Thailand makes beach-hopping like an Olympic sport. The country’s beautiful beaches, weather, and hospitality makes it one of the most popular destinations in the world. Over 22 million visitors in 2012 passed through the country and it’s not hard to see why.
In the past few years the Southern Province of Krabi, with over one hundred beaches, has gone from an untouched southern province to a top travel destination. Its pristine beaches and beautiful karst peaks make it one of the most picturesque places in the world. It’s no wonder that the beaches of Krabi often make top international beach lists.
Krabi offers beaches for everyone – families with children, backpackers, flashpackers, resort-fiends and climbers. If you are looking for the right beach to fit your traveling style, Krabi has the perfect one for you.
1. Ko Phi Phi Leh
Part of the small 6-island archipelago, Ko Phi Phi, this island is a ring of limestone hills that surround 2 shallow bays, Maya Bay and Loh Samah. Maya Bay is considered a great place to dive and snorkel as its hard coral reef attracts a variety of fish.
It might also look familiar to some die-hard Leonardo DiCaprio fans as the location of The Beach, the filming of which led to a bitter lawsuit with environmentalists over beach degradation.
But the beauty of Ko Phi Phi Leh remains undisputed, and it is one of Krabi’s most popular destinations because it literally looks like paradise. It draws large crowds and is known as one of the busier beaches of Krabi. Accommodations vary in price but are more expensive the closer you get to the beach. Tents are also available for those on a budget.
2. Railay Beach
This beach is only accessible by boat due to the large surrounding karst peaks. Everyone comes to enjoy the beautiful pristine waters and mountain views. It is a small peninsula located between Krabi & Ao Nang. This is one of the most versatile of beaches where you’ll run into grandparents and long-haired backpackers alike. The island is home to a number activities include rock climbing, diving, and snorkeling, and the area’s recent development has led to a variety of accommodation, dining options, and night-life.
Railay Beach is separated into three bays: East Railay, Phra Nang Bay, and West Railay Bay. East Railay is not suitable for swimming but the area offers low-priced accommodations and a greater variety of dining and nightlife options. West Railay is the primary destination for beach-goers in Railay with amazing views. However, noise pollution from the boats often disrupt the beach’s serenity.
Phra Nang Bay is most beautiful of the beaches but owned by the Rayavadee resort – and the only resort in Railay. However, it is still worth a stroll. If you want to splurge, the Rayavadee resort offers amazing views, luxurious rooms, and various spa and massage treatments.
3. Ton Sai
For those seeking a climbing adventure or greater serenity, take a boat out to Ton Sai. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can make the trek to Ton Sai by foot from Railay. Ton Sai attracts the young backpacking crowd, and the pace is slow and serene compared to Ko Phi Phi.
Ton Sai’s main attraction is its rock climbing opportunities and home to a number of schools and guide companies. The beach might not be as suitable for swimming, but come here for the climbing and the chill vibe.
4. Ao Nang Beach
Ao Nang is the most Westernized and developed of the beaches and popular with European travelers. The beach is situated along Phra Nang Bay. Recent visitors complain about the trash collected on the island. If you did not purchase a package tour which makes a stop in Ao Nang mandatory, many travelers recommend skipping Ao Nang for one of the surrounding beaches. Although touristy, it caters to an older crowd than Ko Phi Phi.
5. Had Yao
This beach is located about an hour away from Ao Nang by car or boat. Had Yao or “Long Beach” has brown-grey sand and shallow water and not the best for those who enjoy swimming. Visitors come to this beach seek the isolation that’s difficult to find at Krabi’s more popular beaches.
6. Ko Lanta
Compared to Ko Phi Phi and Railay, this beach used to be a secret paradise. It offered beautiful views, isolated beaches and good value accommodation. Since the explosion of Thailand’s tourism industry, Ko Lanta underwent significant development. The island is known for its safe, family-friendly vibe.
This is accredited to its older, more conservative population. That means that this is not an anything-goes type of island. Respect the local community and be aware of the young families with children. The island offers a variety of activities including, snorkeling, diving, kayak, elephant rides, volleyball, and hiking. There is also a variety of accommodation for all budgets.
What’s your favorite beach in the Krabi province?