Like I said in my last post about activities in Krabi, island hopping is a MUST in this region of Thailand!
Not only are the islands insanely gorgeous with their white sand beaches, crystal waters, and amazing snorkeling, they’re insanely affordable to access on any budget!
Skip the pricey tours, which tend to be sardine-packed “puke-cruises” (DON’T ASK- it was not a pretty sight to witness ?), and hire a private longtail for a day, or even a half day! Prices range anywhere from $5-$60, depending on how many people are in your party, in which you’ll have access to devising your own itinerary, privacy away from the crowds, and your own personal Thai tour guide, all while saving money!
The ads for package tours that you’re practically bombarded with at every tourism stand (which is almost every other shop in Ao Nang) may appear fancy and pristine, but I promise longtails are the answer to high-quality, smooth sailing ⛵️?
Here’s a list of the best islands to visit, as well as the average prices & distance to travel to each from Ao Nang (the most common and accessible longtail port when staying in Krabi)!
Price: ~ $5/person (more or less depending on how many people are in your boat)
Time: ~5-7 minutes
Railay isn’t technically an island, but it can only be accessed by longtail, so it made it on the list. Plus, it’s necessary you visit this popular beach, because it’s one of the most beautiful in Krabi!
To imagine the landscape, picture a small-sized beach bordered by towering limestone cliffs, with water lined by longtail boats, and a stretch of sand dotted with cute, beachy restaurants and bars. It’s definitely one of my favorite beaches in Thailand!
Tip: Bring your own lunch or walk inland on Railay’s “walking street” to ensure a pleasant lunch/dinner experience. It’s rumored that the beachside restaurants are overpriced and not worth the money.
Price: ~$16 overall (only $8 when split with my BF!)
Time: 15 minutes
Poda Island is another popular attraction among tourists, mainly due to its close proximity to the mainland, but also because it’s debatably one of the most beautiful islands in Krabi!
It has everything from floating rock formations, water so aqua-colored you won’t believe your eyes, and a rugged jungle if you keep walking inland…crazy crazy beautiful ?
Tip: Because this island is so popular, the beach gets very crowded. If you keep walking to what looks like the end of the beach, and keep making your way through the brush, you’ll reach a secluded beach with a 99% chance that NO ONE else will be on it. I discovered this beach after sailing away on our longtail and was so disappointed I didn’t get to experience it! That being said, someone do it for me, and let me live vicariously through you!!
Price: ~Same as Poda
Time: 20 minutes
Tup is famous for it’s small-sized islands, which are all connected by a massive sandbar. The water is SO clear that it appears as if the sandbar stretches on for miles.
There’s not as big of a crowd on Tup compared to the others on the list, probably because of it’s limited sunbathing space, but in my book, that was a plus! It was really peaceful to visit, even just for an hour, walking along the sandbar and sipping on smoothies at their only bamboo hut on the island ?
Tip: Combine your visit to Tup Island with your visit to Poda, since they’re only 5 minutes away from each other, and charged at no extra cost!
Price: ~Same as Poda
Time: 25-30 minutes
As you can see from the photo, this island is named after its chicken-like appearance? There may not be a great beach to hang out on here, but the snorkeling is some of the best in Krabi!
Have your guide take you here and to the surrounding rock formations with your snorkel gear and some watermelon for feeding, and you will be surrounded by hundreds of neon fish!
Tip: If you’re looking for a 5-star snorkel tour around Chicken Island and several others, I strongly recommend booking with Krabi Sunset Cruises– probably the only luxury, high-priced tour that’s actually worth your money in Krabi!
HONG LAGOON/HONG ISLAND
Price: ~$60 (so traveling in pairs or groups is a plus on this visit!)
Time: ~40 minutes
Hong Lagoon and its islands may be the farthest away, but the long boat ride is SO worth it! The way there is very scenic and once you get there, you won’t even remember how much time you just spent on a boat because the sights are INCREDIBLE!
To get to the lagoon, you sail through a narrow passageway between humongous limestone cliffs, and then you’re greeted with the most unbelievable-colored emerald pool. Like I said on my Instagram, it was one of the craziest bodies of water I’d ever witnessed!
After swimming in the lagoon, head to Hong Island, which is basically a vast and curvy bay decorated with different-sized rock formations, a white sand beach lined with hammocks, and aquamarine water with schools of fish swimming by your feet!
In my opinion, it’s almost as stunning as Koh Phi Phi’s famous Maya Bay.
Tip: Don’t visit here until around 1:30! By 2, almost all the crowds leave, and you’ll have the entire beach to yourself. This was my personal experience of the lagoon and the island, and it was MAGICAL because it’s an experience that’s so rare on popular Thai beaches! Looking back, it’s definitely up there with one of my top Thailand moments.
OTHER SIGHTS TO CHECK OUT:
I can’t speak from personal opinion about these, since I didn’t have the chance to visit myself, but these were some other popular spots I researched!
- Phra Nang Beach and Cave– Similar-looking beach to Railay, but the limestone mountains are more rugged and other-worldly. The cave here is decorated with hundreds of wooden statues of….penises LOL. Yup, very strange, but it’s believed to be a sacred cave with fertility-inducing powers.
- Koh Lanta Islands and Beaches– These are very far from Krabi, but the reviews of the beaches and snorkeling are superb!
- Phang Nga Bay– Also known as “James Bond Island.” This place looks unreal and as if it doesn’t even belong on this earth, but it’s FAR and PACKED. The idea of an organized tour here didn’t seem worth it to me, due to the crowds, price, and distance, but it’s definitely still at the top of a lot of tourists’ bucket lists.
There’s my complete luxe-budget guide to island hopping in Krabi! Stay tuned for a YouTube video guide to accompany it, which is right now in the works ?