Krabi was the 5th stop on our trip in Thailand and had been one of the places I was most excited to visit. From the countless pictures of the amazing islands surrounding Krabi and the unbelievable limestone karsts which jolted out of the sea, I knew this was somewhere that I had to see for myself.
We decided to stay in Ao Nang as we only had a few short days in Krabi and this seemed like a good base location to do all the activities we wanted to do, if we had longer it would have been nice to also stay in Krabi town to see a different side of the province.
I must admit, my first impressions of Krabi were mixed, when we were first driving into the town I was blown away by the limestone cliffs that surrounded us as we were passing through in the bus, I’d never seen anything like it before. As I mentioned, this was a big part of what drew me to want to visit Krabi in the first place and it didn’t disappoint. However, when we checked into our home stay and had a wander around, I realised that Krabi was much more touristy than I thought it would be, whilst this isn’t always a bad thing because it usually means there’s lots of options for food, drinks etc I hadn’t really been prepared for it and was expecting something a little more low key. Consequently, as with any touristy areas the prices were ramped up and Krabi was by far the most expensive place we had visited in Thailand so far.
Nevertheless, I was excited about our stay and Shaun and I wasted no time exploring the area, here’s some of our favourite parts:
4 Islands Tour
We booked this tour for our first day, it was a boat trip which took us around the islands surrounding Krabi. Much like my initial impression, my experience of the tour was mixed.
When we booked the trip we had opted to go on a slow boat, so I had imagined that we would be on a small wooden boat adorned with flags and colourful fabric. In reality there were 50 of us crammed onto this ugly boat with tarpaulins covering the top and sides and no way to take in the surrounding views, not quite what I had fantasised about.
Our first stop on the tour was Railay Beach, I had been most excited about visiting this beach so had really high hopes for our visit. However, when we arrived the tide was all the way in so there was barely any sand to walk on and we had to wade through waist high water carrying our rucksacks on our head just to get across beach. I could still really appreciate what a beautiful place this was, but I feel like it would have been more enjoyable if I was able to relax, not fight my way through the incoming tides, fearful all my worldly possessions were about to get wiped out.
The second stop on the tour was Tup Island, it’s a small island connected to two neighbouring islands by a sandbank which you can walk along. However, as we discovered the sandbank is covered during high tide which means you aren’t able to walk along it. We were also unable to go swimming in the water as we were informed there were stingrays in the sea, so we spent 35 minutes standing in choppy ankle high water. Definitely my least favourite part of the tour and had me begging the question: Why have they brought us out on this tour during high tide if it means we can’t actually enjoy the tour? *Money*
Chicken Island was the third stop, famously named after the chicken shaped rock sticking out of the headland, although I think it requires A LOT of imagination to see the resemblance. This is where we stopped for lunch and were allowed to get off and go snorkelling. Thankfully, this is where the trip started to get better. Shaun and I actually saw a couple of friendly schools of fish who were literally swimming between our fingers and around our faces, it was pretty amazing to get this close up to them.
Our final stop on the tour was Poda Island, unlike Railay beach I had not really heard or read anything about this island so I had zero expectations. To my disbelief it was absolutely beautiful there were long white stretches of untouched beach, sparkling turquoise water and plenty of amazing limestone cliffs to complete the scenery and by some stroke of luck Shaun and I had managed to find a stretch with nobody else on, it felt like we had found our own private beach, it was literally paradise.
So, maybe this was the universe giving back to us after our horrendous morning as despite our less than impressive start we had an amazing afternoon on Poda Island, beyond what either of us expected.
Ao Nang Night Market
This place was so amazing we went twice, a small open air market situated in Ao-nang with a small but incredible selection of food and drinks. This was without a doubt the best market Shaun and I visited during our entire trip in Thailand, the variety and quality of food was great. Additionally, the prices were much cheaper and more backpacker friendly than the restaurants surrounding the market but the food was actually way better. They also had a stage with performers, so we were lucky enough to have a saxophonist playing when we visited, Shaun being a jazz fan really enjoyed this!
Whilst Ao-nang beach isn’t all that impressive in itself I had read that you can watch a great sunset from there, so Shaun and I decided to grab some beers one evening and sit and watch the sunset. I can understand now why people recommend going to see it, it was definitely one of the most ‘instagrammable’ views I’ve ever seen (I hate myself for saying that too). Shaun actually took a really amazing photo which we are hoping to put on a canvas for our flat!
Even now looking back, our time in Krabi still feels like a real mixture of positives and negatives. I can’t help but feel perhaps I had set my expectations too high, either way it is a beautiful part of the world and some of my favourite memories of Thailand were made here, so it was definitely worth the visit.