Sra Morakot (สระมรกต) also known as – Emerald Pool Krabi, Emerald Pond, Crystal Pool, and Crystal Lagoon
Updated: 6 October 2017
This Emerald Pool (Sra Morakot) in Krabi province is one of our top suggestions for things you should do in Krabi, Thailand and the number one recommendation for enjoying the underground natural springs that flourish in Krabi province. Emerald Pool or pond is not a hot spring, but it is cool water that is just heavenly to swim in. The water is replenished by natural streams running into the pool from freshwater sources on the limestone hill above.
Don’t miss the 15-minute video we’ve made about Sra Morakot – just scroll down to the bottom of the page to see it.
Sra Gaew Pool
Above is another pool of water, not for swimming, just looking and photos – but it can be quite beautiful at the right time of day.
Bring with You to Emerald Pool in Krabi:
Swimsuit – bikini or briefs OK
Mosquito lotion (deet 28+ works best in Thailand)
Cold bottled water for the hike – no cans.
Camera and Video Camera
Sandals (sport sandals are best) so you can explore
Note – no food or cans are allowed. Still, we always bring water. There are refreshments available at the end of the trail near the pond. Fresh juice, ice-cream, coconut juice in the coconut. There is also a full compliment of restaurants serving Thai and seafood.
Cost of Admission:
A tour is about 1,100 THB from Krabi Town, and includes a stop at the Hot Spring too! One cool thing is that if you buy a National Park admission for the Emerald Pool, you will also get admission to the Hot Springs for just 100 THB (a good discount). The tour stops at both places.
National Park Fee: 200 THB for tourists at Crystal Pool and 100 THB for tourists at Hot Spring. Our daughter is 3.5 years old and she gets in for free.
Emerald Pool Travel Tips
Go in the morning before the kids get out of school – it gets really crowded then. It’s actually crowded from 10 am. onward. Get there earlier if possible.
Though it’s crowded – make the best of it!
Wear sports sandals or running shoes to get out there, it’s about 1 km on the dirt road.
Don’t bring food with you – they won’t allow it
Best Time to Go to this Krabi Attraction?
Best to go at 9 am. Go before 2-3 p.m. because children get out of school and sometimes there are 100+ kids here – they love it too!
Best way to get to Emerald Pool?
If you’re good on a motorcycle, just rent a motorbike and go yourself. It’s about a 55 km drive, but the roads are good and the last 15 km is through rural Krabi’s Klong Thom district with very little traffic. Quite a nice little drive. Plan on it taking you 1.25 hours to get there, or if you drive slowly and safely – around 1.6 hours.
Emerald Pool Krabi Cautions?
Best to wear some comfortable walking shoes because the Emerald Pool is 800 meters from the parking area. The walk is nice – under trees for the most part, and the path is a large, dirt path that’s quite safe. You could even get a stroller up to the pond if you wanted to. There is another option, there is a concrete raised walkway that goes through the forest. It is safe and quite beautiful as much of it goes along the freshwater stream. Highly recommended.
The areas around the pool are EXTREMELY SLIPPERY. Be very careful – we have seen many people FALL while trying to get in or out of the pool. There is no ladder!
How to Have the Best Experience?
Explore the entire area. There is a 1.4 km walk that goes over wooden boardwalk and dirt paths through the woods that leads to amazing pools of freshwater spring that most tourists won’t see because they’ll take the short 800 m walk. On this walk is the amazing “Sra Gaew Pool”. Also, once you arrive at the Emerald Pond you’ll want to continue up the hill from it and find the boardwalk on your left side. Keep walking another 400 m and you’ll find “Blue Pool!” Quite nice colors!
Directions to Get There
This is 55 km from Krabi Town and 75 km from Ao Nang. You really should book a tour with “Son” below. If you are going to drive yourself here are the directions. Starting from Highway 4 you will go through the Talod Gaew intersection traveling toward Trang. You will go about 30km on Highway 4, passing Nua Klong and then once you are in Klong Thom you will make a left-hand turn at the sign for the Crystal Pool – it may say “Sra Morakot Krabi” or “Emerald Pool Krabi” or “Emerald Pond Krabi”. This attraction is called all of these things! You continue for 9 km at which point you will make a right-hand turn at the sign for the pool. You will continue about another 7 km when you will see another sign for Sra Morakot and flags indicating the Thai National Park.
Or, just SIGN UP HERE and you’ll get an Air Conditioned Van >
There are some very basic rooms available on-site where you can stay overnight. Unless you’re planning on walking the park at night with a guide to see animals, I wouldn’t think you’d stay overnight. This place is out in the wilderness and there is literally nothing to do except visit the pond.
* * * * * * For Tours Info around Krabi Town and Beaches – Click HERE.
