Monkeys & Beaches of Krabi,

Krabi is known for being a destination spot for many travelers as there are so many things you can do around this town and the beaches of Krabi are amazing. It is located on the on the opposite side of Thailand from where I’d just left and is just south of Phuket. It’s proximity on the coast is ideal as a hopping point to many popular islands in Thailand such as Ko Phi Phi and Ko Lanta though there are hundreds if not thousands of other islands dotting the sea in this area. And if you have ever seen the James Bond film ” The Man With the Golden Gun” you may recognize the memorable limestone cliffs just off the shore that were very similar to ones they shot nearby at an island near the beaches of Krabi.

Monkeys & Beaches of Krabi, Thailand

Poda Island off the beaches of Krabi

If I were to compare the beaches in Ko Tao and Ko Phanghan to the beaches of Krabi, I would say there isn’t much difference in the color or clarity of the water – both have areas of crystal clear blue waters – but the temperature of the water in the Andaman Sea was noticeably warmer than that in the Gulf of Thailand where we had just come from. And of course, the limestone cliffs lining the shore gave an almost surreal experience while at the beach.

Poda Island off the beaches of Krabi

Poda Island off the beaches of Krabi

As mentioned before, there are almost too many things you can do in and around the beaches of Krabi, it was almost hard deciding just what to do with ourselves for the next few days. Just to name a few things you can do while here include scuba diving, rock climbing, trekking, an elephant safari, snorkeling, mountain biking and kayaking as well as trips to nearby islands. With several small islands scattered right off the beach, we ended up taking a 4 island day trip on a large long tail boat. And you probably recognize these long tail boats as being characteristic of Thailand but you may not realize just how these things are propelled through the water. By using a V-8 engine propped and balanced on the back of the boat, the boat’s ‘captain’ cranks up the engine and dips the propeller down into the water from the end of the drive shaft. To turn, he swings the engine from left to right on its pendulum.

Poda Island off the beaches of Krabi

The main problem with this? Well aside from the fact that the propeller sits a good eight feet out from the back of the boat, on the larger boats, visibility can be an issue because the driver has to face the engine looking back to turn but then turn around and look through a crowd of people to steer. So on our boat, there would be a guy on the bow of the boat yelling to the guy in the rear to steer left or right when pulling in to dock up.

Poda Island off the beaches of Krabi

The first island we visited, named Poda Island, was amazing. Turquoise waters surrounded the small island and just off the beach sat an enormous limestone rock that seemed to be set right on top of the water. We walked as far around the island as we could to escape the tourists littering the beach where we landed on shore and swam around in what seemed a fitting scene for a tropical paradise. To me, this was the real Thailand I had pictured in my mind.

Monkeys & Beaches of Krabi, Thailand

From there, we headed to Chicken Head Island which was really just a photo opportunity more than anything. How many pictures can you take of an island that looks like a chicken head? Well everyone on the boat seemed to take at least five photos each. Why? I’m not really sure…

Chicken Head Island - Krabi

It might be just me but it looks more like a turkey than it does a chicken head

Making it back around the island, we anchored just off the shore and got suited up for some snorkeling right off the boat. The snorkeling was great and actually seemed a bit better than that in Ko Tao. The fish were a bit different and there seemed to be a lot more corals in these waters than in the Gulf though I’m sure it is all just dependent on what part of the waters you are in.

Monkeys & Beaches of Krabi, Thailand

There were hundreds of these urchins scattered about on the rocks

Monkeys & Beaches of Krabi, Thailand

He seemed to enjoy the many watermelons that were thrown to him from our boat…

Later we ate an early lunch and sailed up to the shore from where we were to land on another beach with the option to either swim, snorkel or just hike around between two islands as the tide was down enough that there was a sand bar that connected the two. And I can only assume that the monkey we found on the small island was either brought here by boat or had come from the larger island because he seemed so out of place being miles off the mainland. While we were there swimming, we thought it would be interesting to try and feed the fish that were constantly swimming around us. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea but we were going to give it a go anyway. Grabbing a delicious slice of whole wheat, we tore off bits of the bread and tossed them in the waters in front of us. Within a few seconds, this was the scene….

Monkeys & Beaches of Krabi, Thailand

It was funny until you drop your elbow or hand into the water by accident and the fish start biting you thinking its food!

Monkeys & Beaches of Krabi, Thailand

After we got back on our boat, we had but one stop left, Phra Nang Cave off Railay Beach. Needless to say, this beach spot was something spectacular and unique. There were limestone cliffs and caves at each end of the bay and at one end, you could walk waist deep in the turquoise waters to climb the rocks into the cave that eventually dumped you on the other side of the beach. Luckily, our stop here was the longest and we spent as much time as possible exploring every inch of it.

