Thailand’s southern province of Krabi caters to diverse tastes, with fabulous beaches, exciting rock climbing, and cultural hotspots. Here are some of Krabi’s best attractions to add to your travel plans.
The twin limestone mountains of Khao Khanab Nam are major local landmarks and one of the province’s symbols. The mountains are split by a river and have several caves beneath them. Venture into the caves and admire interesting rock formations, then gaze up at the mighty mountains from ground level. The caves also hold a mystery: many skeletons were found here, with only speculation as to what caused these unfortunate souls’ deaths. The remains are thought to date back to prehistoric times. It’s possible to climb one of the mountains, with incredible views from the summit and a rocky overhang that attracts daredevils for dramatic Instagram photos.
Also known as the Tiger Cave Temple, local lore tells of a fearsome tiger that once called this cave home. Paw-like imprints in the rocks seem to support the legends. Surrounded by jungle, the network of caves is now filled with religious statues and shrines, and it’s common to see saffron-clad monks praying throughout the caves. A revered Buddha footprint sits on top of the hill; be prepared to climb more than 1,200 steps to reach the peak! The sense of spirituality and glorious views across the island-studded Andaman Sea make the effort more than worth it.
Phra Nang Shrine, also known as the Princess Cave, is a small cave at the end of Phra Nang Beach. Accessible from the sands, the cave is filled with phallic offerings wrapped with colourful ribbons, flower garlands, traditional statues, and other gifts. The penis-shaped items come in all sizes and colours. The lingas (phalluses) represent the Hindu deity of Shiva, and making merit here is said to increase fertility. Local fishermen also come to pray and seek safety while at sea. Several legends surround the woman who the cave honours; some tell tales of an Indian princess that drowned, while others say she was the wife of a fisherman who perished at sea.
One of Krabi’s most beautiful natural attractions, Thung Teao Forest Natural Park is an almost otherworldly landscape filled with fascinating flora and fauna. The stunning Emerald Pool is a highlight for many visitors, with shimmering blue-green waters that are perfect for a refreshing dip. Gnarled tree roots snaking across the ground and tendrils swaying in the breeze add to the surreal air. The tropical rainforest is also home to striking waterfalls, thermal springs, and walking trails.
Located atop a hill in the heart of Krabi Town, Wat Kaew Korawaram provides awesome views of the surroundings. Two ferocious-looking naga statues flank the staircase, their golden tails snaking all the way up the steps. Climb to the large terrace and you’ll find a temple that looks slightly different to many of Thailand’s other Buddhist temples – the roof is blue and the walls are white. There are many interesting religious statues here, and the temple’s walls feature eye-catching paintings that tell the story of the Lord Buddha’s life. As with many religious attractions in Thailand, food stalls and vendors selling offerings and amulets can be found outside.
A charitable organisation that assists local animals and educates people about animal wellbeing, Lanta Animal Welfare is a major tourist attraction on the island of Koh Lanta. Visitors can learn more about the sanctuary’s aims and meet the rescue animals in person. There are opportunities to walk the dogs and play with the cats too. Donations go towards sterilisation programs, feeding the animals, upkeep of the facility, medical care, marketing, and other essential work. It’s a fantastic attraction for combining fun with giving back to the local community and assisting with sustainability efforts.
Susan Hoi, also known as the Shell Cemetery and Fossil Shell Beach, is an unusual geological site in Krabi. With just a couple of other similar sites on the planet, it really is a unique local attraction. Fossils of shellfish stretch for some 200 metres, the immortalised remains clearly visible in the shale rock. The site is thought to be between 25 and 40-million-years-old. An information centre contains exhibitions related to the ghostly coastal area and there’s a nearby Chinese temple and mangroves that are worth visiting at the same time.
Made famous in the cult Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach, Maya Bay is one of Krabi’s major tourist draws. The picturesque curved bay is almost enclosed by greenery-covered rocks and karsts, with clear waters meeting soft white sands. The jungle background adds to the enchantment and long-tail boats often bob along the gentle waves. While you certainly won’t be alone on the beach, it’s still easy to appreciate the natural splendour. Remember to do your part for the environment and take away all your litter. Part of the uninhabited Koh Phi Phi Leh, Maya Bay is typically visited on day trips from Koh Phi Phi Don, mainland Krabi, Koh Lanta, or Phuket.
A rock climber’s paradise, the white sandy shore of Railay Beach is sandwiched between the sparkling waters of the sea and dramatic, craggy mountains. Verdant growth covers the gleaming limestone cliffs, and monkeys frolic among the branches. Many people visit the peninsula, which is only accessible by boat, for adventurous rock climbing, though you’ll also feel right at home basking on the beautiful beach and swimming in the clear waters. The area also offers short jungle hikes, kayaking, and boat trips.
One of the liveliest beaches in mainland Krabi, Ao Nang Beach is a popular tourist area. Attracting backpackers, couples, families, and travellers of all ages, it’s a great area for enjoying the beach, market, and nightlife. Indeed, Ao Nang boasts some of Krabi’s best bars and clubs. The diverse restaurants cater to most tastes, with Thai cuisine and international dishes available, and there are plentiful tour companies to make exploring Krabi a breeze. Charter a longtail boat and set sail for nearby islands like Koh Hong, Koh Poda, and Koh Gai. Accommodation is varied, with something to suit most budgets.