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18 Top-Rated Beaches in Krabi, Thailand

Written by Meagan Drillinger
Updated Mar 30, 2022

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Few countries in the world have more postcard-perfect beaches than Thailand. And while you can find breathtaking tropical paradises all over the country – from Phuket to Koh Tao to Hua Hin –the province of Krabi is home to some of the most spectacular coastlines in Asia. Here, steep limestone cliffs tower over the palm-lined shores and coral reefs, a lush blanket of green and turquoise covering both land and sea.

November to April is full-on high season here, when most tourists arrive to dive deep into the Andaman Sea and discover untouched natural beauty. Whether you're after heart-stopping adventure, a place to bury your feet in soft white sand, or clear blue waters that go on forever, find the top spots with our list of the best beaches in Krabi.

1. Phra Nang Beach

Phra Nang Beach
Phra Nang Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Phra Nang Beach is just a 10-minute picturesque walk from neighboring Railay Beach through a trail that cuts through towering limestone cliffs. Phra Nang is particularly busy during high season, not only because of its beautiful soft white sand and picture-perfect waters, but also because of the many attractions and things to do once you get here.

Sharp cliffs in the background attract many rock climbers, and the quiet emerald bay waters mean both snorkeling and swimming are great at this beach. But Phra Nang also offers great opportunities for trekking into the lush rainforest and up to Tham Phra Nang Nok (Princess Cave), famous for its fertility shrine that can only be reached after a steep hike up holding on to ropes. The view from the top is breathtaking and stretches all the way over the crystal-clear waters and far into the sea. From here, you can follow a trail to a hidden lagoon.

Phra Nang Beach
Phra Nang Beach

During low tide, you can walk from Phra Nang to two tiny islands (Koh Rang Nok and Nai) or kayak towards and around them at any other time. Otherwise, Phra Nang is perfect for just lazing around in tropical bliss.

2. Railay Beach

Stunningly beautiful Railay Beach
Stunningly beautiful Railay Beach

Whether you are here to soak up the sun or take in the stunning scenery, Railay won't disappoint. Cut off from the mainland by massive limestone cliffs, Railay can be accessed only by boat. One of Krabi's most popular beaches, Railay is a rock-climbing haven, with rain-weathered cliffs offering experienced climbers the thrill of a lifetime.

Railay is well-developed, with beachfront restaurants, shops, and accommodations; a promenade with open-air cafés; massage tables right on the beach; and even a muay Thai training space. Railay beach hotels include the luxurious Rayavadee, which features award-winning architecture that blends right into the limestone cliffs and lush tropical forest.

The east half of Railay is where all tour boats dock-it's more crowded here, and the thick mangroves that reach out to the sea make the water less than ideal for swimming. The west half of the beach, however, is all about the sugar-white sand, the turquoise seas, and the salty tropical air. This is where tourists escape to for a little more privacy and the serene swaying of palm trees.

3. Tonsai Beach

Limestone cliff on Tonsai Beach
Limestone cliff on Tonsai Beach

Surrounded by palms softly swinging in the sea breeze, Tonsai beach is sandwiched between two cliffs. To get to it, you either have to wait for low tide and walk here from Railay Beach, or you have to kayak your way to it.

Tonsai is not the best destination for swimming or snorkeling, as the strong currents and the reef that sits right against the sand make it slightly dangerous. As the beachfront shops renting equipment confirm, however, Tonsai is a great place for sea kayaking and diving, and a well-loved climbing destination for experienced climbers.

Because of its unique blink-and-you-miss-it location, Tonsai is much more serene than the surrounding beaches. You'll find dramatic views and rustic beauty here, as well as plenty of activities to keep you moving when you're not working on a tan.

4. Koh Mai Phai

Koh Mai Phai (Bamboo Island)
Koh Mai Phai (Bamboo Island)

If you have your heart set on solitude, Koh Mai Phai (Bamboo Island) can provide just that. Located about 45 minutes on a longtail boat from Phi Phi Don, this tiny island (you can literally walk the entire island in about 30 minutes) sees much smaller crowds. Koh Mai Phai has no impressive limestone cliffs, so it doesn't attract climbers, and there are no hotels or restaurants on the island, which keeps away most backpackers and visitors looking for a busier vibe.