Monkeys & Beaches of Krabi, Thailand

Monkeys & Beaches of Krabi, Thailand

There were even boats there selling food right off the beach

Monkeys & Beaches of Krabi, Thailand

That night, we took on the night market in the center of Krabi town. Its a popular spot for the locals as I think they go there more for chatting than they do to buy but it’s also a great place to go for dinner. I think I tried at least five different things that night which included coconut corn waffles, crab filled pancakes, some type of dessert filled with coconut milk and shavings, and some tiny fried bird eggs that are sandwiched into pancake batter. I also had one of the best strawberry shakes of my life. With a cup full of strawberries, a dash of sugar, a bit of syrup and a good bit of ice, I decided this slice of heaven that had been put in a plastic cup was like your first experience as a kid when you discovered a Cherry flavored Icee at 7-Eleven on a hot summer day.

The Shake Lady in the Krabi Night Market

There was a reason there was a line… this shake lady had it going on!

The next day we went kayaking not too far from Krabi at a place called Ao Thalane. It was an organized kayak tour so there was a large group of us making up about 12 kayaks. The route we took snaked through rock canyons and canals and the river eventually ended up dumping into the Indian Ocean though we didn’t go quite that far of course.

Kayaking at Ao Thalane in Krabi

Kayaking at Ao Thalane

Kayaking at Ao Thalane in Krabi

We covered a good bit of distance and it lasted about two hours. There were definitely some shallow areas where you’d almost be stuck and have to push yourself off the rocks but the highlight of the morning was when we got stormed by ‘monkey pirates’.

Kayaking at Ao Thalane in Krabi

These poor saps just got there Lay’s potato chips nabbed….

OK, so these monkeys weren’t from Somalia but they came out of nowhere, jumped on board and took whatever they could find whether it was a bottle of water or just some food. I wasn’t too thrilled to have one in the kayak with us as I was just imagining it stealing my bag holding my wallet and camera but my friend thought it was just the coolest thing to have a monkey along for the ride down the river. We rode with it for about ten minutes then dropped it off on one of the river tree branches overhanging the water.

Kayaking at Ao Thalane in Krabi

Kayaking at Ao Thalane in Krabi

After kayaking, we finished the afternoon back on the beach but our run ins with monkeys wasn’t over. Since the beach was so crowded, we walked to the far end by the cliffs to find a beach spot but as soon as we got near the cliffs, we walked up on hundreds of more monkeys. This was definitely not a place to throw out your towel along the beach. The monkeys were everywhere as were the tourists and just like everywhere else, those tourists that don’t know to hide belongings were getting monkeys crawling up their back and taking their stuff. I ended up finding a hiking path over the cliffs to get to another section of the beach where it was more secluded and only accessed by hiking or by boat. And although there were monkeys on the hike to get there, there were none on this stretch of beach…

Monkeys & Beaches of Krabi, Thailand

Monkeys & Beaches of Krabi, Thailand

The last thing we visited before leaving town was the Tiger Cave temple which sits atop a mountain cliff and overlooks Krabi, the ocean, and the hills and valleys to the opposite side. The mountain itself is no easy hike either.

Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi

There were 1,237 steps to make it to the top and these were not your normal steps either as they were extremely steep and were about 16-20 inches in height.

Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi

Yeah… wasn’t lying on that fact!

It took about forty five minutes to make it to the top and I was hoping for a cold shower when I arrived since I looked like I just stepped out of a hot sauna. However, the view was amazing even though it was hazy that morning. And of course, how good could a temple be without a clan of monkeys at the top? Of course everyone was thrilled to see these monkeys here but one of the baby monkeys ended up getting its head stuck in the fence and that is when the funny monkey business ended. When it started screaming, one of the older monkeys came shooting over threatening to bite. Everyone scattered quickly including myself. I was not in the mood to get bit by a monkey in south Thailand…

Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi

Buddha at the top of Tiger Cave Temple

Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi

My favorite picture…. Somehow this monkey just wants to part of the gang

After the temple we headed to a hot spring which was located about an hour from Krabi near the Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve. After swimming around a bit, which you can only do for about twenty minutes before your heads starts to boil, we headed to the ‘Emerald Pool’ which wasn’t far from the hot springs. The walk through the forest to get to the Emerald Pool was actually nicer than the pool itself. Unfortunately it was a Saturday while we were there so when we made it to the pool it was overrun with locals and tourists and a whole slew of kids. One practically jumped on my head from the edge of the pool. Luckily there was one other spot to check out in this area called the Blue Pool. When you see the picture below, I think you’ll know why they call it that. It took us about thirty minutes on the most worn out boardwalk to get there but when we made it there, it was definitely the bluest colored freshwater I had ever seen.

Blue Pool in Krabi Thailand

I don’t know why its blue. All the sign said was ‘Blue Pool’

After this day in Krabi, it would mark the end of my time in south Thailand. I was headed north to Chiang Mai and though I’d miss the beaches of Krabi, it will nice to get away from the heat and humidity of the south…

Share this post
Sign up to get my latest blog updates via email and receive your FREE copy of my eBook, ‘25 Awe-Inspiring Landscape Photostories’.

