A Solo Traveller's Guide to Krabi, Thailand

Ao Nang is a great jumping-off point for island-hopping around Krabi
Ao Nang is a great jumping-off point for island-hopping around Krabi | © Petr Malyshev / Alamy
Alex Robinson

Craggy islands fringed with white sand, glassy turquoise seas… Krabi province is quintessential southern Thailand. Solo travel in this part of Thailand can be as easy as a stroll along the beach, or as adventurous as you like – imagine kayaking through ocean caves, jungle hiking and scuba diving. There are hotels, hostels and bars aplenty. And with no end of things to see, you’re only alone if you want to be – making this the perfect solo travel destination. Here’s Culture Trip’s guide to solo travel in Krabi.

What’s the vibe in Krabi for solo travellers?

Whether you’re drinking mai tais al fresco under the stars or taking jungle hikes at dawn, solo travel in Krabi is all about relaxation amid nature. Hotel rooms open onto plunge pools with views, or hammocks on sundecks perched over the shore, while wooden long-tail boats chug across the horizon. And the landscapes of cliffs and islands, reefs and sea caves will have you longing to get out there and explore.

Where to stay in Krabi

1. Amari Vogue

Resort, Luxury

Blue-tiled rectangular plunge pool at the Amari Vogue hotel, in a small garden overlooking the palm-fringed beach just beyond.
© Amari Vogue / Expedia

Krabi’s best spa hotel? It’s hard to beat the Amari Vogue, just north of fashionable Ao Nang on the mainland. Steeply gabled Thai cottages cluster under palms around a jewel-blue pool. Interiors are swish in modish creams and dark woods, coloured with crafty textiles and Buddhist murals. Floor-to-ceiling windows open onto luxurious decks or private plunge pools. The restaurant and spa are among the best in south Thailand, and the white pepper-fine sands of Tubkaek Beach are on your doorstep.

2. Rayavadee

Resort, Hotel

Two round, wooden bungalows in the jungly grounds of the Rayavadee, with a blue-tiled rectangular pool in front
Courtesy of Rayavadee / Expedia
Solo travel locations don’t get much better than this: the Rayavadee sits under jungle-swathed cliffs on the choicest stretch of fashionable Railay beach. Sleek, glass-fronted duplex villas have jungle-framed jacuzzis and snug-as-a nest bedrooms, which look out over a huge infinity pool. There are bars on your doorstep, a spa, a huge menu of solo-friendly activities and excursions, and stunning ocean and jungle views at every turn.

3. Sand Sea

Resort

Guest bungalow at the Sand Sea resort in Krabi, which has a large sleeping area that opens straight out onto a garden-view balcony.
© Sand Sea Resort / Expedia

A beachfront hotel that won’t bust the Thai solo travel budget? Try the plush suites (in polished woods and marbles) and bungalows at Sand Sea: they’re in a frangipani-scented garden right off Railay beach. Silky-soft sand and turquoise sea are in cork-popping distance of your balcony and there’s a big pool. Best of all, it’s a short walk to a cluster of laid-back but lively bars set in the sandy streets behind the beach.

Where to eat and drink in Krabi as a solo traveller

4. Krua Thara

Restaurant, Thai

For great spicy curries and fresh seafood, visit Khun Thara at her family-run restaurant on Noppharat Thara beach, just north of Ao Nang. Don’t be deceived by the simple wooden facade and scattered outdoor tables – if it’s great authentic cooking you’re after, you won’t find better. This is where the locals eat, and as a solo Krabi traveller you’ll fit right in.

5. Gecko

Cocktail Bar, Thai

Customers relax underneath thatched sun umbrella at the rustic beachfront Gecko bar in Krabi.
© imageBROKER / Alamy

Most solo travellers skip through Krabi town en route from the boat dock or bus station. But linger longer and you’ll find a slice of old south Thailand – with a great-value outdoor food market and a string of low-key restaurants and bars. Looking like a psychedelic vision of a colonial club, Gecko is the best of the bunch, with sumptuous cocktails and tangy Asian-European fusion cooking.

6. The Grotto

Hotel Restaurant, Thai

Wooden table and chairs occupy the interior of a sand-floored cave at the Grotto restaurant in Krabi, looking directly out onto stunning beach views.
© Rayavadee / Expedia

That table with a view? It’s at the Grotto in the Rayavadee resort on Railay beach. Come late afternoon with your newest travel buddy, order a cocktail and soak up the gorgeous setting: tables are directly on the sand, inside a cave that frames sunset-over-the-ocean views. As the light fades, stars shimmer across the sea, candles are lit and the atmosphere gets beautifully intimate.

What to do in Krabi

Visit the Buddhist temples

Let your jaw drop at Wat Tham Suea

It’s not just about the beautiful buildings, the incense-swirling atmosphere and the stunning statues. It’s the views. Krabi solo travel is about clambering up the steep trails of Wat Tham Suea to see the rainforest and aquamarine ocean at the feet of a giant golden Buddha; or wandering the gardens at the Ao Nang Chinese temple, cut into a steep hillside over a bay of pinnacle islands.

Go sea-kayaking

Explore unseen nooks of the Krabi coastline

Krabi has some of Thailand’s best and easiest ocean kayaking. Paddle the canals of Khao Phanom Bencha National Park and Thalane Bay, which cut through mangrove forests and past dramatic cliffs carved with sea caves.

Catch a long-tail boat to the islands

Let the captain take the strain on a long-tail boat adventure

The bays around Krabi are sprinkled with reef-fringed islands. Take a long-tail fishing boat from Ao Nang or Railay to the twin islets at Koh Rok, and snorkel with the turtles and fish over bright corals. Then flop onto a desert island beach, before catching a sunset ride home.

You can enjoy Krabi island-hopping, temple visits, kayaking through sea caves and eating fabulous Thai seafood on Culture Trip’s 10-day Life’s a Beach: the Best of Southern Thailand tour, led by our Local Insider.

Stay happy, stay safe in Krabi

Krabi province is safe and friendly, but be respectful of the Royal Family and Buddhism, and try to resolve complaints calmly and firmly. Thai people – especially those in positions of authority – can react strongly to rudeness and confrontation.

Getting around Krabi as a solo traveller

Finding solo transport in Krabi is a cinch

Tuk-tuks, taxis, buses and boats – getting around Krabi couldn’t be easier or cheaper if you’re doing Krabi solo. The main hubs are the beaches at Ao Nang, Noppharat Thara and Railay, and Krabi town itself. Regular charter boats ply between them and excursions are easy to organise – through your hotel, or boatmen on the beaches. Motor scooter hire shops sit everywhere, but be sure to check your bike carefully for scratches and marks beforehand, photograph them and show the pictures to the rental shops.

If you’d rather join a small group of like-minded travellers than go solo, sound out Culture Trip’s Life’s a Beach: the Best of Southern Thailand tour. It’s a 10-day adventure featuring swims with tropical fish, bird- and bear-spotting and plenty of delicious Thai cuisine.

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