Those who make the long boat trip here come for the pinkish-white sands and the clear turquoise waters. There are no palm-lined stretches of beach here, but walking inland will get you to a lush green area where you'll find the bamboo trees the island gets its name from and a small shack selling cold drinks. If you have your own snorkeling equipment, the coral here is some of the best in Krabi.

Perhaps the best part of visiting Bamboo Island is that you can stay overnight-right on the beach, in a rented tent, waiting for the sun to come up the next day over the turquoise waters.

5. Ao Nang

Ao Nang Beach
Ao Nang Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Ao Nang is Krabi's most popular resort town and easier-to-access mainland beach. It's always buzzing with excitement-the chatter of divers and snorkelers, the soft crash of the surf over the coastline, the comings and goings of tour boats. Ao Nang town can be easily reached by taxi and offers lots of accommodation options right on the waterfront, such as luxurious Anana Ecological Resort Krabi and Sea Seeker Krabi Resort.

Ao Nang beach-a one-kilometer stretch of powdery-soft sand-has a walking promenade full of restaurants and shops and it's a very popular departing point for longtail boats heading to the surrounding islands. So while the beach is often free of sunbathers, it's still busy most of the day. Come in the evening, however, and you'll find people sitting on a blanket, watching as the sun sets down in a dance of reds and yellows over the deep blue waters.

Palm-lined Ao Nang Beach
Palm-lined Ao Nang Beach

Once the sun is down, the promenade on Ao Nang offers plenty of entertainment, tons of places to grab a good plate of pad Thai, and many shops open late into the night.

6. Tub Kaek Beach

Tub Kaek Beach
Tub Kaek Beach

Just an hour but a world away from Ao Nang, Tu Kaek is one of the quietest beaches you'll find in Krabi. Over the ocean, dotted distant islands create surreal sunset views. Blue warm water, no noise from boats or water skis, and thousands of tiny crabs scurrying around on the soft golden sand add to the magic.

Tub Kaek's crystal-clear, shallow water is ideal for swimming, and the nearby conservation area provides visitors with plenty of shade and trails for exploring. This isn't an active beach for extreme sports but one where you can just leave your worries behind and instead spend some time enjoying the feel of the sand between your toes. However, because of its location just a short walk away from resorts and many restaurants, Tub Kaek doesn't feel isolated-once you're ready to leave the quiet solitude of the sand behind, you can head to a local eatery with a great view of the sea.

The wedding scenes from The Hangover Part II movie were filmed at this beach and the luxurious seaside Phulay Bay Ritz Carlton hotel.

7. Nopparat Thara Beach

Nopparat Thara Beach
Nopparat Thara Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Nopparat Thara Beach offers a bit of everything for everybody-the lively brrr of boat motors and holidaymakers on the east side, where longtail boats depart to take visitors on island-hopping tours, and lush green serenity on the west side, where the beach is part of a conservation area.

Boats are not allowed on the west side of the beach either, making the area perfect for swimming and lazily watching kayakers heading for the offshore islands. During low tide, you can walk to some of those faraway islands-during high tide, you'll need to find a boat to get you there and back.

Nopparat Thara Beach
Nopparat Thara Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Flanked by coconut trees and covered in seashell-paved sand, Nopparat Thara beach is the perfect getaway to disconnect from the buzz of other action-packed beaches in the area.

8. Klong Muang

Klong Muang Beach
Klong Muang Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Klong Muang Beach has all the charm of the real Thailand and almost none of the typical holiday crowd you find in more touristy beaches. Up until recently, Klong Muang was more of a local beach, a peaceful retreat for those looking to enjoy paradise in silence-only recently has the beach started to receive foreign tourism, although it's still underdeveloped and a perfect escape from busier destinations.