14 Comments... Join the conversation below

  • Rosanne Losee March 24, 2012, 3:42 am

    Wow. Wow.

    Absolutely wonderful. The photos are so realistic, Rory, I’m glad you have a great camera. What camera is it? I felt like I was on that journey with you. What are you eating in Thailand? Sounds nutty, but you know Italian food in Italy is different than here, and Chinese food in China is different than here, soo……is Thai food there different than here? I have tried (almost) all the menu items at my favorite restaurant near the library….Thai Taste. I love Thai food.

    And those monkeys! Do they try to bite if you get near them? Will they take your wallet, or are they more interested in food and drink? Not the kind of animal you would want to pet!

    Fantastic…I loved this blog today.

    • Rory March 31, 2012, 1:58 pm

      I actually changed the camera I was using mid way on my trip as the original was having issues. I thought I’d buy a better one and ended up getting a Canon S95 while I was in China. Contrary to popular belief, it cost me $50 extra in China that it would have in the States. And that was after haggling for over an hour!

      And yes, Thai food here is different than Thai food back home. The pad thai is similar but still cooked differently…

      As for those crazy monkeys, they just want food and drinks so anything showing is likely going to get nabbed from unsuspecting tourists….

  • krissie March 25, 2012, 2:20 am

    Great pictures. To answer the question about Topsail … it is in NC. We have been going there for 14 years. Definitely not the beach you have been seeing but its nice. Where are you going next?
    Have a great time and don’t get bit by any monkeys.

    • Rory March 31, 2012, 2:00 pm

      I can’t believe I’ve been to almost all the beaches in NC but have yet to even go near Topsail. I’m putting that on my list! So we are heading to Laos next after Thailand. Getting caught up on posts so many more on the way…

  • Aura March 28, 2012, 4:04 pm

    I’m a little behind reading your posts but what a treat it’s being reading about your visit to Thailand. I agree with you it should be called Turkey Island but maybe there are less turkeys in that island. The water is incredible considering all the navigating boats. My favorite boat was the one which sells food. You have been eating such delicious food and keeping all the weight off for sure. Take care Rory and thanks so much for the detailed stories.

    • Rory March 31, 2012, 2:02 pm

      Actually, I don’t think you can find Turkeys anywhere in Thailand. Well, I haven’t found any yet but definitely chickens on every corner and backyard! Thanks for staying in touch

  • Trudy February 24, 2013, 2:23 am

    I loved this! We are in Phuket at the moment and heading to some other islands soon. Krabi was high on the list and this has confirmed it. I love the monkey shenanigan stories!

    • Rory February 25, 2013, 11:39 am

      Glad you liked it! I’m excited for your trip and glad to hear you’ve decided to head to Krabi. Definitely check out the night market while you’re there. Its a great (and cheap) place to eat… You’ll have a fantastic time I’m sure, let me know if you need any recommendations on anything! Happy travels!

  • Escapist April 1, 2014, 6:12 am

    Hilarious ape with the watermelon 😀 ha ha ha

  • Robert February 5, 2016, 11:17 am

    We traveled to Thailand a couple years ago and spent most of our time on the Island of Koh Samui. I first heard of Krabi on the airplane from a couple on there way there. So wish we would have ventured to this part of Thailand! There are so many beautiful places to see in the country, it’s hard to decide. Will definitely have to return! Did you encounter any sea lice in the ocean there? Nasty little pin pokes in the water. Rob
    Robert recently posted…Whistler RV ParkMy Profile

    • Rory February 6, 2016, 11:01 am

      Hi Rob, thanks for the comment… And yes, so many cool places to visit in Thailand, it’s hard to choose. And I think Krabi is hard to choose for many travelers as most in that area would opt to go to the islands instead of the mainland which I can understand so unless folks have more time to travel, they often skip this magical place! Anyway never did encounter any sea lice, that sounds rough! Is that seasonal? We definitely swam a lot there….

  • Jared June 24, 2016, 3:46 pm


    Where did you stay? Im looking for a place where I can enjoy the beach and the beautiful landscapes and do other stuff like you did. Krabi looks like a great place!

    • Rory August 20, 2016, 3:52 pm

      We stayed in the main downtown area in a hostel. It’ was all we needed, very modern and affordable and had a free shuttle to the beach. If staying on the beach, you’ll pay more but may be worth it to you. Can’t recall the name of the hostel but was in the center of town, not far from the food market and I think it was on a corner off the main street… Hope you go, Krabi is an awesome place!

  • Travel Myanmar March 20, 2017, 12:12 am

    The pictures are very interesting and it makes me want to go here, I feel the freedom of the monkeys in this country. They are lovely
    Travel Myanmar recently posted…YANGON, the economic of MyanmarMy Profile

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge