Your guide to Krabi beaches

Your guide to Krabi beaches

With everything from hidden cliff-backed bays to scintillating sands worthy of Southeast Asian travel brochures, this list of Krabi beaches to visit as you make your way through this gorgeous section of the Land of Smiles is sure to have something to pique the interest. No matter if you go to party-mad Phi Phi or the backpacker enclave of Tonsai, paradise awaits…

Tham Phra Nang

Most people who visit Tham Phra Nang head in on one of the salt-washed longboats that seem to appear in every photo of Thailand's top beaches. These can be seen clustering along the sands from morning until night, bobbing on the lapping waves as they wait for their passengers to return from days of lazing and swimming, snorkeling and hiking. In fact, Tham Phra Nang is hailed by many as one of the most handsome bays near Krabi, thanks largely to its backdrop of rugged karst cliffs and pinnacle-like mountains. It's located just north around the headlands from much-trodden Railay, and is also known for its deep caves (filled with curious phallic totems) and shallow turquoise waters, which are just perfect for cooling off in the heat of the day!

Tonsai Beach

Hidden in its own little enclave of the Railay Peninsula, little Tonsai has established itself as the province of budget backpackers and shoestring travellers in these parts. It's kept quiet because of how hard it is to get here – you'll either need to scramble over the tricky boulders and cliffs that divide the beach from Railay to the south (be careful on that one!), or get a private water taxi to take you in. The payoff? Think secluded sands peppered with volleyball courts, a clutch of earthy little kitchens serving up cheap noodle dishes, reggae-rhythm bars, and some of the best rock climbing opportunities in the whole of Southeast Asia (don't worry, it's okay just to watch too!).

Koh Phi Phi

While further afield than most all of the other Krabi beaches to make this list, the much-loved sands of gorgeous Koh Phi Phi Don are surely worth a mention – if only for the wild and hedonistic parties they host after dark (yep, don't worry, you will be coming here on that LBW Island Teaser West tour!). Hop aboard one of the regular ferries and hit this gem of the Andaman Sea to discover hidden little bays like Phak Nam and monkey-dotted Ao Ling (you might have to share the sunbathing room with some cheeky crab-eating macaques). Also, be sure to take a trip to the shimmering waters of Maya Bay, which was the inspiration for DiCaprio's famous The Beach movie, and linger long enough to taste the hedonistic nightlife!

Railay Beach

When it comes to listing the top Krabi beaches, Railay Beach is a perennial favorite. And it's true: This short dash of pearly-white sand on the Andaman side of the Railay Peninsula has established itself as one of the quintessential beaches in all of Thailand – nay, the world! Much-photographed and lined with luxurious resort hotels that poke just above the swaying palm groves, it's a truly gorgeous little cove on the southern coast. Add to that a range of soaring karst mountains that rise from the water like needles of stone, and a complete lack of any nearby traffic or town, and it's easy to see why quite so many people opt to laze here day-to-day. Oh, and don't be surprised if you see a wedding or two – they are getting pretty darn common on Railay's best beach!

Koh Jum Island

It's just a short ride over the sloshing waves of the Andaman Sea from Krabi town to the forgotten reaches of Koh Jum, and boy is the trip worth it! This jewel of an isle is home to some rustic fishing villages that cascade down the dunes and hills to the ocean's edge, while its west coast is the place to go for the top beaches. These are long and arced and powdery, and offer up breathtaking broadside views of the much-trodden isle of Koh Phi Phi in the distance. So, if you're looking for seclusion, emptiness, romance, and a taste of rustic coastal Thailand, Jum might just be the perfect choice!

Koh Jum Island.jpg

Tub Kaek Beach

Tub Kaek Beach might not have the most mellifluous name, but this stretch of sand north of Ao Nang is actually a truly beautiful spot. Considered one of the more romantic places on the Andaman coast – Tub Kaek has even been used as the backdrop for wedding scenes in Hollywood flicks – it's a place of softly slanting yellow sands and pleasantly lapping waves. Out at sea, you'll also be able to spot countless rocky islands, which rise suddenly from the Indian Ocean in a show of green jungle and chiseled stone. Tub Kaek Beach also has a great clutch of guesthouses and hotels – perfect if you're looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Krabi town for a spell.

Hong Islands

The Hong Islands can be found peppering the waters of the Andaman Sea just a half-hour's boat ride from the coast of Krabi province. A fascinating and rugged place, they are entirely encircled by a protected marine park. That means you can expect a glimpse of the wilder, more-untouched side of the region than the other touristic beaches offer. And talking of beaches, the coast here is where great monitor lizards leave their footprints in the sands, swinging white-faced gibbons inhabit the palm boughs above, and there's a veritable kaleidoscope of tropical fish to find between the corals.

Ao Nang

Ao Nang is perhaps the most visited beach in Krabi province. Not only can it be easily accessed by road from the main town, but it also has excellent boat connections to other popular spots like Railay and Tonsai. It takes the form of a wide bay, sided by two colossal headlands of rock that hide it from the cascading jungles of palms behind. The views of the Andaman Sea are simply to die for, and you can expect safe, easy swimming in the shallow waters to boot. There are countless massage parlors on the beach too, along with resort hotels, bars, and a clutch of market stalls selling beachwear towards the western end of the bay.

Can you think of any more gorgeous Krabi beaches to add to this list? Or, do you have any tips on the top bays and sands to visit in the Andaman region? If so, we'd love to hear them in the comments below. Or, if you think it's time you got out and explored the bucket-list Land of Smiles, why not check out LBW's offering of tours in Thailand?

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