Thailand is one of the world’s top holiday destinations and while many flock to Phuket, the laid back lifestyle, gleaming sands and crystal clear waters of Krabi are poised to steal Phuket’s crown. So, come along with us to discover the best things to do in Krabi Thailand!
To get a taste of what Krabi has to offer we decided to stay in two different locations, the lesser known Koh Kwang and Noppharat Thara Beaches of Krabi. I’m glad we did this because we got two different perspectives of Krabi as a seaside holiday destination.
Koh Kwang Beach was a quiet, peaceful beach which had a relaxed beach nightlife while Noppharat Thara Beach had a more party town feel. We loved both and are sure they would appeal to a wide variety of holiday styles.
- Where is Krabi?
- Best Time to Visit Krabi
- Krabi Beaches
- Krabi 4 Island Tour
- Where to Stay in Krabi
- Top Things to do in Krabi Thailand
- Getting to Krabi
- Quick facts on Krabi
- Last Words on Krabi Thailand
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Where is Krabi?
The town of Krabi sits at the mouth of the Krabi River in Krabi Provence in Southern Thailand. Krabi is the gateway to tropical beaches, mangrove forests and the towering limestone islands of Phang Nga Bay in the Andaman Sea.
Best Time to Visit Krabi
The best time to visit Krabi is between November and March, peak season for Krabi Thailand. Weather is generally hot during the day and cooler in the evenings.
In low season between July and October, the Krabi weather forecast is unpredictable, and monsoon winds and rain can be expected.
Koh Kwang Beach
Picture an early morning walk. In the distance towering limestone formations jut out of the sparkling turquoise water. The wooden hulls of the traditional long tail boats sway gently as waves softly lap the silky sands of a tree shaded beach. Welcome to the magic of Koh Kwang Beach!
Koh Kwang Beach is walking distance to popular Klong Muang Beach in Krabi. We visited Koh Kwang Beach in late March, at the tail end of high season. What we found was a peaceful beach with soft sand and crystal-clear water.
Though not the height of high season there were still groups of tourists, singles and couples of all ages, many with young families. Koh Kwang Beach isn’t a party beach; it is a quiet beach which is ideal for those who just want to chill out and the gentle waves make it a family friendly Krabi beach.
Koh Kwang Beach isn’t as developed as nearby Klong Muang Beach, it doesn’t have as many large resorts, but you will find small hotels and small family run resorts scattered along its length. In saying that, Koh Kwang Beach does have one jewel in its crown, the luxurious Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort, which has a private swimming area along Koh Kwang Beach.
Koh Kwang Beach Shopping & Activities
There are a range of small shops lining the streets leading to Koh Kwang Beach. Here you will find a large 7-ELEVEN, which has snacks, beer and most essentials. You can get a massage, book a tour or get your nails done. If you are hungry there are a choice of restaurants and street food stalls.
Koh Kwang Beach Nightlife
I just love the Koh Kwang Beach nightlife. Small beach bars and restaurants line the southern end of Koh Kwang Beach. Each evening you can sit in a beach bar with a cool beer, look out over the Andaman Sea and watch the long tail boats as sun sets over the water. The perfect end to a perfect day!
If you are staying at nearby Klong Muang Beach, the beach bars and restaurants are just a short beach walk from the island end of Klong Muang Beach.
Getting to Koh Kwang & Klong Muang Beach
Both Koh Kwang and Klong Muang Beaches are a 45-minute drive from Krabi Airport. Some hotels will provide an Airport pickup at an extra cost. Or you can pre book your hotel transfers online before you leave home through Frequent Traveller.
Booking Tours of Krabi
Most tours of Krabi can either be booked through Koh Kwang Beach hotels, local tourist agents or you can book your tours online before you leave home through Frequent Traveller.
