Top Things to Do in Krabi, Thailand

The many beautiful sandy stretches in the Krabi province of Thailand make it a go-to destination for beach lovers
The many beautiful sandy stretches in the Krabi province of Thailand make it a go-to destination for beach lovers | © surasak suwanmake / Alamy Stock Photo
Sarah Williams

Krabi is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand, blessed with white sandy beaches, stunning islands and awesome sea cliffs. Want to hit all of the highlights in Krabi for the ultimate southern Thailand adventure? Add these things to your bucket list.

From blissful relaxation to cultural explorations and active outdoor adventures, Krabi has an abundance of terrific things to see and do. You can cross most of it off your list by joining Culture Trip’s specially curated 10-day tour of Southern Thailand – or take the below recommendations as inspiration for an activity-packed solo trip.

Hop between gorgeous islands

The Krabi province has some of the most beautiful islands in Thailand, including big names such as Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta where you may want to spend a few days or longer. Among the 150-odd islands and islets you’ll also find lesser-known pristine gems that are great for day trips or quick stop-offs. The two islands of Koh Rok are joined by a coral channel and offer incredible snorkelling spots, sands and views. Koh Talabeng, also known as Skull Island, has dramatic, craggy cliffs and somewhat eerie scenery complete with a yawning cavern. Koh Gai is a typical tropical idyll, with powdery sands, clear blue waters, and a handful of vendors selling tempting food and drinks. Step back in time at Koh Jum and explore tiny fishing communities, mangroves and laid-back beaches. Other top choices for an island adventure include Koh Haa, Koh Poda, Koh Nok and Koh Hong. Long-tail boats, speedboats and ferries connect the islands, and day trips are available to many. Excursions commonly include snorkelling stops and a lunch break.

Feel the thrill with a rock climbing adventure

The Krabi coastline is known for striking cliffs and magnificent limestone rocks that rise out of the dazzling azure waters. As well as being aesthetically pleasing, the dramatic natural features also offer plenty of ways for daredevils to have fun. The Railay peninsula is a terrific place for rock climbing, and there are numerous climbing schools for people of all experience levels. The secluded beach of Tonsai is another fantastic place for exhilarating rock climbing and awesome views.

Go sea kayaking and admire the scenery

The rugged Krabi coastline offers excellent chances to paddle alongside the striking shore and explore fascinating sea caves. Intriguing rock formations and brilliant views can be found all around, and you can see varied aquatic life swimming beneath you in the crystal clear waters. From hidden lagoons to wildlife-rich mangroves, there’s plenty to discover. There are several tour operators that offer kayaking experiences, and some trips also include snorkelling. Ao Thalane is a popular and pretty spot for kayaking.

Enjoy a night out in Ao Nang

Ao Nang is the main beach town in mainland Krabi. It also has the most active night scene of anywhere on the mainland. While you won’t find heaps of dazzling lights, pumping sound systems, and all-out partying, like you would in nearby Phuket, Ao Nang still offers a lively and fun night out. There are many bars, most with a chilled-out vibe and casual air. Simple beachside shacks, dive bars, sports bars and live-music joints are scattered throughout the area, and there are some swankier bars that offer great views and tasty cocktails. Soi RCA is the place to go for frivolity, while Center Point has live music and a dance floor.

Explore stunning natural sites

Krabi has top-notch outdoor spots that are sure to appeal to any nature lover and fans of the great outdoors. Bathe in the inviting waters of the Emerald Pool at Forest Natural Park before exploring forest trails and waterfalls. The warm mineral-rich waters of Klong Thom Hot Springs are also close to hand. Khao Phanom Bencha National Park is a less-visited natural attraction, with an interesting array of flora and fauna, walking trails and waterfalls. Roam prehistoric landscapes at Susan Hoi and see its thousands of fossils, and explore the ancient caves at the base of Khao Khanab Nam. The Koh Phi Phi viewpoint, Maya Bay and Koh Lanta National Park are great for outdoor adventures too.

Visit sublime temples and interesting shrines

Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave Temple) is one of the major attractions in Krabi. Climb more than a 1,000 steps for a bird’s-eye view over the surroundings and to admire the golden Buddha statue and pagodas. There are also old caves to explore. Another cultural highlight is the hilltop Wat Kaew Korawaram in Krabi Town. The white building looks like something from a fairytale and the walls are covered with murals. The Phra Nang Shrine is among the quirkiest attractions in the province; the small cave filled with penis-shaped offerings.

Shop till you drop in bustling markets

Strolling through the markets of Krabi is an ideal way to see and sample a range of delicious ready-made meals and snacks as well as browsing for cool souvenirs. You’ll find everything from local handicrafts and art to tourist t-shirts and trinkets. Krabi Town has a large market on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, with the streets closed to traffic and taken over by vendors. The bustling wet market of Maharaj Market is open every day from early in the morning to noon. Not an early riser? Check out Talad Sod instead; it’s open each day from 4pm until 9pm. Other local markets, such as Ao Nang Market, Nongtalay Market and Klong Muang Market operate on various days of the week.

Sink your teeth into southern Thai specialities

While Krabi has no shortage of typical Thai favourites, such as som tam, grilled meats, fried rice, and pad Thai, you’ll also find a great selection of southern Thai delicacies. Many local dishes have been strongly influenced by the large Muslim population, and halal meats make this a great place for Muslim foodies. Many local dishes have much in common with Malay cuisine. From massaman curry and roti to khao mok gai (yellow rice and chicken) and the spicy dry curry of kua kling, there’s plenty to satisfy your appetite. Fresh seafood is also abundant.

Relax with a massage

Although massage parlours can be found the length and breadth of Thailand, there’s something special about enjoying a soothing oil massage or invigorating Thai massage after a day on the beach or hiking through areas of natural beauty. Krabi has a multitude of massage shops, with basic services offered right on the sandy shores. There are also exquisite spas where you can book a high-class spa session for some quality pampering and bliss.

Bask on beautiful beaches

No list of things to do in Krabi would be complete without paying homage to the sublime beaches in the province. Spend sunny days laying on the soft white sands and lazing in the sun, dipping in and out of refreshing blue waters when the heat becomes too much. Many of the more popular beaches, such as Ao Nang, Long Beach on Koh Lanta, and Tonsai Bay on Koh Phi Phi, have sun beds to rent and plentiful amenities to hand. You can also enjoy varied activities, including jet skiing and riding on a banana boat. There are many quieter beaches where you can escape the crowds too. Check out Pra Nang Beach, Tub Kaek, Laem Tong Beach (on Koh Phi Phi), and Kantiang Bay (on Koh Lanta) for a more laid-back day on the beach.

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