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Trip report: 5 days in Krabi

by Mandy
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We recently travelled around Thailand for our honeymoon, and after spending three days in Bangkok, our next destination was a relaxing 5 days in Krabi, which we could not wait for! Here’s an overview of everything we got up to, from island hopping and street food vendors, to spending some time at the elephant sanctuary.

Day One

We had an early morning flight with Thai Airways, arriving in Krabi nice and early for 9:30am. Having never flown with Thai Airways before, we were a little skeptical, but we  had no reason to be. We had a fab flight experience and the in-flight entertainment was even better than what we had with BA flying into Bangkok!

For our 5 days in Krabi, we stayed at the fantastic Ao Nang Phu Pi Maan Resort & Spa. The hotel was a 30 minute transfer from the airport and we booked a private taxi transfer with the hotel directly. We were checked-in nice and quickly, and whilst we waited for our room to be prepared we sat in the upstairs restaurant with some nice refreshing fruit juices. It’s worth noting, the hotel is a Muslim run hotel, so no alcohol on the premises.

It wasn’t long before our room was ready and we thought we’d spend our first day in Krabi, chilling by the pool in the sunshine – which was glorious!

Having spent the day snoozing in the sun and lounging by the pool we felt very relaxed and refreshed after the travelling and early start. We got ready for dinner and headed down towards Ao Nang beach to watch the sunset. We found a bar along the beachfront and ordered a couple of cocktails while the sun set. We were lucky to get a beach-side table, so we could enjoy uninterrupted views.

For dinner, we came across the fab Ton Ma Yom Thai. We both ordered a curry dish and a couple of drinks, and enjoyed people watching while we waited excitedly for our food. The meals were delicious – so full of flavour and everyone who worked there were lovely. The prices were also really reasonable and we thoroughly enjoyed our evening here.

Day two

We had a full day ahead of us today with a beautiful island hopping trip around Krabi. We booked with Thalassa Tour, and the whole day was a memorable experience from start to finish.

We met at an agreed meeting point and boarded our longtail boat for the day, starting with a trip to the renowned Railay Beach, stretching alongside dramatic limestone cliffs, attracting rock climbers from all around the world.

From here, we made our way to the stunning Poda Island – literally our very own slice of paradise for the day. Usually a popular tourist hotspot, with lots of tours visiting the island, Thalassa Tour timed our visit to be after all the rush of the other tours so we got to enjoy the island all to ourselves and take in the beautiful natural scenes without any interruptions.

We had ample time here, sitting on the beach taking in the views and playing in the beautiful blue ocean. While sitting on the island’s pure white beaches, our guides cooked us an incredible Thai buffet, consisting of vegetable spring rolls and a light Thai curry. There was more than enough food for all of us, and they very kindly catered to everyone’s dietary requests, whether veggie or meat eaters. 

We hopped back on the boat after lunch and made our way past a surprisingly iconic rock formation of “chicken island” – and not without a trip to Tup Island of course, where we got to enjoy gorgeous vistas out over the ocean as far as the horizon would stretch, and out to the islands in the distance.

We had free time to explore the island, take in the views and enjoy the beautiful beach. Be careful however about the resident monkey’s! A couple who were sat near us were enjoying a swim, when a monkey took a liking to their bag and riffled through their things! Keep your belongings secure and your wits even closer to you, as monkeys can bite and be dangerous. Someone made a false lunge at the monkey hoping to scare it away from the bag only for the monkey to lunge back at him! Not much you can really do at that point but hope he gets distracted by something else and doesn’t steal too much from the bag!

Our perfect day island hopping was drawing to a close. It was mid-afternoon by this point but our guide had another treat in store in the form of some local snorkelling. Our boat took us a short distance to Koh Sii, a renowned diving and snorkelling spot, with excellent visibility and vibrant colourful coral and fish. I am not the bravest swimmer in the ocean, but even I was completely mesmerised by the rainbow of fish swimming beneath me. We had free roam, gently snorkelling in the waters and following the fish around – I have never seen such an array of brightly coloured fish and found the whole experience so relaxing. That is until, some strands of my hair floated into my eyeline whilst snorkelling and for the longest time I thought they were jellyfish tentacles! Panic stricken I threw my head up above the water expecting others to be freaking out too, only to see everyone joyfully paddling away with their snorkelling gear on. I moved to a different spot and resumed snorkelling only for the same thing to happen again! This happened about 2 or 3 times before I realised it was my hair! But made for a good laugh between me and Oli.

