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Beginner's Guide to Krabi, Thailand

One of the top spots to soak in all that Thailand has to offer when it comes to beautiful beaches. This area is characterized by its limestone cliffs, dense mangrove forests, and more than a hundred offshore islands. It's a beautiful place to relax by the beach, enjoy amazing food, and even go rock climbing! Read my guide below to get the most out of your time in this exotic province:

Where to stay

Stay in Ao Nang, not Krabi City. In Ao Nang there is a main beach where you can purchase long tailed boat tickets to nearly any island or beach in the area for very cheap! So you can use Krabi as your home base and take a boat to a new beach or island each day. The closer to the beach, the better. Some great options are Wakeup Ao Nang Hotel and Slumber Party Ao Nang Beach.

Beach & Island Guide

The main thing to do is soak up all the beautiful beaches and islands (there are over 200) in the area, which are easily accessible by long tail or speedboat. Walk down to the beach where you'll easily see a bunch of long tail boats and a ticket booth where you can purchase tickets (cash only). Follow this beach/island guide to make sure you see the most beautiful spots during your visit:

Ao Nang beach

Not the most beautiful, but obviously the most convenient since it's on the mainland of where you're staying! Grab a kayak and paddle out to all the beautiful karsts you can see jutting out of the water!

Image by Lukasz Janyst / shutterstock ©

Railay beach

The most iconic beach in the Krabi area. It offers panoramic views of cliffs overlooking the coastal line with bright blue water and white sand. There is also a cute town area behind the beach to find cheap local or western food and drinks! Also, if you're into rock climbing there are excellent rocks to climb.

Tonsai beach

Only a 15-minute walk from Railay beach, and is considered the "chiller" version of Railay beach. It has picturesque beach with reggae bars tucked into the jungle. Enjoy the beach, grab a drink, or even do a bit of rock climbing.

Image by Mikhail Nekrasov / Shutterstock ©

Phra Nang Cave beach

This is another popular one. It has cliff views as well, but the cave is the main attraction (hence the name!) You can relax on the sand and then swim into the cave to explore and find a nice quiet bay on the other side. Be careful of the jellyfish, they are very poisonous! (Note: there are no restaurants on this beach, only "food boats" like food trucks, but on a boat. So if you aren't comfortable with that be sure to bring your own food)

Khao Phing Kan island

This is also known as James Bond island for its appearance in the 1974 James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun. There's not much to do, more of just a beautiful view and relaxing by the water type of island! But it's beautiful nonetheless.

Image by Banana Republic Images / Shutterstock ©

Phi Phi islands

There is so much to do on these amazing set of islands, but one of the most famous is Maya Bay, which was made famous after Leonardo DiCaprio’s Hollywood movie The Beach. It’s a gorgeous bay surrounded by sheer limestone cliffs and white-sand beach as far as the eye can see. There are plenty of beaches, bars and clubs to keep you busy on Phi Phi (some even say it's the best place to party in Krabi province!).

Image by DR Travel Photo and Video / shutterstock ©

Koh Lanta

It's much larger than Phi Phi and has more beaches and natural spaces to explore. It also has a reputation of being a “hippy” place, so enjoy the relaxing vibes. There’s still a vibrant nightlife scene there too!

Image by Ozerov Alexander / shutterstock ©

Koh Yao Yai island

This is a mostly Muslim dominated island which gives you a look into the more rural side of Thai living. There are still beautiful beaches which you can enjoy by renting a motorbike and just exploring the island! If you want to stay the night, I highly recommend the Esmeralda View Resort. You get your own beach hut and it's walking distance to their own private beach.

Chicken Island

This is a small island named for its odd rock formation, offering secluded beaches, snorkeling & a snack bar. The most popular tour in Krabi is the "4 Island tour" which visits this island! But I prefer not to do tours, just hop on a long tail boat yourself and save some money. (Do you see the chicken?)

Image by Yaipearn / Shutterstock ©

Other Things to Do

There are also plenty of things to do around Ao Nang and Krabi City if you need a break from all the beach time!

Walking Street Market

In the heart or Krabi town, this market comes alive at night! It's filled with freshly cooked food, handcrafted souvenirs, and Thai fashion items. It's an amazing experience to just walk around, try lots of food from all the different vendors, and go shopping!

When: Fridays-Sundays

Image by fivepointsix / shutterstock ©

Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Sua)

This magnificent site is located only a few minutes away from the center of town. It is a 1,247-step climb up a mountain that has stunning views of the the town and the river once you get to the top!

Image by Balate Dorin / shutterstock ©

Thung Teao Forest Natural Park

The Natural Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty! One area that is especially famous is the Emerald Pool. The water in the Emerald Pool is naturally warm and completely clear! Go for a swim and escape to another world while you admire the beautiful waterfall and luscious views around you.

Image by Volodymyr Goinyk / Shutterstock ©

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