to Ao Nang is a popular resort town in Krabi Province on southern Thailand’s Andaman coast with great beaches and knock-out coastal views. With the gradual over-commercialization of Phuket and Koh Samui, more people are choosing Ao Nang (Krabi) instead as their idyllic beach getaway. It is an accessible destination that provides the ideal balance between convenience and lifestyle.
Below is a list of ten fun things to do in Ao Nang (Krabi). We hope you will find it useful. As usual, please feel free to email us if you have any questions!
Also read: 6 Places to Eat in Ao Nang (Krabi)
1. Stroll along Ao Nang & Nopparat Thara Beach
Ao Nang Beach, flanked by the majestic limestone cliffs
Nopparat Thara Beach
Compared to the touristy Patong beach of Phuket, Ao Nang Beach and Nopparat Thara Beach are comparatively more peaceful. Both beaches boast beautiful emerald-green waters, a long coastline, soft caramel-hued sand, and cooling sea breezes. There are significantly less tourists on both beaches than Patong Beach.
Ao Nang Beach is flanked by towering limestone cliffs on one end and is the signature beach of Krabi. Nopparat Thara Beach is more popular with the locals, so you can expect to see many Thais frolicking in the waters here. The water at the beach is also shallower than Ao Nang Beach’s, so there will be more children playing in the sea.
Between the two, Nopparat Thara Beach is more peaceful but Ao Nang Beach is slightly more scenic (in our opinion). The two beaches are connected and within walking distance of each other.
2. Krabi Four Islands Tour
Turtle Island (Koh Poda)
The Krabi Four Islands Tour is a popular island-hopping tour that will bring you to visit the famous “Four Islands” of Krabi and Phra Nang Beach. It is essential that you go for this famous tour if you are in Krabi! These picturesque islands have beautiful beaches, emerald-green waters, dreamy white sand, brilliant sunshine – everything you would expect of great beach destinations. The tour will usually bring you to two main destinations:
Destination One: Four Islands
– Turtle Island (Koh Poda)
– Chicken Island (Koh Kai)
– Tub Island (Koh Tub)
– Mor Island (Koh Mor)
Destination Two: Phra Nang Beach
Turtle Island (Koh Poda)
Destination One: The Four Islands
The four islands consist of Turtle Island, Chicken Island, Tub Island, and Mor Island. They are located in the Mu Koh Poda archipelago, just fifteen minutes away from Ao Nang Beach by boat. Turtle Island and Chicken Island are so named because well, their shapes resemble a turtle and chicken respectively. Tub Island and Mor Island are two tiny islands connected to each other by a shallow sandbar.
Sand bridge between Chicken Island and Tub/Mor Island
Make sure you get the chance to walk across the amazing sand bridge between Chicken Island and Tub/Mor Island. This sand bridge is known as the “Talay Waek” in Thai, which literally means “the sea divides”. At high tide, the sand bridge is not visible at all. However, at low tide, the sand bridge emerges for a few hours and connects the two islands. Many tourists choose the Four Islands tour specially to see this unique phenomenon!
Scenic Phra Nang Beach before the crowds start coming in
Destination Two: Phra Nang Beach
Phra Nang beach is not an island. It is a beach on mainland Krabi, but for some reason it has always been included as part of the “four islands tour”. It is just a five minutes longtail boat ride away from Ao Nang beach. Phra Nang beach has a gorgeous coastline covered in soft white sand and is the most beautiful beach in Krabi in our opinion.
Our private boat tour with Andaman Camp and Cruise!
Private vs Group Tour
It’s best that you go on a private boat tour so that you don’t have to jostle with throngs of other tourists in a group tour. We highly recommend that you engage the services of Andaman Camp and Cruise. We had a great time with them! Our boat guide was friendly and knowledgeable, and we learnt a lot about the four islands as well as the culture of Krabi/Thailand from her. The private boat tour price includes delicious home-cooked Thai food, free flow of ice-cold water and soft drinks, complimentary fruits, as well as snorkeling gear. You can read about our wonderful experience here: Andaman Camp and Cruise Review – Krabi Four Islands Tour!
If you prefer a group tour, there are many tour agencies along Ao Nang beach. However, make sure you research online beforehand to see if your chosen agency has a bad reputation. Remember to bargain too!
Four Islands Tour Tips
1. Bring and use lots of sunblock! While you get to enjoy brilliant sunshine, it is important to protect yourself from getting sun burnt.
2. Go for the Four Islands Tour early in the morning to avoid the crowds! The throngs of tourists distract from the pristine beauty of the islands. Because we went on a private tour with Andaman Camp and Cruise, we were able to arrange an earlier timing.