Back on-board, we headed to Phra Nang Beach, a stunning beach slightly further up from Railay, with a dramatic, jagged limestone cliff and cave. We sat on the beach and enjoyed the sun set, lapping up our time on the beach, we mostly had all to ourselves with uninterrupted views of the sun set.

The sun set views quickly became secondary to me when I saw lots of movement in the corner of my eye from the cliff face. They were moving too swiftly to be birds and looked quite large. I headed towards the cliff at the end of the beach for closer inspection only to realise they were dozens and dozens of bats! They are not everyone’s first choice I know, but they are my favourite animal and I remember vividly running back down the beach to Oli to tell him excitedly they were bats!

We sat in awe of them as the sun set, watching them fly high above us out and around the cracks and crags of the cliff. Even as high up as they were, visually they looked huge – easily a wingspan as long as my forearm and easily the largest bats we’ve ever seen in the wild. They were absolutely incredible to watch, and despite all the beauty we had seen that day, watching the bats zip and swoop above us was the highlight of the day for me.

As the bat activity started to subside, we headed back to the group, not quite believing what we’d witnessed and all enjoyed dinner on the beach. Our final treat of the day was a short trip out to sea once it was dark enough and to witness first-hand the incredible bioluminescent plankton. We all donned our life jackets and snorkelling gear once more, and plonked ourselves in the now pitch black water. The confidence I experienced earlier when snorkelling with the fishes quickly diminished as I bobbed around in the emptiness of the black ocean. It felt very daunting, but I was quickly distracted as a guide swam over to me and told me to snorkel and gently wave my hands in front of me underwater. The water in front of me instantly lit up an electric blue as the bioluminescent plankton reacted to the movement of the water. It felt like witnessing electricity under water, it was genuinely amazing to experience and I was just in awe of the whole experience.

I lost all sense of time playing with my new super powers, but eventually we all boarded once more and our guide took us back to our drop-off point in Krabi. It was still relatively early in the evening, and not wanting to end our day there, we headed down to Krabi Town for some drinks and to experience the night life in the area (definitely not to be missed!) We found a bar called Get Rads, fully expecting to bar hop our way through the night, but we loved it in there so much we settled in well and truly for the night and stayed there all evening!

Long story short, it was a very messy night and resulted in two very sore heads the next morning. Two sore heads, but absolutely no regrets, thriving from what an incredible day we’d had. Sadly, I’ve read that Get Rads has been closed since the Pandemic, but hopefully they reopen soon!

Day three

Feeling more than worse for wear, today we just chilled at the pool, enjoying lots of fresh juices and non-alcoholic cocktails. Feeling we needed a pick-me-up to recover from our night of intoxication (and as it was our honeymoon) we treated ourselves to some massages at the hotel spa. All in all, a day of R&R was just what we needed, and we felt back on form by the evening and ready to experience more of what Krabi had to offer.

I’ll take this as an opportunity to quickly rave about our hotel. Split over several levels, the hotel had beautiful views from its terrace and the room’s balconies looking out to the fauna-covered cliffs that Krabi is so well-known for. There is a long communal pool at the top level, just outside some of the hotel rooms, plus a smaller but quieter communal pool on one of the lower levels. The hotel snack bar is not far from the lower pool, and from there you can order mocktails and snacks to your lounger. The team who work at the hotel were all amazing and couldn’t do enough to ensure we had a wonderful stay.

The location was also spot on, with a short 15/20 minute walk down to Ao Nang Beach, where we could grab a longtail boat to Railay Beach. The walk is also via the main strip in Krabi Town, so we were no more than a matter of minutes from the main bars & eateries in the area.

As a result, we never ate dinner at the hotel (how could we when there were so many incredible local places on our doorstop!) Once such place we’d heard great things about was Jungle Kitchen, so that evening we grabbed some dinner there. Unfortunately there was some miscommunication between us and the staff about how spicy we wanted our food (we wanted it to be spicier! But we later learnt during our trip to ask for something as “Thai Spicy” and everyone knew what we meant by that), so unfortunately our curries were a little bland (for our taste) but we couldn’t knock anything else about the place and would definitely go back in a heartbeat for a hopefully even better experience! Unfortunately it seems Jungle Kitchen has been a recent victim of the Pandemic but has hopes of re-opening in October 2023, so watch this space!

