Thailand’s destinations such as Phuket, Hua Hin and Pattaya, with their renowned d turquoise beaches, will always attract a large number of visitors. However, for those seeking a less crowded alternative when visiting Thailand, there exists the pristine beach paradise, Krabi. Let’s discover the beautiful island through my Krabi travel blog (Krabi blog) — Amorous experiences in Krabi Island, Thailand.
- Krabi Itinerary — 3 days to fully explore the island paradise of Krabi Island, Thailand
- Krabi itinerary blog — Krabi, a new beach paradise in Southern Thailand
- Krabi itinerary blog — How to spend 2 days in Krabi Thailand?
- Railay travel guide — The fullest guide for a trip to railay beach, Thailand
- Koh Samui itinerary — How to spend 2 days in Koh Samui?
About 800km from the capital Bangkok, Krabi is located on the shores of the Andaman Sea in the west coast of Southern Thailand Peninsula. The towering limestone karsts and azure water meet the smooth white sandy banks, reflecting the sparkling sunshine of this tropical paradise.
Unlike the bustling centres of Pattaya, Phuket or Koh Samui, Krabi is a charming beach town offering a serene atmosphere. Local people welcome us with their hospitality in a very tranquil setting, reminding us of some beach towns of Vietnam.
After checking into our hotel and dropping off our luggage, we begin to wander around the town. The aroma of spiced grilled meat fills the air. Most of the local population of Krabi is Muslim, and this has heavily influenced the local cuisine. In particular, if you have a chance to taste the Kebabs in Krabi – grilled meat wrapped in Turkish “Naan” bread, you will be delighted by the extraordinary and delicious taste. The cuisine of Krabi is a striking blend of Thai, Indian and Chinese influences. Amazingly, eating in Krabi is often cheaper than at other Thai tourist destinations.
Fortunately, we have the opportunity to visit the Krabi night market. Krabi’s night market is typically held in the three last days of the week. Local people display a variety of goods, from jewelry and fashion, to household appliances and food, all at a very cheap price. The night market here also reminds us of the night market in the Old Quarter of Hanoi or Ben Thanh night market in Ho Chi Minh City.
Krabi blog: Strolling around three beaches
On our first day, we visit Railay, Ao Nang and Noparathara beaches. To come to those beaches, we must travel to Ao Nang wharf to take boats for every leg of our journey. It takes about 10 minutes from Ao Nam to Railay by boat. On the island, many tourists choose to go climbing, kayaking or swimming. To experience the best views and bluest water, we must come to the other side of the island, which is home to numerous beaches and tourists. However, by coming here a little earlier in the day, you will be rewarded with a beach less crowded by tourists and boats arriving from Ao Nang.
Unlike Ao Nang, which is home to the the majority of hotels, resorts and restaurants of Krabi, Railay remains largely untouched, with an expansive beach for those who would like to enjoy the tranquility. The service charge at Railay is also more reasonable than in Ao Nang.
When strolling along the beach, we come across an unexpected sight – Penis Cave, where an array of penis-shaped statues of varied sizes and colors, has been placed directly onto the sandy banks of a rocky alcove on the beach. Local people bring flowers and candles here to pray for fertility.
If Railay is an ideal destination for international guests, Noparathara is the popular choice for locals. Many Thai can be found taking in the sun and fresh air on this windy beach. Cooking areas are often set-up right on the sand. As in Ao Nang, the tide can greatly affect the water depth; therefore, the best time to visit these two beaches is on the morning and late afternoon.
Trekking through primary forests
Taking a brief interlude from the spectacular beaches of Krabi, we visit Khao Pra Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary, home of the famous Emerald Pool – Sa Morrakot (or also called Emerald Pond). Located 55km from Krabi, motorbike remains our best option.
Walking in this forest reminds me of the Vietnam’s own Cat Ba, Cuc Phuong or Ba Vi National Parks. However, coming upon some stunning wide and shallow streams in the forest, we realize it is unique here. The water is clean and turquoise as in theVietnamese limestone karst areas, such as Ba Be in Bac Kan or Bac Po in Cao Bang. The water’s color changes depending on the composition of algae, bacteria and water temperature. The color will turn into sapphire at high temperature and blue at low temperature.
These streams act to cool the air as we wander under the canopy of this primary forest. We walk for over 1km, along meter-wide wooden walkways under the cover of the looming trees. Sometimes, we pass by concrete bridges with handrails and pause to listen to the sound of singing birds and wild animals. The atmosphere of the ancient forest helps us to forget any tiredness we have after traveling a long way from Krabi to this place.
Finally, we arrive at Emerald Pool – Sra Morrakot, which is regarded as a miniature epitomization of the fabled Jiuzhaigou reserve of China. This natural pond covers an area of 25m2 with anaverage depth of 12m. Visitors can go swimming in the pond for a fee of 200 Baht. The water here consists of a high amount of Calcium Carbonate; therefore, drinking is not allowed, as well as the use of any detergent or soap in the pond.
