These are the Top 10 Things to do in Krabi, Thailand while on your Vacation (and what I do there on vacation):
1. Visit Wat Tum Sua Buddhist temple (Tiger Cave Temple)
Wat Tum Sua is a virtually unknown attraction in Krabi, Thailand and many tourists that I’ve talked to have told me that there is very little about it on any map they have or in the Lonely Planet Thailand guide. To me, a visit to Wat Tum Sua is second only to number 10 on the list.
Why go to Wat Tham Seua?
(also spelled Wat Tum Suea or Wat Thum Sua or any of 15 other variations!)
A.) It’s one of the few decent hikes you’re going to find in the South of Thailand. I’ve spent a couple of years in the south and the best hikes I’ve found are those leading to waterfalls usually. I’ve not visited Khao Sok National park though, and I’ve heard there are some good hikes there that take you far into the jungle.
B.) You’ll get some fitness climbing one of two things… either the 100 steps up into the foothills to see where the monks live in kutis (huts) built into the walls of the caves or you can go the 1,237 steps leading up the hill and visit a Buddhist memorial complete with a big Buddha and numerous stupas and a chedi. It is windy at the top and you’ll probably have free refrigerated water that’s nice and cold if the electric isn’t out at the time.
C.) You’ll be able to see and feed monkeys, some of which may grab your things -so be careful with everything you have including your shoes.
D.) Meditation – there are a number of temples where you can sit in meditation. They may not be quiet, but that’s the situation all over Thailand.
Video of Wat Tum Sua (CLICK).
D.) There are a few places to see on the temple grounds and they’re building more all the time. They are building a 99 meter chedi with 8 levels that might be done about midway through 2008. It’s quite cool inside near the top and you can go in if you wish even though it’s not finished yet.
E.) You can do a little cave exploring in the foot hills area. There are a couple rooms to go back into. There are lights if you find the switch outside on the left side of the cave wall. Or, bring a flashlight (torch).
F.) The price to visit the national parks has risen up to 400 baht for an adult visitor at some Thailand parks. Wat Tum Sua is free but you should give a donation – maybe 100 baht?
Here is another mini-site I built about Wat Tum Sua Temple (Tiger Cave Temple) that gives more photos and has some other good information.
2. Visit Huay To Waterfall
Located in Khao Phanom Benja National Park. Also called “Khao Panom Benja” and “Huoy To” and “Huai Toh” and “Huay Toh” waterfall. This is a nice park that you might get charged 300 baht to go see. I guess it’s worth it if you stay a few hours. As far as waterfalls go, this one isn’t as spectacular as Surat Thani’s “Dod Fa” or Ko Samui’s “Na Muang II”, but, it’s a nice park and a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours.
The water is cool and clean and there shouldn’t be too many people there if you’re there during the off-season. I’ve not been there during high-season. Expect farang yer-yer (many). It is located north of Krabi town and about 22 km up the road toward the BIG mountain top you see in the distance. Though the waterfall is at the base of that mountain of course. ;)
3. Go see the Crystal Lagoon
This is a clear pool of water (photo right) that is fed by a spring, but it is not a hot spring. The temperature of the water is warm enough that you won’t be cold. Best way to get there is to get a map that has the location on it – northwest of Krabi town and take a motorbike out to see it. It’s kind of a long ride to get there, but I thought it was worth it. There is a boardwalk for some of the hikes to get to the Crystal lagoon or Crystal Pool or Crystal Spring, and the other part is a walk through the woods.
There can be many people here when school lets out in particular. Better to go in the morning on a weekday that the kids don’t have off for some holiday. Try Tues-Thurs for best bet as the kids have off for MANY Thai holidays on Mondays and Fridays. National park fees apply. They may give you a discount if you can speak Thai well enough to convince them that you already visited another National park – Huay To waterfall that same day for instance. Save your ticket stubs! The video I did of Crystal Lagoon in Krabi at YouTube (CLICK).
4. Take a ferry or longtail boat to Ko Phi Phi islands
These islands are south of mainland Krabi and are quite beautiful. I’ll be honest, there are a lot of tourists talking about how disappointed they were with the islands. I think people are expecting less – in terms of development and since the tsunami, Koh Phi Phi has been built up pretty well and far past what it used to be. If you’ve been there in the past and you want to return to relive the feeling… don’t. It isn’t the same feeling anymore! There are many islands around Phi Phi that can be seen, trips to see 4 islands are just 450 baht per person on a shared long-tail boat from Ao Nang beach.
