The coastal area of Krabi in Thailand offers no end of things to do and see. It is hardly surprising it is one of the most popular bases for exploring the incredible, world-famous Thai coast and its many islands. No matter how long you spend there, with so many things to do in Krabi, boredom is almost impossible!
Deciding on what activities to get involved with and which places to visit in Krabi can be overwhelming. There is just so much to choose from…
Luckily for you, I lived in Krabi, Thailand for a year (out of my four years in the country)! So let me help!
Best Things to Do in Krabi, Thailand
If you’re up for a few days of beach bumming, there are some incredible beaches worth knowing about, a few of which could be considered hidden gems. For the more active, there are diving trips, kayaking, rock climbing, and island hopping, and in the evening, the night markets are a wonderful way to end the day.
Something to note, though: Krabi is a province, a big one, too! There’s also Krabi Town, the main town. There are tons of areas to base, and you could spend a week here and not have enough time to see it all!
I hope this list helps you figure out everything you want to know about the area! Here are a few of my other guides as well:
- Best Things to Do in Krabi, Thailand
- 1. Visit Incredible Ao Nang
- 2. Scale to New Heights Rock Climbing in Railay or Tonsai
- 3. Bask on the Beaches of Railay
- 4. Relax at Phra Nang Beach and Visit the… Uh… Penis Cave
- 5. Chill at Tonsai
- 6. Enter Paradise at Koh Hong
- 7. Explore Stunning Koh Lanta
- 8. Go Diving and Discover an Underwater World
- 9. Explore the Incredible Surrounding Islands
- 10. Kayak the Waters of Ao Thalane
- 11. Take a Boat to the Incredible Phi Phi Islands
- 12. Gaze in Awe at the Stunning Maya Bay
- 13. Enjoy a Relaxing Thai Massage
- 14. Run Out of Spending Money at the Krabi Town Markets
- 15. Tackle the Steps of the Tiger Cave Temple
- 16. Admire the Architecture of Wat Kaew Ko Wararam
- 17. Plan a Hike up Tup Keak
- 18. Splash in the Emerald Pool
- 19. Sooth Those Aching Muscles at the Klong Thom Hot Springs
- 20. Hike Around Khao Phanom Bencha National Park
- 21. Visit the Many Other Awesome Top Beaches
1. Visit Incredible Ao Nang
Ao Nang is a popular area of Krabi, perhaps the most popular. It is a bustling town full of tasty restaurants, hotels, tour operators, and a lovely stretch of beach.
Lots of visitors to Krabi choose to base themselves here when they explore the local area, as it offers easy access to many other places to visit in Krabi. It is a LOT more scenic than Krabi Town, and there’s plenty to do.
It has a lovely beach blessed with incredible views out over the Andaman Sea. Although it can get quite busy in the summer, it is a great spot to kick back and relax. There are a few other beaches nearby that you may find less crowded, such as Noppharat Thara Beach. This was my secret hang-out spot most of the time (shh!).
Back in town, there are tons of eateries, so if your hotel is here, you won’t have to stray far to find something tasty.
There is something for everyone, from traditional Thai cuisine to food from all over the globe. In the evening, this strip can get quite buzzy and is a fun place for a few drinks in the evening with lively bars and classic cocktail buckets.
2. Scale to New Heights Rock Climbing in Railay or Tonsai
Railay and Tonsai are Thailand’s rock climbing hot spots, with the surrounding limestone karst mountains providing a climbers’ dream. It has some of the best climbing in the region and climbing schools to help you on your way if you are new to the sport.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of routes available, catering for beginners to advanced climbers, with many options for bouldering, too. This was the first place in the world I ever rock climbed—how lucky am I!? Actually, I’m now spoilt for life, it’s hard to find a place better than here!
If you go with one of the climbing schools, they will kit you out with all the gear you need to get started. With highly qualified guides, you will be on the walls in no time, making it one of the most popular things to do in Krabi.
The rock type mixes with the weather, and saltwater makes the rock look like it is almost melting. And it is this texture that means that overhang and three-dimensional climbs are possible all the while you’re looking out to the sea!
You should always go with a guide, as the rocks erode quickly, so you want to know which bolts to rely on… And those you don’t!
3. Bask on the Beaches of Railay
Although the Railay area is most well known for its climbing, it also boasts a beautiful beach that can only be accessed by boat. Just behind the long stretch of sand, there are numerous shacks and cafes where you can grab a bite and make a day of it.