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Video – Walking Tour of Emerald Pool (pond), Sra Gaew Pool, and Blue Pool:
Video of Small Lizard Found at Emerald Pool in Krabi
Tiger Temple Krabi in Thai is pronounced Wat Tum Sua (also called, “Wat Tham Suea”) is one of the most fun things to do in Krabi on your vacation. It’s real meaning is – Tiger Cave Temple, but few tourists remember the “cave” part!
[Last Updated: 13 April 2017]
TIGER TEMPLE KRABI ESSENTIALS
You can make this a 4-6 hour trip – half-day or full-day. Make sure you eat a couple of hours before and have a lot of energy because you will need it to climb the mountain, and then later climb another 90 steps to get into the foothills area (see 2nd video, coming soon).
Watch the video to see the climb up the hill. Don’t let the idea of 1,256 steps scare you into not attempting it. We’ve seen 80+ year old people at the top, and a five-year-old that made the climb. Our seven-year-old daughter made it in 40 minutes. It’s difficult, but if you rest every fifty steps or so – you’ll be fine. There is almost always ice-cold water at the top for you. Bring a clean cup or a water bottle to refill so you don’t need to use the dirty cups at the top.
Tiger Temple Krabi History
Theravada Buddhist monk, Ajahn Jumnien, is the founding abbot of this amazing temple located at the beginning of the Khao Phanom mountain chain just outside of Krabi Town in the south central area of Krabi province. Ajahn Jumnien is a world-renowned meditation teacher and he travels to many continents to help others learn Buddhist meditation. Ajahn Jumnien is also well-versed in the mystical aspects of Buddhism and he creates many important amulets at his temple – which you can find HERE.
The temple started as a small place for monks to learn about Buddhism, and now has grown to be a massive temple and one of the most important Buddhist temples in Thailand’s South. There is a large Chedi being built – 99 meters high – of concrete. There is a very high set of steps to climb – 1,256 steps climbing 280 meters up a limestone hill – offering an absolutely stunning view at the top.
Tiger Temple Foothills Area
There is also a foothills area down to the left of the large Kwan Yin statue. You climb 90+ steps up, and another ~90 down and you are in a primary rainforest with gigantic palms and prehistoric looking plants. There are a group of monks who live here and meditate in the various caves located here. You can tour one of the shallow caves too – turn on the lights first, or bring a flashlight (torch).
Tiger Temple Thai Amulets for Sale
There are a few counters where you can buy authentic Thai amulets, blessed Theravada Buddhist bracelets, necklaces, and more. They have an extensive collection of amulets they create there at the temple for visitors to share across the globe. Spend a few minutes browsing around and see if you can’t find something as a gift for Buddhists or someone else special in your life.
WHAT TO DO AT TIGER TEMPLE?
Wat Thamsua has a couple things to see and do. Outlined below:
1. Tiger Cave Temple is the tan/yellow colored building at the base of the hill close to where you will park. To the right of the building is a ramp and stairs leading up to the second floor. Once inside (remove your shoes) you can shop for Buddhist amulets at the counter, get a bracelet put on you from one of the women in white (nuns) and look at the 120+ Buddha statues. If you look to the front among the Buddha statues you’ll see a stairway that leads up to a special room where a Buddha footprint is as well as the most sacred place for the whole Wat Tum Sua temple. It’s small and crowded sometimes.
2. Outside the Tiger cave temple come back down to the ground level and walk left there are some buildings to see, but the next main attraction are the stairs leading up to the top of a small mountain (280 meters above sea level). There are 1,256 steps leading to the top that are challenging in the morning heat – best to go about 4 pm if you want coolest part of the day and to catch sunset, which is at times, amazing. There is cold water at the top of the climb (free) and places to sit or even lay down. I’ve seen all kinds of people make it to the top. A five year old boy, an 85 year old woman, and a 300 lb (130 kg?) guy. If you want to make it you CAN – just go slow. It’s not a race. Sunset is awesome here at Tiger Temple Krabi when it’s not rainy season. Rainy season is April or May through November.
3. After you go up the steps, or in lieu of it (spelling of lieu?) go further back into the grounds and see the Kwan Yin Statue – female goddess statue. Chinese people love this goddess. She is the Goddess of Compassion. Then to the left are more steps that lead to the foothills area of Wat Tham Seua. It’s about 88 steps up and 100 down into the foothills. There are 8 monks that live here and there’s a nature walk of maybe 400 meters around the perimeter of the foothills. Great for pics. Don’t miss the 1000 year old tree and the 2 caves. One cave you can walk back in and see a couple of rooms. Don’t stay long – in one cave it’s tough to breath. Not sure why that is.
4. There is a new building, a 99 meter high Chedi with 8 levels that might be done sometime in 2008. Looks cool from the outside. You can walk up now and see it – but not much to see just yet. Should be quite nice by time it’s finished.
