Here’s our ultimate beach-bumming guide to Krabi.
Day 1 – Ao Nang Beach
On arrival at Krabi International Airport, after you collect your luggage, the first thing to do is to get yourself a local SIM card. At THB100 (approximately RM13) for 7 days of unlimited data, it’s a real bargain.
Now that’s settled, you have to get to your hotel. There are two options – airport taxis or airport buses. For the airport taxi, you will need to buy a ticket inside the airport at the taxi booth. Fares can be anywhere between THB350 and THB3000 depending on where you hotel is located. From the airport to Ao Nang the fare ranges between THB500 and 600. THB3,000 can get you to Phuket/Koh Lanta.
The cheaper option is the airport bus, which goes to Krabi Town (THB100) and Ao Nang (THB150). If you intend to take the bus back to the airport, remember to take down the hotline number as you’ll need to call them up a day before your departure to arrange for a pick-up from your hotel.
Pro-tip: Take the earliest flight out of Kuala Lumpur at 7am. Of course this would mean leaving home at an ungodly hour but it will also mean you have more time to spend in Krabi and, the early morning flights are always cheaper.
After checking in to your hotel, take a tuk-tuk to Ao Nang. If you’re not staying in Ao Nang, your tuk tuk will cost about THB400. If you are within the Ao Nang area, it will cost you a lot less.
Pro-tip: If you’re feeling adventurous, try taking the local bus, also known as song-taew. It’s a lot cheaper at about THB60 per person from Krabi Town to Ao Nang.
The first thing on your agenda is of course, to have lunch. On the main streets of Ao Nang you’ll find plenty of cafes but they may be a little too pricey so do walk along the back lanes of Ao Nang instead where you’ll stumble upon stalls that the locals eat. This is where you know you’ll find absolutely delicious local fare at super cheap prices. A plate of rice with a side dish or a bowl of noodles usually start at about THB40 or 50 at cheap roadside stalls. Grilled seafood/meat are their specialty and you can also get cheap local fruits including coconut, pineapple and mango.
Pro-tip: Popular Southern food in Krabi include Massaman curry (a rich mild Thai curry), Panang curry (a salty, sweet peanut-flavoured curry), Khao Yam (rice salad), Muslim fried chicken with sticky rice. Make sure you give them a try!
Belly full, it’s time to hit the beach. Ao Nang is Krabi’s most popular beach. With giant limestone formations at the back, it’s also one of the prettiest. Pick a shady spot, lay down your towel and bask away in the tropical heat.
Ao Nang beach is also famous for its dramatic sunsets so don’t miss out on this. An optimum spot to view the sunset is by the big marlin sculpture, affectionately known locally as the Big Fish – Ao Nang’s most popular landmark.
Once night falls, lose yourself in the various night markets of Ao Nang – there’s the daily night market at the Ao Nang Landmark, and another two further away from the street from the Ao Nang town centre and closer to the Muslim Walking street near the Ao Nang Mosque – where you’ll see almost everything from aromatic incense sticks to delicious banana pancakes.
If you want to pamper yourself, there are plenty of massage parlours around the area with massage treatments starting from as low as THB300.
Again, for dinner, walk through the inner roads of Ao Nang to discover hidden gems that no other tourists know about. Or better still ask the locals where they go to eat. You’ll definitely have more authentic local fare at bargain prices to boot!
If you want a drink to end your day, check out Small Bar Ao Nang, a roadside bar with affordable (averaging on THB100 per drink) but potent cocktails. Have one or 10! Just remember, don’t drink and ride! Take a tuk tuk back to your hotel instead.
Day 2 – Railay Beach & Klong Mueang Beach
For a true beach bum, your holiday to Krabi will be incomplete without a trip to Railay beach. During the high season from December to April, it may be a bit overcrowded so make sure you get an early start.
