Let’s be honest- I came to Thailand for the beaches. The green waters set against jungle cascading karst. Not knowing what the north had in store for me (which was just as great in my opinion- though you should do both if possible!) this is what I came for.
I flew south from Chiang Mai to Krabi. From the airport I easily hopped on the shuttle bus which brought me straight to the beach town of Ao Nang dropping my in front of my hostel. Though in my opinion the town of Ao Nang is nothing to write home about (crowded, touristy, and not the most pristine beaches) it’s a great home base and budget friendly for making other trips to the surrounding islands and best beaches.
I stayed at Glur Hostel which was like a glamor hostel- it felt more like a bread and breakfast/hotel. It’s a solid 15 minute walk from the town but worth the peace and quiet and cleanliness. Highlights are the pool, the general aesthetic, private double rooms, breakfast included (fruit, toast, coffee), and the common area with hammocks and all!
Day 1 we headed out on a long tail boat to the Hong Islands. I had heard that the cookie cutter 4 Islands Tour was overcrowded and a French girl was looking for two more to fill her boat so off we went. The island is part of a national park and was reached in about 45 minutes. Make sure your boat driver makes the rounds to the emerald green lagoon in the interior which is opened through a tall cliff passage.
The island is uninhabited by humans at least- as there are gibbons and giant monitor lizards who call this paradise home. Right on the beach edge we were greeted by colorful fish. This beach still had quite a bit of people on it but if you stay the whole day by 2 or 3 people start to clear out. It seemed that it would be a great place to rent a kayak and do the lagoon on your own too!
Day 2 we took the short boat ride over to Railay Beach. This area is well known and if you have the $$ to stay here it is one of the best beaches in the area.
We got off at Railay and made the easy walk across to Phra Nang Princess Cave beach. This beach is adorned with stalactite outcroppings and huge rock faces over the ocean. Be on the look out for those cheeky (sometimes vicious) monkeys!
I found the beach to be also really crowded but I decided to rock climb which made this one of my best days in the islands.
I can’t recall the name of the company but I found the guys at the bottom of the rocks next to the cave- you can’t miss it. For 1,000 THB it was climb until you can’t anymore. The guides were super helpful and even let me try it out before paying as I had a knee injury 🙂 Don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy the view once you make it to the top!!
Further out from the beach there is a cool natural cave tunnel that I saw kayakers paddling through and around. If I had more energy I would have done this too! It’s the best way to enjoy the views and have some space from the crowds
From Ao Nang I hopped on the speed boat for the island of Koh Yao Noi– much quieter and less tourist frequented. I unplugged for four days and grounded myself in a yoga retreat at Island Yoga Thailand (which I highly recommend!). I don’t have many pictures to share from this time but it was just what I needed after being on the go for the past two months.
I was able to unwind, nap, cuddle kittens, and walk through the town which has tall forests, mangroves, and pristine beach (even though the weather rained for me!) The people here were so welcoming and it is normal for the local women to pick you up as you hike up the tall hill into town.
From this island I headed for the well frequented Phi Phi Islands to meet up with a friend and were able to find a little bit of paradise all to ourselves. This deserves it’s own post!