Founder:Ajarn Jumnearn (Jumnien) Seelasettho from Surat Thani province north of Krabi. He lived in a small village, Ban Na San for a long time and had “Jack Kornfield, author and meditator, stay with him for a few years there.” Jack Kornfield invites Aj. Jumnearn back to California yearly to teach a meditation course with Jack.
Resident monks: 88 during the rains retreat time
Monks living in foothills area: Usually around eight (8)
Most times traveled to top of steps? Pra Pornpitak, 50 years old has been up about 2,000 times over the past 18 years and counting. At 1000 they had a special party for him at the top (I missed it due to traveling.)
Fastest time to top of stairs? There was a guy from Germany, a track runner, who climbed in 9 minutes and 20 seconds.
Most times to top of stairs in one day? I held the title briefly at 3. A 71 year old man, Alfred from the UK did it 4 times. Recently a young monk did it 5 times.
Update: Me and a friend climbed it 6 times one after another for a vertical mile of climbing! Took us about 4 hours.
Other interesting things of note: I found a meter long thin snake on the second level. I found a walking stick and a giant beetle. At step 357 there was a 4 meter long King Cobra I had to move off the steps (Interested in snakes? ThailandSnakes.com.
At about step 800 there are sometimes a different group of monkeys (gibbons) that are very pretty to look at. They’re shy and don’t come close but if you can get a photo – they are very nice. I haven’t been able to get a photo yet. An American snapped photos of what the locals told him was a king cobra at the Tiger Temple Cave building. I saw the photos, I think it’s not a king cobra due to color, but it was a large monocled cobra. Occasionally there are a group of red monkeys – with bad tempers that come across the trees and visit the top of the Buddhist shrine and terrorize people. I’ve seen them just 3 times in 3 years.
Tips for Visiting Wat Tham Seua Temple in Krabi
About Monkeys (Macaques)
1. Park in Front. Do not park anywhere except at the beginning of the parking lot where other motorbikes and cars, buses, tuk-tuks are. The monkeys sometimes chew your motorbike seat and handlebar grips. Don’t leave food on your motorbike or under the seat – dogs, monkeys will find it.
2. Keep Food in Backpack. Do not take anything to eat with you that is outside your backpack since the monkeys may forcibly take it from you when they’re ravenous. Especially early mornings they are a bit nuts. Don’t leave your shoes, umbrellas or bags of anything laying around where the monkeys are – they’ll take them and play with them high in the trees.
3. Don’t Stare in the Eyes of the Monkeys, or smile and show your teeth – these behaviors are a direct threat to them. The big ones will show you their impressive array of teeth. The small ones will run from you, cowering.
4. Don’t feed the monkeys. Don’t get close to the monkeys. I have seen some horrible bites to visitors when the monkeys get angry. The monkeys have fangs and when they bite, it is a really bad bite. I’ve helped to carry a number of people down the stairs after bad monkey bites.
5. Don’t get between the adult monkeys and the babies. This can be the cause of a monkey bite – or full-blown attack by multiple monkeys.
6. Stay Calm. If a monkey jumps on you don’t flip out – just give it what it wants and he’ll get off. Seriously.
The Heat, Heatstroke
1,256 steps are tough in the heat. Take lots of water before, during, after climb. Once a girl from Malaysia almost died of heat exhaustion there. Recently I saw another Thai girl passed out and friends trying to revive her. It is a strenuous climb – bring a hat too!
Regarding Respect at Tiger Temple
1. Keep Shirts On. Don’t remove your shirts anywhere on the temple grounds. This isn’t the beach. It’s a Buddhist temple. You wouldn’t take your shirt off at a church in your country. Actually, you should never remove your shirt unless you’re on the sand at the beach. You should not ride your motorbike around Krabi town or walk the streets shirtless. That’s why Thais’ call you “key nok” – bird shite. Do as the Thais’ do, don’t bring your countries’ traditions here!
Don’t wear anything you wouldn’t wear to the Vatican in Rome. Do NOT wear a bikini. Do wear bras. This is a Buddhist temple, and though you’ll be sweating outside and it’s hot, swimwear is NOT acceptable.
You can wear sandals, shorts, t-shirts, hats, glasses, etc. Don’t forget to bring your camera.
2. Don’t Play Music. Don’t play music at the temple on your cell phone like some of the rude Thai kids you might see.
3. Don’t Kiss. Don’t kiss your honey at the top of the mountain. It’s a sacred place. Thais don’t show affection in public. NEVER at a temple.
4. Remove Shoes. You must remove your shoes at the top of the mountain before you get on the ceramic tiled part. The sign looks like it means only womens’ heels -but it means ALL SHOES.
