Tropical paradise does exist in Thailand – it’s known as Ao Nang, and you can visit it with Culture Trip on our exclusive 10-day Southern Thailand trip, led by our local insider.
Here, endless beaches are lapped by turquoise water and lined with longtail boats, ready to whisk you off on an adventure around the lush nearby islands. Inland, there is even more choice – from ziplining to visiting an elephant sanctuary.
For an idyllic day of island-hopping, one of the best ways to get around is via a private longtail boat. Head down to the beach and you’ll find plenty of boats available for hire immediately – you just have to agree beforehand on which islands you want to visit and on a fixed day rate. Before you set off, make sure you have a picnic lunch, your snorkel gear and some cash for entry into the National Marine Parks.
For some light trekking, you’ll want to hit up Monkey Trail, a stretch of dirt and wood path that takes you to some of the most scenic spots on the island. As the name suggests, Monkey Trail is populated with cheeky primates, often seen lounging along the path or chilling in the trees with their babies. While the trek takes just 30 minutes to complete in a loop, it is rocky and uneven in parts, so be careful.
From high-end resorts to makeshift shacks along the beach, massage services are a dime a dozen in Ao Nang. Aonang Haven offers the best of both worlds – professional service standards and a clean, relaxing environment at prices that won’t break the bank. After a day of strenuous activity, let their professional therapists ease those tension knots away with an invigorating massage. For those who spent a little too much time in the sun, they also have special treatments to soothe sunburned skin.
About a 30-minute drive from Ao Nang, this impressive temple is one of the star attractions in Krabi. As the actual temple is tucked within a warren of limestone caves, you’ll need to hike up a cliff to get access. It takes a gruelling 1,237 steps to get to the top but at the summit, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Andaman Sea, expansive rainforests and majestic limestone cliff formations.
If you’re craving a break from the Ao Nang crowds, make your way to this picturesque spot about an hour away by car. Here, you’ll find a series of naturally hollowed-out stone “bathtubs” in the jungle where fresh thermal spring water bubbles forth. The mineral-rich water hovers at a temperature between 35C and 42C (95F and 107F) and is said to alleviate ailments such as rheumatism and sciatica. After a therapeutic soak, you can take a dip in the cool river below.
What better way to soak up the sights and sounds of Krabi than with a wander through this bustling night market? Set up near the 7/11 store beyond the boxing stadium in Ao Nang, this is where you can feast on Thai street food favourites such as barbecued meats, pad thai and steamed shellfish. Wash it all down with a fruit shake. Besides food, the market also hawks a wide variety of clothing, electronics and other tchotchkes.
Round up the little ones and head to this adventure park in the heart of Ao Nang. Apart from side-by-side ziplines, the park also offers a series of cross rope bridges, dangling cables and other obstacle courses, ranging from easy to extreme. All the guides are professionally trained, so just relax and enjoy the wind in your face as you whiz high above the forest floor.
Get acquainted with gentle giants at the Aonang Elephant Sanctuary. It’s a retirement home for five senior elephants that have been rescued from elephant riding camps or the logging industry. During your time here, you can help feed or bathe the elephants or simply bask in their Zen-like company. There’s absolutely no riding allowed in the sanctuary; they take extra care to ensure the creatures are not stressed out by the presence of visitors.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.