A woman relaxing at Klong Muang Beach
A woman relaxing at Klong Muang Beach

While the coastline is too rocky for swimming here, the 1.5-kilometer-long stretch of palm-shaded sand is perfect for leisurely walks. In the early hours of the day, chances are you'll have the entire place to yourself. When you're ready for more exploring, hire a longtail boat for some island hopping-Hong Island is just 25 minutes away by boat and offers hidden lagoons, majestic limestone formations covered in lush rainforest, and a beautiful coral reef perfect for snorkeling.

9. Koh Poda Beach

Boat on shore, Koh Poda
Boat on shore, Koh Poda | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Part of the Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park, Koh Poda beach is pristine, unspoiled, and underdeveloped. Although the island is a favorite of sea kayakers and snorkelers, it's often deserted in the early mornings, before the day trip boats start arriving. If you want to experience what it's like to have the entire beach to yourself, hire your own longtail boat and arrive on the island before noon.

Koh Poda
Koh Poda | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Limestone mountains and palm trees hug the beach, offering a chance to hide from the sun. There isn't much to do here-no shops, no restaurants, no chance to rent any equipment. So you either need to come prepared with your own equipment if you want to snorkel, or you can just enjoy the aquamarine waters for a couple of hours of ultimate relaxation.

Koh Poda
Koh Poda | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Since Koh Poda is part of a national park, there's a fee to access the island, regardless of whether you arrive on your own or as part of a tour.

10. Ao Thalane

Kayaks on the beach at Ao Thalane
Kayaks on the beach at Ao Thalane

While you might spot the occasional sunseeker here, Ao Thalane is a completely different kind of beach. More visitors arrive here not for a tan but for quiet kayak tours through the mangrove forest and down channels that cut through the massive limestone peaks. Ao Thalane is affectionately known as "kayak paradise," and many day tour companies bring groups here for a chance to see the iconic Thai limestone cliffs right from the water.

If you're looking for soft golden sand, however, you can still find lots of that in Ao Thalane. You can't swim during low tide here, as the beach becomes a giant mud pad, but once the tide comes back, the waters are clear blue and inviting. Essentially a fishing village where you can experience true Thai character, Ao Thalane offers a pristine sea environment and a backdrop of rolling green cliffs that seem to disappear right into the ocean.

There are only a few hotels and restaurants here, most of them sitting right on the sand. Overall, though, Ao Thalane remains a mostly underdeveloped area surrounded by lush tropical landscapes.

11. Klong Dao Beach

Fishing boat at Klong Dao Beach
Fishing boat at Klong Dao Beach

Klong Dao Beach is Koh Lanta's most popular beach. A picturesque, palm-lined island flanked by smooth granite boulders, Koh Lanta offers great scuba diving. Koh Lanta is actually made up of two islands-Ko Lanta Yai and Ko Lanta Yai Noi-just off the coast of Krabi. Part of the islands falls inside the Mu Ko Lanta National Park, home to a massive cave network and a semi-nomadic tribe known as Chao Lao ("sea gypsies" in Thai).

Klong Dao Beach is the main arrival point for visitors to Koh Lanta and as a result, the most developed coastline on the islands. Resorts and restaurants are scattered along the seaside, overlooking the sunset and the wide powdery-soft beach. Local laws prevent developers from building anything above tree height, which means that this busy, lively beach still preserves its natural beauty and serene feel.

12. Maya Bay

Maya Bay
Maya Bay

World-class famous as a result of Leonardo DiCaprio's movie The Beach, Maya Bay is actually home to several beaches, including the Hollywood famous one - a 200-meter-long, picture-perfect stretch of soft white sand. Some of the smaller beaches, which can only be accessed directly by boat, disappear during high tide. The turquoise bay itself, surrounded by limestone cliffs on three sides, is part of the idyllic Koh Phi Phi Leh island.

Maya Bay was temporarily closed by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation starting in June 2018 to allow the ecosystem and coral reefs to recover. It reopened in early 2022, though the reopening comes with a few new rules and regulations. Visitors are welcome between 10am and 4pm, with a maximum of 375 people per one-hour tour. The tours must be booked in advance. Visitors arrive at Same Bay and walk five minutes to the bay.

Swimming is not permitted in the bay at the moment, but visitors can take photographs of it on the sand.

