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The Krabi Jungle Tour is a popular excursion from Ao Nang, Thailand. This full-day adventure takes guests to the Tiger Cave Temple, the Klong Thom hot springs, and the Emerald Pool in Krabi Provence, Thailand.
A fellow traveler I met in Railay Beach said that the Tiger Cave Temple was worth a trip. I had a day off from teaching English online so I decided I’d give the Krabi Jungle Tour a try.
After looking through Tiger Cave, Hot Springs, and Emerald Pool Krabi tour options online and at the tourist kiosks, I decided on a bundled option called the Krabi Jungle Tour. I signed up for a random tour offered at a tourist kiosk, and while we got to see some beautiful places around Krabi, there were some organizational aspects of the tour that made this less than ideal.
This post will break down which tours you should pick, what you’ll see, and how to make the most of your experience at the Tiger Cave Temple, Krabi Hot Springs, and Emerald Cove.
About the Krabi Jungle Tour
There are a few different ways you can see the Tiger Cave Temple, Emerald Pool, and Krabi Hot Spring. You can book a guided tour from a tourist kiosk in Ao Nang or Krabi Town, you can take a guided tour that you book online in advance, or you can visit these destinations by yourself on a motorbike or with a private driver.
Book In Person
Like I mentioned above, I signed up for this tour at an in-person kiosk in Ao Nang. Looking back, I wish I would have booked it online so I could read company reviews and see previous guest experiences. The tour I went on was interesting and I’m glad I went, but some of the organization and timing aspects could have been better executed.
My Krabi day tour package lasted from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm. It Included all entrance fees, a bottle of water, lunch, and pick up/drop off from my accommodation.
Book Online In Advance
Luckily on websites such as Get Your Guide, there are plenty of Krabi Jungle Tour packages available with excellent reviews! You can book your Krabi Jungle Tour here!
Whether booked online in advance or in person, this one-day Krabi packaged tour features the same general itinerary. The tour lasts for most of the day and you’ll visit the Tiger Cave Temple, Krabi Hot Springs, and Emerald Pool in no specific order. Your tour should also include lunch and hotel pick up.
The cost of an organized Krabi tour package is between $35 – $45 USD.
Plan your own Krabi Jungle Tour
You can also choose to visit these Krabi attractions on your own. You can book a private driver or rent a motorbike to do so. These are the prices if you do destinations on your own:
- Tiger Cave Temple – no admission fee
- Hot Springs – 100 THB ($3 USD)
- Emerald Pool – 200 THB ($6 USD)
- Motorbike rental – around 200 THB/day + gas 38 THB/liter ($1.18 USD)
My Krabi Jungle Tour Review
From the beginning, the tour I booked was a bit strange. The tour van picked me up at my Ao Nang accommodation early in the morning. I hopped into the van, eager to make a bunch of new friends, but none of the eight people in the van were talking and there was a ton of luggage piled around everyone.
Did I get in the wrong van? Am I actually on my way to the airport?
The driver slid the door closed behind me. We rode in silence for about half an hour and just when I was convinced that I definitely jumped in the wrong car, we pulled up to the Tiger Cave Temple. All except for two of us got out.
The two remaining had booked an ATV ride as an optional excursion in addition to the Tiger Cave Temple, hot springs, and Emerald Cove. The guide told us to meet back in the parking lot in an hour and a half while he took the other couple to their ATV ride.
The Tiger Cave Temple Krabi
The compound of the Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi is welcoming and practical. A convenience store sells snacks and water bottles. Little butterflies flit around the nicely landscaped flowerbeds. Informational plaques explain the history of the temple.
There’s a huge parking lot filled with tour buses and a few other construction projects going on. It’s all neatly packed in around the base of a mountain.
The Tiger Cave Temple is at the top of a tall mountain. How tall? About 1200 steps tall. But I figured, “It can’t be that bad, so many tourists come here!” I grabbed a water bottle from the convenience store at the bottom of the stairs and began my trek upward.
The first set of stairs was fine. After that, the person building them clearly got a little “soft” on the building regulations. He or she took some major liberties with how tall and wide stairs have to be for human use.
No stair master in the world could have prepared me for 1200 stairs in Thai humidity. The hike was beautiful, don’t get me wrong, and I loved looking out over the mountains and agricultural fields below. But dang. It was hot. And those stairs were steep. And I had taken some anti-car sickness medicine earlier because vans and I have a shaky track record, so I was drowsy.
