Krabi Beaches, Thailand

Ao Nang beach and promenade, Krabi, Thailand. Photo by Maksym Kozlenko.

Why use Krabi beaches?

The Krabi province is coated with superb soft white sand in the right places and really stunning limestone scenery that tourists love to see and climbers love to ascend.

West Railay beach (also known as West Rai Leh) and Phra Nang beach are the two most famous strands but some even more isolated powder sand beaches around Chicken Island can be accessed by longtail or kayak on day trips.

Downsides

Longtail noise!

• there is some water pollution in some places.

• in season it can get very busy and crowded on the scenic but often small beaches.

• getting around will require substantial longtail rides unless you stay in one of the few very expensive hotels or hire a pricey speedboat.

Phra Nang beach

Phra Nang beach, Krabi, Thailand

Phra Nang beach

Not to be confused with Phang Nga or Ko Pha Ngan, Phra Nang is a spectacularly beautiful stretch with powder sand and striking, melting rock formations around it. It sports one very, very expensive hotel (the Rayavadee) but also hosts throngs of day-trippers coming and going in roaring longtails all day long. Phra Nang, also known as Pranang Cave Beach due to its modest pay-to-enter ‘Diamond Cave’ system, is mostly free of pushy hawkers but does have reasonably priced food and drink shipped in via the damned longtails.
Climbers occasionally tackle these molten cliffs but most prefer those the better selection around West Rai Lay.

West Railay (aka Rai Leh) beach

West Railay beach, Krabi, Thailand.

Another very attractive powder sand beach, West Railay gets its share of longtails too but is larger than Phra Nang and has a fair selection of hotels and cafés which absorb the daily arrivals more easily. Rai Lay is a fabulous winter climbing destination.

Ao Nang

A Krabi road on the way to Ao Nang.

The best boat terminal for Krabi beach seekers and a new resort in its own right is Ao Nang. This pleasant little town has a large, gritty, seashore and has been recently spruced up, but unfortunately still labours under the curse of the longtails.
Use it as a stop over by all means as it has plenty of facilities and budget hotels but it’s not exactly a tranquil holiday destination.

Just a little note to let you know I found your comments about Krabi and AO Nang very negative. It is one of the most beautiful places in Thailand and you get quickly used to sound of longtailboat. It is certainly a place for a longer and romantic holiday. so mucht to see and do in the surrounding area.
Greetings Hanke

Krabi Activities

Krabi Chicken Island beach cafe, thailand

Chicken Island café on Ko Mor; and why is it called Chicken Island? Because. . .

Krabi Chicken Island, sea view, thailand

. . . the other side of the island looks like this. Ko Dam Khwan (Chicken Island).

Swimming – West Rai Leh is apparently popular not only with daytime tourists but also midnight skinny-dippers as late night bio-luminescence is triggered by water disturbance and clothes swimmers in fairy lights. Now that’s illuminating.

Climbing – The cliffs around Railay are a great favourite of climbers who generally stay in Ton Sai village around the corner where there is budget accommodation available and plenty of advice on the hundreds of bolted routes, equipment and most importantly how to spot theoccasional failed steel bolt due to sea corrosion.
Both Rail Leh and Ton Sai village have guides, training courses and equipment available, though Ton Sai is more professional.

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling – these activities are not recommended in the Krabi area as coral and colourful fish are limited. It’s much better not very far away near the Phi Phi islands or further away around the Similan Islands.

Sea Kayaking – a pleasant and peaceful way to see the magnificent scenery at your own pace without the throbbing drive of an unsilenced truck engine in your longtailed ear. Both Rai Leh and Phra Nang are grand locations and sea caves can be found that add a frisson to any kayak trip. Some bungalows in West Railay rent out basic two-seater sea kayaks for reasonable fees.

Hiking – desperate hikers can struggle up to a trail running off the paved path from East Rai Leh to Phra Nang. It’s not an easy route with lots of ups, downs and slippery bits but views are incredible from time to time.

West Railay beach, Krabi, Thailand

West Railay beach

West Railay beach resort, thailand

A West Railay beach resort hotel.