Situated close the hub of Ao Nang but accessible only by boat due to the sheer cliffs surrounding it, Railay Bay is a gorgeous, unspoilt piece of land that’s adorned the front of postcards for decades. With several beaches to choose from, Phra Nang beach is arguably the most spectacular of the lot. With turquoise waters interrupted only by the limestone karst erupting from the floor, it’s a great place to soak up the sun and relax surrounded by the majesty of nature. While you’re here, don’t miss the unusual phallus shrine embedded in the cliff (with offerings believed to aid fertility), and a chance to do some of the best rock-climbing in Thailand.
Just 13km from Koh Phi Phi’s Tonsai pier lays the pristine Bamboo Island. With a diameter of around 500m, it’s a tiny island with little in to do in terms of activities, but it has the clearest waters of any beach in Krabi, making it perfect for snorkelling. With its coral-strewn white sand, cystal-clear water and thick, green bush in the centre, it’s the closest thing to an island paradise and is definitely worth a visit.
In the Thai language, hong means room, and the island is named as such due to the large lagoon chamber located in the middle. Depending on the tide levels, the water’s colour changes from emerald green to turquoise and back again; both colours look stunning, surrounded by the mountains that envelop the lagoon on all sides. As well as the lagoon, there’s also a large stretch of beach along the edge of the island with trees from the rainforest behind spilling out onto it, providing not only a natural feel, but also some respite from the sun.
A favourite with the Thai locals, who’ll gather for picnics under the tree line, while it might not have the dramatic beauty of Phra Nang’s cliffs or Hong Island’s lagoon, it’s still perfectly picturesque. Nopparat Thara’s beauty stems mostly from the fact that it’s incredibly peaceful; on a good day, you can swim between the karst on the further point of the 5km beach and not see a single other person. For beauty, seclusion and a window onto local life, Nopparat Thara should be on your list.