5. Ao Nang Beach
The beach at Ao Nang is nothing all that spectacular and if that’s the only reason you’re going – don’t bother. What Ao Nang does have is shopping and a bit of nightlife. There are hundreds of small shops selling mostly the same types of things, but if you haven’t done it before you might get a kick out of it. If you love shopping, you’ll have a good time. Guys, stay out of this one because you’ll be bored in 10 minutes.
The water in Ao Nang is fairly clean I guess for Krabi, and the beach is cleaned often. I think there are spots with some coral and rocks under the surface that you can cut your feet on, so be careful. Here’s another beach that is more family-oriented, quieter and with more shade if you’re into that… Noppharat Thara Beach. Or, click here for an aerial view of Ao Nang and Noppharat Thara beaches.
6. A cool little wat (Buddhist temple), Wat Tum Sang Phet
This little temple is off the main track. It means Diamond Cave Temple and there seem to be some very shiny glimmers in a brown stalactite the monk pointed out to me. This small temple is built on one side of a huge limestone hill. They are in the midst of doing massive renovations -and soon they will have an entire road that goes around the limestone hill. As it is now if you go into the front of the wat you can see huge stalactites above the temple area. If you look up you can watch a drop of water fall from one about 30 meters overhear and you move so that it hits you in the forehead. It’s great fun. For me it was anyway, I did it for 10 minutes.
There is a path around to the right and to the left that you can take which goes completely around the hill where there are many caves open for exploring – bring a flashlight. Today, and the reason I decided to write this post, I met a senior monk at this wat as he saw me hunting snakes on the ground. He said he’s not seen snakes, but he’ll take me in the cave around the side. I went with him and he ended up giving me a tour of the entire grounds over the next 40 minutes.
We walked entirely around the hill and saw many caves. I even found a small orange snake by the cave (harmless) so I was happy enough. He was very surprised to see a snake and he actually stepped right over it and kept walking while I took photos. I showed them to him afterward and he was so excited. He made me show all the monks and nuns at the temple the digital photos.
This is a very quaint little temple with the monk quarters and main buildings off to the left side bordering a lovely stream and some large palm trees. There are a couple of dogs around that might bark once or twice, but that’s it – they go away and leave you free to explore.
Oh, one more thing – there is a meditation place built up onto the hill that a guy from Hungary built recently, so the monk was telling me. Apparently, he came a couple of years back and built this steel meditation platform above the trees. I had been there a couple of times and if the mosquitoes weren’t so crazy I would have meditated there. I had no idea it was built by a foreigner. Who’d of thought? Pretty cool stuff!
This is my choice for a beach to go to if I have time. I will skip Ao Nang and keep going further down the road (away from Krabi town) and go to this beach. It reminds me of the windward side of Oahu, Hawaii because the trees are exactly the same here. They drop these tiny seed cones that are small and round and that are all over the north and “windy” or windward sides of Oahu.
There is plenty of shade here for picnics or sleeping and some good seafood restaurants. There is little to no shopping. When the tide is low and even medium you can walk out to the islands in the picture that are about 150-200 meters away from the beach. On a nice day, the water is very clear and has nice color for photographs. This is also the beach that the large ferry to Phi Phi and to Phuket leaves from. There is a tourist information office here and brochures can be found during operating hours. Rumor is that they are going to start charging for tourists wanting to enter the beach, as it is part of the Phi Phi National Park.
8. Koh Lanta
This one is questionable. I am adding it to the list because I realize that not everyone is like me and some people might enjoy it. The beach is so dirty in the offseason that it’s plain gross. I see Koh Lanta as a haven for visitors to Thailand that are into smoking pot or doing other drugs and who want to sit around and do nothing but more drugs and/or drinking.
Is there more to it? Not sure. But I think it IS good for those activities and you’ll probably be left alone if that’s what you want to do. I do like to eat at two of the restaurants that are on the non-hotel side of the island. There are a couple of nice places to go look out onto the ocean from that side too. Is there anything to DO on Koh Lanta? I met a woman that told me her friend owned a Thai cooking school there called “Time for Lime”. So, if you’re into that sort of thing – there you go. Otherwise, maybe take a ferry to somewhere else from there…
9. Chicken Head Island (Koh Kai)
I’ve not been here or to any of the other islands surrounding Krabi. There are many that you can take a longtail boat too – all recommended for a nice way to spend a morning. Afternoons might be too hot to be stuck on a long-tail boat. Make sure you have life jackets on-board before leaving the shore. Insist on it.