3. Bring towel and extra change of clothes because you will be getting wet.
Read our full review of the Four Islands Tour: Andaman Camp and Cruise Review – Krabi Four Islands Tour!
3. Visit Railay Beach
Railay West Beach
Other than Ao Nang Beach and Nopparat Thara Beach, Railay Beach is very popular in Krabi as well. Railay Beach consists of four areas:
1. Railay West – This is a beautiful beach flanked by majestic limestone rocks on both ends. It has a great sea view, pristine sand, and houses several lively pubs and restaurants. However, it gets a lot busier (read: a lot) as the day goes by because it is the drop-off point for tourists coming to Railay. Therefore, you will see dozens of longtail boats parked along the beach. If you really want to enjoy the pristine scenic view of the beach, you would need to go early (before 9am) before the throngs of tourists start coming in.
2. Railay East – There are no sandy beaches here and when the tides goes out it is more of a muddy mangrove swamp. During high tide there is no beach at all. You can walk to Railay West beach from here in five minutes via a narrow track.
3. Phra Nang Beach – This is our favourite beach in Krabi! The soft white sand, emerald-green sea, and awe-inspiring limestone cliffs make this beach a must-visit for every tourist to Krabi. We arrived at the beach early and were able to enjoy its pristine beauty. The beach also houses the most expensive resort in Krabi: “Rayavadee Resort”. However, please note that throngs of tourists start coming in from about 9.30am onwards, so you would need to reach the beach early to beat the crowd!
4. Tonsai Bay – This is a popular area for backpackers as it provides various budget accommodations. However, it is pretty inaccessible and the beach is not as nice as Railay West or Phra Nang. To reach the beach, you need to waddle through the sea over rocks during low tide from Railay West, or climb over the cliff from Railay West. Alternatively, you can take a longtail boat from Ao Nang Beach straight to Tonsai Bay.
Longtail Boat Station at Ao Nang Beach
Directions to Railay Beach
If you are staying along Ao Nang/ Nopparat Thara Beach, you can catch a longtail boat from the boat stations. There are three boat stations along this stretch of beach. We took our longtail boat from the boat station at the end of Ao Nang Beach leading towards Phai Plong Beach. Above is a picture of the boat station. The longtail boats will only operate when there are enough people headed for your destination.
Phra Nang Beach is normally included as part of the Four Islands Tour. However, if you just want to visit the beach and skip the other islands, you can catch a longtail boat from any of the boat stations.
4. Take a Sunset Cruise
Splendid sunset view with Krabi Sunset Cruises
What better way is there to watch the beautiful sunset of Krabi than from a boat in the middle of the sea? From the boat, you get a splendid vantage point. We went on our sunset cruise with the company Krabi Sunset Cruises. It was a surreal experience. As the sun began to set, the sky slowly turned into a magnificent canvas painted with brilliant hues of crimson and orange. We had our buffet dinner while watching the sun sink slowly beneath the horizon in the fiery crimson sky and tinting the sea orange with its last rays.
Read our full review of the sunset cruise here: Krabi Sunset Cruises Review – Super Fun “Sunset Cocktail Cruise”!
5. Visit Phi Phi islands
Dreamy Phi Phi Islands
This is the original Krabi Island tour.
The Phi Phi Islands consist of two main islands: Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. The rest of the islands in the group are mostly large limestone rocks protruding from the sea.
These picturesque islands were a hidden gem until the 2000 Hollywood film “The Beach” shot this incredible beach destination to overnight fame. Suddenly, everyone in the world wanted to visit the same beautiful shoreline which Leonardo DiCaprio was strutting on. Since then, the ensuing popularity of the islands has resulted in throngs of tourists visiting Phi Phi every year and disrupting the scenic beauty of the place. However, it is still a beautiful place when there are less tourists. To truly enjoy the pristine beauty of Phi Phi islands, you would need to go early in the morning so you can beat the crowd.
Directions to Phi Phi Islands from Ao Nang Beach:
1. Most tourists will go on speedboat tour packages that include two-way trips between Krabi and Phi Phi, food and drinks, snorkeling stops and picture-taking on the beaches. The speedboat trip will take about one hour. It is not wise to take a longtail boat because the trip would take about 90 minutes and you would probably have a very sore bum after the long bumpy boat ride. It might not be very safe as well if the weather turns bad and the sea gets choppy.
2. Alternatively, you can catch the local ferry, which is a lot cheaper than the tour packages. The ferry departs from Nopparat Thara Port in Ao Nang and arrives at Tonsai pier in Phi Phi islands. The cost of a two-way trip is 450B for adults. Check out this ferry timetable for more details.
