A guide to the best day trips from Krabi, Thailand

With its vast karst region, forest national park, and paradise islands galore, Krabi is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Take Railay Beach in Ao Nang – this peninsula needs no introduction. The giant stalagmite-shaped limestone cliffs that pierce the sky like skyscrapers fascinate rock climbers and beach lovers alike. Divers also get their money’s worth at dive sites off the nearby islands, and getting back from Ao Nang to Krabi or Railay Beach to Krabi is child’s play. There are ferries, minivans, and buses aplenty.

In a nutshell, from lazing by white-sand beaches to hiking, diving, and climbing adventures, Krabi abounds with exciting things to see and do. Whether you’re a seasoned visitor in the region or a first-timer, you’ll love these well-known and lesser-known day trips from Krabi town. 

Discover Koh Phi Phi, hike its viewpoints and paint the town red

“Where to go in Krabi Province?” is a question that many a traveler asks when they pop in at a tour operator’s office. Well, just a one-hour speedboat ride from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi, there’s the legendary Maya Bay, which is Phi Phi’s main attraction that might reopen to tourists in 2021. But more than just Maya Bay, the movie location where DiCaprio hung around, Koh Phi Phi offers plenty of other terrific things to do.

You can climb the stairs and enjoy ethereal views of Koh Phi Phi’s east – giant outrigger-shaped limestone rocks. It takes 20 minutes up some steep stairs to get to the first viewpoint. And a turn or two further up, you’ll find the one with a large wooden viewing platform that many visitors describe as the best one of the three. The third one is quite a trek down the hillside towards the other side of the island.

Besides, once night owls have found out how to get from Krabi to Phuket, lots of them travel from Krabi to Phuket first and then visit Koh Phi Phi. Others prefer to take the Krabi to Koh Lanta route to lounge on long, secluded beaches, then get to Phi Phi from there, for good reason. Koh Phi Phi Don, the main island, has a one-of-a-kind nightlife (and “daylife!”) that’s somewhat surprising for such a small island. You can start with Carlito’s, a chill beach bar offering live music, then order a round of beers at Slinky Bar, an open-air disco. 

Couples love hiring a longtail boat for 1,500 baht up ($47). The captains usually stop at Monkey Beach, then head for the Phi Leh Lagoon. This lagoon with its emerald waters and towering limestone cliffs is excellent for a quick swim and shooting Insta-worthy photographs.

Beat Tab Kak Hang Nak Hill Nature Trail and conquer Dragon Crest

Still lesser-known but considered by those in the know to be the best place to go in Krabi, Dragon Crest offers unparalleled views of the whole region. 565 meters above sea level atop Dragon Crest Mountain, you can spread your arms at soaring vistas of Krabi’s vast limestone range.

It’s a 40-minute-ride from the Krabi bus station to the start of the steep 3.7km-nature trail that leads to Dragon Crest Mountain, also known as Khao Ngon Nak or Hang Nak. It’s one of the best vantage points for witnessing this fairy-tale scenery but be warned. You’ll need a good fitness level and plenty of time and water – it takes a minimum of two hours up past fallen trees and roots that look like poisonous snakes, one-and-a-half hours down. Aside from magnificent views of limestone cliffs, the hike is well worth it. You’ll hear cicadas screeching like an inbound nuclear alert and will love the peacefully quiet jungle further up, the invigoratingly cool mountain air, and the Auburn Zone where the trees are otherworldly red.

Once you spot the blue finish bubble, the magic happens. It’s impossible not to be lulled into an entranced state up here at the top of Dragon Crest. The summit is on a frequency of its own, set apart from the hectic world of mass tourism. Eerily quiet, it’s almost as if nature itself was meditating.

Tab Kak Hang Nak Hill Nature Trail is open daily from 8am to 3pm, and if you set off at 2:30pm, chances are you’ll have the mountaintop views all to yourself.

Set off on a four-island tour including Koh Poda, Koh Tup, Chicken Island and the Railay peninsula

Keen to hit all of Krabi’s highlights? Sure, you have to add Railay to your bucket list, but don’t settle for this beach. Besides the Railay peninsula, tour operators offer four-island tours that include trips to Koh Poda, Koh Tup, and Chicken Island, too, a name that’s derived from its conspicuous, chicken-reminiscent shape. 

While it’s impossible to visit all of some 200 Krabi islands during your holiday, these three plus Railay are a great choice. You can bask on powdery, white-sand beaches, surrounded by soaring limestone cliffs, or take a dip in the crystal waters when the heat is too much to bear. Many excursions include snorkeling plus an extra stop once the sun has set so you can swim in glowing waters with bioluminescent plankton, making you feel a bit like DiCaprio in the movie “The Beach.”

Lounge in Koh Hong’s crescent-shaped bay and go kayaking at Hong Lagoon 

Koh Hong and its Hong Lagoon make for another fantastic day. The island is a tropical idyll with soft white sands and green-tinted waters, complete with towering, jungle-draped limestone cliffs. Apart from paddling and splashing in the clear water, the Hong Lagoon awaits with sublime kayaking. You can go solo or as a couple, stand up in the stern, and paddle as though you were standup paddle-boarding. The three-side closed lagoon is a mind-blowing sight with its intriguing rock formations and crystal-clear, shallow emerald waters. 

If you’re looking for a thrill, you can also venture into the Diamond Caves, lying flat on your canoe, and explore fascinating stalactite grottos. Hong Lagoon is accessible via a longtail boat that docks at a nearby floating station where fresh pineapples and coconuts are available. 

Swim in the Emerald Pool, but not in the Hot Springs

While Krabi to Khao Sok and Koh Kradan to Krabi are popular routes in the Krabi region, no list of activities just outside of Krabi would be complete without mentioning the Emerald Pool. Snuggled into Thung Teao Forest Natural Park, the natural spring water pool is hugged by lush greenery, boasts clear turquoise waters, and is fine for a swim with its ambient temperature.

You can also hike to the lowland forest’s hot springs, another tourist attraction. Needless to say, you’d better not jump in. But, heading there on nature trails to the sound of soothing waterfalls, breathing fresh air, you may spot lizards and a striking array of birds. Don’t forget to charge your camera batteries!

Whichever Krabi tour you take, you’re bound to gape at Mature Nature’s handicraft.

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