01:20 p.m. After lunch I head to the pier in Krabi in order to catch a long tail boat. Objective: Khao Kanabnam Cave!
A giant bronze crab statue and a few smaller ones adorn the Chao Fa pier. A quick historical note here: The name of Krabi doesn’t come from “crab”, as we could legitimately think, but from the ancient Thai swords (called… krabi!), which also appear on the emblem of the city.
The long tail boat is here and it traces its route in the Krabi estuary, surrounded by the mangrove forest. There was a time when the mangrove trees were exploited to produce charcoal. This practice has now been put to a halt, and the mangrove has retrieved its equilibrium, and is now host of a rich fauna that finds shelter between the intricate roots of the trees.
The ride is too short for my taste: a mere 15 minutes to reach Khao Kanabnam, the 2 hills (100 meter high) you can see from the pier, a famous landmark of Krabi. I enjoy these long tail boats, with their huge engine perched on a long propeller shaft, articulated at the point of balance, and I wouldn’t have minded exploring the mangrove further. The boat docks on a small pontoon, shadowed with a wooden welcome sign and a paved pathway. On the left I spot a multitude of small fiddler crabs, with one of their claws almost as big as their body.
A short walk and I reach the entrance of the cave. There are actually 2 entrances: one via a stairway that was built and covered with stone like material, and another one which was originally used to access the cave; a few steps more or less carved in the rock, then a wooden ladder, leading to a second ladder, and you get to enter the cave through a tiny hole that had just enough room for my shoulders. Yes, I couldn’t resist getting in the hard way! It is not recommended if you are wearing slippers or high heels though…
After exiting that stone bowel, I look up and find myself in a huge chamber. The ceiling must be at least 20 meters high, and is covered with black lifeforms; bats!
There are a lot of impressive stalactites and stalagmites there, and it gives the feeling that the stone actually melted, and is quasi alive. One of the stalactite formation catches my attention, as it almost seems it has been cut in the middle.
On the other end of the cave, there is a big natural opening that lets the daylight in. The photo gallery below will show the magnificence of the place better than I could express, so I let you discover by yourself.
A lot of human skeletons were found in that cave: they supposed that people came in the ancient time to live there, but a sudden flood cut them from the rest of the world and they died. In most recent times, during world war II, Japanese were using this cave as a hideout.
When I am going out of the cave, a group of Korean journalists recognise me and we start discussing about the Andaman Sea and the beauty it has to offer. Our itineraries match more or less so we will probably share a few adventures together! While they do a quick interview with me, a Thai guide comes towards me and invites me to chew a few tamarind leaves: he is telling me they have energetic properties, help clean the blood and fight infections. They actually taste quite nice.
Enjoy the photos of the cave, although it is much more spectacular when you see it with your own eyes!
But time to move and visit the muslim village in Koh Krang!