Vast, deserted powder-coated beaches, lovely tropical climate, unusually large rocks sitting amidst the sea, dramatic landscape of towering limestone cliffs and clear crystal emerald green water, the Krabi Island to the south of Thailand has a charm that exceeds your expectations of a beach destination.
Running along the Andaman coast with 200 odd islands – most of which are obscure and uninhabited – to hop around, less crowded than Phuket and Pattaya and more laid back than Koh Samui, Krabi Island offers an eclectic mix of decadent seafood delicacies, leisure activities, luxury stays and incredibly warm hospitality. For those who seek the thrill of adventure, Krabi has mighty cliffs for jumps, scuba diving and snorkelling destinations, and kayaks to witness the magic of bioluminescence phytoplankton. The long and short of it is that a trip to Krabi Island can revitalize the most sluggish souls.
Ao Nang Beach
A 20-minute drive from the Krabi town lies the Ao Nang Beach that stands out for its fine golden sand, surrounded by the limestone headlands in the first leg of the journey to this archipelago. The beach is abuzz with a variety of bars, restaurants, massage houses and shopping streets. Other than authentic Thai food, you can also indulge in exotic native fruits like mangoes, dragon fruit, and watermelon. ‘Sticky Rice with Mango’, a unique, decadent native dessert, is a must-try to satiate your gastronomic desire.
If you do not care for trying out new cuisines, there is a plethora of Indian restaurant on the beach to choose from.
It is sinful to not treat yourself to a Thai massage in Thailand, and Ao Nang Beach presents varied options on that account. There is a dedicated section of over 10 beach huts in a row on the beach offering a range of Thai and oil massages.
Thung Teao Forest Natural Park – An Escape for Solitude Seekers
Home to spectacular flora and fauna, this well-known attraction in Krabi Island is bestowed with outstanding natural beauty. The highlight of the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park is a crystal lagoon called the ‘Emerald Pool’. The naturally warm and clear water of the lagoon is ideal for a refreshing swim, offering an instant otherworldly escape. The natural park is an hour’s drive from Ao Nang and can be accessed by cab.
Krabi Island Hopping – The Four Island tour
Krabi offers access to numerous surrounding islands, most of which are uninhabited and secluded. So, it is wise to plan your itinerary in advance, and should you take the off-beat path to explore these isolated islands, make sure to return before dusk.
The more popular choice, however, is the ‘four island’ tour – a day trip on either a long tail boat or speedboat conducted by local tour operators. As the name suggests, this tour takes you to four islands in the vicinity of Krabi – Koh Poda, Koh Gai, Koh Tub and Koh Mor – and the itinerary for these can be customized as per your preference. You can also take a private tour of these islands, at more premium rates.
Koh Poda is known for its power-coated sun-kissed beaches, turquoise sea water and the distinctive limestone rock structure in the middle of the sea.
Koh Gai is marked by a strange rock formation that resembles a chicken.
Koh Tub and Koh Mor are linked to Koh Gai by a sandbar. On low tide days, you can just walk from one island to another.
All of these are outstanding spots for snorkelling and scuba diving for viewing the incredible coral reefs up close.
Railay and Ton Sai Bay – Fairytale Beaches
A 15-minute boat ride will take you to the most exotic and sought after beaches on Krabi Island – Railay and Ton Sai.
Railay is a fairytale come true, with its clear sparkling water, caves to explore, blue lagoon hidden inside cliffs, and soft white sand.
Ton Sai is an equally captivating tropical paradise, with a lot more avenues to get your adrenaline pumping by trying your hands at rock climbing on dramatic cliffs overlooking the ocean or kayaking in the still waters. The place also has a hippy vibe, thanks to reggae bars tucked into the jungle and numerous beach bars and parties.
Phi Phi Island – The Land of Lush Green
This small archipelago of six islands rose to fame after the Hollywood movie, The Beach, was shot here. Since then, it attracts hordes of tourists. This piece of Asian paradise is ideal for an overnight stay.
Most travellers prefer to cover the two destinations in a single trip, by taking a two-hour ferry boat ride from Krabi to Phi Phi Island or vice-versa. The ferry halts at Maya Bay for half-an-hour, presenting the perfect opportunity for snorkelling before heading to Koh Phi Phi Don – the only inhabited island of the group.
It houses a wide range of exclusive properties, from budget to uber-luxurious ones. At first glance, the island is a typical tropical postcard destination with white sand, turquoise water, and coconut trees. The best part about it is the complete absence of motorized vehicles and automobiles of any kind. Even bicycles are not allowed.
During your time here, explore the Tonsai village and delight your taste buds with some local cuisine. Then head out to the Bamboo Island on a long tail boat for some relaxing sunbathing and swimming.
Just five-km from the north of Phi Phi Don lies a small heart-shaped island known for its diverse marine life that includes the three-banded clownfish of the ‘Finding Nemo’ fame. Enjoy a calming swim in the company of some of the most exotic aquatic life here.
Wrap up your day with an indulgent meal at any one of Phi Phi’s many great restaurants. Catch a ferry back from Phi Phi to Krabi Island the next day.
Krabi Island has something to offer to every kind of traveller – a sweet escape for honeymooners, a range of activities for a family holiday, an exciting destination for adventure freaks and a peaceful delight for solitude seekers. This idyllic Thai destination should be on everyone’s bucket list.
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– With inputs from Tushar Prakash