Krabi: Between mass tourism and insider tips

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The good news first: Thailand is scenically almost nowhere more beautiful than in the Krabi region. The scenery with the rugged limestone cliffs and the bright sandy beaches could hardly be more spectacular. But the scenic beauty has its price and it’s called mass tourism. As soon as we arrived in Ao Nang, the tourist hotspot of Krabi province, we wanted to flee again.

It’s a good thing we didn’t do it after all. Not only did we stay, we actually extended our stay in Krabi. Sounds strange, but not far from mass tourism we found a few places far away from the hustle and bustle that we had completely to ourselves. We will tell you our insider tips for Krabi in this blog article.

1. What to expect in Krabi Province Warning: If you are following tourist trails in Krabi during the high season, then your stay in Thailand will be amazing likely to be quite disappointing. What happened in Ao Nang in January was really otherworldly (and no comparison to the very quiet islands like Koh Lanta or Koh Phangan).

The very famous Railay Peninsula is with its Rock formations gigantic in terms of landscape. Almost nowhere in Thailand is nature more spectacular in our opinion. However, we have to be honest: The dream scenery is clouded by crowds. Yes, of course we could have picked a better time for our trip than January. However, one cannot sugarcoat it: Railay Bay has changed over the past ten years – no matter how picturesque the nature may be. And not for the better. (Actually, we can’t stand the “Everything was better before” whining ourselves, but it has to be here.)

However: Outside of Ao Nang and off the Railay Peninsula you can still find undiscovered places, we can assure you. And where you can find these highlights exactly, we’ll tell you in this article.

The best time to travel to Krabi The optimal travel time in Krabi is the same as in the whole of Thailand: There is a dry and a rainy season, but the weather doesn’t always stick to it.

Usually there is rainy season in Krabi between April/May and October/November . From a short shower during the day up to to torrential rains can be anything. From December the climate usually calms down. The dry season then brings more and more sun and a calmer sea.

Now it’s like that, the Christmas holidays exactly at the best time in terms of weather. However, we would only conditionally recommend a trip to Krabi around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. We were in the province of Krabi at the beginning of January and especially on the Railay Peninsula there was so much going on that you had to settle down like sardines on supposedly lonely beaches. (The “photo proof” is further down in this article.)

The second time we were in Krabi in February and can confirm that it was noticeably less busy. So we would recommend February or March as a travel time.

2. Ao Nang and the Railay Peninsula Ao Nang The town of Ao Nang is the tourist center of the province Krabi. Most hotels are located here. Ao Nang has one beach, Ao Nang Beach. However, it is really not a highlight, partly because there is a lot of longtail boat traffic here. Because Ao Nang is known above all as an ideal starting point for the nearby Railay Peninsula.

What we remember about Ao Nang (and unfortunately not in a positive sense) is the main street. Almost exclusively souvenir shops, restaurants, bars, hotels and massage parlors are located here. In the evening the volume in the center is correspondingly high. So unless you’re just passing through Ao Nang, we wouldn’t recommend staying in the center at all – unless you’re coming to party.

A little out of the center sees the thing but already different. Here you will also find quiet corners and pretty hotels. (We will tell you our hotel tip at the end of this blog article.)

The Railay Peninsula Scenically, the Railay Peninsula is craggy, green-covered limestone cliffs one of the most beautiful spots in Thailand. That was before 06 years ago when Romeo first came here, and it has changed today nothing changed. What has changed, however, is the number of guests. It has multiplied, without lying.

We knew that tourism would develop rapidly in such a paradisiacal place we expected. Nevertheless, it was sad to see what has become of the former dropout paradise. Our well-intentioned advice: If you’re going there, skip the Christmas holidays.

The Railay Peninsula is only accessible by water to reach. Once upon a time there were only a few simple beach bungalows on the peninsula. You can now choose from several luxury hotels. Accommodation prices are generally higher on Railay than in the rest of Krabi. A lot of people (us included) only visit Railay as a day trip from Ao Nang. From the late afternoon it will be noticeably quieter.

The following beaches and places are on the Railay Peninsula particularly popular or worth seeing:

Railay Beach West At Railay Beach West, the boats that head for the Railay Peninsula from Ao Nang usually dock. Therefore, there is a lot of boat traffic at Railay Beach West – especially in the high season. In addition, the beach itself is besieged by crowds, which spoils the dream scenery quite a bit.

Railay Beach East If you follow the trail from Railay Beach West through the interior of the peninsula, you can walk to eastern Railay Beach in about five to ten minutes. The beach is not suitable for swimming, but there are several restaurants/cafes overlooking the sea.

Phra Nang Beach Phra Nang Beach is located in the south of the peninsula. We first met him during the day, but we definitely liked it best on the day we ended our boat tour here. When we docked in the afternoon, many day trippers had already left and it was comparatively quiet. From Phra Nang Beach you can watch beautiful sunsets in good weather. In the very south of the beach you can visit a cave, which is why the beach is often called “Phra Nang Cave Beach”.

