Whether you love hiking, mountain climbing, scuba diving or just island hopping and chilling on the beach, Krabi has something for everyone
When our Thai friend, Mote recommended his home province as a must-do travel destination when visiting Thailand, we didn't hesitate and booked our next flight to Krabi. It's the perfect travel destination for those who love adventure, hiking and exploring the great outdoors.
Here is our comprehensive 3 day travel itinerary on the top things to do when in Krabi. It is the ideal itinerary for those who love the great outdoors, exploring beaches and doing a hike or two. We cover everything from how to get to these attractions, how much to budget, what to expect and how to avoid the crowds.
Things to know before you go to Krabi
Krabi is nowhere near as busy and full of tourists as Bangkok or Phuket, but its popularity has been growing in the last 5 years. You will certainty feel this when you walk along the main road or visit the most popular beaches. But for us Krabi strikes a great balance between experiencing the hustle and bustle of Thai culture, while also being able to experience its tranquil natural surroundings.
What is Krabi most well-known for
Daily budget for Krabi
Excluding accommodation and flights to Krabi, we estimate:
Like we mentioned in our Hong Kong budget travel tips and culture guide, eating local food will save you a lot of money when travelling to most countries. But we understand that some of you may have food allergies or particular dietary requirements, so we thought it would be helpful to share with you the budget for eating western cuisine too. We are both lucky in that we don't have any food allergies, so we generally just follow the "see food" diet.
If you love massages like us (or a pedicure if you're Michael), budget another €7 - €9 for a 60 minute massage.
Money and Banking in Thailand
The Thai Baht is the official currency of Thailand. You get a lot of bang for your buck if you're holding American Dollars, the British Pound or the Euro (which gets you around 35 Thai Baht per Euro depending on the exchange rate). Although Thailand is extremely tourist friendly, it is not card friendly at all. It is best to always have cash on you as most places (including some hotels) will charge you an extra 3% fee on your bill if you pay by card.
Health and Hygiene | Is tap water safe to drink in Thailand
No, don't attempt it even if you think you have an invincible stomach. Always drink boiled or treated water. As people who promote ecotravel and environmental sustainability, it is very hard for us to recommend buying bottled water. But there are just some places that you travel to where tap water is not drinkable and bottled water is the only option. In this case, we recommend that if you do buy bottled water, keep the bottle and ask for a refill when you go to restaurants or hotels where they provide safe drinking water. This will significantly help minimise the amount of plastic waste created.
Transport in Krabi
It is really easy to get around in Krabi. The main town area is usually small enough that everything is within walking distance. But if you want to venture out a bit, there are public buses, taxis and tuk tuks available. You could also opt for the more adventurous mode of transport and rent a scooter. This is usually our most preferred mode of transport as we like to feel the wind in our hair and wander around at a leisurely pace.
Motorcycle rental in Thailand | Is it safe?
We've heard our fair share of horrible scooter accidents in South East Asia, but we still believe it is an amazing and affordable way to travel and experience the country like a local. We are not regular motorcycle riders (we don't even have a motorcycle licence), but we do have a driver's licence, wear helmets and make sure to always drive at a safe speed (don't drink and drive). We've rode scooters in Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand and have had a great experience in all those countries.
Tips for motorcycle rentals in South East Asia
Try riding the bike around the vicinity of the shop you rented from for a bit to check if everything works. Lights, brakes, diesel gauge, basically all the important stuff before you get on your way. Also, wear sunnies during your ride so the wind doesn't dry your eye balls out. Not only will you look extra cool, but you'll have a much better riding experience when you don't have to squint your way through it.
In Krabi or Aonang, you can rent a scooter for 200 Thai Baht (under €6) per day. Prices are pretty standardized so don't worry about "being taken for a ride" with inflated prices. It costs around 100 (under €3) Thai Baht to refill the scooter from empty to full.
What you need to rent a motorcycle or scooter in Thailand
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Where to stay in Krabi
For accommodation, anywhere within walking distance to the main road 4203 (parallel to the beach) is central. We wouldn't recommend wandering too far off beyond Nemo2 Resort because tour transfers (which are usually included in tour or ferry packages) will not venture beyond that hotel to come collect you. If you aren't a light packer, that means you may need to drag your luggage along the side of the road under the blazing sun and risk a T-shirt tan.