13. Phak Nam Bay

Phak Nam Bay
Phak Nam Bay | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

While the Phi Phi Islands are among the most popular islands in Krabi, you'll feel like you're on a private island all your own when you visit Phak Nam Bay. The beach here is often called "Relax Beach," thanks to a small eco-friendly hotel that occupies it.

The resort is the only development on the beach, and is only accessible by boat from the Tonsai pier in Koh Phi Phi Don. Once you reach the golden-hued shore, the frenetic energy of Tonsai melts far, far away.

Phi Phi Relax Beach Resort is a collection of eco-friendly bungalows that line the beachfront and climb up into the hills. Directly on the beach is a small beach restaurant that is open to both hotel guests and day visitors. The beach itself is broad, and quiet, with gorgeous views out to the turquoise water and green-capped, dreamy islands out in the distance.

14. Bamboo Bay

Bamboo Bay
Bamboo Bay | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Bamboo Bay is, in a word, secluded. This crescent-shaped strip of cream-colored sand sits at the base of a winding mountain road on Koh Lanta. From above, it looks like a perfect, dreamy stretch of deserted beach backed by thick, verdant jungle. This jungle, in fact, belongs to the Mu Koh Lanta National Park that sits at the very end of the island.

Bamboo Bay is about as far away as you can go on the 16-mile-long island. Not much development happens here, as the surrounding land is protected by the national park. A few restaurants sit at the top of the hill and have a bird's-eye view of the beach below.

Undoubtedly the most peaceful beach on Koh Lanta, this is where travelers head who want to experience what Thailand was like decades ago. Just be prepared to bring your own amenities, as this beach has none, save for the sun, sand, and sea.

15. Long Beach

Long Beach
Long Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

A first timer's visit to Koh Lanta is incomplete without a stop on Long Beach. Don't worry – you won't miss it. Long Beach is the largest and most popular of the beaches on Koh Lanta. The soft, pale sand stretches for more than three miles and is backed by a long strip of beachfront hotels, bungalows, and restaurants.

The wide beach gives way to a beautiful stretch of calm, turquoise water. The drop-off is steep, but the waves are gentle, making this a great spot to take a deliciously refreshing swim. In fact, it's not uncommon to see travelers get up from their casual beachfront tables and pop into the water before tucking into their next course.

Be sure to grab a table or a beach bed for sunset – you have the best view in the house from the shores of Long Beach, and the sunsets off Koh Lanta are simply breathtaking.

16. Koh Gai Beach

Koh Gai Beach
Koh Gai Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Koh Gai translates to "Chicken Island," and it will be pretty obvious why. Its most notable rock formation looks like a chicken's head rising from the sea. But this island is also home to one of the best beaches in Thailand.

Sticking out of the translucent water is the blinding strip of powdery white sand. Just off the coast of the mainland, the beach feels like it's an entire world away because of its deserted island aesthetic.

Koh Gai Beach is also connected to two other islands and beaches at low tide. It's a popular photo spot for travelers to visit when the water level is low. Walking across a soft sandbar in the middle of a dreamy, turquoise sea makes quite the splash.

17. Tub Island Beach

Tub Island Beach
Tub Island Beach

A walk across the swath of white sand from Koh Gai at low tide will put you on the shores of Tub Island. This small, green-topped tropical island is the second in the three-island chain that is just off the shore of mainland Krabi.

The beach here is yet another picture-perfect idyllic beach, with tranquil water, soft sand, and endless views of every shade of blue. Tub Island is a popular stop on many of the day trips from Krabi, so chances are you'll have the opportunity to visit it if you book an island-hopping tour.

18. Muya Bay

Muya Bay
Muya Bay | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Surrounded by towering limestone cliffs, this small, powdery stretch of sand is one of the best beaches for snorkeling in Thailand. You can hire a longtail boat to take you for a swim and snorkel, or you can book a longer tour and have a stop there along the way.

This small beach is really for those in the know. Locals know the name of the beach, but you won't find much about it when you search it online. Don't confuse it with the much more popular (and busy) Maya Bay. This small, secret beach is a hidden gem in the islands of southern Thailand.

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