Tonsai Beach The fourth beach on the Railay Peninsula is north of Railay Beach West. It is a bit quieter and is mainly frequented by climbers, who like the rock faces of Tonsai Beach. You can either take the longtail boat from Ao Nang to Tonsai Beach or alternatively you can walk to the beach from Railay Beach West: There is a path that takes you in approx. 15 minutes over some rocks to Tonsai Beach. At low tide you can also take a shorter route.

View Points on the Railay Peninsula There are also two View Points on Railay. The better known of the two is in the east of the peninsula. The ascent takes well 15 minutes, is quite sweaty and not without it. The hike, or rather the climb, starts on the way between Railay Beach East and Phra Nang Cave Beach. From below you can already see quite well what awaits you. From the View Point you could then climb even further to a lagoon, the Princess Lagoon. If you decide to do this ascent, we strongly recommend that you wear sturdy shoes.

The second, much unknown View Point starts in the south of Railay Beach West. The trail is mainly frequented by climbers who want to get to the start of the rock face. The view point may not be as spectacular as the more famous one to the east, but we were almost completely alone on the way. The photo spot is relatively small (you can tell that the trail is mainly for the climbing groups), but the view is still beautiful. Overall, the ascent (which only takes on the last 50 meters gets really steep) about 20 Minutes.

Arrival at Railay Peninsula Boats run continuously during the day between Ao Nang and the Railay Peninsula. The longtail boats leave Ao Nang near Burger King. A return ticket between Ao Nang and Railay Beach West costs 200 Baht. The journey takes about 07 Minutes.

3. Other Destinations in Krabi Tiger Cave Temple Don’t worry: Contrary to the name, there are no tigers in the Tiger Cave Temple, but instead there is a gigantic view over the mountainous province of Krabi. Exactly 1237 Steps you have to conquer before you reach the temple on top of the mountain. Sounds like a lot? It is! Not to mention the tropical heat, which makes the ascent even harder.

If you are reasonably fit, the ascent is definitely doable. We have about 23 minutes required. Make sure that you take enough breaks and, above all, that you bring enough water with you (if necessary, you can buy something to eat and drink in the shops near the parking lot).

There the tiger Cave is a Buddhist temple, it is necessary that you wear appropriate clothing. Shoulders and knees should therefore be covered. Admission is completely free.

Another warning: We had read everywhere about cheeky monkeys who died Cross visitors’ paths and stand in their way. Yes, it’s true – there really are a lot of monkeys around here. We always try to cheat our way past them as quickly as possible but still calmly. So far we’ve done well with it. However, there are also people who pose for photos with monkeys – so don’t be surprised if the animals become aggressive.

4 Islands by Private Boat We didn’t have to think long: we really wanted to get to know the famous four small offshore islands. The 4 Islands tour is one of the most popular day trips in the Krabi region. Because we had read in advance about the terribly overcrowded tourist boats, we decided to rent a private longtail boat. And that’s the most important tip we can give you. Honestly: Every cent (or rather baht) is well invested here!

With our private boat we were able to head for island after island with complete flexibility. We are quite late against 13 to avoid the crowds (which we managed!). Wherever we liked it, we simply stayed longer. We visited the 4 Islands in the following order:

1. Chicken Island The island so called because it looks like a chicken from a certain perspective looks like, we stopped to take pictures. About 5 minutes from here we made a short snorkeling stop. A few fish were seen, but overall the snorkeling experience is definitely not the highlight of the 4 Islands.

2. Tub Island We really liked Tub Island. The great thing was that in the afternoon many boats and people were already leaving and we experienced the island in a very idyllic way. As far as we have noticed, it should be happening here in the morning. The only disadvantage: the sandbank, over which you can walk to an offshore island at low tide, was no longer visible in the afternoon. But we gladly accepted that!

3. Koh Poda We stayed relatively short on Koh Poda. That wasn’t because the island wasn’t beautiful – quite the opposite! But when we against 15: 20 arrived, the most beautiful beach was already in the shade. Nevertheless, we really liked it here.

4. Phra Nang Beach We deliberately chose the last stop on our island tour because we wanted to go from here we watch the sunset. Phra Nang Beach is on the mainland on the Railay Peninsula, but is only accessible by boat. When we went to 15 o’clock arrived, it was really comparatively little going on. We got something to eat from one of the kitchen boats and admired the low sun from the beach – just perfect!

Return journey & information on the price The journey home wasn’t quite as perfect, however. Because anyone who knows Thailand knows that it gets dark pretty quickly here. Therefore we went back to the boat towards Ao Nang before the actual sunset. Nevertheless, we had to give you the last approx. 07 driving minutes in the dark. We didn’t expect that the return trip would take so long – otherwise we would have left earlier.

Nevertheless, we would always choose our variant with the private longtail boat again. For the whole boat we have 2 years ago.600 Baht paid. (Meanwhile the price is probably a bit higher.) For comparison: If you regularly book with a group (nearly 20 people) are traveling, you pay approx. 100-600 Baht per person.