Aonang Cliff Beach Resort
In Aonang, we stayed at the Aonang Cliff Beach Resort. We loved it because it is a heavenly, sanctuary from all the hustle and bustle on the streets. The hotel also has the most amazing views in Aonang because it is embedded into the cliffside facing the ocean. The cherry on top is that you can enjoy this view from their magnificent infinity pool while enjoying a cocktail or two. Overall, it's a great accommodation option whether you are a couple, a family or just looking to celebrate a special occasion. For families with young toddlers, there is a dedicated play area in the hotel so the parents can go get a well-deserved break at the spa. There's also a gym if you've indulged too much on delicious Thai cuisine.
Best time to travel to Krabi
The best time to travel to Krabi is between November and April, outside of the monsoon season. Bear in mind that it will be more expensive travelling during this period, as this is typically their high peak season, and for good reason. Some activities such as visiting the Blue Pool (part of Emerald Pool) and diving around the Similan Islands are not open for tourists from May to the end of October. Although it may be an inconvenience for tourists, it's good that these unique, natural ecosystems are given a 6 month break from thousands of visiting tourists so that they can remain healthy.
3 days in Krabi Itinerary
What to do in Krabi: Day 1
Grab a coffee and breakfast from Owl Coffee (or Doi Chaang Coffee on google maps). Their coffees are delicious and much better priced than The Coffee Club (which is also nice but expensive). They also serve up a great English breakfast with eggs, bacon, ham and sausage (Michael's favourite) if you're tired of having rice for breakfast (for Chloe, rice is life!).
How to get from Aonang to Railay Beach
Head over to the Aonang Traffic Police Box corner where you'll find a kiosk selling tickets to Railay Beach. It costs 200 Thai baht for a return ticket with the taxi boat to and from Aonang Beach. The last boat leaves Railay Beach at 6pm so we would recommend heading there by the latest 12PM so you have enough time to experience all the attractions there.
At Railay Beach, you will be dropped off on Railay West Beach. You can either enjoy the long stretch of beach or head into Railay Village to grab a drink or a bite. Compared to Aonang, food and drinks cost around 50-100 Thai Baht (€2-€3) more, so if you're on a budget you may want to bring your own snacks and drinks because there isn't a 7 Eleven there.
Once you're done and keen for some adventure, walk to the end of the village where you will see a blue sign directing you to Railay Beach East, the view point and lagoon. Follow the signs and continue walking towards the view point. On this side, the main attractions are the view point, Princess Lagoon, Ao Phra Nang Beach and Princess Cave.
We enjoyed swimming on the beach a bit too much, so we only had enough time to climb up to the view point before we had to rush back to catch the last taxi boat back to Aonang (don't make the same mistake as we did).
Railay Beach Viewpoint Hike
For avid hikers like us, we love a good challenge. But even we were surprised when we saw the path to get to the Railay Beach view point. We were so confused when we saw the sign pointing towards a rugged, vertical wall with a rope that camouflaged too well against its tan facade. Let's just say that it was more a climb than a hike. It was definitely challenging, but super fun as well (except the part where Michael stepped on my thumb...) It's also a great way to get away from the crowds, as many people turn back when they see the climb.
This is the same path you'll need to take if you want to see Princess Lagoon. When you get to the top and continue walking you will see a sign directing you to the lagoon and the viewpoint. The hike (or rather climb) up is only 15-20 minutes long, so not too hectic in terms of duration. But be prepared to use both lower and upper body strength and get muddy by the time you get to the top. After you've reached the top, there is another 10-20 minute walk on relatively flat terrain to get to each of the attractions.
As always, we wore our trusty Mares dive booties (yes, we use ours for hiking as well if the terrain is slippery). They were perfect for this hike because its rubber soles gave us more grip and we were able to wedge our feet into whatever crevices we could find. We saw a lot of people go barefoot because slip slops will definitely not cut it on this hike.
