This year was Rachel and I’s first time to discover Thailand Beaches together. We chose to go to Krabi for its beautiful beaches. It was definitely a tough choice, Thailand has a great number of really good beaches. For now, we chose Krabi. Read on to find out where are the best places to go to in Krabi, which beaches to visit, how to travel and what food to eat.
Since we are traveling from Singapore, and ending the trip in Malaysia, we planned to travel by land on the neighboring countries. From Singapore, we hop on a ferry to go to Bintan, stayed back in Singapore, hitchhiked to Malaysia and then hitchhiked to Thailand. More on hitchhiking on the next part.
Rachel and I have both traveled to Thailand previously on separate occasions, and we both agree, like many other people, that the country is beautiful, has one of the most respectful and happiest people we’ve ever seen, and the country has amazing food.
We were looking forward to the Thailand part of this trip since it will be our first time traveling to the country together, and this experience is always a special one. Our recommendation is that if you are looking to travel in a budget, trying to stretch your travel money for a much longer time, or looking for that glorious tan, Thailand is definitely one of the best options you can choose. Many people love it, and we are definitely coming back.
How to Travel to Thailand Beaches
As a part of adventure, we traveled hitchhiking from Malaysia to Thailand. Yes it was easy and possible. In fact, if there was any challenging part of the whole hitchhiking trip, it was that Rachel and I were coming from Malaysia sick. We’re pretty much used to tropical weather (Rachel’s from the Philippines, and I’ve been traveling to Asia so many times). However, this time, with the mix of Malaysia’s high heat, and unexpected rainfall every day, our bodies gave up at one point, and we were actually sick for a few days. We were already recovering the day we were headed to Thailand, but a little bit weak. Oh how we were so excited to finally reach the borders of Thailand, as we immediately looked for Thai food!
We started our hitchhiking day from Penang, Malaysia. The main rule of hitchhiking is this: You find a good spot, most probably out of the city, like in the toll road, to stop the cars. Make sure the area is somewhere cars can slow down to actually pick you up. Areas where cars need to speed up are bad hitchhiking points. To help us, we usually have a paper with the next stop or final stop written on it so people will have an idea what we are trying to do. Read here, if you want to hitchhike like a pro.
Here are all our stops from Georgetown (Malaysia):
– Ferry to Butterworth – from Georgetown to Butterworth there is a ferry for free and it only takes 10 minutes (not counting the waiting time).
– Butterworth to Thai Border (3 cars). From Butterworth, you need to manage to stop a car headed to the toll road. This is always the most challenging part of the hitchhike since there is not so much traffic in that area of the city. Once you’re in the toll road, it’s easy to just try to stop cars on the way to Thailand. Once a car drops you at the toll road, you either need to cross to the other side, (from entrance to the area where cars exit), or (if you’re dropped past the toll), just start hitchhiking right there. There are so much cars passing by the toll, and they are usually going to the next cities, so you should easily get a ride fast.
From the Thai border, you’ll have to walk a few meters to reach the main road. For us to reach Trang on our first evening, it took us about 4 cars and one truck passing by Hat Yai and Phatthalung. Short distances but easy to get a ride. We got our last ride from a truck at night time. He drove us until Trang to a police check point. And the police understood where we were heading to. They gave us cold water, fresh wet tissues, and asked drivers of cars reaching the checkpoint if they are headed to the place we were going to, how cool is the police in Thailand! They got us a ride with someone in 5 minutes, and we went straight to our destination in Trang. We actually couchsurfed with a Filipino guy who is working in Thailand as an English teacher. Amazing 2 days!
After our stay in Trang for 2 days, we hitchhiked again from Trang to reach the Thailand beaches in Krabi. We did it with 3 vehicles until Ao Nang Beach. If you don´t feel hitchhiking, no worries! There are plenty of bus and vans going to Krabi.
Thailand Beaches in Krabi
Ao Nang is a very beautiful beach. It’s about 10 kilometers from downtown Krabi. From Ao Nang, you can ride the boat and reach 3 Thailand beaches, next to each other. We chose to take the boat from Ao Nang to Ton Sai, then walk to Railey, then to Phra Nang. One way ticket costs 100 Bath ($3) each. The tickets coming back cost the same. Every ride takes 10-15 minutes.
If you are going to visit the same route, we highly suggest you to do the same. Walking will save you money plus will let you explore the beautiful surroundings of each beaches. Ton Sai is a really nice beach, with shallow and warm waters. It is mostly popular for the rock climbing activities that you can do there. We stayed in the beach, had a swim, walked around and met a few Spanish people who told us that since it was low tide that day, we can actually walk from Ton Sai to Railey, through a very special trail into the rocks and woods. Sick adventure!
