Part of a small peninsula located between Krabi Town and Ao Nang, Phra Nang Beach is one of the most scenic and picturesque beaches in the country. This short but broad strip of sand boasts that classic jawdropping beach scenery only found in Thailand, with pure white sand framed by limestone cliffs and lapped by calm waters that are ideal for swimming and snorkeling. This whole area is particularly popular with rock climbers, and even if you don’t join in, it’s fascinating to watch those who do climb up right from the beach. At the southern end of the beach is a giant limestone cliff that contains the famous PrincessCave, said to be the home of a mythical sea princess. Other activities to keep you amused while you admire the scenery include having a massage, enjoying a barbecue, hiking, sunbathing and, of course, going for a swim.
Luxury beach resorts with pampering garden pools and high-end add-ons attract a jet-set crowd to Ao Nang Beach on the Andaman Sea. Ao Nang is an ideal base for island-hopping trips, sea-kayaking adventures and day tours to local attractions like snake farms, pineapple plantations and hot springs. Diving excursions head off from Ao Nang to nearby Raillay or further afield to Koh Phi Phi. The seafront promenade at Ao Nang is lined with souvenir shops, tailors and restaurants.
Railay sits on a peninsula between the busy tourist centers of Krabi and Ao Nang, but because of its fairytale limestone cliffs, it’s only accessible by boat. The four interconnected beaches that make up Railay Beach (West Railay, East Railay, Phra Nang and Tonsai) have a distinctly bohemian, easy-going vibe.
West Railay, where many of the boats from Ao Nang dock, has the talcum powder-soft sand and cerulean waters of any beach bum’s dreams. The craggy limestone formations of East Railay make it one of Thailand’s top rock-climbing destinations, with safety bolts and marked routes covering much of the cliffy area. While advanced climbers will find plenty of challenges at Railay Beach, new climbers can register for “top rope” climbing classes to learn the sport with added safety measures. Both East and West Railay have small promenades lined with shops and restaurants.
Koh Poda, part of a tiny archipelago in Krabi province off the west coast of Thailand, ranks among the most picturesque of the many uninhabited and semi-inhabited islands that line the coast. Longtail boats drop visitors off along a stretch of sugar soft, white sand beach, famous for its clear waters and stunning views off offshore limestone formations. Thanks to its west-facing beach, the area is particularly lovely around sunset.
Tropical fish are visible in the waters just off the beach, but just a little further out a coral reef rings much of the island, providing excellent snorkeling opportunities for those who can pull themselves from the beach. While the island does have a single guesthouse, most visitors come on a day trip from nearby Ao Nang.
The southern Thailand province of Krabi is surrounded by surreal rocky islands that poke out of the surrounding turquoise Andaman Sea, including the beautiful group known as the Hong Islands.
A popular day-trip destination from Ao Nang, the Hong Islands are fringed with rainforest and white-sand beaches, with rocky viewpoints and hidden lagoons.
Offshore dives reveals a spectacular underwater world of coral reefs, and if you’re sea-kayaking you can access lovely sea caves.
The limestone island of Koh Panyi is home to a floating Muslim fishing village, built on stilts over the water. The village has a mosque and a school, and is home to around 100 families who make their living from fishing.
Seafood restaurants are a big hit here, and market stalls sell souvenirs, T-shirts and postcards.
An overnight stay in a traditional home with a local family, in a room hovering over the water, is a unique Thailand experience.
Originating from a warm stream in the lowland forest of Khao Nor Juji, the Emerald Pool (or Sa Morakot) is a hot spring located within the Khao PraBang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary in Krabi. The dazzling Emerald Pool is 115 long, 214 meters wide, and deep enough to swim in (although, due to the high levels of calcium carbonate, visitors should avoid swallowing any water while doing so). The color of the water varies according to the reflection of the sunlight at different times of the day. To experience the most intense emerald hue, visit at dawn or as early in the morning as possible. There are three nature trails that lead to the Emerald Pool. The first is a direct 800 meter path from the main entrance. The second is via ‘Thung TieoSa Morakot’, which is around 1400 meters long and and more challenging, but is ideal for birdwatchers and nature lovers. The third method is the longest at just under three kilometers, and is a scenic nature trail through the forest.
Krabi is famous for its towering limestone cliffs, idyllic beaches and peaceful mangrove forests, and Ao Thalane (Thalane Bay) represents one of the most beautiful mangrove forests in all of Thailand. On this stretch of coast 12 miles (20 kilometers) from Krabi Town, dense mangroves shroud the karsts and cliffs, hiding caves, small inlets and secluded lagoons.
The best way to explore Ao Thalane is with paddle in hand. Shaded by the canopy, kayaking through the winding network of mangrove roots gets visitors close to nature, where it’s possible to spot kingfishers, crab-eating Macaques, river otters, herons, monkeys, monitor lizards and snakes. It’s an ideal place to escape the bustle of Ao Nang or Krabi for a day spent surrounded by only the sounds of nature.
Located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Krabi, Ao Luk provides visitors a playground of outdoor adventures. While Krabi might bring to mind images of idyllic beaches, Ao Luk is more about the jungle, especially within Than Bok Khorani National Park. Here, eco-tourists find abundant treks, waterfalls, caves, mangrove forests and the stunning (and swimmable) Bok Khorani pond. The park also contains a series of small islands popular for canoeing, snorkeling and diving.
An alternate way to explore the Ao Luk district is in the tree tops themselves. Tree Top Adventure Park, one of the area’s most popular attractions, takes visitors through the canopy from platform to platform by way of rope walks, zip lines, Tarzan swings, rope bridges and flying skateboards.
Pa Phru Tha Pom Khlong Song Nam -- it’s a mouthful that in English means “canal of two waters” – is a stunning natural paradise where crystal-clear freshwater springs meet saltwater mangrove forests. Located about 21 miles (34 kilometers) outside of the town of Krabi, Pa Phru Tha Pom Khlong Song Nam is lined with boardwalks, making it a photogenic place for nature walks beside and above the water. Wooden chairs placed throughout give guests a spot to stop and admire the views. One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of the area is in a canoe. Rentals are available by the hour or the day, and from the park entrance, you can paddle all the way to the Andaman Sea.