Regarding Night Time at this Buddhist Temple
1. No Lights on Stairs. There are only a couple lights (or, as now, none) on the entire stairs. After you watch sunset (between 6:15 and 6:45) you should start down the stairs as you don’t want to get caught in the dark.
2. Bring a Flashlight. 7-11 sells small yellow flashlights powered by 2 AA batteries for just 50 baht that work well! Good for exploring caves too.
3. The Dogs at the Bottom. If you come down the steps at night there are very few people around, and the dogs may bark and follow you around. There have been dogbites occasionally, so keep this in mind if you’re planning on coming down late. I always pick up some rocks off the hill before I come down, and if the dogs are crazy, I start throwing big rocks at them. That chills them out. It doesn’t endear you to the monks, but then, at least you’re not bitten. There is a SERIOUS dog problem at the temple – like most temples. The dogs are not controllable.
Do bring some water. There is water at the top, but you will need some before you get there. You will also need your plastic bottle to drink from as you refill it at the top. There are cups there, they are dirty. The water is clean, it is filtered. Bring water for the trip up and maybe down too. Coming down is also strenuous for some people, take some breaks.
Bottom Line – Is this Tiger Temple Worth the Trip?
A visit to this popular temple is an awesome experience, and one you shouldn’t miss. Besides Railay beach and Phi Phi islands, and Crystal Pond (Sra Morakot) this should be your next choice for something to do while you stay in Krabi, Thailand on your vacation.
* * * * * * For Tours Info around Krabi Town and Beaches – Click HERE.
Ride your car, motorbike, or take a taxi or tour to Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tum Sua / Wat Tham Seua). This is a large Theravada Buddhist temple located just outside Krabi town in Krabi Noi area (little Krabi). On highway 4 from town, traveling towards Koh Lanta and Trang you’d make a left at the stoplight at the first sign of a large hill. This is the Khao Phanom Bencha mountain chain. You go about 2km and you’ll see the temple on your left side. The road is marked with a sign for the temple.
Don’t miss Tiger Temple Krabi – even if you don’t plan on climbing the big mountain, you can climb up into the foothills area and see where the monks live in the caves. There are turtles and 1,000 year old trees back in this area. There are some small caves to explore (look for the light-switch).
There is a large cultural festival going on down at the Krabi river area near downtown, near the police box on the main Uttarakit Road. Traffic is restricted totally at night – no automobiles can get through, and severely limited during the day time. There are many cultural demonstrations showing what life is like in all parts of Thailand. There are demonstrations for Muslims, Buddhists, farmers, etc. If you are looking for something fun to do, this would be something you can walk around and look at. Traffic is absolutely nuts this first weekend the show has been on.
Update – it’s over. Only a weekend thing. Strange because there was a LOT of construction for the booths. They are now tearing it all down.
Thais were hoping that this 2010 high season would be truly – high. It isn’t. There are definitely more tourists about than during slow season, but I’m calling this year’s high season quite low. This is nothing like some of the past years’ high seasons in Krabi where the roads were just packed with tourists in rental cars and on rental motorbikes.
Those in Pattaya and Patong Beach have said the same – it’s just not a good high season for tourists in Thailand this year. That’s a real shame because the Thais definitely need the money!
Maybe the diving dollar and Euro has something to do with it. I’m sure it does. The dollar, the last time I looked, was at 29.5 THB per dollar. That’s pretty bad considering when I first came to Thailand in 2004 it was about 37, and I think it even went up to 41 THB per dollar. So the dollar doesn’t have the strength it once did. Ever conscious of money – tourists are not flocking to Thailand in droves at the moment.
I think some stay home out of fear of what is happening with the government and protests. That really shouldn’t be any concern if you are coming to Thailand. If you’re coming, just avoid Bangkok during the protests. Patong Beach, Krabi, Trang, Chiang Mai, the unspoiled northeast of Thailand – are all wonderful places to go – whether there are protests in BKK or not.
Particularly good for Krabi tourists is that this place isn’t overrun with tourists at the moment – so – GET HERE AND ENJOY IT!
Krabi must be the most underrated Thailand destination in the country at the moment. There is just as much to do and see during the daylight hours as anywhere else in the country – including Phuket. Krabi has awesome diving, Phi Phi, caves, waterfalls, shopping, and other things to do like snake hunting if you’re up for it!
There is also some great hiking to be found in Tub Kaak, Krabi at Hang Nak Mountain, and locally just outside Krabi town at Wat Tum Sua Buddhist Temple (Tiger Cave Temple) where you can climb 1,237 steps to the top of a small mountain and see for many kilometers. You can see Koh Phi Phi, Ao Nang, Koh Jum, Khao Phanom Bencha, Hang Nak (norn) Mountain, and many other locations.