One of the coolest features of Railay Beach is the tall karst structures surrounding it, meaning getting there is half the fun. The only way to reach this stretch of land is by longtail boat. These boats regularly depart from both Krabi Town and Ao Nang Beach.
If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you could climb up to Railay Viewpoint! In fact, I think this is one of the best views in Thailand!
The views here are incredible, but the climb is not for the faint of heart. If it has been raining, the path can be very muddy, and it is even a struggle using the handily placed ropes. It is worth the climb, the view from the top will take your breath away, stretching out over the beach and beyond to the sparkling blue waters.
4. Relax at Phra Nang Beach and Visit the… Uh… Penis Cave
Phra Nang Beach is one of the most picturesque beaches in the region, and it has a few points of interest that make it all the more memorable… Let’s jump straight in with the penis cave!
Tucked into the rocks that surround Phra Nang Beach, you will discover a small cave. There is nothing remarkable about the cave, but it’s what’s in the interesting cave.
The cave is sometimes known as the Penis Cave, while others call it the Princess Cave, and as soon as you enter, it is tough not to notice the many penis figures and other phallic structures that cover the rocks and floor. It certainly is one of the most unique things to do in Krabi!
These phallic symbols are offerings and are placed there by those hoping to be blessed with fertility.
Besides the unusual cave, the beach is worth visiting for many other reasons. There are a few incredible rock formations just out to sea, and the rich jungle that backs the beach is full of wildlife, including noisy monkeys. The beach is great for a swim, but trust me, this beach gets busy!
The beach is located in the Railay Peninsula, which means reaching the beach is half the fun, as you will have to get there by boat. Once you arrive at Railay Beach, you can reach Phra Nang via a walking path that connects the two beaches (there are no cars here). The first half is lined with cafes and places to grab a bite, while the second half is distinctly more jungly.
TIP: Walk FAR to the right of the cave to have a better chance of fewer people!
5. Chill at Tonsai
Tonsai is another incredible beach to add to your list of must-visit places in Krabi, located on the same peninsula as Railay. As soon as you step foot on the beach, you will notice the laid-back vibes. Somehow it has escaped from becoming one of the MEGA overly touristy areas, which is super rare for this part of Thailand.
There are a few options for how you can spend your time at Tonsai. On one hand, you could sit back with a cold beer at one of the beach bars and watch the world go by. You could also strap up and attempt some rock climbing. The climbing here is known all over the world, with popular climbing routes such as Tonsai Wall and Dum’s Kitchen. There are options to hire gear or opt to join a climbing school.
One of the best ways to spend your day is to hire a kayak and explore the crystal blue waters, going at your own pace and poking around the bay.
As the beach is located on the peninsula, it is cut off from the mainland by the incredible limestone karsts the area is known and loved for.
That is why many people make a day of it and hop on a longtail boat in the morning from Krabi and won’t leave until the last boat. Or you can stay here but know a lot of places here still operate using a generator.
6. Enter Paradise at Koh Hong
Located in the Than Bok Khorani National Park, Koh Hong Island is a can’t-miss island on any visit to Krabi. Although the whole island is just jaw-droppingly stunning, wait until you see the turquoise lagoon. Picture palm tree-lined white beaches, the clearest waters bursting with life, and the iconic limestone karst cliffs Thailand is known for, and you have Koh Hong in a nutshell.
The best way to visit is by an organized tours that takes the stress out of the adventure, as a knowledgeable guide will do all the planning for you plus will pick you up. This is a day tour type of spot, trust me! Doing this one DIY isn’t fun and would take more effort.
The island is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Thailand, and with so many incredible beaches and islands, that is really saying something—so yeah, don’t miss out on this spot!
7. Explore Stunning Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta is one of the most stunning islands near Krabi (crap, I’m saying this a lot, but seriously, the islands in this region are stunning!).
It’s a calming place to be, filled with incredible white sand beaches and spots just to chill out and take in the incredible nature that surrounds you.
Choose between isolated, rugged beaches, popular tropical affairs, and those with all the amenities, there are beaches for all tastes, although Kantiang Beach and Ao Nui are the real stars of the show if you ask me.
