Krabi is a province in the south of Thailand with many tourist hot spots and beautiful islands. Its main tourist attractions are Ao Nang, a number of islands and Krabi Town. Limestone cliffs, palm trees and rubber plantations are the highlights of Krabi’s landscape along with organised infrastructure.
Ao Nang is a popular tourist destination 15 km from Krabi Town and usually serves as a base for island hopping. The town has loads of bars and restaurants and having an Indian guy trying to get you to one of the many restaurants is a common occurrence.
The province has a lot of beach and island options including the very famous Phi Phi islands, Koh Lanta (check our guide to Koh Lanta) and many more lesser know such as Koh Jum and Koh Ngai. Railey beach is 15 minutes boat ride from Ao Nang beach.
Krabi Town is less touristic and more authentic. We spent some days exploring Ao Nang and then moved to Krabi Town for the last few days of our trip to the south of Thailand. Krabi Town is located close to the airport.
Things to do in Krabi
Tiger Cave Temple or Wat Thum Sua
The Tiger Cave Temple is a part of a larger sacred complex. Among the places of worship are the Tiger Cave Temple Mountain, Wonderland and other temples.
Tiger Cave Temple Mountain
The main draw is the big Buddha and a natural Buddha footprint on top of a steep cliff. Getting to this attraction is made challenging by a flight of 1260 differing heights, uneven and steep (in some places) stairs. It’s not an easy stair climb but when we were there a 72 year old lady tackled it successfully.
As you arrive at the summit you will be rewarded by an astonishing 360 panoramic view of the sea, black mountains and verdant scenery. When we reached the top, the sky had turned cloudy and started to rain, to our luck, it cleared after some time for us to enjoy the amazing view.
Monkeys live in the area but we did not see any on our way up but it is best not to have food. Dress appropriately, wear comfortable shoes and bring enough water although bottles can be refilled at the top.
Tiger Cave Temple
As the name suggests, this is a temple in a cave and is believed that a tiger inhabited this cave. The temple has various Buddha statues and monks meditate here.
Inside these grounds Wonderland doesn’t get much attention due to its location further along the main attractions. A flight of stairs leads to this lesser known spot which may be another reason this place is overlooked. The short set of stairs head into the jungle and pathways will lead you to a maze of caves at the foot of the cliff.
Exploring this area you will come across Buddha statues inside the caves, small homes of the friendly monks and weird trunks of the never ending trees. We also stumbled upon two turtles publicly doing their thing.
The emerald pool is a natural pool hidden in the forest with a depth of 1.5 to 2 metres. It’s very popular with tourists so best to visit early morning.
On our visit we were first and then joined by a Thai couple. This made our experience magical and the water was the clearest we have ever seen.
When more people arrived we noticed that the water was getting less clear and the tranquil environment quickly turned into a noisy one.
Further into the forest there is the Blue Pool but is closed from May to October which is the pairing season of a bird species found in the area.
An Entrance fee of 200 Baht per person is charged to foreign tourists and the area is open from 8 am. Close to the Emerald Pool there is another tourist attraction which is the hot waterfall.
These 2 ‘things to do’ are a bit closer to Krabi Town but can be perfectly done from Ao Nang.
Things to do in Ao Nang
Railey beach is a short trip from Ao Nang beach. Huge limestone cliffs and dense jungle surrounding Railey make this destination only accessible by boat.
We bought our long tail boat tickets from a kiosk at Ao Nang beach, which cost 200 Baht per person with return and leaves when there are 8 passengers. On its way, the boat stops at Tonsai beach but only if there are passengers having their accommodation here. If in a large group negotiating a price directly with the boatman can work out cheaper than using this taxi boat.
Railay beach west is where the long tail boat trip ends. The colour of the sea here is a beautiful turquoise and at both ends there are huge limestone cliffs where rock climbers can be spotted. Amenities at Railay west include some beachfront resorts and kayaks and stand up paddle boards rentals.
A busy street with cool bars, cafes and different eateries joins Railay west to Railay east. The beach at the east side is dotted with various accommodation options, restaurants and bars but the sea is not suitable for swimming as it is mangroves and muddy.
From Railay east a concrete path goes to the starting point for the climb to the viewpoint and lagoon. We skipped this as we thought it was dangerous without decent shoes and dry weather conditions. For first hand experience on climbing to the viewpoint and then down to the lagoon check Tripadvisor reviews here.
