On the western rim of Thailand's Phang Nha Bay lies the small town of Krabi with a few hotels and guesthouses situated in the estuary of the Krabi River, and surrounded by mangroves.


The town has a busy market, and some shops and restaurants. Thara Park is a popular viewpoint across the river to the nearby stilted village. At night, Chao Fa Pier is a hot spot for freshly cooked seafood. The pier also provides access to the main focus for visitors, the region's coastal beaches, most of which, due to the highly sculptural cliffs of its coastline, are only reachable by water taxi.

Travelling up the coast from Krabi, the nearest and best beach is Hat Tham Phra Nang, nestled under towering cliffs with only a single (and very expensive) hotel. Nevertheless, if you’re unwilling to pay the luxury price tag, its beach is accessible by water taxi from nearby beaches. Its stunning viewpoint, Princess Lagoon and Princess Cave provide a break from the heavenly soft white sand, beautiful coral reefs and sparkling waters.

Around the headland from Tham Phra Nang lies the beautiful sandy crescent of Hat Railay West, also popular with rock climbers wishing to scale its splendid cliffs, followed by Hat Ton Sai, the latter popular with budget travellers.  

Further along the coast, Ao Nang is by far Krabi’s most developed, least pretty and noisiest beach. For those seeking greater quietude, the furthest flung beach, reachable by road from Krabi, is Hat Khlong Muang, with its largely simple accommodation complemented in style by a couple of luxury resorts.

Offshore from Krabi's coastal beaches, Poda Island and Ko Hong offer yet more beautiful escapes to delightful white sand beaches, deliciously warm turquoise waters and visually inspiring natural forms.


Inland from Krabi, Wat Tham Seua or ‘Tiger Cave Temple’ is secluded among forested cliffs and its Buddhist shrine can be reached by the 1,272 stairs leading up from the Temple, which rewards the effort with a fantastic view of the surrounding countryside. A slightly shorter climb of 1,237 steps will deliver you to a statue of Kwan Im, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy.


To the north of north of Krabi and Phang Nha Bay, Khao Sok National park is formed around Cheow Lan Lake and its striking karst hillsides, and is a good spot for trekking, kayaking and wildlife spotting.

The beautiful and unusual rock formations are a delight to float around.

Another wilderness area, Thanboke Koranee National Park, hides within itself many caves and waterfalls, and is most visited for the highly coloured prehistoric drawings to be found at Tham Pee Huakalok.        

Yet another National Park in the vicinity, Khao Phanon Bencha, surrounds the 1,397 (4,583 feet) Khao Phanon Bencha karst peak and eleven-tiered Huay Toh waterfall. The park is a welcome reserve for its many bird species, Black Bears, Leopards and Tigers.

Other attractions close to Krabi Town include bathing in the Hot Springs waterfall and visiting the Khao Nor Chu Chi Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand’s last surviving lowland rainforest area, and its Crystal Lagoon.  


South of Krabi, and hugging the coastline below Phang Nha Bay, is the island of Ko Lanta Yai, served by ferries departing from Krabi and Ko Phi Phi Don. Less developed than many of Thailand’s other larger islands, Ko Lanta Yai has a relaxed feel, with resort accommodation comprised largely of beach bungalows and some larger luxury hotels.

Ko Lanta Yai’s white sand beaches are to be found along its western coast, south of the main village of Ban Sala Dan. Nearest to the village and the ‘busiest’, are the 3km (2 mile) Hat Khlong Dao, popular with families due to its shallow beach shelf, and the 4km (3 mile) Ao Phra Ae.

The next beach along the coast, Hat Khlong Khlong is rather rocky and has only basic beach bungalows, but is popular with snorkellers. Hat Khlong Nin, Hat Khlong Hin, and Ao Kantiang consist of fine white sand and provide a mix of upmarket bungalows together with a luxury resort and spa.

At the southern tip, Ao Khlong Chak and Ao Mai Phai are Ko Lanta Yai’s smallest, least developed and most secluded beaches, with a scattering of budget to mid-range accommodation. The headquarters of Mu Ko Lanta National Park is based beyond this point and the park includes many of the island’s smaller neighbours, such as Ko Bubu and Ko Jum which offer basic bungalow accommodation.


Yet further south, Thailand’s lesser visited west coast beaches and islands continue in the area around Trang and within Hat Chao Mai National Park, Ko Hai, Ko Muk, Ko Kradan being the most frequented and developed, with good beaches and reefs, whilst Ko Libong offers opportunities to snorkel with the increasingly rare Dugong.


The islands of Ko Tarutao National Marine Park are home langurs and crab-eating Macaques, and its waters frequented by Whales, Dugongs, Turtles and Dolphins.

Visits to the islands leave from the mainland fishing port of Pak Bara, and take in the islands of Ko Tarantao, the park’s headquarters, good for hiking and with some fine beaches, Ko Lipe, also home to a colony of Sea Gypsies, which has some good beaches and basic development, and its neighbour Ko Adang, a favourite for snorkelers.

Comprised of 51 islands Tarutao is Thailand’s most southerly island archipelago and fringes the Malaysian border adjacent to Malaysia’s famous Langkawi islands, which can be reached by ferry from the port of Satun, on Thailand’s west coast, offering an interesting alternative to the land crossing into Malaysia.