Noppharat Thara Beach
From Koh Kwang Beach we moved south to Noppharat Thara Beach. This beach has a different vibe to Koh Kwang Beach. Noppharat Thara Beach is more developed, the streets are full of shops, restaurants and bars giving it a more seaside resort style feel. Though the beach has a party atmosphere it is quieter than its nearby neighbour, the popular Ao Nang Beach.
Noppharat Thara Beach is a lengthy 5 km beach that stretches as far as the eye can see. In the distance limestone islands dot the horizon and the peaceful waters gently rock the traditional long tail boats that sit ready for day tours out to the islands.
At the southern end of the beach, a limestone outcrop forms a natural shelter. The calm waters make Noppharat Thara Beach a popular destination for singles, couples and families alike. Compared to Koh Kwang Beach, Noppharat Thara Beach has more activities and a larger tourist crowd.
Beside the beach, tree shaded pathways play host to coffee huts selling refreshing drinks. Local families sit under the trees to enjoy a cool break from the heat of the day. Noppharat Thara’s beachside restaurants fill up with lunchtime visitors who relax with an ice-cold beer and authentic Thai cuisine. The perfect place to enjoy the sweeping views of the bay.
Noppharat Thara Beach Nightlife
Noppharat Thara Beach nightlife begins at sunset as people converge on the beachside bars and restaurants to watch the sun set over the water. It is a magical time as people walk along the beach or return from their day out to the islands.
Popular music plays in the back ground and often live music is performed by talented musicians. Later in the evening the music gets louder and it’s great to see people enjoying themselves. If you want a larger party atmosphere, head south to neighbouring Ao Nang Beach.
Getting to Noppharat Thara Beach
There are a few ways to get to Noppharat Thara Beach. Many hotels offer airport transfer at an extra cost or you can get the airport shuttle bus. The Airport Shuttle bus stops at the Ao Nang Landmark Bus Station, this bus has many stop off points including Ao Nang and Krabi Town.
Airport and hotel transfers can also be booked online before you leave home through Frequent Traveller.
Local Bus from Noppharat Thara Beach
The local bus leaves from Ao Nang Landmark Bus Station to Ao Nang Beach, Fossil Shell Beach, Krabi Town and Krabi Bus Station.
Booking Tours to the Islands
There are many tour companies with shops in the streets around Noppharat Thara Beach. Popular tours include the 4 Island tour and the Phi Phi Island tour.
You can either go through the tour companies or go to the tail boat booking kiosk at the beach. The kiosk displays the prices for long tail boat rides to the islands. Just be aware that you may be charged extra for a tuk tuk ride out to the pier and you will have to pay an extra 400 Baht per adult and 200 Baht per child for National Park entry fees on top of the listed price.
Tours of Krabi can also be booked online before you leave home through Frequent Traveller.
Note** Noppharat Thara Beach is part of the Ao Nang subdistrict, and many hotel booking sites refer to the area as Ao Nang. Geographically Noppharat Thara Beach is one beach north of Ao Nang Beach.
Krabi 4 Island Tour
One of the best activities in Krabi is to take a Krabi island tour. There are a few different Krabi Island tours to choose from, we chose the Krabi 4 island tour. There are a couple of cruise styles, you can either take a traditional longtail boat or a speedboat.
While cruising in a longtail boat is a wonderful cultural experience they are slower and take longer to make their way around the islands. We thought it would be exciting to take a speedboat to some of the best beaches in Krabi.
Getting to the 4 Islands
We were picked up from our hotel and taken to the boat pier in a bench seat bus. Once at the pier the passengers were given a coloured wristlet and divided off into their chosen tour groups.
Once on our boat we were given lifejackets and a safety demonstration. There was complimentary water and orange juice and they supplied us with snorkelling equipment. Then it was time to sit back and enjoyed the ride.
The beach quickly receded into the background and soon we were headed out to sea. The ride was a thrill as we picked up speed and quickly bounced through the waves. Before we knew it, we were looking up at the craggy limestone islands that rise high above the azure waters of Phang Nga Bay.