The island is so much more than beaches, though. The Thung Yee Pheng Mangrove Forest is full of twisting roots and wildlife and can easily be explored via a boardwalk that runs into the forest, or if you would prefer, take to the water and explore on a kayak.
8. Go Diving and Discover an Underwater World
The seas around Krabi are teaming with a colorful array of life, and diving beneath the waves is one of the best things to do in Krabi! Although you will be able to see a glimpse of this by kayaking, the best way to really witness this underwater world is via a diving trip. The divers on these tours will show you the ropes before you head down beneath the waves.
All diving tours are different, but there is no doubt you will see some form of wildlife. From smaller creatures like pipefish and seahorses to much larger animals, including barracuda and sea snakes. What you see depends on your location and how deep you venture.
For those who want something a bit different, Koh Haa Yai is known for its huge underwater caves, such as The Cathedral. But this is for more experienced divers. For the novice diver, head to places around Koh Phi Phi.
9. Explore the Incredible Surrounding Islands
There are tons of stunning islands surrounding the Krabi region that are just begging to be explored. Remember how we’ve talked about some really pretty islands already? Well, sorry, but there are more! In fact, there are around 80+ islands around Krabi alone.
There are plenty of tour operators that offer trips to these islands, but the most popular has to be the 4 island tour. As the name suggests, on this day trip, you will be taken out to visit 4 of the surrounding islands, all of which are relatively close to shore.
These gorgeous islands include Phra Nang, Tup Island, Chicken Island, and Poda Island, all of which have something slightly different to offer and show Thailand off at its best!
The tours are affordable and usually take up the majority of the day. You will visit by a classic longtail boat, which is an experience in itself. Most of them leak by the way, don’t worry, you’re fine!
You may be wondering how Chicken Island got its name. No, it is not because it is full of chickens; instead, there is a huge, unique rock formation that is said to look like a chicken head, but we will let you be the judge of that.
There are plenty of opportunities to stop and snorkel, take in the powder-white beaches, and rest in the shade of swaying coconut palms. This is what paradise is all about, and definitely one of the top things to do in Krabi.
10. Kayak the Waters of Ao Thalane
See the Krabi landscape in a new light when you explore by kayak. There are a few different places to visit near Krabi that are great for kayaking, but we recommend making a beeline for Ao Thalane. You’ll be heading off on an adventure through the mangroves, squeezing through the twisting gaps in their impressive roots and spotting wildlife along the way.
Ao Thalane sits at the mouth of the Nai Sa River. The guides can take you on all sorts of maze-like routes, sometimes in the mangroves, sometimes along the river, sometimes along the edges of limestone cliffs and caves, but you can rest assured the scenery is epic every time.
This unique activity offers something different from the beach and island adventures usually associated with the area. It provides one of the coolest ways to explore the jungle and other ecosystems, a vital part of Thailand.
It took me months of living Krabi before I made it out to Ao Thalane, but I wish I made it out sooner!
11. Take a Boat to the Incredible Phi Phi Islands
Likely the most famous islands in all of Thailand are the Phi Phi islands, and for good reason: they are stunning, and Krabi is in an ideal location to catch a boat trip there. It is one of the most popular activities in Krabi.
The turquoise blue of the water will be like nothing you have ever seen before, and this, coupled with the towering karst mountains that jut out of the water, is an incredible sight.
The best way to reach the islands is via an organized tour or catching a ferry and staying on the island. The journey usually will take between 50-60 minutes via speedboat.
Once you arrive, you can spend your time relaxing on the gorgeous beaches, hiking to incredible viewpoints, visiting the tropical dream of Bamboo Island, gazing in awe at Maya Bay, swimming, diving, and otherwise having the time of your life!
This is definitely a party spot, so I must admit, this isn’t my favorite thing to do in Krabi personally, but also, you HAVE to visit it to see for yourself, so don’t take it from me. I know this is where most people want to go when deciding where to go in Krabi.
TIP: Don’t sound silly and call these islands “Fee Fee”. It’s “Pee Pee!” There’s no “ph = f” sound in Thai.
12. Gaze in Awe at the Stunning Maya Bay
The stunning Maya Bay was put on the map thanks to the film The Beach, starring none other than Leonardo DiCaprio.
Visits to Maya Bay were recently closed for four years due to the influx of tourism in the area and the damage it was causing to the ecosystem. Although the area is open now, if you visit, ensure you leave no trace and treat the landscape carefully.