10. Railay Beach
One of the main beaches in Krabi, Railay beach might be my favorite place for a day trip out of all of these Top 10 Things to Do in Krabi on vacation. There are lots of ways to get there. You can take a longtail boat straight from Chao Fa Pier in Krabi Town for 100 baht if you can get 6 people to go with you at the same time. You might wait extraordinarily long to find 6 people though during the off-season. Sometimes they ask if you want to go for 150 baht for 4 people. 600 baht seems to be the amount they want to make to go one-way.
If you want you can take a tuk-tuk, songtaew (truck) or motorbike taxi to Ao Nang or Ao Nam Mao and you can get a longtail boat from there. Prices vary a bit. The cheapest way is from Ao Nam Mao pier where you’ll pay just 50 baht one way if you get the required number of people – I can’t remember how many 6 or 8. From Ao Nang it’s 100 baht each person.
Railay beach has a couple of interesting things. For active people, you might want to hike up to where the ‘lagoon’ is in the middle of the mountain. You find it by going from Railay (East) toward the mountain – walking along the sidewalk until you see a muddy and root-filled path leading up the hill to the left. That’s it. Take that up and when you reach a “Y” at the path take a left to see the scenic lookout and a right to find the lagoon. The lagoon, if you decide to go, is not an easy trek. You MUST have decent shoes to scale down the rock faces that are jagged and dangerous quite frankly.
There are 20-foot drops that, if you lose your shoes – you’ll cut your feet – 100% guaranteed. I had sport sandals and I still didn’t feel comfortable to risk it, my feet were very wet and muddy from the slippery trail and I pictured my foot slipping out of my sandal and slicing my foot open. Not my idea of a fun trek.
You can head over to the Phra Nang cave (pictured) which is really a nice spot. It’s my favorite spot if I had to pick a favorite. Don’t miss the phallus (penis) wood carvings cave which is fascinating (hah!). Railay West has some shopping, some nice restaurants (outdoor) and last time I went to a book store with many English language novels.
At the Northwest side of Railay West is where the climbers tend to go and hang out. There are numerous climbing routes, I think someone said 700+. If you climb – go here! Even if you don’t climb, it’s fun to watch people climb too – I’ve taken videos of people climbing and I’ll get them online soon. Climbing is a slow and cautious activity, not always quick and exciting but fun to watch anyway.
I don’t stay in Railay when I go, I’m very cheap and the 1000 baht plus for marginally decent rooms during the high season doesn’t do it for me. I usually go in the morning and return around 5 or 6 pm. There are some nice accommodations there if you have the cash. Alternatively, you can visit during low season when 2 different hotels (at least) offer rooms for as low as 350 baht.
So, there you have it… the top 10 things to do in Krabi on vacation. Are there more things to do than these 10? Yes, SO many things. I could have written a top 50 things to do and maybe I will someday if I get really ambitious!
More Things to Do in Krabi:
- More than 20 Things to Do in Krabi
- Railay Beach, Krabi
- Wat Thum Sua (Wat Tum Suea) Tiger Cave Temple
- Climbing in Railay beach
- Noppharat Thara Beach, Pier (Ferry to Phuket & Phi Phi)
- Huay To Waterfall in Phanom Bencha National Park
- Khao Phung Cave (Kow Phung, near Huay To Waterfall)
- Crystal Lagoon (Crystal Pond – Sa Morakot) Hiking and swimming in fresh water
- Great Outdoors Kids Activity: Fishery Dept (BIG fish)
- Hiking Krabi – short 4 km easy climb on paved road
- Hiking Krabi – Khao Phanom Bencha 1,397m high mountain!
- Mangrove Forest Walkway, Krabi town
- Thalen Bay (Ao Thalen)
- Snorkeling in Krabi
- Diving in Krabi
- Diving in Ko Phi Phi
- Krabi Bike Tours in Krabi town offers Trek, Specialized bike rentals by day, week or month at good rates.
Important Phone numbers for your stay in Krabi (Railay and all over Krabi province):
- Krabi Emergency number: 1669 from any mobile.
- TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) Regional Office: 07.562.2164
- Krabi Tourist Police: 07.563.7208
- Marine Police: 07.561.2756 and 2757
- Krabi Airport 7 km east of Krabi Town: 07.563.6541 and 6549
- Immigration: 07.561.1097
- Krabi Bus Terminal in Krabi Town: 07.561.1804 and 1184
- Thai Airways International: 07.562.2439 and 2441 and 2442
- Krabi town Hospital: 07.563.1768 and 1769
Copyright ©2013 Written by Vern Lovic.