I chugged my water bottle and told myself to go slow and really enjoy the view, but when I slowed down the humidity really took its toll and the mosquitos I’d been out-climbing caught up to me. Continuing upward was the only option.
The Tiger Cave Temple is a sacred Buddhist site and it isn’t hard to see why. The mountain is mostly quiet, insects and tropical birds fly around statues tangled deep in the jungle vines. Sacred offerings of water, snacks, and incense line the path.
I try to channel my inner zen and appreciate the natural beauty while ignoring the sweat that is pooling in uncomfortable places.
At the top, right when I thought my legs were actually going to collapse, I learned why the Krabi Tiger Cave Temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area.
The view is spectacular. It wasn’t even a particularly clear day, but I could see all the way to the sea in one direction, to the mountains in another, across miles of fields and forests. The limestone cliffs make elegant shapes on the horizon.
There is drinking water at the top, which is amazing because my bottle ran dry somewhere around step 734. I slipped off my shoes and wandered into the Temple compound, feet leaving sweaty footprints on the surprisingly cool tiles.
It was so quiet. The breeze felt heavenly. The chirp and chatter of insects below somehow doesn’t reach up here. All you can hear is the prayer bells riniging and the wind.
On the hike up to the Tiger Cave Temple, I tried to commune with nature, quietly appreciating the buzzing insects and soft breezes ruffling the trees. On the way down, I used a different tactic. I spent a lot of time at the top of the temple and was now racing against the clock to get back to the van in time. I knew I needed help.
So I plugged in my headphones, threw on an old cross country workout playlist, and “eye of the tiger-ed” it out of there. Was it the spiritual journey I desired? Not quite. But it was still beautiful and before I knew it, I was down the hill, ready to run a record-breaking 5k and covered in sweat.
I collapsed on a bench outside the convenience store and watched my fellow tour passengers stumble down the stairs in various states of disarray. We were all exhausted, but now we had an icebreaker. “Did you see that view? How far do you reckon the sea is from here?”
The couple from the ATV’s were also sitting on a bench outside the convenience store. Eager for more friends, I asked them what they thought of the view.
“Oh, we didn’t get to go to the top,” the girl said, looking a bit bummed, “the driver said we didn’t have enough time.”
I understand why they were disappointed because they paid extra for four excursions but really only got to do three. Lesson learned: If you use one of the tour companies on the street, don’t add on an extra excursion. For this couple, “seeing the Tiger Cave Temple” turned into “sitting at the foot of the Tiger Cave Temple next to the concession stand.”
Our tour guide rounded us up and as we piled in the car, we noticed the older couple from Italy was missing. “We need to wait just a minute, two people aren’t back yet.” Someone called from the depths of our van, which was still filled with unexplained luggage.
But our tour guide was anxious to get going and didn’t seem to want to wait.
Thankfully, someone saw the couple 50 meters away, at the base of the mountain. We cheered and waved when they arrived, thankful that no one was left behind.
Our tour guide sped off to our next stop: the Krabi hot springs.
The Krabi Hot Springs
I thought exactly what you’re probably thinking. Hot springs? I’m soaked in sweat. Literally, nothing sounds worse than dunking my body into a pool of hot water right now. But don’t worry, the Krabi hot springs tour was somehow quite lovely.
We arrived at the hot springs after a thirty-minute van ride that probably should have taken an hour (our tour guide had a passion for punctuality, which meant he drove like he was in the F1).
From the parking lot, the hot springs are an easy quarter-mile walk through a trail in the woods. If woods and trails aren’t your favorites, you can also take a golf cart from the main road to the back entrance of the hot springs.
The Krabi Hot Springs weren’t very crowded and we lounged in deep natural pools of warm water.
After how sore my muscles were from the great Stairmaster Challenge, the hot water felt great. You can only stay in the water for 15-20 minutes before it gets too hot so we didn’t stay at the springs for long, but it was a nice little relaxation stop.
All relaxed and zen from the hot water, we took our time walking back to the van. Half of our tour group was walking a few meters behind, and when the guide saw us he frantically waved us into the van. Once again, we were running late.
