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Krabi and Aonang Beaches
Krabi, Aonang and the surrounding area have some fantastic beaches to rival any, anywhere in the world. The beaches near to the hotels in Aonang are great, but if you like to get around a bit, you can find other beaches that are even better. Some will be completely deserted others will be more busy, some are great swimming beaches whereas others are just perfect places to wander, splash around, pick up shells and purely enjoy some of the most fantastic scenery to be found anywhere.
Aonang beach stretches along the front of the most popular tourist area in Krabi. It was the very first area within the Krabi area to be developed and is still by far the busiest and most popular beach in the province.
Aonang beach has the advantage of being within easy walking distance of many hotels, restaurants and bars.
The first part of the beach in front of the shops is reserved for the longtail boats for part of it, with a roped off area for swimming. Then, where the main road turns inland, the beach section is reserved for swimming and sunbathing, bars and massage shops. This end is a nice swimming and sunbathing beach with a shallow entry to the sea and the lack of large waves makes it very safe for young children to play.
One of the great advantages of Krabi's National Park status is that businesses are not allowed to operate on the beach itself, all the beaches are completely open to the public with no areas cordoned off by the big hotels claiming any area to be their private area. This makes it far more enjoyable as you get a real mix of people.
Aonang beach can get a little busier in high season but its very rare that it gets crowded..
Aonang beach has been voted as one of the world's top beaches, but if you are willing to go searching, there are nicer beaches in Krabi.
At low tide there are occasionally small sea urchins dotted along the beach and in the shallows. These are not poisenous, but can pierce the skin of the feet and leave a splinter which is not dangerous or terribly painful, it can be irritating especially for small children. It's best to keep flip-flops on for this reason.
Another way to get here is to take a small side road from the main road into Aonang just opposite the Siam Commercial Bank. The road is now being developed with new hotels appearing all along the way. At the end of the road you come out at the end of Aonang beach in an area with lots of massage shops right next to the beach. A new hotel complex is being developed in this area so we will wait and see what happens.
Nopperathara beach is the next beach up from Aonang Beach and is seperated by just a small outcrop. It does have a very different atmosphere that makes it not better or worse than Aonang beach, but different.
Nopperathara beach is a very flat beach which means that the water is very shallow. At low tide you might have to walk over 100 metres in to the sea to get the water up to knee level. This makes it perfect for families with young kids who just want to splash around and paddle or cool off in the shallows, but, if you really want to swim, then its not so great. Nopperatara beach is also a very poopular place for locals, expats and holiday makers to go jogging early in the morning.
Behind Nopperathara beach is the road and on the other side of the road are several hotels and resorts. At the North end of the beach are the head quarters of the National Park. There is a visitor centre here with some information about the National Park and the area. There is also a very pleasent shaded area which is very popular with Thai people at the weekends. There is also a collection of small seafood restaruants.
Big waves are only ever seen during storms on this beach so its a great place just to splash around, have a game of volley ball or lie in a lilo and take in some sun.
The beach is favoured over Aonang by most of the local Thai people and during holiday weekends there is an almost festival feel to the atmosphere. Thais arrive in large groups and set up camp, string hammocks, get the bbq going and send the kids to play. Vendors selling all sorts of snacks and food line the pavement and wander along the beach path. So, it's a great place to wander along or just sit and take in the atmosphere.
Railay is the name given the area at the end of the pensinsula.
Railay actually has three beaches, East and West and Pranang Beach, but its the west beach that is the famous one. The beach is a very nice wide beach, with very soft sand and just about perfect drop into the Sea making it very good for swimming. At peak season, it does get a little crowded (by Krabi standards).
Railay is totally cut off by a ridge of mountains so is only accessible by longtail or speed boat. The boats travel on demand from Aonang beach at all times of day. You buy tickets for the boats at the both ends of Aonang beach (one is just opposite the Hagen Das ice cream shop). The tickets cost 100thb per person each way. The boats wait until they are full before they travel, at quieter times, you may have to wait for up to 20 minutes.
Railay west beach was one of the very first tourist attractions in the province with part of its charm being that it is so cutoff. Although Railay now has many good hotels, electricity and high speed internet connections, it still manages to maintain that sort of castaway vibe.
Railay has also garnered fame from climbers who have scaled the cliff faces in the area. It is now very well known as being home to one of Asia's climbing communities, hundreds of routes have been documented dotted all over the area and really is a climbers paradise, where else on earth can you climb out of crystal clear turquoise ocean?
Check out our climbing page for more information.
Railey East Beach has now been cleaned up quite a bit and a floating pier constructed. The water on this side gets very shallow at low tide and not great for swimming, as a place to just sunbathe and admire the view though its nice. Pranang beach is probably the nicest beach, just a short walk from Railay East beach it has towering cliffs behind it where many climbers try out the climbing walls and a wide beach with nice clean sand. The caves at the end are filled with idols and ritualistic scultputes (many phallic) where the sea gypsies come to pray for good luck.
Klong Muang Beach
Klong Muang Beach is a beautiful beach and one of my favorite places in Krabi. At high tide its a good swimming beach but at low tide, you can see that it is lined with craggy lichen covered rocks, which although quite picturesque are not easy to walk on. Its a quiet beach as the road is over 100 meters away, so, no traffic noise, there are very few speedboats or longtails parked. Along the beach there are lots of shady spots under the trees so its a great place to just enjoy a few hours quality beach time.
All beaches in Krabi are public property, this means no hotel or resort can set any area as private to them or their customers. This means you can walk completely freely.
