Suggested itineraries for a holiday in Krabi

Over the years, Krabi has morphed from a sleepy place for extended beach holidays to a busy stopover destination. These days, most visitors to Krabi are passing through – either on a weekend break, or a 2 – 3 night stopover as part of a tour of Thailand – and all wondering, rightly so, how they are going to fit in everything they want to do, and which are the “best bits” and the “must-sees”.

The answer is, of course, “it depends”. Who you are travelling with; what your interests are; what your level of fitness is; where else you are visiting in Thailand; and what you want from your holiday in Krabi all factor in to the creation of a good itinerary.

Conversely you are also bound by what is physically possible, distance-wise and time-wise – Krabi is a large province, and its attractions are not located all in one place.

A former incarnation of this site offered booking services and travel consultancy (alas, no more), so we have created several thousand Krabi itineraries in our time.

Here we share some of the best for a 3 or 4 night stay. If you are staying longer, mix and match! For these longer stays, don’t forget to factor in a rest day if you have the time: the tropical heat is not to be underestimated. Even if you live in Asia, you will not generally be used to spending whole days outdoors in the sun.

The best Krabi itineraries

Travel agents will of course sell a 3 night stay in Krabi as “3 nights / 4 days” but in reality, flight times mean you will only get 2 clear days in which to do activities. So the proposed itineraries reflect this, with 2 full days of excursions. If you are lucky and are staying an extra night, or have a half day on arrival or departure, we’ve included a third option on the list.

See also our suggestions for what to do in Krabi in the afternoon – there is a list of shorter excursions that have late or flexible departures so you don’t waste a minute of your holiday!

Note that the itineraries favour independent travel (self drive or with driver). If an organised option is available, we will mention it. The links provided will take you to further details on the activity / location, as well as the travel options.

Itinerary 1: Classic Krabi

Half day: if you arrive by 11 – 11.30am, get on a sunset island tour; or (up to around 2pm) you can charter a longtail boat from the beach to the 4 Islands OR Hong Island. Tours should be booked in advance from an agent; boats can be hired on the spot at the beach – allow 3 – 4 hours for the trip, and boats generally need to be back by 6 – 6.30pm. Dinner in Ao Nang offers everything from pizza to sushi and the friendly nightlife is worth hanging around for.

Day 1: Hot springs and Khao Pra-Bang Khram Nature Reserve: Venture inland and discover Krabi’s green heart. This pristine forest is zig-zagged with easy-to-follow walking trails. Along the way you’ll find a crystal-clear pool for swimming and the perfect natural jacuzzi at the hot springs. On the way there (or back) stop off at Tiger Cave Temple where you can explore the forest caves, and experience a breathtaking view (and climb) at the mountaintop shrine. Can be done as an organised tour, or by taxi / self-drive (recommended).

Day 2: day trip to the Phi Phi Islands. Known as ‘the jewels of the Andaman Sea’ or, more recently, as ‘the place where The Beach was filmed’, this group of six islands is exceptionally beautiful and really a “must-see”, even with the crowds. Check link to see the travel options here. Round off your stay with a seafood dinner.

Itinerary 2: Extreme Krabi

Day 1: Rock climbing in Railay will give you a bird’s eye view of this stunning peninsula; take a half day course (around 5.5 hours, starting at 8:30am or 1:30pm) with the rest of the day exploring or chilling out on the beach; or a full day for a more comprehensive understanding – and workout.
No prior experience is required.

A leopard shark in the Andaman SeaDay 2: From the heights to the depths: scuba diving will get you to the best spots to encounter Krabi’s outstanding marine life – the reefs not visited by the standard tour boats. Departures from the Krabi mainland will generally visit the Phi Phi area, which offers the best visibility and all-round sites. If you’ve never dived before, go for a “Discover Scuba Diving” course. You’ll get training + 2 dives that will count towards a full license if you then go on to do a PADI Open Water course within 6 months. Non-diving companions are welcome on the boat as snorkelers.

Half day: The kayaking in Krabi cannot really be classed as extreme – unless you are paddling on a stormy day in the monsoon season! – but it will serve well as “relaxing” activity for those who don’t like to sit by the pool. ATV or quad bike riding is another option – visit the camp in Ban Nai Sa for well maintained vehicles and some proper off-road action.

Itinerary 3 :Krabi Culture

Day 1: If you’re not already staying in Krabi Town, head there early (7 – 9am) for the fully immersive sensory experience that is the morning market (Maharat Soi 5); afterwards head out to Tiger Cave Temple with plenty of water to explore the forest meditation zone and the mountaintop shrine. Lunch back in town, and then (after an optional nap), walk to the riverside and take a longtail boat to do a tour of the backwaters. In the evening, the night market in town (see Krabi practical info for times) has fantastic street food on offer – it’s clean and cheap, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Day 2: The Bor Thor area, in the north of Krabi, is home to stunning karst formations, mangrove and caves, some of which have ancient paintings. Visit by kayak or longtail boat from Bor Thor pier. Its a beautiful 40 minute drive, and then around an hour or two of paddling. Go with a tour, or drive yourself and rent a boat with guide from the pier. The Thanbok Khorani National Park, in the same area, is also worth a visit, though it is no longer possible to swim there.

Half day: Try your hand at a Thai cookery course: evening sessions are usually quieter and offer a chance to cook more elaborate menus; but at any time will offer a good introduction to the fundamentals of balancing the four flavours; ingredients and substitutions; and techniques.

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Itinerary 4: Free Krabi

Blown all the budget on your flights and hotel? Here’s how you can visit Krabi paying only your food and transport, no entry fees (as of early 2018). You can rent motorbikes for 2 people from 250 baht per day – only recommended if you have some previous experience.

Day 1: Visit the famous forest temple at Tiger Cave and climb the 1260 stairs to the mountain-top shrine – the views are breathtaking. If your legs can take it once you are down, there are another few flights of stairs into the forest meditation area, which is a small but beautiful spot with rainforest and caves to explore.

Day 2: Set off for Tubkaek with a picnic and plenty of water. Do the trek to the Ngon Nak viewpoint and admire one of the best views in Thailand. On the way back down, stop off at the stunning Tubkaek Beach, normally the preserve of five star hotel guests (it is open to the public, as are all beaches in Thailand). The sunset here is one of the best free shows in Krabi. Or – if you don’t want to drive after dark – head back to Ao Nang Beach for 6pm, as the sunset show is also good (and free!) there.

Soaking up the sun on Railay Beach, ThailandHalf day: From Ao Nang or Ao Nam Mao, hop on a longtail boat to Railay Beach (100 baht per person each way). Here you can spend anywhere from a couple of hours to a whole day exploring the beaches, caves and trails around the peninsula – or just chilling out on the sand. Unlike the islands, there is no entry fee for these amazing beaches.

Itinerary 5: Relaxing Krabi

Half day: If you arrive in Krabi by midday, book the sunset junk cruise for your first afternoon and evening: it’s a great way to ease into your next few days of calm and bliss. The crew is friendly and attentive as you need; scenery magnificent; and cocktails well mixed.

Day 1: After a lazy morning at the pool and / or brunch, take a late afternoon trip to the Hong Islands, located 25km north west of Ao Nang. Easily the most beautiful islands near the Krabi coast, boasting spectacular beaches, cool wildlife and a hidden lagoon. Snorkel and swim to your heart’s content.

Boossabakorn spa in Ao Nang, KrabiDay 2: Spend the day relaxing with a picnic in the cool shade of Had Nopparat Thara National Park. At low tide you can take a walk out to the islands close to the shore. Or do something very similar at Tubkaek. Follow this with a traditional Thai massage and feel all tension melt away.

Itinerary 6: Only islands

If only the finest powder white sand and azure water will do, you’ll need to commit to serious island hopping.

The beach at Hong Island, KrabiDay 1: Visit the Hong Islands, by speed boat or longtail (private or group tour). Spend the afternoon on the gorgeous twin bays of the main island, or rent a kayak and paddle round to the lagoon.

A speedboat at Phi Phi Leh IslandDay 2: Phi Phi is a must – try to plan it on a weekday if at all possible as there will be marginally less people around. Speed boat is the easiest way to visit, but there are also dive boats or ferries waiting for your custom. If you are serious about your beaches, also consider an overnight stay here – the northern beaches in particular are spectacular and quiet year round.

Half day: The 4 Islands of Poda, Chicken, Tub and Mor can easily be visited in a half day from Ao Nang, with a longtail boat charter. You could even squeeze in Railay if you have an additional hour or two, which would bring the number of tropical beaches visited up to at least ten – not bad for a long weekend!

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Itinerary 7: Budget weekend

Krabi's weekend "walking street" marketHalf day: Hit the ground running on Friday evening with a trip to the weekend night market. It’s easy to get the local bus if you are staying in Ao Nang, or use one of the join-in minivan services for around 300 baht per person round trip. Bring plenty of small notes for all the cheap snacks and souvenirs that you’ll no doubt want to buy.

Day 1: The group tour to the 4 Islands by longtail boat is probably one of the best value trips in Krabi. Admittedly the service is rough and ready and lunch is a box of rice but for 450 – 500 baht (plus your entry fee of 400 baht), you can have great day out at some of the most beautiful islands in Krabi.

Day 2: An equally good bargain is the half day kayaking in Ao Thalane. Choose the afternoon session (unless the tide is very low) as it will be quieter, allowing you to explore the vast and peaceful mangrove-lined canyons and caves in peace, and hopefully see some wildlife along the way.

Find out more about how to book tours and activities in Krabi; and get more itinerary ideas from the links below.

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