Phra Nang Beach
We were dropped off at Phra Nang Beach. It was high tide and it seemed like the whole tourist population of Krabi was there. Despite the crowds you could see that it was a gorgeous beach. We were later told that the beach is less crowded early in the morning and later in the afternoon.
Phra Nang Beach is shaded at one end by a towering monolith of limestone. Swimming in the cool shaded water you can look up and marvel at the stalactites that hang like melted rock from this rugged cliff. Phra Nang Beach is popular for rock climbing and caving.
Phra Nang Cave Shrine
Phra Nang Cave is a real curiosity, a shrine dedicated to the Princess God of the Phra Nang Cave. The shrine is filled with wooden phallic symbols (lingam) that are said to protect to local fishermen.
Local people believe that the lingam and the holy womb (the cave) will create fertility and prosperity to mankind and the whole earth. A beautiful belief that brings singles and couples to the shrine to make offerings for love and fertility.
There are a few legends about the cave, one is that an Indian princess was killed in a shipwreck nearby and the other that a grieving wife waited in the cave for her dead husband to return from the sea.
Considered the most beautiful beach in Krabi, Railay is made up of East and West Railay Beach. The beaches are located on opposite sides of a thin peninsula, within easy walk to each other. Both beaches are home to many resorts which are only accessible by boat.
Railay Beach is a short walk from Phra Nang Beach. Along the way you will find caves and there are signposts up to the viewpoint. If you are on a tour, make sure you leave plenty of time to get back to your boat.
Snorkelling near Poda Island
After leaving Phra Nang Beach we headed to Poda Island. The boat stopped short of Poda Island and we all donned our snorkelling gear and jumped into the water. The water was deep and filled with different varieties of coral.
The snorkelling gear was the best I have ever used, they didn’t leak or get cloudy. We had so much fun swimming along with the schools of fish, one even came right up to my mask. It must be one of the best things to do in Thailand!
The views from Poda Island are breathtaking! Nearby, Ma Tang Ming Island stands tall against the sky, framed by the sand and longtail boats anchored on Poda Island. A picture postcard quality that will have you happily snapping away on your camera.
Bright white sand and the intense aqua blue waters of Poda Island make it a truly magical destination. The island is well shaded with trees and the ideal place to stop for lunch. Our lunch was included in the price of the tour and consisted of a selection of Thai dishes and tropical fruits.
After lunch we went swimming in the crystal-clear water. I continued to snorkel and while there wasn’t any coral, there were small schools of fish. The reflection of the waves made intricate turquoise patterns on the dazzling white seabed, a beauty I will never forget.
Tup Island is a tidal island which can only be reached at low tide. Nearby is the smaller Mor Island and at low tide the connecting beach is revealed. This small strip of land faces nearby Chicken Island.
Tup Island has a great swimming beach, the gleam of the water entices you to swim. Tup Island doesn’t have a lot of shade so make sure you have a hat and lots of sunscreen.
At low tide you can walk from Tup Island to Chicken Island. The island gets its name from the rock formation that stands on the opposite side of the island.
We didn’t get to walk across to Chicken Island as the tide was too high, but our speedboat cruised past and yes, it really does look like a chicken!
Where to Stay in Krabi
Krabi Thailand Accommodation
When thinking of places to stay in Krabi, you have a lot of choices to make. Deciding what beach and style of accommodation to choose can be frustrating and that’s why we are here to help.
We have narrowed the best place to stay in Krabi to five beaches, Koh Kwang Beach, Noppharat Thara Beach, Ao Nang Beach, Pai Plong Beach and Railay Beach. We have mixed up the accommodation styles from Krabi beach hut accommodation, to Krabi hotels and resorts, including luxurious Krabi 5 star resorts. Here’s our top picks for a Krabi hotel list.
Krabi Thailand Hotels
When booking your accommodation do check the location on a map. Some hotels will give their subdistrict as a location. For example, Noppharat Thara Beach is in the Ao Nang subdistrict but geographically one beach north of Ao Nang beach.