The concrete path continues to Phranang cave beach and here we watched as rock climbers learn and practice the skill. Phranang cave is at one end of the beach and is a sacred place for the locals. We walked along the shore passed a resort to a spot with clearer seawater, perfect for swimming and beautiful islands’ views.
We spent 1 day exploring Railay beach but a lot of travelers chose to stay for a couple of days. Accommodation is not cheap but Tonsai beach has cheaper backpacker style options.
>>Are you interested in other beach destinations in Thailand? Check the guides to Prachuap Khiri Khan, Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. These destinations are located on the east coast. While Koh Lanta is located on Thailand’s west coast.
Khao Ngon Nak (The Dragon Crest Mountain) Nature trail
The activity here is a trek through the jungle uphill to be rewarded with amazing views from the summit. The trek is not easy mostly due to the high humidity.
Along the way you will pass through uneven rocky paths, climb different set of stairs and even more uneven paths where the roots of the trees act as stairs. Further along, the dense jungle starts to decrease and the path smoothens out. As the trees start to open up the underlying jungle and ocean views are uncovered. Getting to the highest point involves climbing over rocks and then you have finally reached the summit and can enjoy the surrounding breathtaking scenery and rest for the hike back down the hill.
A hot spot for an epic picture is off the Dragon Crest, a natural rock formation protruding out over the lush greenery. Although access to the Dragon Crest is formally forbidden as it is dangerous it is not properly sealed off.
On the way down we took a different path (which later converges to the same path) to a waterfall although at the time of our visit (second half of May) there wasn’t much water. Before starting the hike and after descending you need to sign a logbook at the entrance by the forest guards. It took us 6 hours to hike up, enjoy the views and rest and then back to the starting point.
Tha Pom Klong Song Nam
Visiting this park entails a short walk on a stilted path through mangrove forest. The main draw here is very clear water in some parts along the pathway which is not common in mangroves. The park is not busy and the walk along trees is pleasant. Further along the way there is a spot where swimming is allowed but water isn’t so clear. The entrance fee is 100 Baht per person.
Fossil Shell Beach
Fossil beach is one attraction worth considering mostly for those into geology. While at Fossil beach, we didn’t really know what the attraction was and therefore were wondering why the entrance fee is so expensive (entrance fee is 200 Baht per person although we were there 1 hr before closing time and was charged 100 Baht per person).
A broken platform which at first sight looked like concrete slabs was actually the fossils. When we washed the concrete lookalike surface it revealed loads of different species such as shrimps, snails and other minuscule marine life ingrained in the slabs which took millions of years to form.
Beaches in and near Ao Nang
Ao Nang beach is popular to take a stroll during sunset but is not the best for swimming. Nopparat Thara is another beach and is close to Ao Nang beach. This is the quieter side of Ao Nang and is where a few of the high end resorts are. Although the beach is similar to the bay in Ao Nang, the water is cleaner and the beach is quieter.
Klong Muang Beach
Klong Muang is a long stretch of beach with golden sand but not the clearest water. Public access to the beach from the roadside is limited but all along the beach is accessible by foot. There are some resorts, bars and restaurants but the beach is very quiet with only a few visitors. While at the beach we enjoyed the sunset whilst sipping a refreshing drink at one of the bars/restaurants.
Tub Kaek Beach
Tub Kaek is close to the Dragon Crest Mountain Trail. It faces an impressive cluster of islands along the horizon including Hong island and Ho Lao Lading island. We visited in the afternoon when the tide was low and the beach wasn’t the best for swimming. The beach was quiet with only a couple of other people.
Things to do in Krabi Town
Khao Khanap Nam
Khao Khanap Nam is Krabi Town’s landmarks. These are two large limestone cliffs shooting up and out of the river surrounded by greenery. The two cliffs which face in opposite direction can be seen clearly from the town’s promenade. Another attraction here is the Khao Khanap Nam caves which is a cave complex and can only be reached by a boat arranged from Chao Fah pier.
On same side as Krabi’s promenade there is a mangrove with a concrete path leading to a jetty opposite Khao Khanap Nam.
Wat Kaew Korawaram
Wat Kaew Korawaram is a Buddhist temple in Krabi Town centre. Although not a major attraction nor popular it is one of the most unique temples we came across. The wat sits atop a small hill and its walls and marble floor are a light grey color unlike other temples which are usually covered in red and gold colour.
