Two weeks in one place might sound like too much, but when you visit Krabi there is just so much to see! In order to have a chance to see most of things I wanted, I was basically taking some kind of tour or activity almost every day of the 2 weeks I spent here. I really love nature, viewpoints and everything that has to do with a really awesome landscape and Krabi sure didn't disappoint! During my 2 weeks holiday I hiked, snorkelled, climbed stairs and rocks, been on a boat almost every day, relaxed and made the best I could of this amazing holiday!
The tours usually start very early in the morning, such as 8 o'clock, so you'll need to wake up a bit earlier to get breakfast and get ready. Most tours I have been on included lunch and ended on average around 4 o'clock. Afterwards you have some time to visit the pool, relax and have some dinner. Most of the tours were organised and booked from our travel agency, but others were just "organised" by ourselves . Most hotels include tours as part of their service and they are very easy to book.
I recommend you avoid speed boats as much as possible. Long tail boats are much more pleasant than speed boats and according to my experience in 2016 from Phuket to Similan Islands (read below), also safer.
Every place I have visited had something special, but of course, I do have favourites, so I try my best to list the places in order of preference.
1. Khao Ngon Nak Hiking Trail (aka Dragon Crest)
This amazing hiking trail provided the best views of Krabi that I could have possibly imagined! If you are an average fit, don't get intimidated by all the posts you find out there that this trail is too difficult. Khao Ngon Nak was a really fun trail with nothing scary, except it's a bit strenuous. In order to go on this trail you need to wake up really early in the morning and start your hike immediately when the park opens at 8 o'clock. This way you'll make sure you don't ascend during the bad heat. Take plenty of water with you, for example 2 bottles of 750 ml for one person was perfect in our case. You can book a taxi from your hotel to take you to the trail. Read more about "Khao Ngon Nak Hiking Trail (aka Dragon Crest), Krabi, Thailand".
2. Railay Bay
If you're staying in Ao Nang you don't need a tour to visit Railay Bay. This awesome peninsula is located just 10 minutes away by a long tail boat that you can take directly from Ao Nang beach. There are many things to see on Railay and during high tide this place looks amazing! Tonsai beach, Railay West, Railay East, Railay Viewpoint, jungle walk, Diamond Cave, Phra Nang Beach are quite a few things to explore here and there are even more things if you feel adventurous. Railay Bay is an awesome place for walking and relaxing, but also for those who want to be active and like rock climbing. The best rock climbing spots in Krabi are here. If you are something in the middle like me, try out the Railay Viewpoint. Check out the "Explore Railay Bay by Yourself, Krabi, Thailand" blog post for more information about Railay Bay. Phra Nang Beach is also part of the popular "Four Islands Tour: Tup Island, Chicken Island, Poda Island and Phra Nang Beach".
3. Hong Islands: Ko Hong and Ko Lao Lading
I believe that the Hong Islands are the real paradise islands of Thailand and I have enjoyed them a lot more than the overly crowded Phi Phi Islands. Perhaps what made a huge difference is that I have booked a sunset tour that left after 12 o'clock and I managed to remain on Ko Hong island after 4 o'clock when most of the other boats left. Ko Hong has a beautiful lagoon to be explored by boat and then there several beaches and short nature walking paths to explore by foot. After enjoying Ko Hong, we went for a barbecue dinner on a smaller island called Ko Lao Lading where there were huge amounts of fish to observe close to the rocks. There were also some herons picking them from the water. The water and the sand around these islands were just awesome! Read more about "Hong Islands - The Real Paradise Islands of Krabi: Ko Hong and Ko Lao Lading, Thailand".
4. Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park was definitely one of the highlights of my 2 weeks in Krabi! Because it's a bit further away and there are quite many things to do here, I recommend you take a 2-3 day trip to Khao Sok. If time and money are an issue it is also possible to take a day trip on the beautiful Cheow Lan Lake. It takes about 2 hours to drive from the hotel to the lake. Khao Sok has a bit darker history that helped the park maintain their pristine forests, some of the oldest rain forests in the world. Cheow Lan Lake is a man-made lake and was created after the Rajjaprabha Dam was built. The intentional flooding of the area is somehow controversial, however Khao Sok is a really beautiful place and by visiting you'll help maintain the forests here. Read more about "Khao Sok National Park in 2 Days, Surat Thani, Thailand".
5. The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is amazingly beautiful and blue! The colour of this place is like nothing I've ever seen! The blue colour is really intense and really blue (not turquoise like other places) and very clear! You can see the bottom of this lagoon and also the trees and leaves that are in it. Luckily the new rule is that you cannot swim in it, so this lagoon was really free of people. In the same place as the Blue Lagoon, there is also the "Emerald Pool", which has a bit more greenish colour and swimming is allowed. In my case the Blue Lagoon was part of the "Hot Springs, Emerald Pool, Blue Lagoon and Tiger Cave Temple Tour in Krabi, Thailand".