Although it is part of the mainland, you cannot access Railay beach by road because of the giant limestone formations around it. So to get to Railay, you need to take a longtail boat from Ao Nang beach, Nopphara Thara pier, Ao Nammao pier and Krabi Town. Buy a return ticket so you don’t have to worry about your journey back. This will also ensure that you get dropped off at the same spot where you first started off. During the day boat rides are priced at THB100 one way and THB200 for a return journey. After dark, prices go up to THB150 per way.
Railay beach is a stretch or pristine blue waters and fine sand complemented with a backdrop of gigantic limestone cliffs. It has a very relaxing atmosphere and you’ll want to do very little here. Maybe just lie by the beach and have a drink. For the more adventurous, you can go swimming, snorkelling or take part in Railay’s most popular sport – rock climbing. But any self-respecting beach bum knows that this is just too much effort!
Pro-tip: For nature lovers, you can also trek to from Railay West to Tonsai beach. There are two trails for you to pick – an easy trail and a more challenging one – but both promise opportunities to see plenty of exotic wildlife like monkeys and hornbills. There is also a cave called Diamond Cave – THB100 entry for non-Thais
Don’t forget to patronise the various vendors that come by with treats including, sliced fruits, spring rolls and other yummy Thai snacks.
You now have the option of spending the rest of your day in Railay beach or heading to the much isolated Klong Mueang beach.
If you decide to head to Klong Mueang beach, you can take the longtail boat from Railay straight to Klong Mueang. Once you reach Klong Mueang beach, take a tuk tuk to the Rastafari Bar, about 10 minutes away. The bar is situated at the top of the hill and gives you an outstanding view of Klong Mueang beach and the surrounding Hong and Phi-phi islands.
The owner of the bar, Narong, built the bar by hand with driftwood he found by the beach and also from pieces of wood that he found in the jungle. Narong also lives in the premise with his pet dog Good Luck and his ever-growing family of cats. Come for the good drinks, stay for the good vibes, and leave with new friends.
From the Rastafari Bar, you can walk down to an isolated part of Klong Mueang beach. Even on a weekend, you’ll probably only see two or three other people on the entire beach stretch. So if you want nothing but the sound of the waves and the gentle winds blowing on your face, this is where you come to.
When you’re all beached out for the day, take a taxi at about THB500 to Krabi Town, in time for the night market that starts at 6pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This market is a treat for the senses. You’ll find souvenir items, t-shirts, preserved fruits, snacks and the best part, food! The seafood is super fresh and the grilled variety is almost always the best choice. You’ll also find deep-fried pork balls, Thai salads, pancakes with a variety of sweet fillings, fruit shakes and so much more. Pick table in the market and dig in. If you’re lucky there might a local performer, so you’ll get an authentic Thai performance to complement your meal.
Day 3 – Nopparat Thara Beach
Get the most of your last day in Krabi by booking the last flight out. It’s also cheaper than the midday flight and you’ll get to have more time by the beach.
Start your day early by taking a tuk tuk to Nopparat Thara beach, not too far from Ao Nang beach but a whole lot quieter. Nopparat Thara is also a great place to have a picnic and many of the locals flock here over the weekend to admire the view and enjoy the seabreeze.
This beach is split by a river with the ferry pier on one end and the beach on the other. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and stalls along Nopparat Thara beach with delicious local fare so you can have your breakfast, snacks and even lunch here before you head back. If you want more food choices, you can catch a tuk tuk back to Ao Nang, which will cost you approximately THB100, and have your last meal for the trip there.
To head back to the airport, you can wait for the local bus at the designated bus stop in front of McDonald’s in Ao Nang. Or you can arrange with the bus operators a day in advance for pick-up at your hotel.
If you’ve already checked-in online, just drop your luggage, head through customs and security and soon you’ll be on your jolly way home armed stories and memories of breathtaking beaches and sumptuous Thai food to share with your family and friends!
WHERE TO STAY:
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies to Krabi from various destinations. Book now at airasia.com