We wanted to visit the beautiful islands of southern Thailand, with their crystal clear waters and white sand. But the very idea of masses of tourists in Phuket gave us chills! So we decided to stay at Ao Nang in Krabi province, calmer and much quieter (and closer to the islands too!).
Our 5-day itinerary in Southern Thailand: Krabi
Day 1 in the Krabi region
We dedicated our first day in Ao Nang to visit the city center, do some shopping and get some rest on the beach. The town itself has nothing special other than a lot of shops and hotels, and a huge beach!
The area on the waterfront is divided into two parts : on the left is for international tourists (bars, some resorts, high prices) and on the right it is rather for Thai, the low-cost tourism and locals.
At the end of the Ao Nang beach you will find monkeys that come down from the cliffs to the beach looking for food after noon! There’s usually no problem with the monkeys, but keep an eye on your belongings because they easily become irritated and they’re quite good thieves! We saw a woman’s mango smoothie getting stolen and a man fighting to get his bracelet back!
We found the bars and restaurants on the beach of Ao Nang to be quite expensive compared to those we visited in the north and in Bangkok, especially since there is not much street food in southern Thailand. However, there is a small place on the waterfront towards the left, just before entering to the bars and massage area where we ate one of the best Pad Thai of our stay! And the price was very reasonable (click here to read our delicious article about thai food).
If, like us you fancy a cocktail at sunset for a reasonable price, avoid bars at the beach and go a little behind. At House Party we had two delicious cocktails for 120 baht per person (from 5pm to 8pm is happy hour time, nothing compared to 250-300 baht you’ll pay in other bars). It’s just a shame that there is not the view of the beach, but if you spent the afternoon there, it’s nothing serious!
Day 2 in the Krabi region
The second day we decided to visit the islands, we had heard so much about them that we were really looking forward to them! We booked the tour they call “4 islands” with the owner of our guesthouse, who found us attractive prices. Departure from the hotel was at 08:30 am, a taxi picked us up to drop us off at Ao Nang beach where boats leave for the islands. There, we got a little scared because there were lots of tourists waiting for their boats; but luckily everyone was dispatched in different boats and everything was soon calmer. We decided to go on a longtail boat for the first visit because it’s a local type of transportation. (Click here to see our article on the means of transportation in Thailand).
In the boat we were about twenty people. We started by stopping at Phra Nang beach on the peninsula of Railay, then we passed Tup Island and Chicken Island just to take pictures and snorkel, and finally we stopped on Poda island.
Lunch was served on an island where everything we needed was provided. Our menu was rice with vegetables and chicken and fruit for dessert. We were also provided with unlimited fresh drinking water throughout the day.
We enjoyed the day because the islands are beautiful but be aware that in general the organization of the trip is slow. We had to wait each time to return to the boat because we were twenty, and then the shuttle service that sends people back to their hotels is also very slow. For people who have seasickness we do not recommend choosing a longtail boat. It’s nice because it’s more typical than the speedboat, but you’ll also feel sick more easily!
If we had to do it again we wouldn’t book the tour with an agency. We’d rather hire a private boat to visit only the islands we want to and spend more time in the places we find nice.
Day 3 in the Krabi region
For the third day we went to visit the world famous Phi Phi islands with the agency Ao Nang Photo Travel. The organization of the day was the same as the previous day but with different islands. We visited Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Lay, Maya Bay, Monkey Bay, Bamboo Island, and we stopped to take a picture of Viking Cave and a small green lagoon whose name we can’t recall.
On this tour the boat stopped twice to snorkel and admire the fish. For lunch, we stopped on Phi Phi Don in a restaurant where a buffet was served (not very good this time) and we had an hour to spend on ourselves on the island, so it was impossible to swim after lunch. This time the trip was on speedboat because the islands are further from Ao Nang; however it’s more comfortable than the longtail boat even if it moves a lot. We do not recommend this tour because it covers the most touristy islands and we didn’t have enough time to enjoy the beach. It’s a shame because the places are really impressive. If you want to enjoy a little more, you can stay in a hotel in Phi Phi Don and make small trips to visit the islands when tourists are all gone.
Day 4 in the Krabi region
For this day we decided not to take the boat for a change. That why we chose to go into the jungle to see Hot Springs, Emerald Pool and Tiger Cave Temple. The agency picked us up at the hotel by car and we were 10 people together for the day. We started off with an hour by car to reach the Hot Springs. These are natural hot springs where we had an hour to bathe. It can be fun, but there are many tourists and the place is quite small, so it’s not easy to find a place if a bus full of tourists arrives at the same time.
Then we went to visit Emerald Pool, 15 km further ahead, which is pretty cool. It is a place in the middle of the forest where you’ll find a large natural pool. We had two hours to visit, considering you’ll have to walk 800 meters to get to the pool. The good point is that the pool is rather big, so even if you arrive along with everyone else you’ll find a place to bathe.
Then we wanted to walk 600 meters more to see the Blue Pool, a really cool place. It is a blue water pool surrounded by quicksand, so swimming is prohibited. It’s very pretty and when you clap your hands there are bubbles that appear in the water due to the vibrations, rather amazing! As the place is away from the pool, there are not many people and it is absolutely quiet – rather nice for a change in Southeast Asia!
After two hours we had lunch in a restaurant that was very good and unlimited. Then last stop of the day was Tiger Cave Temple (about 40 min drive). It is a temple on top of a mountain, so you must be in a good shape to climb the 1237 steps to arrive to the top. However, with 35°C and Anaïs who is a little afraid of heights we didn’t go up.
We visited the Tiger Cave which is the spiritual center of the area, and it was quite nice! At the entrance of the cave we met some monks who offered us lucky bracelets, and then we continued to the Chinese temple, where you will see wild monkeys; it is possible to feed them if you buy special food for them from the monks.
Day 5 in the Krabi region
Last day for us, so we decided to listen to other travelers and go to the Hong islands. We were told that it was really quieter and less touristy than other tours, and frankly it was great!
The organization was the same as always, but luckily the longtail boat was smaller this time and the group was also less numerous (we went with the agency Ao Nang Kingdom).
First we entered the beautiful lagoon of Hong Island, where there was almost no one. It is only accessible during high tide because when the tide goes down, the water becomes so shallow that boats can’t enter the lagoon. The color of the water changes with the tides, it is a magical place!
Then we stopped twice at sea to snorkel and see the fish. That day we visited Hong Island, Paradise beach and Lading Island. In Hong Island we rented a kayak to get into the lagoon we had seen in the morning and then go around the island. We do recommend renting a kaya, it is a great experience! The lagoon where we went kayaking is far from the beaches, there is absolutely not a sound, and you’ll feel really close to nature. It was a magical moment! Then around the island we saw some caves, including an inhabited one! This was the best day for us, both because of the place and the activities!
If you want to know our experience and our advice to eat well in Thailand, visit our article about thai food!
- If you are staying in a guesthouse ask the owners if they can find you lower prices for visiting the islands (we did that and we saved quite good money).
- Always bring a hat, sunscreen, sun glasses and drinking water!
- Don’t be afraid to try the food from the small local street stalls, they are the best!
- See at least one sunset on the beach, there are great pictures to take!
|- The landscape is beautiful, turquoise water, nature, sea.|
- Prices for we Europeans are really low (eg in a restaurant a meal is about 3 euros).
- Thai people are very friendly and smiling.
- It was sunny every day.
- Even with a weak stomach like mine (Anaïs) I 've never been sick!
- Good mix between beach and culture, this trip can meet the expectations of many people.
- We had the feeling of being in Paradise!
|- The amount of tourists undeniably ... but it's so beautiful that everyone wants to come!|