When you get to the view point, you will be rewarded with this amazing view over Railay Beach East.
When you're done exploring Railay Beach, make sure to get to the last taxi boat that leaves at 6PM (get there 10 minutes before to avoid being left behind). It's a short 10-15 minute boat ride back to Aonang beach and you get to admire the beautiful sun, which should be setting at that time. When you arrive at Aonang Beach, it's a great time to take a dip in the ocean. It's not the best beach in Krabi because of all the taxi boat traffic, but by this time there are no more boat trips to Railay so it is more pleasant to swim in. It will also feel amazing washing off all that sweat and mud from your viewpoint climb.
What to do in Krabi: Day 2
Emerald Pool Krabi
After the previous day's hike up to Railay Beach viewpoint, it's a good idea to take it a bit easy and head to Emerald Pool for a swim. Emerald Pool is a must-see if you're a nature lover because you'll be able to witness first-hand, the intense and other-worldly colour of these natural pools. You are able to swim in the main pool in the national park. Just keep walking and you'll come across a large rock pool (you can't miss it).
Getting from Aonang or Krabi to Emerald Pool
There are many options to get to Emerald Pool, but the experience and how much you pay will differ. The most expensive option is taking the taxi or tuk tuk to Emerald Pool as it is between 30-40 minute car drive from Krabi Town and 60-90 minutes from Aonang. Another option is a tour package to Emerald Pool. It will be more affordable than taking a taxi, but it will likely be very crowded and dampen your experience.
We opted for the scooter option. It was the most affordable option for us and we could get there before the crowds. BUT (literally) it was a very long motorcycle ride and our butts were pretty sore when we arrived. If you opt for the adventurous option, make sure to wear a lot of sun lotion (reef friendly ones of course) because 2 hours on motorbike per way from Aonang is no joke. We recommend leaving 6AM-7AM in the morning so you arrive shortly after it opens at 8AM. It is also best to go during the week and not on public holidays or weekends because it is less crowded.
Emerald Pool Krabi Entrance Fee
Entrance costs 200 Thai Baht (€5.50) for foreigners and 20 Thai Baht for locals. If you're going by scooter, you will need to budget another 10 Thai Baht (€0.30) for parking your scooter.
Blue Pool Krabi
If you think the emerald colour of the pools are beautiful, wait till you see Blue Pool. It literally looks like someone poured blue gatorade into the pool. It's an amazing sight to see because the intense blue colour of its water is uncommon to see in nature. Look closely and you will see bubbles coming up from the ground.
As beautiful as it is, it's only a sight to behold because swimming is prohibited in this pool.
Access to Blue Pool is closed for 6 months of the year between May and October (low season) to protect this natural gem, so make sure to go between November and April if you want to see the Blue Pool.
What to do in Krabi: Day 3
Hiking in Krabi | Tab Kak Hang Nak Nature Trail
It's your last day in Krabi, so go BIG or go HOME. Go for an amazing hiking adventure at the Tab Kak Hang Nak Nature Trail and see some of the most beautiful views in Krabi. If you're an avid Instagrammer, this hike will take you to this incredible viewpoint where you can take this photo:
Entrance fee for Tab Kak Hang Nak Nature Trail
It is free (YAY!) but you can offer a tip at the sign-in desk after you have completed the hike.
Getting to Tab Kak Hang Nak Nature Trail
The entrance to the hike is a 30 minute drive from Aonang Beach. By scooter, it was a lovely 40 minute ride there and free parking is available for your scooter at the entrance. We recommend starting your hike no later than 2PM so you have enough time to complete the hike before dark. The last entry time for the hike is at 3PM. After that, the rangers won't allow visitors entrance, so be sure to arrive earlier to avoid being disappointed. Make sure to sign in at the ranger's desk before your hike. Write your time in and time out and get the rangers number in case of any emergencies.
How difficult was the hike?
In our opinion, the hike was moderate to moderately strenuous. The hike takes around 4-5 hours for a return trip and involves a lot of uphill climb (don't worry, it's not a vertical wall climb like at Railey Beach) for the first half of the hike to reach the various viewing points at the top. You don't need to be extremely fit to complete the hike, maybe just budget a bit more time.