6. Food Hunting
Enjoying our food at The Hilltop, Ao Nang Beach
“Seafood Street” at Ao Nang Beach – indulge in seafood while enjoying the sea view!
There is lots of good food in Krabi! As with all beach destinations, the seafood in Krabi is top-notch. A popular place to indulge in fresh seafood while admiring the seaview is Seafood Street. Two popular restaurants in this street are Ban Lay Thai Kitchen and The Longtail Boat. The restaurants are located over water so it’s a great place to revel in the beautiful sunset while having dinner. However, the tables fill up very quickly so it is best that you make reservations beforehand.
Sumptuous seafood at Lae Lay Grill, Ao Nang Beach
Both Lae Lay Grill and The Hilltop provide free shuttle service to your hotel (Ao Nang area)!
If you prefer to dine in a fancier setting, check out Lae Lay Grill or The Hilltop, located on a steep slope behind Ao Nang Beach. Since the restaurants are situated at such a high level, they provide splendid vantage points to watch the beautiful sunset of Krabi. Both restaurants provide free shuttle services between the restaurant and your hotel (Ao Nang area) so it’s really convenient! The menu presents a wide selection of Thai cuisine and seafood, so there’s definitely something that will appeal to your palate.
We dined at both places and enjoyed the vibes of the respective joints. Lae Lay Grill is a classy upscale restaurant where you can enjoy fine dining at an affordable price. The Hilltop has more of an upbeat vibe, with live music and a nice bar area where you can enjoy a glass of refreshing cocktail. However, we found the service at The Hilltop to be a little inconsistent – some of the staff seemed indifferent and a few of the dishes took quite long to serve. Overall, it was still a wonderful experience. We highly recommend that you dine at these two restaurants if you’re holidaying in Krabi!
Piping hot Chocolate Banana Pancakes (left) and Takoyaki Balls (right)
Last but not least, it is essential that you try the street food in Krabi! There are lots of street vendors selling yummylicious street food everywhere. We tried the street food along Ao Nang Beach as well as at the famous Walking Street in Krabi Town. Make sure you try the delicious Chocolate Banana Pancakes! The luscious melted chocolate spread across the warm banana slices complimented the soft and crumbly pancake perfectly, giving a rich sweetness that had us swooning from the first bite. Other favourites include the takoyaki balls (Octopus Balls), Thai-style duck rice, as well as Thailand’s signature Pad Thai.
Also read: 6 Places to Eat in Krabi
7. Visit Krabi Town
Krabi Town Walking Street – a vibrant night market event every weekend!
Krabi Town is located about 18km up coast from Ao Nang Beach. Tourism has trail-blazed infrastructure development in many parts of Krabi. But despite this growth, Krabi Town has retained its rustic and laid-back allure. Therefore, it’s a great place to get deeper insights into local living. Below are some interesting attractions of Krabi Town.
Krabi River – Khao Kanab Nam mountains are in the background
Mud Crab Statues along Krabi River
Khao Kanab Nam mountains
If you are traveling to Krabi Town by private transport, you can request for the driver to make a short stop at the famous Mud Crab Statues along Krabi River (see picture above). The crabs are symbolic of Krabi’s symbiotic relationship with its rich marine life. From here, you can also get a good vantage point to view the famous Khao Kanab Nam mountains, Krabi’s most distinctive landmarks (see picture above). These two giant limestone structures jut out from the water at curious angles, and stand at an impressive 100 metres tall!
Krabi Town Walking Street
To get an insight into Thai culture, you can visit the Krabi Town Walking Street (aka Thanon Khon Dern, see picture above). This is a vibrant night market that only opens from Friday to Sunday, between 6pm to 9.30pm, behind Vogue Department Store. It’s a wonderful place to sample local food, immerse in local culture, watch street performances, and shop for souvenirs and memorabilia. We had a fantastic time here!
Other attractions in Krabi Town
If you like visiting religious sites, you can make your way to the Tiger Cave (Wat Tahm Seua), which is a Buddhist temple. You can also check out the two vibrant night markets that are open daily. The first is located at Maharat Soi 10 opposite City Hotel, and the second can be found on Khong Kha Road, next to the old Chao Fah pier. If you are a morning person, you may want to visit the daily morning market at Maharat Soi 5.
Directions to Krabi Town
There are a few ways to visit Krabi Town from the Ao Nang Beach area.
1. Take a tuk-tuk taxi. This should take about twenty minutes and will cost about 300B one-way.
2. Use the local mode of transport, which are white-coloured public buses known as songthaew. This should take about forty-five minutes and will cost about 60B one-way. You can wait at the bus stop in Ao Nang – it will have a huge sign “Ao Nang- Krabi Town”, or you can flag it down along the road.
