×

11 Top-Rated Beaches in Krabi, Thailand

Written by Diana Bocco
Sep 3, 2019

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 coastline 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 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.

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

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

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)

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

Palm-lined Ao Nang Beach

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. 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

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 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.

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

A woman relaxing at Klong Muang Beach

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.

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

Long-tail boat on Koh Poda

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.

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.

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

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

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.

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

Beach Resorts in Krabi: Sometimes the best way to enjoy a beach is from the comfort of a luxury resort. If this is your idea of beaching, having a look at our picks for Best Beach Resorts in Krabi.

Getting from Bangkok to Krabi: Tourists often fly direct to Krabi but if you are coming from Bangkok, there are several ways of reaching Krabi. Budget travelers may want to consider some of the bus options and ferries to some of the islands. For details on how to make the journey, see our articles on From Bangkok to Krabi: 4 Best Ways to Get There.

Discover destinations, find outdoor adventures, follow the journeys of our travel writers around the world, and be inspired.

More on Thailand