We went behind the Ton Sai beach, and followed the trail that leads to Railey. If this is something you can’t do, or if the tide is too high, renting a kayak or a boat will be your next possible options. The hike was not very easy, but also not very advanced. You just need to be very careful. A lot of people were actually doing the hike even to come back from Railey. There will be a trail guide once you start climbing to hike so you shouldn’t be confused which trail to take.
The Railey Beach is probably the most popular of all the beaches in Krabi. It was very very crowded when we got there. So many people lying down on the beach for a tan, and also a lot of people swimming in the green warm waters. If you are looking for a solo and quiet day, Railey is probably not the beach for you. For us, we like the warm waters. Something you won’t find everywhere. We spend the longest time there, swimming and staying at the beach. Even with the high no. of people, Railey’s beauty is definitely obvious. A long stretch of white sand and beautiful green waters. There are many places to eat at, many boats also waiting to take you back to Ao Nang. Water is not too shallow, but not too deep, so you should see different ages of people taking a swim.
A few minutes walk from Railey is the Phra Nang Beach, most popular for its Phra Nang Caves. There were also a lot of people visiting this area, because of the beautiful caves. One of them is the very interesting Penis Cave. We also had a walk in the caves where there are a lot of monkeys freely roaming around. You are not allowed to feed the monkeys when you pass them by. There are also swimming areas by the caves, although you’ll need to be careful as there can be a possibility of jelly fish bites. Warnings are seen around the area. We didn’t swim in this beach anymore. From Phra Nang, we walked back to Railey, where you can take the boat back to Ao Nang Beach.
End your day with the incredible Ao Nang sunsets, and you’ll have a perfect day trip. Ao Nang Beach is a very long beach and it’s usually little bit crowded and with boats. It’s tricky to take photos of the scenery as there will always be people, but if you focus in the moment, we assure you the views are breathtaking. Wait til the sky changes its color. Ao Nang sunsets are truly incredible. The atmosphere is great and we really loved just watching the sunsets, taking in all the beauty of everything surrounding you. Check a few shots of Ao Nang that we took below.
What to eat in Ao Nang
Ao Nang is actually a very varied place. You’ll easily find eating options for every budget. There cheap, moderate, and big international restaurants. In Thailand, street food is really cheap and delicious. So there was no problem for us to find the food we want to eat. There are even Halal restaurants, in case you are looking for Muslim approved food.
For our stay in Ao Nang, we ate the popular Pad Thai (costs only $1-2 as street food), their fried rice with seafood costs only $1-2, fruits, smoothies and street chicken barbecue. Very cheap! Some local restaurants were even offering 50% discount, so the price was exactly same with street food 🙂 A great suggestion is to actually exchange your money near the beach. In these places, the exchange is actually a good rate, not unlike when you’re trying to exchange your money near the border, hotels or other non-touristic areas.
Where to stay: Ibis Styles Krabi Ao Nang
Location is definitely very important. For a full relaxed stay, we made sure that we are close to everything – bars, food places, the beaches, the shopping places. This was why the Ibis Styles Krabi Ao Nang was perfectly located for us. Just outside the hotel you’ll see various street markets and shopping options. We eat our breakfast at the hotel, as they have a very good breakfast buffet menu. However, we always take our lunch and dinner outside since we were outdoors the most part of the day. Various choices, cheap and delicious. Plus you’ll have the chance to eat with locals and other travelers, too. How far is it from the beach? Just 10 minutes walking distance. But, if you don’t feel like walking to go to the beach in Ao Nang, the hotel provides a free shuttle every hour. You will save 5 minutes of your time 🙂
Amenities of Ibis Styles Ao Nang
Ibis Styles Krabi Ao Nang actually has a very nice pool. We highly suggest that you enjoy the beaches of Thailand, but if you’re staying a few hours in the hotel, while kids are playing, or trying to relax when the sun is too hot for you to be out, a nice pool with a really good view is not a bad place.
Our favorite part of the hotel was our room, we loved the relaxing style and the wifi connection was great for those moments that we spent online. The best from the room was the amazing view with the pool below and big rocks in front of you, creating an awesome landscape. You will have the opportunity to enjoy the sunrise, with the a quiet and relaxing atmosphere.
We are foodies and the breakfast was great! We enjoyed fruits and juices. And also salad, omelettes and always trying a new different Thai dish. It was very complete the breakfast and also hands up for breakfast with pool view, who doesn’t like that? There is no better way to start the day that with a good breakfast, nice conversation and a great view. Also there are common areas where you can play pool, check the internet and get free snacks and cold drinks!
Hope you enjoyed our guide to traveling to Ao Nang. Need more Thailand guide, check here. For the full hitchhiking guide, you can read more information here. How to spend a luxury vacation in Thailand, read here.
And for more information for island hoping in Thailand, here our frined Tom will explain to you all that you need to know, and the itinerary to follow around Thailand beaches.
Have you traveled to Thailand beaches or planning to? Tell us another beach you prefer! See you on the next travel guide!