Krabi is a popular destination in Thailand, famous for having glorious islands, like Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta, along with incredible rock-climbing opportunities and vibrant nightlife. You certainly won’t have any problems meeting new travelling friends. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to see something a bit different to the norm and have unique experiences – you could join Culture Trip’s specially curated 10-day trip to South Thailand, which includes islands near Krabi – or go it alone to discover some of the best non-touristy things to do in Krabi.
While many tourists check off the major temples when sightseeing in Krabi, visiting places like Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave Temple) and Wat Kaew Korawaram, local beliefs and practises are best observed at one of the many smaller religious sites. Watch as locals come to pray and make merit, leaving offerings of beautiful floral garlands, incense and money. Most have pretty buildings and interesting shrines and statues. Temples to visit include Wat Maha That Wachira Mongkhon – with a golden pagoda, large monk statue and ornate interiors – the rustic Wat Khao Khram, Wat Lam Thap and Wat Paka Sai.
Instead of following the tourist crowds to the packed bars and clubs of Ao Nang, spend an evening in Krabi Town for a much more local vibe. Expats and locals sip Thai beers and whiskies while listening to live music, shooting pool and chilling out. Energetic karaoke bars are heaps of fun, and there are a handful of local clubs where bands take to the stage. Thai pop music frequently blares as people get dressed up to dance around their tables.
Although more and more travellers are tuning in to the need for responsible and sustainable tourism, spending a few hours picking up trash couldn’t really be classed as a typical tourist activity. Help to keep Krabi beaches looking attractive, protect local wildlife and do your part in making the oceans healthier. Regular cleanup events are held around the province, including on the beaches of Ao Nang and Phra Ae. Everything you need to work efficiently, safely and cleanly is provided, and you’ll likely meet plenty of equally socially conscious people too.
Many visitors to Thailand are used to seeing Buddhist temples almost everywhere they turn, but the south has many mosques too, evidence of the large Muslim population that also calls the area home. Krabi mosques range from the simple to the ornate. Although they’re closed to non-Muslims, there’s nothing to stop you from admiring the buildings from the outside and listening to the melodic call to prayer sounding out five times per day. Some of the most attractive mosques in Krabi include Ban Ao Nam Mao, Ban Laem Poe, Ao Nang and Ban Khlong Haeng.
Koh Klang is a small island within easy reach of Krabi Town, yet it sees relatively few international visitors. The island is home to a predominantly Muslim community, most of whom are farmers. Cats and goats roam the island, and there are lush rice paddies with many banana, pineapple and coconut trees. Houses are, for the most part, basic homes on stilts, and there’s no public transport on the island. Locals rely on scooters, samlors (scooters with sidecars) and small boats to get around.
Ao Thalane is a popular day-trip destination, with crowds flocking to kayak through the awesome seascapes every day. Very few people, however, spend the night at the beautiful bay. Spend the day spotting a rich assortment of flora and fauna in the mangroves, exploring caves and deserted lagoons, and soaking up the incredible vistas. After the masses have left, enjoy a sense of tranquillity and an authentic local vibe before drifting off to sweet dreams in a quaint homestay or hotel. Come late afternoon you’ll have the beach almost entirely to yourself, with little to shatter the peace and interrupt the sounds of birds and insects.
Located slightly outside of Krabi Town, Jao Suae dishes up an assortment of Thai meals that wouldn’t usually make it onto a tourist-focused menu. Dishes aren’t adulterated to meet foreign tastes, letting you get the full spiciness and flavours that are so loved in the Land of Smiles. Prices are affordable and you’ll find fare that’s popular nationwide, as well as Southern Thai specialities. The wooden building may look rather shabby from the outside but the food is delicious and the atmosphere is lively.
Although a popular activity on Koh Lanta, spending a day at an animal sanctuary isn’t your run-of-the-mill tourist experience. Learn more about the centre’s efforts to help local street animals, then walk resident dogs and play with cute cats. Your visit helps to support the vital work undertaken, improving lives for both the local animals and people.
Sometimes referred to as the Secret Beach, Laem Chamuk Khwai is a small and remote beach that is accessible from the water. Rent a kayak or charter a ride in a long tail boat to reach the hidden sands. There’s a small natural stone archway and the smooth boulders are ideal places to relish the calm ambience and stunning views. You can see small islands in the distance, while the waters are speckled with limestone islets and rocks.
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