Nong Thale Lake From the tourist Spots to the unknown spots: One of our most beautiful experiences in Thailand ever was our morning boat trip on the Nong Thale Lake. By chance we saw a picture of this place and we knew immediately: we have to go there! Palida, the owner of our former hostel (she now runs a café in Krabi) quickly organized a boat for us for the next morning – and of course she insisted on accompanying us.

If anywhere in Krabi the word “insider tip” is appropriate, then here: Apart from the three of us, Palida, her husband and the boat driver, we were the only people far and wide. And that’s not all: The sunrise from the boat finally left us speechless. There was also freshly brewed coffee and breakfast – a dream!

Price & information about the tour The spectacle is not exactly cheap (for two people it costs 3.000 Baht), it’s more than worth the money though! You can book the tour via Ms. Book Kwanta Srimad Pagamad. She is an acquaintance of Palida and takes care of the organization of the tour on site. Or you can simply drive to Palida’s café, 23 Roasters Krabi, and speak to them on site. (The café is open every day except Tuesday.)

Electric Longtail Boat Tour at Krabi What is it like to drive in a electric longtail boat? Thanks to our hotel (more info below) we were able to experience it. So much has already been said: once you have ridden it, you never want to get back into an ordinary, noisy, smelly longtail boat again.

Unfortunately, the process and the location of the tour is now a bit different than it was the case with us. For example, we were in the beautiful Thalane Bay – currently the tours lead along the Krabi River. Our photos are therefore only for inspiration – everything will probably look a little different on you.

In any case, the tour starts in the afternoon and takes you first on the Krabi River through the Khanap Nam Cave and a Mangrove landscape. The end of the day is a visit to the Krabi Night Market. There you can of course also try a wide variety of Thai delicacies. (Unfortunately, there is currently no lunch box like the one we received.)

Price & information about the tour The excursion with the electric longtail boat is currently only available for guests of the The Pavilions Anana Krabi offered. (We will give you more information about the hotel below.) The tour costs per person 1.350 Baht. In total, the excursion lasts about 5 hours (with arrival and departure).

Tha Pom Klong The mangrove forest Tha Pom Klong is also worth a visit. We only have this place thanks to Palida from 23 Met Roasters Krabi Cafe. A circular route of around one kilometer leads through this mangrove area. Water channels run through the entire area, some of which are crystal clear and really beautiful.

Swimming is allowed in some places. You can usually hear that from afar, because local families love to use the place for a dip in the cool water.

Info on visiting Tha Pom Klong The mangrove forest is about one half hour drive north of Ao Nang. You can easily drive to Tha Pom Klong with the rented scooter because the roads are well developed. For tourists the entrance fee is 200 Baht.

Emerald Lake “Tham Sa Kaeo” On the way back from Tha Pom Klong, it’s worth stopping at the tiny sparkling blue pool called “Tham Sa Kaeo”. (Not to be confused with the larger and busier Emerald Pool called “Sa Morakot”). The pool looks small at first glance, but it’s in himself: Incredible 50 Meters it is said to be deep.

There are no signposts there – you probably don’t even know the place all locals. We marked the location on our map when we were there. So it should be possible to find it on your own.

On the way between Tha Pom Klong and Emerald Lake you will also pass a very pretty Buddha, who is a bit higher on one rocky outcrop.

4. Hotel tip for Krabi Our absolute Favorite discovery on our recent Krabi trip! The Pavilions Anana Krabi is a dream of a hotel with an atmospheric and exemplary concept: sustainability is a top priority throughout the hotel. For example, fruit and vegetables grow in the hotel’s own garden, the hotel shuttle is an electric vehicle and you won’t find any single-use plastic anyway.

The rooms are beautifully and very tastefully furnished, the beds are wonderful and you feel at home in the hotel from the very first minute. The extremely friendly staff also contribute to this. (At this point a big thank you to Johan for the perfect support and the great tips.)

The Pavilions Anana Krabi is located just outside of Ao Nang in a very quiet environment in the midst of green countryside. A free shuttle will take you to Ao Nang or the hotel’s private beach several times a day.

The view from the Rooftop Bar at sunset is breathtaking. And the electric longtail boat trip (see above for more details) was one of the best we’ve ever done. You can tell we’re pretty excited about this hotel, right? Our conclusion: Great value for money, great concept, we’d love to come back anytime! We can only warmly recommend this accommodation.

You can book the hotel here: The Pavilions Anana Krabi

5. More Worthwhile Thailand Beach Destinations Are you looking for more beach destinations in Thailand? Here you can find our blog articles with our personal tips:

Koh Lanta Khao Lak Koh Phangan (Our favorite island) Koh Samui All our Thailand articles including tips for Bangkok and the north of the country can be found here: Thailand Re isetips.

Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal Recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book (or buy) something through these links, we will receive a small commission. Important: This does not change the price for you! A thousand thanks from both of us for your support!