Four Island Tour
The following day brings a different experience of the beaches of Thailand. We choose to tour around four famous islands – Koh Poda – Koh Tup – Koh Kai (Chicken Island) and Phra Nang Beach (Railay Bay). This is an extremely popular tour for visitors to Krabi. We decide to take one of these tours as they have been recommended to us, and the price is reasonable. The price includes transport, lunch, fruit and drinks as well as scuba gear to view the coral reefs and marine creatures.
We are very excited to tour the four islands. Although we spend only an hour in Koh Poda after departing from Ao Nang’s wharf, we feel we have arrived in paradise. Because we arrive at Koh Poda in the early morning, the majority of tours are yet to arrive. We are allured by the long, white sandy beach, the shifting kaleidoscope of blues in the water and the unbroken vast sky. We take advantage of our time here virtually alone to slide into the the water of Koh Poda, marked by the solitary karst just off shore. Colorful fish swim leisurely near the shore. We feed them some bread and look at them eagerly as they come as close to us as a flock of pigeons in the park.
The boat then takes us to Koh Tup, where we can also swim in the turquoise sea and see schools of tropical fish. This little island is also known as Talae Waek to many visitors. Although it is small, Koh Tup is magnificent. It is surrounded by other three small islands, which are within swimming and kayaking distance. On low tide, stretches of sand connect the islands and visitors can walk between them easily.
After a remarkable BBQ lunch on the beach, we continue on to visit Chicken Island, a small, limestone island with similar geology to Halong Bay of Vietnam. The island is named Chicken Island due to its shape. We spend 45 minutes diving to view the coral reefs and fish with the provided scuba gear. Unfortunately years of tourism and fishing have left their mark, as the coral is dead and the fish are very small. Fortunately the island itself holds a great deal of beauty.
The final island, Phra Nang Beach attracts us with its deep blue water and white sandy banks. The sun and wind have embellished for the sea here. We spend much time on the island, walking, sunbathing and sightseeing. On the island of Krabi, although there are many outdoor activities such as swimming, diving, sunbathing, kayaking and rock climbing, there are not any big umbrellas or reclining chairs on the beach. However, for me, this is really a wonderful experience.
Be moved with peaceful Koh Lanta
From Krabi, you can take a bus to Koh Lanta for 300 Baht/ticket. The journey takes 3 hours. Alternatively boats depart at 11:30a.m and take two hours.
The boat takes us to Saladan Koh Lanta wharf on the island. We choose a guesthouse with a tranquil feeling for about 150,000VND. It includes a shared bathroom per 4 rooms, free wifi, coffee and use of a bicycle. Motorbikes are available for 150Baht/day to discover this serene island.
Local people on the island earn their living through fishing and tourism. One of the smaller islands, it takes us one day to tour around Koh Lanta Yai island with its beaches and bays, from Sala Dan wharf to Klong Dao Beach, Phra Ae (Long Beach), Klong Khong Beach, Klong Nin Beach, Kan Tiang Bay, Nui Bay, Klong Jack Bay, Mai Pai Bay and Lanta Old Town. Amongst the many beaches and small bays of the island, we are most impressed by pristine beaches at the end of the island such as Kan Tiang Bay, Nui Bay, Klong Nin Beach and Mai Pai Bay. These beaches are very peaceful, with blue water and clean, smooth, white sandy banks framed by the mountains of Koh Lanta National Park.
The final destination on the island is Lanta Old Town – a string of stilted-houses straddling the river. Most of the local people here earn their living by providing tourism services. the population is mainly Muslim however some Western residents run restaurants or offer diving services on the island. The price in Koh Lanta is more expensive than in Krabi, but a variety of restaurants, hotels and resorts ensure something to suit all budgets. Tours on offer here include fishing, snorkeling or visiting Koh Rok.
Many accommodations provide complimentary bicycles with which to explore the island. We ride to Long Beach (Phra Ae Beach), one of the longest beaches of Koh Lanta. This is a beautiful beach with clear water and smooth rolling waves. The beach expands romantically and is lined by casuarinas. This is an ideal location for families with small children.
Experiencing Koh Phi Phi
We wake up early to continue our journey. It’s past 7 a.m, but the city is still very quiet. From Koh Lanta wharf to Koh Phiphi, we take a boat departing at 8:00a.m for 250 Baht/person. After an hour, we arrive at Koh Phiphi.
Hundreds of tourists sharing a boat have been branded with different stamps on their shirts. Those with yellow or red stamps will travel to Phuket, while visitors with green stamps will take the “One day tour”. Before entering Koh Phiphi Don, the boat moors at Ton Sai, where passengers to Phuket transfer to another big boat. After that, we continue to go to Koh Phiphi and pay a 20 Baht hygiene fee. We are quite overwhelmed by the long queues of visitors flocking to the island. The island is home to a variety of noisy restaurants and all-night bars with a large number of younger clients drinking the night away.