Half of us jump into the car and the guide revs the engine, waving vigorously out the window the late guests. Everyone else breaks into a run and dives into the luggage filled van head first.
Back into our metal torpedo for another ten-minute car ride that really should have taken thirty.
The Emerald Pool Krabi
We arrived at the Emerald Pool, also known as the Emerald Lagoon Krabi. This Thailand jungle tour destination has hiking trails, an emerald colored natural swimming hole, and a darker colored blue swimming spot.
We ate lunch family-style at a restaurant in the touristy area around Emerald Pool. A lunch of curry and watermelon was provided and it was all delicious.
The Emerald Pool is very popular with locals and there weren’t many other tour groups there when we went. There are two paths through the jungle to get to the natural spring – a short way (400m) and a long way (1400m).
I recommend doing the longer scenic route on the way in and the short route on your way back, especially if your tour guide doesn’t like lateness.
The Emerald Pool is a natural cool spring that gets its color because the rock lining it is a vibrant shade of, well, emerald. The water is fresh and crystal clear.
Getting to the edge of the pool is dangerous because it is slick slick slick. I saw at least three people straight up eat it on the slippery rocks. The “sit down and slide” method works wonders. The pool is chest deep and the bottom is pebbles, nothing slimy or scary. But the rocks lining the sides have their share of slime. When you stand still, you can see all the way to the bottom. A few striped fish swim by, accustomed to the bobbing bodies and kids splashing around.
Lots of families come to the Emerald Pool and you can tell the kids love it. There are smaller pools along the creek where kids slide on natural water slides and splash in shallow waters. I could have stayed here all day.
Nearby, you can visit the darker colored Blue Lagoon Krabi. This natural spring is a deeper color and is a few hundred meters away from its emerald cousin. Unfortunately, it was closed in the rainy season when I was there.
When our time was up at the Emerald Pool, we walked back to the parking lot to find our van. We arrived at the exact time the tour guide requested. This time, he was nowhere to be found.
When he arrived a few minutes later, no one said a word.
[irp posts=”2822″ name=”How to spend the perfect day on Railay Beach, Thailand – Travel Guide”]
Getting home from the Krabi Jungle Tour
It took about an hour to get back to Ao Nang from the Emerald Pool. The ATV couple from earlier had a flight to catch so we dropped them off at the airport on the way. That explained all the luggage that had been flying around our heads as the van flew down mountain roads at the speed a small plane takes off at.
It was nice that the tour company could arrange that for them, but the whole “we’re gonna drop these two off at the airport” idea seemed a little sloppy. Their flight wasn’t for several hours and the airport detour meant the other six of us got home an hour later than we were promised.
Overall, I’m glad I got to see each place on this tour, but the tour itself was a bit rushed. While I appreciate that the tour guide wanted to keep us on schedule, at times the speed was stressful.
Final Thoughts: Tiger Cave Temple, Emerald Pool and Hot Springs Krabi Tour
I think the attractions on the Krabi Jungle Tour are worth seeing, but if I did it again I would take the tour with a different company. When you book an attraction from a tourist kiosk, you don’t always know what you’re going to get. Booking a tour with positive reviews could have meant a more organized experience.
That said, it’s definitely worth taking a Tiger Cave Temple, Krabi hot springs and Emerald Pool tour while visiting this diverse region of Thailand.
Each attraction is worth the trip, so make sure to devote a day or two to these spots while visiting Krabi and Ao Nang.
Planning a trip to Krabi?
These posts might come in handy!
- Read my Ultimate Guide to Ao Nang, Thailand, my favorite place to stay in Krabi.
- Learn about other Krabi tours like the 4 Island Tour by boat
- Plan a day trip to Railay Beach or a weekend getaway to Ko Phi Phi with these helpful guides
- Unsure of what to pack? This Southeast Asia Packing List for Women has you covered!
What a wonderful treat to wake up to a tour in Thailand. Realistically, we are waiting for a Category 4 hurricane to mess with your favorite childhood play land, Scratchankle Farm. We will do all we can to keep it safe for when you return. When I get restless and bored I will reread all your blogs and be happy. Love, Nan
You are INSPIRING. Thailand has always been one of my dream destinations. Keep on traveling!
The Tiger Cave Temple looks epic! Just the stairs look a nightmare. I bet you were exhausted!