3. Rent a bike! This will cost around 300B per day. However, I would not recommend this method unless you are very familiar with the traffic conditions in Krabi.
4. Check if your hotel/resort provides transportation to Krabi Town.
8. Rock Climbing / Cliff ClimbingRock climbing at Phra Nang Beach
If you are the sporty type who simply cannot withstand the mundane activities of lazing on the beach or taking a boring boat trip, you’ll be glad to know that there are outdoor activities available in Krabi as well!
Rock Climbing is a popular activity in Krabi. At Phra Nang Beach, the adventurous can scale the limestone cliffs with the use of safety equipment like bolts and harnesses. There are courses for beginners so you can join in the fun even if you have no prior climbing experience.
Cliff climbing with Krabi Sunset Cruises
For a different type of adrenaline-rush, you can consider Cliff Climbing. This is an exhilarating activity where you swim from your boat to the base of a cliff, climb up a rope ladder, and proceed to scale the cliff. There is no harness whatsoever, and if you miss a step you simply fall into the sea. I had my cliff climbing adventure with the Krabi Sunset Cruises tour. The boat crew provided me with the necessary equipment such as life-jackets and flippers. They also tied a sturdier ladder to the cliff to make the climb easier. The professionalism of the crew made me feel safe even though cliff-climbing seems like a risky activity.
This is definitely an activity to consider if you are in Krabi! I highly recommend that you go with Krabi Sunset Cruises. Overall, it was a fun and exciting experience that I will never forget! Read about my complete cliff-climbing adventure here: Krabi Sunset Cruises Review – Super Fun “Sunset Cocktail Cruise”!
9. Enjoy a heavenly massage
Wonderful massage at Apple Massage, Ao Nang Beach
It feels heavenly to get a good massage after a long tiring day! In Thailand, you get to enjoy Thai massages by the best masseurs in the world. There are plenty of massage parlors along Ao Nang Beach where you can get a variety of services at super affordable prices. We had our massage at Apple Massage (hopefully they won’t run into any copyright issues) one night. We decided to go for the foot massage because our legs were sore after a whole day of walking and swimming. The friendly masseurs chatted to us as they kneaded and pressed our soles/calves with firm force. It was painful but the pain felt so good! It felt like the masseurs were using their magic hands to rub away the soreness and tightness in our muscles. Super shiok!
Enjoying the premium service at Let’s Sea: Let’s Relax
For a more upscale experience, you can check out Let’s Sea: Let’s Relax. You pay a premium price here, but that’s because you get to enjoy premium services. As we waited in the small air-conditioned lobby area, we were served with cold towels and refreshing tea. After cleaning our feet with scrubs and soap, the professional masseurs escorted us to a quiet room dimly lighted with warm orange lights. We enjoyed the firm full-body massage and felt fully refreshed afterwards.
10. Watch the beautiful sunsets
Beautiful sunset from Ao Nang beach
Krabi has beautiful sunsets. It would be a waste if you did not watch the sunset at least once during your stay here. One night, after getting a great massage at Let’s Sea Let’s relax, we proceeded to Ao Nang Beach to catch the sunset. As the sun began to set, it painted the sky and wispy clouds with a warm orange glow. The sea gleamed beautifully in the last rays of the fading sun. The silhouettes of other tourists began to slowly leave the beach as the sky slowly turned into a dark fiery crimson. Finally, it became dark and the night sky was lit up by the lights from the restaurants and pubs, against the backdrop of the majestic limestone cliff silhouettes. As we turned to leave the beach, we saw that the entire stretch of restaurants and pubs had lit up as well, tinting the waves with their shimmering reflections.
Ao Nang Beach at dusk
And that’s a wrap! We hope you found this list useful. Please feel free to leave your comments below if we missed out anything! Below are some other activities in Krabi that were not covered in this article:
– Kayak through sea caves at Ban Bor Thor and see ancient cave drawings
– Swim in the beautiful Emerald Pool at Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve
– Take a short dip in the Klong Thom Hot Springs
– Swim in descending fresh water pools at Than Bokoranee National Park
– Learn to cook authentic Thai cuisine at one of the many cookery schools in Krabi
Krabi Video Travelogue We have also created a short travelogue of our Krabi trip. In the video, you will find footage of all the ten activities mentioned above. The video will give you a clearer idea of how much fun we had in Krabi. I’m sure you will love it!
This article is part of our completely free and fantastic Ultimate Ao Nang (Krabi) Travel Guide. Why spend days researching when all your holiday information is simply a click away? 🙂