Koh Klang village
Koh Klang was recommended by a guy from whom we rented the scooter. The village can be reached by a small boat from the pier at Thara park on Khongkha Road. This boat is mostly used by locals getting to Krabi town and costs 20/30 Baht per scooter including 2 persons. When you arrive a guide can be hired from on the island to explore the local craftsmanship.
We explored the island by scooter and along met happy and friendly people. The island has a Muslim community that has preserved well its’ Thai authentic lifestyle. We didn’t come across other tourists but still noticed a resort, hostel and homestay. Driving around we didn’t see any car although we did meet buffaloes in the middle of the small road. Whilst exploring we came across rice fields, fish farms, lovely houses, mangroves and muddy beaches with plenty of islands on the horizon.
Night Markets in Ao Nang
Ao Nang Landmark Night Market
The night market is set up along Noppharat Thara beach and has food stalls on one side, live music with seating in the middle and a shopping area on the other side. The food stalls offer a large selection of meals including noodles, rice, seafood, grilled fish and other cuisine targeted predominately to foreign tourists such as meat skewers, meat cuts, pizzas and quesedillas. The outdoor seating area is livened up by a talented band. Drinks including beers can be purchased whilst seated.
Ao Nang Night Market
A small night market takes place off Ao Nang’s main road just before Nopparat Thara riverside promenade. Mostly food stalls, the food here is good and reasonably priced. Our favourite meals were steamed pork and Pad Thai prepared by a well organised kid. Live performance of traditional dance and singing by 2 young kids took place the night we visited.
Night Markets in Krabi Town
Krabi Town Weekend Night Market
The weekend market which as the name suggests is set up every Friday to Sunday in central Krabi Town is the liveliest night market we had been to and is surely worth a visit. It has a wide choice of food stalls offering anything from kebabs, curries, cakes and fancy cocktails to stalls selling clothes, local crafts and souvenirs. Live performances take place on stage in the centre of the market which is also a seating area.
Krabi Town Night Street Food
Every night a street food market is set up by the river near the Chao Fah pier in Krabi Town. This market has genuine Thai dishes at good prices and is mostly visited by locals.
Nightlife in Krabi
We believe that Ao Nang’s nightlife scene is livelier than that in Krabi Town. Nights in the town are quieter limited to few bars and a walk along the promenade by the river which seems to be the meeting point for the local youths.
In Ao Nang along the beach front there is cluster of restaurants (with a dominant Indian influence), bars and a cabaret show.
Best place to stay in Krabi
Most visitors to Krabi province have their accommodation in Ao Nang rather than Krabi Town and do day trips to explore the town.
While in Ao Nang we stayed closer to Noppharat Thara beach which is 10 minutes walk to Ao Nang beach. In Krabi Town the best accommodation option is either in the city centre or even better by the riverside.
Getting from Koh Lanta to Krabi
Check this article for details on getting to Krabi from Koh Lanta.
Getting around in Krabi
Some ‘things to do’ are far from downtown Ao Nang or Krabi Town so transport is needed to get to these spots. In Ao Nang we rented a scooter for 200 Baht per day and explored hot spots nearby. We then moved to Krabi Town and rented another scooter for the same rate per day to explore other attractions nearer to Krabi Town.
For Krabi Town we can recommend the scooter rental shop in Chao Fah Ally as the guy is helpful and the bikes are in good condition. When renting a bike always take pictures and videos of any scratches and dents as these can turn out useful when returning the scooter.
The roads in Krabi are good and wide with hardly any traffic. In Krabi Town we were stopped by the police and asked for the international bike license so always make sure these are carried with you.
Getting from Ao Nang to Krabi Town
White coloured songthaews travel from Ao Nang to Krabi Town from the main road and vice versa regularly. Songthaews do not operate all through the night so make sure you know the night schedule if travelling late.
We traveled with our backpacks with a songthaew to Krabi Town and paid 60 Baht per person. Get to know the cost of the trip before getting on the songthaew as you will likely pay more if you ask the driver for the price. Trip ends in Krabi Town’s centre in front of the 7/11.
Getting from Krabi Town to Krabi Airport
From Krabi Town to Krabi Airport we booked a taxi with Matcha Tours for 300 Baht since the flight was early morning. Other options for during the day are a bus or even songthaew.
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