This magical bay offers beautiful white sands, shimmering blue waters, and a bay entirely surrounded by tall cliffs. It really is no wonder that so many people want to visit.
Boats used to be able to sail right into the bay, but that has now been stopped. Instead, you can enter from the back of the island but will still be able to enjoy its beauty.
This was crowded when I did it years ago, crowded again the second time I went, and it’s crowded again now. It’s stunning here, but you won’t get it to yourself, not even close. The best you can do is an early bird tour!
13. Enjoy a Relaxing Thai Massage
There is nothing quite like a Thai massage to ease those aching muscles after a day of hiking or exploring. Luckily, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to companies offering relaxing massages around the town.
Usually, the companies will have various options available to you depending on the type of massage you want, and chances are they will be much more affordable than the massages you are used to… Like, a lot more! It is also probably good to know that a Thai massage may not be as soothing as the massage you are used to.
The masseurs are not afraid to get rough to get those knots out! Or answer a few texts mid-massage (hey, if you’re only paying $10, for an hour, what do you expect?) When you are done, you will feel like a new person. A Thai massage is an ideal thing to do in Krabi if you are looking to chill out (as much as you can) and feel fabulous.
Of course, there are also other massage options like your good old-fashioned oil massage, which, if I’m being honest, I usually get! This one is more relaxing, but that Thai massage will stretch you really well! So maybe get both during your visit.
14. Run Out of Spending Money at the Krabi Town Markets
Thailand may be cheap, but your hard-earned spending money won’t last long at one of the epic Krabi Town markets. Whether you are after delicious local snacks, homemade crafts, clothing, spices, souvenirs, bags, or almost anything else, chances are the market will have it, plus many things you didn’t know you “needed.”
The markets with the most atmosphere are the night markets. The air is full of the scents of fresh food being cooked, the sound of bartering, and a general bustle that is hard to replicate anywhere else. Be sure to try the tasty sticky mango rice, a Thai classic, and the papaya salads (som tam) are to die for.
There are markets on a few different days and nights of the week, so even if you are only in the area for a few days, you have a good chance of being able to go to one.
If you’re based in Ao Nang, don’t worry, there are markets too. When looking at the beach, head to the right and up the road, and you’ll run right into it.
15. Tackle the Steps of the Tiger Cave Temple
The Wat Tham Sua Aka Temple, most widely known as the Tiger Cave Temple, is one of the most well-known temples in all of Thailand. A visit here is easy if you are based in Krabi, making it one of the best places to visit near Krabi.
Word of warning: to reach the top of the temple, a thigh-burning climb of 1,256 stairs is required, but the views from the summit are worth it, we promise. From your lofty position, you’ll be able to see the sea, and the views of the surrounding grassy karst mountains give you a distinctly Avatar feel.
As one of the most sacred spots in Thailand, it truly is a place for contemplation, and got its name from the idea that tigers used to spend their time in the area and surrounding caves, with even a few supposed tiger paw prints visible. Although you won’t be seeing any tigers, there is a good chance that plenty of monkeys will join you on your climb.
The temple is beautiful, with high Buddha statues and buildings lined in gold. The intimate detailing will leave you speechless and the climb up—breathless!
16. Admire the Architecture of Wat Kaew Ko Wararam
This is the largest and arguably most important temple in Krabi Town. This stunning temple is also often called The White Temple, and it is not hard to see why.
It’s located on a hill overlooking the town, you can’t miss it. Entry is free, so it is a great place to wander around if you have a little free time and are looking for things to do in Krabi, and it is never overrun with tourists.
To reach the temple, you must climb a majestic staircase lined on both sides by golded Naga statues that help to lead the way and enter the late 2500sqm terrace. On the terrace are a few souvenir shops and some places selling various food and drink items.
The inside of the temple is as spectacular as the outside, with a magnificent golden Buddha statue right in the middle. I passed this temple every day for a year and lived down the road from it!
17. Plan a Hike up Tup Keak
Take a break from beach and bar hopping and hike on one of the most epic nature trails in the region. You’re off the tourist trail here, you won’t find loads of visitors here. It is the perfect way to enjoy nature at its finest, with some epic views of the Krabi region.
The hike is a real adventure. You will head uphill most of the way, climbing over roots and rocks and brushing aside jungle foliage. The climb to the final viewpoint will take around 2 hours, but the hike is enjoyable.
