“Hey it’s 7.30am! WAKE UP!”
I wake up to someone nudging and shouting for me to wake up. I am feeling extremely groggy, and when I look at my iphone I realize it’s 7.30 am and I am late for my Krabi Four Islands Tour with Andaman Camp and Cruise. We had arranged for the tour guide to pick us up at 8 am.
Raevian is visibly pissed at me for having pressed the snooze button since 7am. I wash up as quickly as I can. At 7.55 am, our resort reception calls to inform that our tour guide has arrived. I try my best to avoid Raevian’s glare as we grab our stuff and rush out.
As we walk towards the resort lobby, our guide sees us and greets us with a broad smile.
“Hi! I’m Elizabeth. Nice to meet you.”
After exchanging pleasantries, our very friendly guide leads us to her car and drives us to the pier for our tour of the popular “Four Islands” in Krabi.
Pier at Nopparat Thara Beach
What are the Four Islands of Krabi?
I learn from Elizabeth that the “four islands” consist of:
1. Turtle Island (Koh Poda)
2. Chicken Island (Koh Kai)
3. Tub Island (Koh Tub)
4. Mor Island (Koh Mor)
5. Phra Nang Beach (this is not an island at all. It’s a beach, but for reasons unknown it has always been included as part of the “four islands tour”. Just a harmless misnomer I guess.)
Therefore, the “Four Islands” are actually referring to five destinations: four islands and one beach. The four real islands are all part of the Mu Koh Poda archipelago just south west of Ao Nang, and are very near each other. Phra Nang beach is just a ten minutes longtail boat ride away from Ao Nang beach.
Our Private Longtail Boat (really cool!)
We arrive at the pier shortly and are escorted up our private longtail boat for the day. Other than the boat captain, his assistant and Elizabeth, Raevian and I have the whole boat to ourselves! It feels really cool to have a private chartered boat and not squeeze with dozens of other tourists.
Phra Nang Beach
Pristine beauty of Phra Nang beach before it is packed with tourists.
After a short ten minutes boat ride, we reach Phra Nang beach. Once we step off the boat, we are immediately captivated by Phra Nang Beach’s beauty. The soft white sand, emerald-green sea, and towering cliffs make this beach a must-visit for every tourist to Krabi. Since it’s still quite early, the beach is free of tourists and we are able to enjoy the pristine beauty of the place. It is no wonder why many people consider this the best beach in Krabi. The beach also houses the most expensive resort in Krabi: “Rayavadee Resort”.
Phra Nang Cave
Read between the lines
We make a short trip to Phra Nang Cave (Princess Goddess Cave) on the beach. It is filled with loads of phallic statues. According to myth, the spirit of Phranang (Princess Goddess) resides in this cave. The offerings of lingams (the phallic statues), flowers and incense sticks are made in exchange for the Princess Goddess’s blessings of good luck and fertility. It is quite an experience to see so many phallic totems; I have never seen so many penises at the same time in my life! They range from 3 inches to being almost as tall as a person and as thick as a tree trunk. A truly humbling experience.
After about 45 minutes or so, we make our way back to the boat. By this time (about 9.30am), the beach is already docked with dozens of other longtail boats, and the place is packed with tourists. Luckily we managed to enjoy the beach just now when it was not so crowded. Raevian reminds me that if I had continued to press the snooze button we would be one of the many tourists coming in late. I pretend to not hear her.
The crowds started coming in at about 9.30am
Turtle Island (Koh Poda)
As our boat sail on the azure sea towards Koh Poda, I am worrying if the island will be as crowded as Phra Nang. Luckily, my worries are unfounded. As we approach the island, I see some tourists, but it’s still not overly-packed.
We are greeted by the famous big rock in front of Koh Poda. Until recently, there used to be a resort on the island, and there were many food vendors as well. These spoilt the scenic beauty of Koh Poda. Luckily, due to regulatory issues, the resort has since been torn down and most of the vendors are gone as well. However, there is still a very simple restaurant and a public toilet on this island.
This picturesque island has a beautiful beach, and by this time there is brilliant sunshine as well. We stroll on the white sand, take pictures of the beautiful beach, and simply revel in the beauty of the place. I tell Raevian that it feels like we are in Maldives! After about an hour, more tourists start coming in and the island starts to become crowded. We quickly make our way back to the boat.
Back on the boat, we are pleasantly surprised that Elizabeth has prepared a plate of fruits for us. It feels great to have some cool watermelon after being in the hot sun for so long! As I munch greedily on the watermelon, Elizabeth asks if we would like to do some snorkeling. We agree and the boat brings us to a great snorkeling spot with tons of fish. We manage to take a snorkeling selfie!
Sumptuous Lunch Feast
After some leisure snorkeling and taking some photos/videos of the marine life, it’s time for lunch! The fantastic thing about this tour is that they provide home-cooked Thai food for you right on the boat. Elizabeth even emailed us before the tour to understand our food preferences (which type of food to avoid, spiciness level, etc). Raevian is feeling a little sea sick so we request to eat on land instead. Therefore, Elizabeth brings us to a small tranquil island with zero tourists, where Raevian and I have our lunch while overlooking the beautiful Andaman sea. The food is delicious and is not overladen with salt and oil. This must be how home-cooked food in Thailand tastes! As I am munching greedily on the food, Elizabeth and the boat captain come down from the boat to bring us second servings and desserts. First-rate service! And we also enjoy free flow of ice-cold bottled waters and soft drinks. Man, I am really enjoying this four islands tour with Andaman Camp and Cruise.
