Is your mind repeatedly warning you to watch out for snakes or any potentially dangerous species on your hike up the Dragon Crest Mountain? Before the trek, I read a million google reviews on the hike and the presence of them were mentioned no where. Now, as I have done the hike, the answer is a BIG NO. No potentially fatal animals flew at us from anywhere! Phew! (The mind workings of a first time hiker who is terrified of snakes!)Introducing Adventurous Thailand, a facet that is not explored by many who visit this beautiful country.
This one goes out to Vishnu. He planned this activity and I decided to be open about it. It was easily one of the highlights of our Krabi trip.
The trek up Dragon Crest Mountain Trail locally known as Khao Ngon Nak takes about 5 hours up & down. Be sure to carry ample fluids. Also, there is an amazing scenic picnic spot up at the peak, so be sure to carry some food.
Located in Nong Thale, 30 minutes from Krabi town,the departure point is a little difficult to find. We took our hotel cab and it costed us $45 round trip. Tuk-Tuk’s generally cost slightly lesser but not so much of a saving. The trail to the summit- Dragon Crest Mountain,Khao Ngon Nak to the locals, is 4 kilometres of steady climb coupled with steep slopes.
Once you register at the counter (free), you are shown the map of the protected area and given a forest guards number. Thats about it. They will not bother much on safety drills or any such things. Mosquito repellant bands/spray and a comfy broken-in pair of shoes are a must. We did see a lot of people climbing barefoot/ in flip flops. Unless you are used to hiking that way, we wouldn’t recommend it as the climb is very dry and there is a high chance of skidding especially on your way down. Please do not attempt the climb hung over. It is sweaty climb and you will be dehydrated in no time. With that fair amount of warning, let get going.
The best time to hike Dragon Crest is early morning before sunrise but hiking up the steep terrains in the dark can be bit of a challenge. So this is limited to the brave & mighty. We started our climb at 11:00 AM after a good breakfast at our beloved Ibis Styles Krabi Ao Nang. The first 20 minutes is flat terrain with small shrines along the way to offer prayers and small streams adding to the musical feel of it. All that we could hear were the rustling of trees, the gushing streams, dry leaves crunching at our feet. As we went in the month of January, the climate was extremely pleasant with a cool breeze keeping us company throughout the hike.
After the flat terrain, there is a dramatic steep climb with tree roots serving as steps. The more you climb, the cooler it gets and more deep into the jungle you feel. Though we thought of listening to music, we did not even turn it on once. The cacophony of crickets, birds and other forest noises kept us mesmerised throughout. The crickets definitely gave a creepy edge to the whole hike.
After a 3 hour hike, we reach the first view point which is up a rock. The far off islands, the turquoise sea glistening in the sun, all makes this long, sweaty hike totally worth it. This point offers lovely views and a picnic spot.There is a protruding ledge here which makes for some daredevil picture. But this picture can only be captured from another view point ledge a couple of steps away. So be sure to carry a tripod or if you are lucky enough you can find another hiker to click for you. It’s well worth the effort.
Disclaimer: We spent NYE in Krabi and it was a pleasant change to be at a place which was not crowded!