You’ll be greeted with incredible views over the bay, with the surrounding limestone karst littered around you in incredible formations. It is tiring, but you can always head back to your hotel and relax in the pool once you are done.
If you fancy taking on this hike, you must arrange your own transport! (PS it’s also called Dragon Crest Mountain)
This is one of my personal favorite things to do in Krabi, and I went up here numerous times with my friends. So many people don’t make it out here, maybe you will?!
18. Splash in the Emerald Pool
Your first sighting of the Emerald Pool will likely take your breath away. This freshwater lake is located in the heart of the jungle and is crystal clear.
Called Sa Morakot in Thai, the pool can be found within the Thung Teao Forest National Park. It is the minerals in the spring that feed the pool and give it vivid color. Visiting the Emerald Pool allows you to experience a very different side of Krabi. It is not all about azure waters and sandy beaches. Inland lies an epic rainforest full of gems like this!
Most people who visit the pool choose to take a dip; it’s hard to resist the tempting waters and the fact that you’ll be melting. Before you know it, you have spent a whole day relaxing, soaking, swimming, and exploring, so put it on your list of places to visit near Krabi!
One thing to note is this spot is a bit out of Krabi Town, and the weather has to be good for the lake to maintain it’s bright colors.
19. Sooth Those Aching Muscles at the Klong Thom Hot Springs
Located in the heart of a small rainforest reserve a short distance from Klong Thom Hot Springs, you will find the Klong Thom Hot Springs.
The water from the springs is sourced from ancient volcanic craters and not only feels incredible when you take a dip but is also believed to help with several ailments, such as rheumatism and sciatica, to name a few. The waters are also rich in natural minerals.
The pools themselves are not very large, but the water within them remains between 35 and 40 degrees C (90-104 F), so think of it almost like taking a lovely bath in the middle of a lush rainforest.
Water is constantly flowing into the pools, and the movement of the water almost mimics the feeling of bathing in a hot tub. The spot can be visited at any time of year, but I think it’s the best on a dark rainy day!
You could easily combine your trip to the spring with a stop at the Emerald Pool, as they are pretty close.
20. Hike Around Khao Phanom Bencha National Park
When you discover a national park in Thailand, you know you are in for a treat, and Khao Phantom is no exception. Although it is one of the smallest parks in the country, covering only 50km squared, it has a lot to offer. You will find countless trails, waterfalls, and caves to explore within its grounds.
Your best starting point would be to head to the visitor center, where you will find plenty of information about the park and a restaurant to fuel your adventure. This is also where you will find the start of two main trails through the park, access to two waterfalls, and an impressive cave.
Keep your eyes peeled during your visit, as the park is full of wildlife. Although you are unlikely to spot most mammals, monkey sightings are much more likely. Birds are abundant, with over 120 species found within the park, such as barred eagle-owls and fluffy-backed tit-babblers, to name a few!
There is a small camping area within the park if you want to spend the night, and you can rent a tent and equipment from the visitor center if you don’t have your own.
21. Visit the Many Other Awesome Top Beaches
Krabi is home to some of the region’s most jaw-droppingly, postcard-perfect beaches. The word paradise really springs to mind here. The water is so impossibly blue, the coconut palms are swaying, and the sand powder is soft.
Some of these beaches can be found on mainland Krabi, while others you will have to venture a little further afield to some islands to discover.
I have a whole post on the best beaches in Krabi, but a few highlights include Nopparat Thara Beach near Ao Nang. With two distinct sides, you can either chill or get involved with the beach bars and lively atmosphere. Ao Nam Mao Beach is a beautiful swath of pure white sands and thick forests, giving that classic Thai look.
If you don’t mind heading out to sea and visiting some islands, even more gems can be found. Koh Poda can be reached quickly by boat, and you’ll have the stunning beaches almost to yourself. Koh Jum is even more remote, with chill beaches and small resorts that only run on generators; this really is the place to get away from it all!
Phew! That’s it for my list of things to do in Krabi! I hope this helps you plan your trip!
Nina Ragusa is an adventurer, messy bun master, breakfast fan, and full-time travel blogger. She’s been abroad since 2011 and blogging on Where in the World is Nina? for nearly as long. Nina helps people like you move around the world while making money. She loves talking about how to work abroad and online to travel longer!