Krabi – home of rock climbing, beautiful sunsets and outrageously expensive drinks. Is it worth it? 1000%. On our most recent long weekend due to a Thai National Holiday, a group of us had decided we wanted to go check out Krabi – one of the main tourist destinations situated on the west coast of southern Thailand.
After reading reviews, we planned on staying in the more central location of Ao Nang, with the nightlife and markets all around. It may have been a bit more expensive, but we liked the convenience of being in the middle of everything, with long tail boats at our fingertips to take us to the islands.
How To Get There:
While many of our peers told us motorbiking may be too long of a hike, we wanted to do something different, and most importantly save a few bucks. The minibus companies were charging 900 baht ($30 USD) return trip, and petrol for the motorbikes would cost around 300 baht ($10 USD) return tip. You do the math. Plus, this group is always up for a bit of an adventure. After our beautiful drive to Khao Sok National Park, we were definitely keen to see more of the Thai landscape by bike.
So we set off at 8 am from the 7/11 in Surat Thani to drive from East to West, coast to coast, Thailand. The three hour drive really didn’t seem so bad, but we were very excited to finally reach our destination.
Where To Stay: J Hotel, Ao Nang
I must say, at first, I wasn’t all too impressed. We walked into our fan room only to find there was a serious infestation of mosquitos flying around. I killed about 15 mosquitos thinking that was the end of them, only to turn around and find 15 more. It was a disaster… Until, the owner came in and changed our booking to the rooftop fan rooms, with the most stunning views of the ocean and surrounding islands. J Hotel has an awesome rooftop hang out area, with 4 rooms on the top. I definitely recommend requesting one of those rooms. We spent many hours just hanging out together, having a few drinks and laughing while watching the sun go down over the ocean.
Even with the fan, there was a enough of a breeze from the ocean to keep the room cool. The rooms were very clean, and the refrigerator worked wonders. The bathroom and shower were very clean and tidy as well. I recommend staying at J Hotel 10000%!
460 Baht, per night, for a standard fan room. ($15 USD)
Where To Eat:
-Tandoori Night’s – Not only is it some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had, it’s also one of the best deals on the strip. We had been craving Indian food for two months, and we finally found it for an affordable price! For 200 baht ($7 USD), you get either a Chicken Curry or Butter Chicken, rice, nan and a beer. The butter chicken completely melted in my mouth, and it was so good we went the second night as well. Highly recommended by this hungry group!
-Family Thai – If you’re looking for a budget meal, this is the spot. Located just off the main strip in Ao Nang, it has some of the best traditional thai food around for the lowest prices. Most meals were between 40-70 baht ($1-3 USD), and were very large servings. It was quite the refresher after spending heaps for each and every meal.
-Jose’s – You’re looking for Western and you don’t care about the price? Jose’s is the place for you then. I had a delicious Club Sandwich and french fries and Sam had a large BBQ Chicken Pizza. For both, it costs 440 baht ($15 USD), which is honestly absurd in Thailand, but we were so hungry after the long drive that we didn’t care!
-Kebab Shop – Railay is so beautiful, but it’s also very expensive as there’s only a few places on the island you can actually eat! Instead of getting stuck in the first few restaurants on the beach front, I recommend walking another 100 meters down the walkway until you hit a little Kebab Shop on the right hand side. For 100 baht ($3-4 USD), you can get a really tasty Kebab with any sauce you want! We bought a few to go, and sat on the beach for lunch with a view!
What To Do:
There are a million and one tours you can take that will boat you around to the surrounding islands and areas, all of which seem perfectly fine and dandy. For a group of twenty-somethings on a teacher’s salary, we needed to do it a bit cheaper. We found a nice man with a longtail boat waiting for his next tour on Ao Nang Beach, and asked him how much it would be to take a group of eight around to Tonsai and Railay for the day. He said he’d do it for 1600 baht for the whole boat! That’s less than $7 USD per person. Making your own tour is definitely the cheapest and more flexible way to do!
Ao Nang Beach – It’s not so much of a beach, and during the day it’s completely filled with longtail boats and their inevitable oil and gas leaked waters, so I wouldn’t recommend it as a beach to hang out at. With that said, grab yourself a beer at the 7/11 around 5:30 pm and head down there to watch the sunset. It’s quite the view, and its free!
Napparot Beach – Again, it’s nothing too special compared to the other beaches in Thailand, but at low tide, you can walk across the vast beach that was once underwater only a few hours earlier. There are thousands and thousands of little crabs that are crawling around and as weird as it looked, it was pretty cool to be surrounded by all of those little guys!
Tonsai – Unknown to many tourists passing by, Tonsai is one of the best places to go rock climbing in the area. Not nearly as crammed with beach goers as other beaches, and it’s a secluded little hideaway from the crowds. There’s really nothing to do here except rock climb, with the exception of a restaurant or two. We just lounged around the beach for a few hours and enjoyed the peace and tranquility.
Railay – While taking a little hike through the jungle from Tonsai, my friend and I discovered a beautiful white sand beach with stunning mountains in the background and clear blue water, which turned out to be Railay West. This beach is absolutely stunning and is exactly what you think of when you dream of Thailand. With cute beach bars and restaurants and a long stretch of white sand, Railay is a perfect spot to spend a few hours. We went snorkeling through the caves and chilled in the water. It was a perfect day!
Shell Fossil Beach – There’s nothing more we love than having the freedom to explore on our motorbikes through new parts of Thailand. As we were cruising back out of Krabi, we discovered a few signs for Shell Fossil Beach, and decided to take a quick right turn to find out. Turns out Fossil Beach is home to one of three of the world’s only Gastropod Fossils and is over 75 million years old! Quite an amazing find for a last minute decision. For 200 baht ($7 USD) each, we got to hike down to the beach where the massive broken fossil was, and we laid down on the beach near and read our books. It was a great end to the trip.
Where To Drink:
Finally – one of the more important parts! We didn’t exactly spend too much time in the bars as they were outrageously expensive, but we found a few good cheaper options!
Drinks on the beach – Not sure if this was exactly legal, but we just bought a few large beers and took them down to the beach to watch the sunset on Ao Nang beach. We also did that another night later in the night and just hung out near a bar that had live music! Sneaky, sneaky 😉
Luna Beach Bar – Right next to the waves crashing into the sea wall, Luna Bar is a great spot for billiards and board games. The beer was the cheapest I had found in a bar (60 baht/$2 USD), and they offered us to play Connect Four! I have heard from fellow travelers that it’s a great late night spot as well.
As you can probably guess, we had a great time exploring on our own, making our own tours and cheaping it up as much as possible. Sometimes going out on a limb and doing something not on the list of “things to do”, can prove to be really rewarding! I hope this list helps you plan your trip to Krabi, but I also hope you do your own thang, and find out what will make you the happiest!