Although Koh Phi Phi is small, the price here is rather expensive. The restaurants, hotels and guesthouses at Koh Phi Phi are considered to be amongst the most expensive in Thailand. Tours are also expensive. Many tours to Maya Bay are priced over 1000 Baht – 2,500 Baht/person (about nearly 700,000 – 2,800,000 VND).
From Koh Phiphi, we visit Long Beach with its smooth, sandy banks and clean, clear water. Long Beach has many resorts at various prices. It takes us about 35 minutes to walk from Ton Sai to Long Beach. With this walk, we have a chance to view the pristine, peaceful beach with fewer tourists, restaurants and resorts. However, you can also travel to Long Beach by taxi boat at 100 Baht/one way.
The following day, we gather to take a tour to Maya Beach with a group of international guests at 10:00a.m. The tour departs at 10:30am. 25 passengers, including us, are taken on board a long tail boat. Here, we have a bottle of orange juice and a sandwich for breakfast. Firstly, we go snorkeling for 15 minutes, to view the aquatic life that Long Breach has to offer.
The boat continues to take us to Monkey Beach, a small beach with fine white sand banks touching the blue sea. The main attractions of the island are the naughty and voracious monkeys, who are professional at taunting the tourists. Finally, we reach Bamboo Island and its small, white sandy beaches. Each guest has to pay 100 Baht/person to get on the island. We spend one hour on the island for lunch after swimming, viewing coral reefs and playing with colorful tropical fish.
Leaving Bamboo Island, we go snorkeling at Nui Bay and tour around famous Phiphi Leh and its ravishing paradisical beauty.
Finally, we visit Maya Bay Beach at 5:00p.m. It’s crescent shaped bank is ringed in by limestone mountains , giving of the image of a Mayan earring. The beach is still very crowded at this time. If you travel to the island earlier, you will have to pay 100 Baht to get on the island and walk with bare feet on the smooth beach.
Although Maya Bay is exotic with clean, blue sea, this island is too commercialized to make it attractive for tough guests like us. Maybe, beaches such as Koh Tao or Koh Nang Yuan with their peaceful ambiance make us feel that Maya Bay is nothing exceptional. However, it achieved fame and attracts many visitors because of the movie, The Beach, starring the Hollywood star, Leonardo Dicaprio in 1999.
Transportation to Krabi
+ You can take a flight by Air Asia or Vietjet Air at reasonable prices to travel from Vietnam to Bangkok. From the airport to the center of Bangkok, you can take a BTS sky train or taxi.
+ If you fly with Air Asia, you will arrive at Don Mueang international airport. From here, you can get out of Gate No. 6 to take an A1 bus to the Mo Chit sky train station (about 30 Baht, equivalent to 21,000VND) to the city center.
+ If you fly with VietJet Air, you will arrive at Suvarnabhumi international airport. Here you can take the sky train station in the airport to the city center.
+ Krabi is about 800km South from Bangkok. You can travel to Krabi by bus, train or airplane. Air Asia offers flights at about 21 USD to fly from Bangkok to Krabi. At Krabi airport, taxi is offer a flat rate of 350Baht/ticket or a bus at 90 Baht/ticket to travel to any place within Krabi.
Transportation within Krabi
+ Hiring a motorbike at 200 Baht/day (about 140,000VND) to travel within Krabi is the most convenient way to get around.
+ From the center of Krabi, you can ride a motorbike to other tourist sites. From Krabi town, ride to Ao Nam Mao wharf to visit Railay Beach, Ao Nang Beach and Noparathara Beach. Leave your motorbike at the wharf and take a boat (departing from 8:00a.m to 6:00p.m everyday) at 80 Baht/person to get to Railay Beach in about 10 minutes
+ It is about 80km from Krabi to Emerald Pool. Entrance ticket is priced at 200Baht/adult and 100Baht/child.
Before traveling to Thailand, you can exchange money to Thai Baht. 1 Bath=650VND. You can also exchange to USD and then exchange to Thai Baht in Thailand. 100USD=3,200Bath.
There are many guesthouses and hotels priced from 150 – 300 Baht. Ban To Guesthouse is a suggestion for those who would like to stay at a tranquil place near the weekend night market.
Booking a tour in Krabi
There are many tours at different prices for visitors. The tour to four islands is the most interesting at 450Bath/person (nearly 300,000VND ). The tour includes transportation between islands, lunch, drinks, fruits and a diving suit. You can book this tour at your guesthouse. The tour operator will pick you up at 8:00a.m and drop you off at 4:00p.m.
Are you finding more top things to do in Krabi: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out at here.