Our magnificent view from the island where we have lunch
Chicken Island (Koh Kai)
We finish our lunch and Raevian is feeling better. Elizabeth brings us to the next destination: Chicken Island (Koh Kai or Koh Gai). As the name suggests, the island shape resembles a chicken. See the picture above! This island is beautiful as well and when we reach at about 1 pm it is relatively empty. There is also a small pub/restaurant and a public toilet. There are no such amenities on Tub Island and Mor Island.
Tub Island (Koh Tub) and Mor Island (Koh Mor)
Tub Island (Koh Tub)
Mor Island (Koh Mor) – the small island in the background
After visiting Chicken Island, we sail to Tub Island (Koh Tub) and Mor Island (Koh Mor). These two small islands are joined by a short sand bank. When we arrive, the water level is around our knee level, so we have to waddle across the sand bank. I hold Raevian’s hand and we waddle our way to Tub Island (Koh Tub). This is basically just a tiny island floating in the middle of the vast sea. It is also known as Tup Island, Tap Island or Thap Island. Since it’s so small, there’s not really much space on its narrow beach. Also, the place is already quite packed with tourists. Therefore, Raevian and I decide to climb our way up the steep terrain of the island. Halfway up, we sit down to rest and admire the surrounding scenic sea view. I feel a little uncomfortable sitting on the hard ground, and since it’s a slope I constantly feel that I will slide and fall downwards. So after about five minutes, we climb to the top of the island. Few people venture here as it’s a rather tedious climb, but we are definitely well rewarded for our efforts. From up here, we get a paranomic view of the vast azure Andaman sea. When we look down directly from the cliff, we see Koh Tub’s gorgeous coastline with its crystal clear water. And because there aren’t many people here, we get to enjoy the view in a tranquil setting.
View from the peak of Tub Island (Koh Tub)
After fifteen minutes, we make our way down Koh Tub and walk across the sand bank to Mor Island (Koh Mor). By now, the water level is lower so it’s a lot easier to walk. Koh Mor is also a miniscule island with a narrow beach, and we spend a short time here looking at the schools of tiny fish swimming around in the crystal clear water.
Mor Island (Koh Moh) Beach
Sand Bridge between Chicken Island and Tup Island / Mor Island
Sand Bridge between Chicken Island (Koh Kai) and Tup Island (Koh Tub) / Mor Island (Koh Mor). Picture was taken from Chicken Island. On the right is Tub Island and on the left is Mor Island.
After a short while, we return to our boat and ask Elizabeth if she can bring us back to Chicken Island. It has a much bigger beach, and there is also a small pub/restaurant and a public toilet. Our plan is to laze on Chicken Island’s beach until the tide is low enough for us to walk across the sand bridge from Chicken Island (Koh Kai) to Tub Island (Koh Tub) / Mor Island (Koh Moh). This sand bridge is known as the “Talay Waek” in Thai, which literally means “the sea divides”. At high tide, the sand bridge is not visible at all. However, at low tide, the sand bridge emerges and connects the two islands. Many tourists choose the Four Islands tour specially to see this unique phenomenon.
We laze on the beach, take some photos and videos, and drink some ice-cold Singha beer while waiting for low tide. After about an hour, the sea level is low enough for us to walk across easily. As we make my way across the sand bridge, I feel like I am walking across the sea on water. Ok, while it’s not nearly as dramatic as that, it is still an amazing phenomenon of nature, and definitely worth a visit!
After walking across the sand bridge, it’s the end of our Krabi Four Islands Tour. The boat brings us back to the mainland where Elizabeth gives us a ride back to our resort. We arrive back at about 3.15 pm.
I guess all good things must come to an end.
Four Islands Tour Tips
1. Bring and use lots of sunblock! While you get to enjoy brilliant sunshine, it is important to protect yourself from damaging your skin and getting sun burnt.
2. Go for the Four Islands Tour early in the morning to avoid the crowds! The throngs of tourists distract from the pristine beauty of the islands. Because we went on a private tour with Andaman Camp and Cruise, we were able to arrange for an earlier timing.
3. Bring towel and extra change of clothes because you will be getting wet.
Our wonderful boat crew!
Conclusion: We had a Fabulous Time with Andaman Camp and Cruise!
We had a great time with Andaman Camp and Cruise. Elizabeth is friendly and knowledgeable, and we are grateful that she was our tour guide. We learnt a lot about the four islands from her, and she also recommended us some Krabi pubs and seafood restaurants on the mainland. We spoke about how we both loved reading on our Kindle, and also discussed more serious topics such as the political situation in Thailand and the Asia political culture.
We really enjoyed the delicious home-cooked Thai food as well. There was a free flow of ice-cold water and soft drinks throughout. And we had lots of complimentary fruits too. All these are covered in the price of the tour and we did not have to pay extra.
I loved going on this private tour as we did not have to squeeze with dozens of other tourists on overly-packed boats. In addition, we could spend as much time as we wanted on each island. This is in contrast to other tours where they unload you on the island and then rush you back into the boat after just a short time because you have to adhere to their tight schedule. With Andaman Camp and Cruise, we were able to tour the islands at a comfortable and relaxed pace.
If you are travelling to Krabi, be sure to check out this fantastic four islands tour, as well as other private tours provided by Andaman Camp and Cruise!
We were also lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with Elizabeth, the co-founder of Andaman Camp and Cruise. Find out why her private tours are ranked as one of the TOP Krabi activities on TripAdvisor! http://wp.me/p48Bge-jP
Longtail boats at Poda Island (Koh Poda)
Legend of Phra Nang Cave
Rock-climbing and huge phallic totem at Phra Nang Beach
Poda Island (Koh Poda)
Poda Island (Koh Poda)
Tub Island (Koh Tub)
Restaurant/Pub on Chicken Island (Koh Kai)
Sand Bridge between Chicken Island (Koh Kai) and Mor Island (Koh Mor)/ Tub Island (Koh Tub)
We love Krabi