As soon as you start planning your trip to Krabi, you’ll discover the region has hundreds of islands—and that there are hundreds of boat tours to help you explore them. With the myriad of boat tours from Krabi on offer, it can be difficult to know which option is the right one for you. Before you set foot in Thailand, understanding what’s on offer and booking in advance can take the hassle out of your trip—you’re meant to be on vacation, after all! With this in mind, we’ve put together some of our favorite boat trips from Krabi to help guide your selection.
Four Island Tour by Speedboat
If you are visiting Krabi for only a couple of days, the Four Island Tour will give you the best value for your dollar. This tour is designed to get the most out of Krabi’s spectacular Islands in a short time. It hops across four of the most popular islands in Krabi Province: Phra Nang Cave Beach, Tub Island, Chicken Island and Poda Island. Although this tour takes in all four hot spots in a short amount of time, the mood is never rushed—the main agenda of the day is to unwind. The four islands themselves have been carefully selected to showcase the best of Krabi’s charms and natural environment. Each has its own unique traits and identity.
Phra Nang Cave Beach
First up on the Four Island Tour is Phra Nang Cave Beach, a short hop from Ao Nang. This enchanting beach is named for the Thai princess god Phra Nang. In a cave on the beach, you’ll see a large shrine to the deity. As one legend tells it, Phra Nang was the wife of a fisherman tragically lost at sea. Phra Nang waited in the cave for her husband to return for the rest of her life. Today local fishermen and boatmen leave offerings in the cave of wooden lingams or phallic-shaped statues in exchange for safe passage.
Chicken and Tub Island
Chicken Island is named for its odd rock formation that looks like, yes, you guessed it, a chicken head! If you approach the island by boat in the right direction, you will easily see the chicken’s shape. While on Chicken Island, you can climb a short, rocky path to a looking point that takes in a vista of both Chicken and Tub Islands rising from the sea below. Tub Island is connected to Chicken by a long sandbank. If your timing is lucky, you can cross the sandbank by foot with the low tide. Both Islands offer little shade from the sun, so it’s a short stop before heading off to Poda Island.
Poda is the largest island on the Four Island Tour and features a large coral reef. If you swim just 20 meters offshore, you will find yourself snorkeling in crystal clear tropical waters amid abundant colorful fish. You might even see a stingray or two. After all the snorkeling and swimming, you’re bound to be hungry for some local Thai food. A restaurant on the island serves up regional specialties. There are plenty of shady spots to pull up a hammock and take a well-deserved rest. Or, if you please, take a walk along the southeastern tip of the island to find a stretch of white sandy beach. As palm trees sway in the breeze, it’s impossible not to chill out and relax.
The Phi Phi Islands and Bamboo Island by Speedboat
The Phi Phi and Bamboo Island tour will whisk you off by speedboat to six islands, just 45-minutes away from Krabi. This tour is packed with sights and activities and makes an excellent day-trip for energized travelers wanting to take it all in. Every island is its own paradise, the only question is, which will be your favorite?
Phi Phi Leh
You may have heard of Maya Beach, the prized location on Phi Phi Leh of Hollywood movie The Beach. Unfortunately, publicity from the movie created over-tourism that damaged the environment. Maya Beach is now closed off to give the ecology time to recover. However, you can still enjoy plenty of other parts of Phi Phi Leh. As there are no hotels on this island, there is a real uninhabited feeling to the place.
Phi Phi Don
Phi Phi Don is the largest of the Phi Phi Islands and has more crowds compared to Phi Phi Leh. The island has some stunning limestone cliffs, pristine beaches and picturesque bays filled with vivid turquoise water. As if these weren’t enough, you might feel the call of the island’s inland jungle as well.
Although not as well known as the Phi Phi Islands, Bamboo Island is no less exquisite. Five nautical kilometers from Phi Phi Don, Bamboo Island, is 500 meters of pure white sandy beach, just waiting for you to sunbathe. If that doesn’t appeal, you can hit the island’s stunning coral reefs for some snorkeling. Which will you do? It’s a pleasant dilemma to contemplate.
Tonsai Beach is the perfect spot for lunch. The beach’s low-key, friendly restaurants present a smorgasbord of local dishes for you to try. After lunch, you can explore the laid back hippie vibe that defines Tonsai, or take a short walk to check out the nearby Dalum Beach.
Arriving at Hin Klang, you will be surprised to find that it’s not an island, but a fantastic cathedral shaped reef hidden under the water. One of the best snorkeling locations in Southern Thailand, the reef at Hin Klang will dazzle you with its rainbow fish that swim and dart among the colorful coral.
The final stop of the day is to an unlikely location called Viking Cave. Known locally as Tham Phaya Nak, you’ll find the cave at the bottom of a limestone cliff. The cave is famous for its indigenous rock art depicting seafaring scenes. It is also a location for harvesting the Chinese delicacy known as ‘bird’s nest.’ It is a dangerous job for the locals as they climb up bamboo scaffolds during the night to reach the swift nests circling above. A kilogram of bird’s nest is worth around 6000 USD.
Island Hopping and Hong Island Beach Day Tour By Longtail Boat
Traveling by traditional Thai style longtail boat, this day excursion offers plenty of beach time and sightseeing around the Hong Islands. There’s a lot to see, as the Hong Islands group is the largest in Krabi. As it is by longtail boat, this tour is far more relaxed than the fast-paced speedboat trips, making it an ideal fit for family groups of all ages. You will have lots of time to snorkel, swim, and play in the sand.
Hong Island Beach
Hong in Thai means “room,” and the literal translation of Hong Island is “The island with the room.” Hong Island Beach hides a magnificent lagoon accessed via a narrow passage. During high tides, it is possible to swim right into the lagoon. You’ll be amazed at the towering limestone cliffs. Hong also offers a fantastic beach protected by rocks that create a perfect shelter for young kids to explore and learn to snorkel.
The Hong Island Group
On the longtail boat tour, you will visit three other islands within the Hong Island group. All offer unique geological forms and hidden surprises. You’ll learn about lush wildlife, rare birds, and spiritual Banyan Trees. As if it couldn’t get any better, the tour includes a delicious lunch. Look forward to bamboo beach mats, low tables, and a Thai buffet served directly on the beach.
Railay Beach by Longtail Boat
Railay Beach is a great choice if you love adventure. Accessible by a 20-minute longtail boat ride, Railay Beach is famous for its thrill-seeking rock climbers and traveling hippies. Don’t feel pressured though, Railay is the perfect place to go just to get some ‘me time’. A beautiful headland and a sweeping white sandy beach will greet you at the mouth of the bay. No effort is required; the hardest decision to make is whether to go for a swim or just lay on the beach.
Before You Go
All of the islands on these tours are part of Krabi’s chain of National Parks. At the start of the tour, your guide will ask for a small amount of money to pay for your entry to the parks. The park protected status is part of what keeps the islands so pristine and spectacular. Whether you go by speedboat or longtail, an island boat tour from Krabi is bound to be a highlight of your stay in Thailand. Make sure to pack your swimsuit and some sunscreen, and you’ll be on your way!
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