10 Non-Touristy Things to Do in Krabi, Thailand

Details in a Krabi temple
Details in a Krabi temple | © Stefanie Weijsters / Flickr
Photo of Sarah Williams
9 August 2018

Want to break away from the tourist masses and do something a bit different on your adventures? There are plenty of ways to get off the beaten track and escape the crowds in Krabi.

Krabi is a popular destination in Thailand, famous for its glorious islands, like Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta, along with incredible rock-climbing opportunities and a vibrant nightlife. Visitors 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’ll also get some standout snaps for your Instagram feed! Here are some of the best non-touristy things to do in Krabi.

Spend a day at Koh Klang

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Homes on Koh Klang, Krabi
Homes on Koh Klang, Krabi | © Peace May Come To You / Flickr
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 traditional-style homes on stilts, and there’s no public transport on the island. Locals rely on scooters, samlors (scooters with side cars), and small boats to travel around the island.

Take part in a beach cleanup

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’s 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 Koh Lanta’s Phra Ae. Everything you need to work efficiently, safely, and cleanly is provided and you’ll likely meet plenty of cool socially-conscious people too.

A clean beach in Krabi | © daniel julià lundgren / Flickr

Stay at Ao Thalane

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Ao Thalane views
Ao Thalane views, Krabi | © Vyacheslav Argenberg / Flickr
Ao Thalane is a popular day-trip destination, with crowds of people coming 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 tranquility and an authentic local vibe before drifting off to sweet dreams in the area’s 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.

Dine at Jao Suae

Restaurant, Thai, $$$
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Spicy Thai salad
Spicy Thai salad | © Bong Teo / Flickr
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 (unless you ask!), 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, so-called jungle food, and Southern Thai specialities. The wooden building may look rather shabby from the outside but the food is delicious and the atmosphere is lively.

See local mosques

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 populations that also call the area home. Krabi’s mosques range from the simple to the fairly ornate. Although they are 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 Mosque, Ban Laem Poe Mosque, Ao Nang Mosque, and Ban Khlong Haeng Mosque.

One of Krabi's many mosques | © Stefan Fussan / Flickr

Volunteer at Lanta Animal Welfare

Dog Park
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Playful kittens at Lanta Animal Welfare | © ironypoisoning / Flickr
Although a popular activity on Koh Lanta, spending a day at an animal sanctuary isn’t your run-of-the-mill tourist experience. Visitors can learn more about the centre’s efforts to help local street animals and volunteers are invited to walk resident dogs and play with cute cats. Your visit helps to support the vital work undertaken by Lanta Animal Welfare, improving lives for both the local animals and people.

Relax at Tub Kaek Beach

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Tub Kaek Beach
Sublime views across Tubkaek Beach | © Pietro Motta / Flickr
If you’re done with the crowds of Krabi’s more popular beaches, spend a day at pretty Tub Kaek Beach. Peaceful and scenic, you can bask on the coral sands while soaking up the sun, swim in the calm clear waters, or unwind with your nose in a good book. Idly swing in a hammock while admiring the vistas, which include limestone mountains and jungle, and feel at peace. Don’t go home too early in the afternoon – the sunset scenes are awesome!

Snap pictures of Laem Chamuk Khwai

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Stone arch at Laem Chamuk Khwai
Stone arch at Laem Chamuk Khwai, Krabi | © ideation90 / Shutterstock
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 sit and relish the calm ambience and stunning views. You can see small islands in the distance and the waters are speckled with limestone islets and rocks.

Experience spirituality at local temples

While many tourists check off Krabi’s major temples when sightseeing in the province, visiting places like Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave Temple) and Wat Kaew Korawaram, local beliefs and practises are best observed at one of the province’s 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 its golden pagoda, large monk statue, and ornate interiors, the rustic Wat Khao Khram, Wat Lam Thap, and Wat Paka Sai.

Chinese temple in Krabi | © Stefan Fussan / Flickr

Have a Thai night out

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 blares, and people get dressed up to dance around their tables.

Thai beer and bar snacks | © Yngvar Johnsen / Flickr

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