5 dos and don'ts when travelling to Krabi
It's no secret that Thailand's got some gorgeous beaches, with Krabi and Phuket being particularly popular beach destinations.
This December was my first time visiting Krabi ( and Thailand by plane!), so I didn't quite know what to expect. Krabi is a beautiful place indeed, so if you are thinking of visiting, here's some advice for having a great holiday.
Do: Bring enough spare cash
Thailand's a popular backpacker destination, so I assumed most food & drinks would be cheap as compared to Singapore.
However, I was surprised to find that restaurants in Ao Nang ( especially those near the beach) weren't that affordable.
For example, my first night at The Last Fisherman Bar resulted in an expenditure of around 25 SGD per person. Whilst the bill did include cocktails, I still found it rather pricey for Thailand.
Of course, you can definitely find cheaper places to eat around Krabi, with main dishes like Pad Thai and Pineapple Fried Rice for under 150 baht. Just bear in mind that Ao Nang (where many tourists stay) is a resort town, so don't expect meals at restaurants to be dirt cheap. Many restaurants also charge a 3% credit card fee, so be sure to bring enough cash.
Do: Get a massage
Massage lovers will be happy to know that massages in Krabi remain affordable. I visited All Day Massage And Sea in Ao Nang, and paid 300 baht for a one hour Thai-style massage. A two hour massage (one hour full-body, one hour foot) costs 550 baht.
You'll find cheap massage places along Ao Nang Beach as well (I saw one going for 200 baht), but just bear in mind that those are in the open air without any privacy.
If the Thai style of massage (think stretching, cracking and pressing) doesn't suit your fancy, you can opt for an oil massage instead. These typically cost around 50 baht more.
Do: Explore Krabi's beautiful offshore islands
While the beach in Ao Nang does have some beautiful sunsets, it honestly isn't the prettiest. To find really pristine beaches with crystal clear water and those famous limestone karsts you always see in pictures, you'll need to take an island-hopping trip.
I highly recommend this speedboat tour to the Phi Phi Islands from Klook, which includes a visit to the famous Maya Bay, Bamboo Island, Pileh Lagoon and Tonsai Bay. The beaches and natural beauty here beat Ao Nang beach hands down.
Another worthwhile day trip is a longtail boat tour to the Hong Islands. It's even quieter and more isolated than the Phi Phi islands, and you'll get to snorkel in a beautiful bay, climb a hill to enjoy great views of the surrounding waters and visit a dreamy, lakelike lagoon.
Do: Visit an Elephant Sanctuary
Chiang Mai isn't the only place to visit an ethical elephant sanctuary where riding isn't allowed. You can do that right here in Krabi! I took a half-day trip to Aonang Elephant Sanctuary, and had a blast interacting with these gentle and magnificent creatures.
We got a chance to learn more about the elephants, feed them, make protein balls for them, give them a mud bath and bathe them. These retired elephants are well-cared for, and getting up close and personal with them was an absolute joy.
Do: Get adventurous
Krabi is the perfect place for adventure seekers. I took a lovely day tour where I swam in the middle of the jungle in the Emerald Pool, and climbed 1,260 steps up to the Tiger Cave Temple. Let's just say it was a workout for sure.
You can also kayak at Ao Thalane admist mangroves, ride an ATV and hike up Dragon Crest Mountain for rewarding views. Raileh Beach is also a quick longtail boat ride away from Ao Nang, where you can go rock-climbing on real limestone cliffs.
Don't: Expect great food on day tours
Whilst my day tours were fantastic in terms of service and organisation, the food we were given left much to be desired.
Yes- they were part of the tour package, but I'm a firm believer that tour food doesn't have to be bad. Unfortuantely, ours was.
On our day trip to the Phi Phi Islands, we were given a "buffet" at a random dining space that included spaghetti and green curry. Both dishes were extremely watery and the sauce lacked flavour and thickness. I've had much better Thai food back in Singapore.
The food on my second day tour to Hong Island was thankfully better. However, I definitely ate much tastier dishes at the restaurants in Ao Nang. So don't expect authentic and delicious Thai dishes when out on a day tour.
Luckily, our third day tour to the Emerald Pool and Tiger Cave Temple let us choose our own eating spot near the Emerald Pool. The guide recommended a solid restaurant that served up a great and flavourful Pad Thai! You can check it out here.
Don't: Overpay for transport
While it's more convenient to book transport to and from the airport directly via your hotel, you may just end up paying more.
I was quoted 1,600 baht for two-way transport to the airport from my hotel. However, upon walking along the streets in Ao Nang, I realised there were cheaper options out there, with some offering the same service for 1,200 baht. A cab will also cost you around 1,200 baht for a two-way trip.
This article here offers a useful guide for transportation in Krabi.
Bottom line: What your hotel is offering might not always be the best rate!
Don't: Get a beachside hotel if you're a light sleeper
A hotel right by Ao Nang beach might seem like a dream. After all, who doesn't want to wake up and step right out into the ocean?
However, beachside hotels can get noisy, especially if you have a room facing the sea. Hotel bars play loud music, and there was also a daily fire dance going on in the evenings along the beach, where the performers moved from hotel to hotel.
I stayed at BlueSotel Smart Krabi, and the location was perfect. Near Ao Nang Beach (a mere five minute walk) but not directly opposite it. As such, it was quiet and convenient. You can read the reviews on Booking.com.
Don't: Forget to get covered when visiting temples
When visiting temples like the Tiger Cave Temple, remember that these are religious sites. As such, you'll have to cover your shoulders and knees. Wear a top with sleeves and bring a shawl to wrap around you knees, else you'll need to buy additional clothing!
Don't: Overplan in case of bad weather
I visited Krabi during December, which was supposed to be dry season. However, it still rained all day on one of the five days I was there.
A day of rain definitely isn't anything to complain about, but I would recommend having some flexibility in your schedule. Avoid booking day tours every single day.
That way, if it rains, you can focus on indoor activities like getting a massage, or chilling in your hotel room with room service (always a nice indulgence).
Krabi's wet season is from June to October, so bear that in mind. It's no fun island hopping in the rain and the beaches won't be as pretty.
If you have any questions about visiting Krabi, do sound out in the comments below!