6. The Tiger Cave Mountain Temple Viewpoint
This beautiful viewpoint was quite strenuous to reach, but very rewarding! In order to get to the Tiger Cave Mountain Temple you need to climb 1 260 steep steps straight up on a very hot day! If you are a woman you'll need to take something with you to cover your knees and shoulders. A longer, light and breathable skirt that goes just below your knees and a thin t-shirt are perfect for this trip! If you forget to dress "accordingly", you can rent out some "clothes" from the entrance to cover yourself with, however I really recommend to be prepared with light clothes of your own because the things you get from the temple will make you sweat a lot. Water is also essential to have with you, preferably at least 1 L of water. The views from the top towards the limestone mountains of Krabi are breathtaking! The Tiger Cave Mountain Temple is often part of the "Hot Springs, Emerald Pool, Blue Lagoon and Tiger Cave Temple Tour in Krabi, Thailand".
7. Poda Island
Poda island is a small island just 10-15 minutes off from Ao Nang by long tail boat. It has beautiful, pristine beaches and good snorkelling opportunities. The island is very small and quite fast to explore and it's perfect for sun bathing and relaxing. Poda is also part of the "Four Islands Tour: Tup Island, Chicken Island, Poda Island and Phra Nang Beach", but I recommend visiting the island by yourself.
8. Kayaking Trip in Than Bok Khorani National Park
A great way to explore nature in Thailand is by kayak! Than Bok Khorani National Park offers great opportunities for kayakers, with beautiful lagoons and caves that cannot be explored any other way. After exploring the Tha Pring river we stopped at the Phi Hua To Cave (aka Human Skull Cave) and admired the 3 000 year old prehistoric rock paintings. Read more about "One Day Kayaking in Than Bok Khorani National Park, Krabi, Thailand".
9. Krabi Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand
I am very happy to see that the famous "riding the elephant" has transformed into "taking a mud bath with the elephant". Seeing these beautiful animals up close and getting to spend some quality time with them was a great experience! You get to feed the elephants, walk with them and then bathe with them in the nearby river. This is an ethical way to enjoy your time with the elephants and it's a wonderful activity for all animal lovers! Read more about "Taking a Mud Bath with the Elephants at Krabi Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand".
10. The Monkey Trail in Ao Nang
The monkey trail is a trail between Ao Nang Beach and Pai Plong Beach and you can easily walk to it from Ao Nang. The trail is open until 6 pm and you can see the “Ao Nang Tower” limestone rock raising from the water and a lot of macaques along the way!
11. Phi Phi Islands
These are really amazing islands, but the reason why they are so low on my list is that the number of tourists here is way too big and have destroyed the landscape. A good example of this destruction is Maya Bay, which is now closed to the public due to extensive damage caused to ecosystem. Tourists are coming to Phi Phi from both Phuket and Krabi and the number of boats that you see in the picture above is actually "low" because I visited in March 2020, during the start of the corona outbreak and the tourist numbers dropped to half.
It is still worth visiting Phi Phi Islands for the landscape opportunities around Ko Phi Phi Le and some good snorkelling places. Read more about "Phi Phi Islands" tour here.
12. Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island
Phang Nga Bay and James Bond are really beautiful destinations, but just like Phi Phi, they are very popular destinations and there are tourists coming from both Phuket and Krabi. I have actually visited Phang Nga Bay and James Bond from Phuket in 2016, but a trip is also possible to take from Krabi. You need to bear in mind that it takes a lot longer from Krabi, so you should really consider if this a trip is really worth it. There is about 2 h drive from Krabi to a peer close to Phang Nga Bay and then there is a boat trip. This is still doable in one day with a tour that will take around 9-10 hours. Phang Nga Bay is really beautiful, however it's not that much more special than the trips I've already mentioned above. James Bond Island is very popular and also very crowded.
13. Similan Islands
The Similan Islands are quite beautiful, but also very touristic and overcrowded and not that easily accessible from Krabi. In fact, it seems that the Similan Islands Park is the most overcrowded Thai national park.
I visited the islands back in 2016 with departure from Phuket. It is possible to arrange a tour to the Similan Islands also from Krabi, however there is a 2.5 h car drive to Khao Lak and then another 1h 30 minutes by speed boat to the islands. You'll be picked up from the hotel at 6 o'clock in the morning and get back around 7-8 o'clock in the evening.
Back in 2016, we took a speed boat that was completely covered and for one hour you couldn't see anything. Because the boat was covered, many people fell ill along the way. To top it all up, there were bigger waves that day and the driver didn't adjust the speed properly and we had an accident. The boat just "flew" for a while, there was nothing to hang on to and I just flew in front of the boat and everyone came crashing down on me. I hurt my arm, but luckily nothing as serious as it could have been if the boat would have tipped over. If you come from Krabi, in order to save time, for sure you are going by speed boat, which is not a very pleasant experience.
Unlike most islands in Thailand, the Similan Islands are missing the karst landscape and you have some really nicely polished rocks instead. It is a nice place to visit, but in my opinion not worth all this trouble. If you want to visit the Similan Islands it's best if you stay in Khao Lak.
During our 2 weeks visit to Krabi we also took a sunset tour with an old sailing boat towards the Hong Islands (besides the barbecue on Ko lao Lading, which was part of another tour). The sailing boat tour was really relaxing, with good food and sparkling wine. The sunset we experienced was really beautiful and I highly recommend such a relaxing trip. Read more about "Sunset Cruise Towards the Hong Islands, Krabi, Thailand"
In conclusion, Krabi is a really amazing destination for nature enthusiasts with plenty of sightseeing opportunities and activities!
Looking for a place to stay in Krabi? Visit booking.com!