Koh Kwang Beach Hotels
Located across the road from Koh Kwang Beach, The Isle Beach resort is a small family run resort with beach hut style accommodation. These clean comfortable beach bungalows are laid out around a crystal-clear pool.
The Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort is set amid manicured gardens with views across Koh Kwang Beach. With an elegant Victorian inspired feel, this Krabi hotels 5 star rating is well deserved.
The impressive 7,000 metre lagoon style pool winds its way around a choice of room styles that range from Superior Rooms to Club Rooms & Suites and the regal Imperial Suite. The Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort is wheelchair and family friendly.
The resort has a choice of dining options and serves International, Thai, Indian and Italian cuisines. For the golf enthusiast you can take in mountain and sea views while playing the challenging landscapes and fairways of the 9 hole Phokeethra Golf Krabi.
Noppharat Thara Beach Hotels
The Srisuksant Resort is located across the road from the entertainment venues and beach life of Noppharat Thara Beach. There resort has a range of accommodation styles including Family Rooms, Deluxe Seaview Rooms and Pool Access Rooms.
Ao Nang Beach Hotels
Ao Nang Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Krabi and there are lots of Ao Nang Hotels to choose from. So, if you are looking for accommodation in Ao Nang Krabi, here is our best pick.
Everyone loves a great Ao Nang beach resort and The L Resort Krabi delivers. The L Resort is an eco-friendly hotel with funky modern décor. The resort has a good selection of room styles that include Standard Double Rooms, Pool View Rooms & Suites and Sea View Suites.
Onsite is the popular Wannas Place restaurant which serves a mix of Thai and Swiss cuisines. The resort facilities include room service, 2 swimming pools and a pool bar, fitness centre and in room massage.
Pai Plong Beach Resorts
The Centara Grand Beach Resort Krabi, is a luxury resort nestled within craggy limestone mountains and thick tropical rainforest. The resort is a cosy secluded retreat only accessible by boat, ideal for those wanting to switch off and get away from the world.
The Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi have a selection of rooms from Double Deluxe to 2-bedroom Beach Villas and Executive Club rooms. The resort is possibly the best resort in Krabi for family and offers a free children’s club.
The resort has a choice of 4 restaurants serving International, Thai, Japanese and Italian cuisine. There are 4 bars and lounges and 2 pools to relax in. There are a range of water sports on offer at the resorts private beach.
Railay Beach Resorts
Sitting on either side of a slender peninsula, West Railay Beach and East Railay Beach are often considered the best beaches in Krabi. Both beaches are only accessible by boat.
When looking for Krabi accommodation on the beach, look no further than Sand Sea Resort on West Railay Beach. With a combination of traditional Krabi beach hut accommodation and modern hotel rooms the Sand Sea Resort is a popular choice.
The Sand Sea Resort has a range of room styles from Deluxe Bungalow to Junior Suite. You can sit back and enjoy a variety of Thai and International dishes in the beachfront restaurant or relax and cool off in the pool with views overlooking the bay.
For the best Krabi beach resort accommodation, you can’t go past Rayavadee Resort on East Railay Beach, it is undoubtedly one of the best hotels in Krabi.
There is only one word to describe Rayavadee and that is Exquisite! The modern colonial inspired décor is accentuated with teak furnishings and rattan accents. It’s like taking a step back in time without missing out on all the modern conveniences.
The resort has several accommodation styles, that include Deluxe Pavilions, Pool Pavilions & Villas, Family Pavilions & Villas and the stunning Phranang Villa that overlooks Phra Nang Beach. The Pavilions and Villas are a fully furnished home away from home.
There is a choice of dining options that range from fine dining to casual beach dining. Rayavadee serves delicious Asian and Western cuisine and I can think of no other place where diner can be served in a sandy limestone grotto.
Rayavadee can only be reached by boat and has complimentary Airport and boat transfers.
The hotels and resorts listed above are all well appointed and have amenities and services that will make your visit memorable, including restaurants, pools and importantly free WiFi.
