wind in our hair and the sand at our feet.
But when we boarded the minivan, it wasn’t the Beach we were heading to.
I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking, that you are in what is regarded as one of the best Beach destinations in the world. You’re surrounded by picturesque Islands. You’re a short speedboat or long-tail boat ride away from gorgeous white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue water. You can swim, snorkel, or better yet, dive amidst stunning underwater beauty. So why would you not do all of the above?
Why, instead of heading towards the beach, would you head away from it?
I’ll tell you why.
The Emerald Pool
Also known as Sa Morakot to the locals, this is a naturally occurring pool which gets its name, not surprisingly, because of its colour. The Emerald Pool is located in the Khao Pra-Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary in the Klong Thom district of Krabi province, a distance of 70 kilometers from the center of Krabi town. A comfortable journey by road will get you there in about an hour or so.
Walk down the narrow tree-lined path for about ten minutes, as it meanders under the leafy canopy.
The signs will eventually lead you to this clearing, with the gorgeous Emerald Pool peeking out.
The Emerald Pool’s pure spring water comes from the natural streams that originate in the hills above and run in to it. The colour comes from its chemical composition: a mixture of calcium carbonate, magnesium and minerals. It is quite a popular site with both tourists and locals alike, so try visiting early in the day to beat the rush. Swimming is permitted here, so the pool can get VERY crowded.
The Blue Pool
Far from being the only gorgeous pool in this area, The Emerald Pool has a striking sibling, but it isn’t as easy to get to. Located at about a kilometer’s walk further into the forest from the Emerald Pool, you will have to brave the slimy slush and muddy path; but I assure you it will be worth it.
Be careful though, the path is slippery, specially if it rains before your visit, like it did the day we ventured.
It took us 20 minutes, but the trees finally parted, revealing the astonishingly blue water nestled among the trees. An Enchanting Forest, indeed.
The Blue Pool is also known as Sa Nam Phut, a Spring Pool that is apparently formed by hot springs under the Earth’s surface. Swimming is not permitted here, the water is deep and dangerous.
I will be honest, there is not much to do here, except marvel at the colours, take a picture, and walk back. Which is probably why people don’t generally venture here. We were the only ones at the pool for the ten minutes we were there, and crossed paths with only one other couple on our way back. But that just added to the charm of the excursion, don’t you think? The road less traveled, and all that!
In any case, if you don’t want to walk all that distance just to glance at a blue coloured water body, and not even get to dip your feet in, you can just spend your time swimming in and lounging by the Emerald Pool, which is what a lot of people do. That’s entirely fine as well.
The Hot Springs
Our next destination was the Krabi Hot Springs. Also in the Klong Thom district of Krabi province and part of the Khao Pra-Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary itself, a short ten to fifteen minutes drive took us there.
At first glance, we were, well, disappointed! Specially since our morning so far had been breathtaking, and our expectations had risen accordingly.
A small, murky looking pond with hot water in it? Was that all?
Turns out, it wasn’t.
A little further was the Hot Spring Mineral Waterfall. Thermal hot springs originate underground in volcanic chambers, the water from which cascades down the rocks. Averaging 35-40 degree Celsius, it is said to be rich in natural mineral salts, claimed to cure myriad health complaints from rheumatism to skin conditions. You can take a dip in the water, but try to beat the crowds if you want any of the calming and therapeutic effects it could offer.
Your experience could be like relaxing in an open-air jacuzzi.
Travel tip shared by UpasnaVerma