Klong Muang is about 15 km from Aonang and is where many of the more upmarket International resorts and hotels are located. On this stretch of the beach there are the Dusit Thani (formerly the Sheraton) and Beyond Resort and Nakamanda. Just round the corner is the Sofitel Resort. Although there are a few hotels, it is never crowded. As they are all upmarket resorts in this area, they do actually maintain the beach to a high standard.
The village itself is quite undeveloped, with just one main street with a few local shops and just a few restaurants for the tourist market. Most of the larger hotels also have restaurants and bars open to the public, so if looking for a special (relatively expensive) dinner, then there are plenty of options both in Klong Muang and further up the road in Tub Kaek. One of our favorites is we feel like treating ourselves is the Tub Kaek Boutique resort with a really nice restaurant in a beautiful setting right next to the Tub Kaek beach.
The beach itself is beautiful though. It's perhaps 4km long and curves round to a peninsula on which the Princess's Palace is located. If you walk all the way in this direction (at least an hours walk from the Dusit Thani end), then you will eventually come to a fence. This is where the Princess Palace property begins and is restricted entry. Apart from that though you can walk wherever you like.
At the other end (if you face the sea, then turn right) there is a very small Island which can be walked to at low tide.
Just around this corner, there is another beach with the Sofitel Resort on. Its not such a nice beach as it runs right alongside the road and has an industrial pier at one end for loading rock from the local quarries onto large ships. Its nice for a walk though.
It is a fantastic beach to walk along, the tidal strip along the beach is always covered with a carpet of shells and sea carved stones and coral, the water is always clean and clear and many times you will have the whole beach to yourself. Water clarity is not what it is at the Islands just because of the sand being washed up, on very calm days though, you can see that the water is very clean and clear.
About halfway along the beach, between the Beyond Resort and the Sheraton, there is beach restaurant which serves reasonably priced food and drink. They also have deckchairs that are free for customers to use and, importantly, a toilet.
There are a couple of ways to get to the beach. One is go straight on when first arrive at the traffic lights in Klong Muang, this takes you along a short road to a big sala and some parking areas with direct access to the beach.
The second way which gets you to the nicer end of the beach is to turn right at the traffic lights as entering Klong Muang, keep going until pass the Dusit Thani Hotel on your left, and then about 300 meters after there is a small road on the left taking you to the beach. There is a sign for the beach restaurant. This is a steep and bumpy road, but easily managable by motorbike or car. There is a barrier at the bottom to stop cars entering. The barrier opens at 10am every morning. If you get there earlier though, you can just park by the gate and walk the remaining 30 or 40 metres to the beach.
Further along the road away from Ao Nang there is Tup Kaek beach (about 30 minutes from Aonang). This is the home of some of the more exclusive boutique resorts; Amari Vogue, Tub Kaek Boutique Resort adn Ritz Carlton Reserve etc). Although its quite isolated, it is also very peaceful and natural up here.
The rubber plantations give way to jungle making everything feel even more tropical. The beach itself is undeniably beautiful and dramatic. It's very sandy and unlike Klong Muang is not lined with rocks so it is good for swimming at most times of the day..
If you are not staying at one of the hotels its still ok to visit. Access to the beach is public but is not so easy to find. You will find an access path to it about 100m before the TupKaek Boutique resort. Don't be put off by the exclusivity, this is a public beach as all the beaches in Krabi are, none of the resorts have any rights to the beaches so you are free to roam on the beaches wherever you want.
The hotels on this beach are right next to the beach and do put some sunbeds and cusions out on the beach for their customers, but its perfectly acceptable to put your beach mat or towel at any place on the beach.
The hotels do also have some kayaks to rent out, prices are quite high though and depending on demand, they may reserve them for their hotel customers.
There are a couple of resorts which will serve public off the beach but prices are likely to be relatively high, so, it's always a good idea to take your own picnic. Please, please please, do remember to take all your rubbish away with you. There is also a restaurant at the end of the beach that has a reasonable selection of dishes and drinks at resonable prices.
We would definetely recommend this beach for a visit as it is really the ultimate mainland Krabi Beach.
Just past Tup Kaek Beach, about 1km further, the road ends and the National Park begins. Here there is a great path up through the jungle to the highest accessible point by foot in all of Krabi. The views from up there are just spectacular.
There are tours available up there or it is possible to do it yourself as long as you are reasonably fit. Allow about 5 hours there to go up and down.
This beach is also known as Pan beach. Its just the other side of the Nopperthara pier. It's always very quiet. A long flat beach, its great for playing frisby or football.
The sand is perhaps not as powder white as Klong Muang beach but its a really good beach for just wandering along and shell collecting.
We have noticed some sandflies bites after being there. These sandflies are very small and difficult to see so you only know they are there when you get a bite. I think these are on all the beaches and its just luck if they find you or not. It only happens once a year or so. The bites are a bit annoying though as they tend to be quite itchy and stay for about 2 days. Best thing to do is if you do find that you have been bitten, just move down the beach 20 or 30 meters and you might find its fine.
The beach is a great place for running as its quite flat and the sand is quite dense and its usually quite quiet as there are only a couple of small resorts here.
Getting to Long Beach is easiest with a rented motorcycle. Just take the road to Klong Muang beach. This road is still under construction but at least is now tarmaced in most sections. About half way along you will see a sign on the left. Take that turning and its about 2km down that road. At the end, turn left onto the beach front road and about 50 meters along there is an entrance to the beach with space for parking cars and bikes.