Most of the pathway is covered by trees so risk of sun burn is low. We recommend wearing trainers or hiking shoes for this trail. The terrain is mostly clay-like soil and dead leaves. There are some areas where you need to stick your feet into the crevices created by tree roots to reach the top, so wearing appropriate shoes is important. Again, we hiked in our Mares dive booties.
What to bring for the hike
Our savvy travel tip: Buy your water at a 7 Eleven before you head to Tab Kak Hang Nak Nature Trail. You can buy 1.5 litres of water from 7 Eleven for 13 Thai Baht instead of paying 30 Thai Baht at the entrance of the hike. Another tip, use the toilets at the entrance before you head in. Otherwise you going to have to do your business while the monitor lizards watch you.
How to find the Instagram photo spot in Krabi?
Besides seeing the amazing views on the way, you can't leave the nature trail without taking a photo at this incredible outlook point in Krabi! On the Tab Kak Hang Nak Nature Trail, keep walking till you see a huge round sign close to the end of the hiking trail. Walk past it and follow the path. In a few meters you should come across a fenced area on your left. Walk towards the fence, on the left side of the fence there is an opening which allows you to walk to the rock where this amazing photo spot is. Just be careful when approaching the rock as there is no fencing here at all. There is a short rope to help you get onto the rock though. Approach very slowly and very carefully.
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Things to do in Aonang at Night
Bar Hopping in Krabi
On one of your 3 nights in Krabi, why not experience the night life a bit? If you're looking for a vibey place to have a few drinks, there is an area along the main road of Aonang Beach (road 4203) where you can bar hop. Head to the Burger King along the main road and you will see a pathway down to an area which opens up to a few vibey bars and places to party. On some nights there is a beautiful "lady" standing there directing people to this popular bar hopping spot.
Night Markets in Aonang and Krabi
If partying isn't your thing, then why not visit some of the night markets in Aonang? There are two large night markets along the 4203 main road. You can either walk there or jump on your scooter. The night markets aren't as big as the ones in Krabi, but its a great place to shop and get some delicious local grub. If you're in Aonang for the weekend, take your scooter or a public bus to the main night market in Krabi instead.
Other attractions in Krabi
The best beach in Krabi
The closest beaches to Krabi town is in Aonang, which is a 20-25 minute drive away. The main beach is Aonang Beach, but there are often too many long tail boats hogging its shoreline which can become unpleasant. For us, Noppharat Thara Beach is the best beach in Krabi because it is much quieter and more pristine compared to Aonang Beach. It's a short 5 minute scooter ride or 15 minute walk from Aonang beach to Noppharat Thara Beach and often less crowded. So definitely head to this beach for the best sunsets in Krabi.
Island Day Trips from Krabi and Aonang
There are plenty of island day trips from Krabi and Aonang to explore the surrounding islands around its shores. From Phi Phi Island, Hong Island, Bamboo Island to the Four Islands (Pranang Beach, Tup Island, Chicken Island and Poda Island), you can see them all by going on different island day trips. It's really easy to book these trips as well, since all the tour operators on the main road sell these tour packages.
We skipped these island hopping tours because we've experienced these before in Thailand and the Philippines, and it was just too touristy for us to enjoy. Often the operators pack you all tightly into the boat and you are only able to spend 30 minutes at each destination. The best would be to hire an entire boat privately and split it amongst a group of friends so you can see these beautiful islands at your own pace.
Where to go after Krabi?
Getting from Krabi to Koh Samui, Koh Khangan, Koh Tao
Getting from Krabi to Koh Samui, Koh Khangan or Koh Tao is super easy. We booked our entire transfer for only 700 Thai Baht (€20) on the fast ferry which included hotel transfer pick-up. Check out our getting around in Thailand on the cheap guide to book your trips online or compare prices.
If beaches aren't your thing and you prefer the serenity of lakes and being surrounded by Thailand's signature limestone cliffs, check out our Khao Sok Lake Tour Guide post. It's one of Thailand's best kept secrets and an absolute hidden gem destination.
Best scuba diving in southern Thailand