These days having access to WiFi during travel is essential and thankfully Thailand has free WiFi readily available in hotels, Bars, Restaurants and even small cafe’s. We were able to connect online easily during our stay in Krabi.
Of course one thing we always do when using any free WiFi is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service to protect our privacy. If you’re new to VPN’s and want to know how they can help protect privacy, click here and check out this guide which has an in depth description on how they work.
Top Things to do in Krabi Thailand
Many people ask what to see and what to do in Krabi? Here’s our list of the most popular tours in Krabi Thailand.
Hike through thick rainforest to the inviting green water of the Emerald Pool. Continue the hike and feel invigorated by the natural healing waters of the hot springs and waterfall. Climb the 1,260 stairs up to the stunning golden Buddha at Tiger Cave temple and be rewarded for your effort with sweeping views of Krabi at the viewpoint.
There are a few options to choose from when taking a Krabi kayaking tour. You can explore the rich fauna and ecosystems of the shaded mangrove forests. Paddle through the crystal-clear water and towering limestone formations of Hong Island. Or finish a memorable day of kayaking with a BBQ at sunset.
Railay Beach is one of the best known Krabi points of interest. Not only is Railay Beach famous for its beauty but also for rock climbing. If you’ve ever wanted to try rock climbing here is your chance, Krabi Rock Climbing Tours cater to beginners and climbers of all skills.
What could be more perfect than taking a romantic dinner cruise at sunset! You can choose to either sit back and relax or go snorkelling as you cruise the 4 Islands. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery of Railay Beach, Phra Nang Beach, Poda Island and Chicken Island.
Phi Phi Island is one of the most popular islands visited in Thailand. This tour takes you to see the monkeys of Monkey Bay and the ancient wall paintings of Viking Cave. Snorkel along with fish in coral gardens. Have a relaxing lunch on Phi Phi Don Island before heading out to enjoy more snorkelling and swimming.
Getting to Krabi
Flights from Bangkok to Krabi
There are quite a few airlines that fly between Bangkok and Krabi, here are four of the most popular. Flights from Bangkok to Krabi take around 1 hour and 25 minutes.
Thai Airways International and Bangkok Airways have direct flights from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Air Asia and Nok Air have direct flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport.
Bangkok to Krabi by Bus
The bus journey from Bangkok to Krabi takes around 12 hours and 25 minutes. There is a choice of bus companies to choose from with varying styles of comfort. Buses leave from different locations across Bangkok depending on which bus company you choose.
Phuket to Krabi by Ferry, Van and Taxi
Phuket lies to the west of Krabi across Phang Nga Bay. For those wanting to spend time in Krabi there are a range of transfer options that include ferry, van and taxi.
Chiang Mai to Krabi
We base ourselves in Chiang Mai Thailand and are happy to say that both Bangkok Airways and Air Asia have direct flights to Krabi from Chiang Mai.
Quick facts on Krabi
November to March has the best weather and is the peak tourist season in Krabi with hot days and cooler evenings. These are the driest months with near perfect weather conditions and crystal clear waters.
Throughout Thailand, including Krabi, free WiFi is readily available at most hotels, restaurants, bars and shopping malls.
Definitely. There are many international restaurants in Krabi catering to a wide variety of cuisines including Italian, Indian, Mexican and of course Asian. Vegetarian food is widely available at both international and smaller local restaurants.
Yes. Krabi International Airport (KBV) which is approximately 15 km from Krabi town. Krabi International Airport has daily flights to and from many domestic and international destinations.
The flight from Bangkok to Krabi takes approximately 90 minutes and there are multiple daily flights from both Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and Don Mueang (DMK) airports.
Last Words on Krabi Thailand
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Krabi, we loved the beaches, the nightlife and of course the spectacular scenery. We only touched the surface of Krabi, there is so much more to explore, and I can’t wait to return.
Have you been to Krabi Thailand? Where did you stay and what did you love about Krabi? We would love to hear from you.
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