Day four

Today we had an incredible day planned with the Krabi Elephant Sanctuary. When we visited in 2018, the vast majority of elephant sanctuaries were in the north region, around Chiang-Mai, however more charities and sanctuaries were popping up in the south of Thailand, which included this place.

We did loads of research before we left and felt that Krabi Elephant Sanctuary was the right choice, supporting ethical practices, ecotourism and above all, prioritising the care and wellbeing of their elephants. Once we arrived, I’m so pleased to say that remained the case and the team at the sanctuary seemed so devoted to their elephants. They taught us about each of the elephant’s background and history, and how the elephants came to be in their care. We were a small group (about 15 of us) and we helped to prepare their breakfast, filled with fruits, leafy plants and some additional nutrients and minerals that get added into their meals. We were also able to feed them some bananas if the elephants were interested (which they very much were!) and we were all able to just co-exist with these beautiful animals, watching them and observing them.

The team lead us through beautiful natural surroundings as the elephants wandered through the park grounds, and there we were able to continue to observe them, gently stroking them if they seemed comfortable with it, and watching them interact with one another, splashing mud over their bodies and heads to cool down from the heat of the sun. They are such gentle giants and we truly felt honoured to have spent that time with them.

Whilst I hope that Krabi Elephant Sanctuary continue to uphold their standards and ethics, we visited in 2018 and do realise that things can change over time, so it’s essential you conduct updated research and read recent reviews and reports before planning a visit to any animal sanctuary. We have written a separate post on things to look out for when considering an elephant sanctuary in Thailand if this is helpful.

We arrived back at our hotel by early/mid-afternoon, absolutely buzzing from our time at the sanctuary. We spent a couple of hours chilling by the hotel pool and making our plans for our last night in Krabi. We’d really fallen in love with Krabi, it’s laid-back vibe and it’s stunning beaches, so we were sad to soon be leaving but keen to make the most of our final full evening!

We decided to keep things easy, and headed out to the street food vendors for dinner. We treated ourselves to satays, dumplings and other things we could graze on as we went from stall to stall, saving myself for my absolute favourite – mango sticky rice! The local market fair had also popped up on this evening, so we enjoyed a nice wander along all the different vendors and people watched.

It wasn’t long though before we got to experience our first summer storm, and the heavens absolutely threw it down! We bar-hopped our way along Krabi Town, trying to escape the downpours as we went. We had a lot of fun despite the torrential weather and got chatting to locals as we made our way across different bars and popped our heads into some of the local stores and shops for some last minute gifts and souvenirs.

Day 5

It was our last day in Krabi, and we wanted to soak it all up as much as we could. We loved everything about our island hopping day, but realised we hadn’t done very much with what was available right on our doorstep, so we grabbed a longtail boat from Ao Nang Beach and spent the whole day at Railay Beach.

The beach was quiet all day, and with the exception for a few groups and couples holidaying here and there, we had the place to ourselves and were able to fully appreciate what a slice of paradise this place really is.

We chilled on the beach all day, but after a while the intense heat from the sun became too much and we decided to pack up our things and head a little bit more in-land for some shade. A short walk from the beach is the main strip for Railay, a busy and lively little pathway, filled with cafes, bars and restaurants. We were spoilt for choice until we found Kohinoor Indian restaurant and popped in there for an early dinner which was incredible!

Afterwards, we caught a longtail back to Ao Nang, sad it was time to pack our bags. Afterwards, we had one final venture out into Krabi Town to toast our amazing few days in Krabi. We ended the night in Amy’s Bar, a great little bar with good music, lots of games (you can’t go wrong with Jenga) and delicious cocktails! Sadly Amy’s Bar has also been a Pandemic victim and remains temporarily closed, but hopefully will be back open again soon!

We are already desperate to come back to Thailand as there is so much more to see. We don’t normally return to the same area more than once, but we have definitely made an exception for Krabi, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what more we could see and experience. Our next stop from Krabi was the stunning, rural island of Koh Yao Yai (updates to follow!)

Thank you for reading – we hope you enjoyed our Krabi Trip Report 🙂

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