Finding the best beach in Thailand can be a hard job. With so many beautiful places in the Land of Smiles you will have to spend months on a Thailand island hopping adventure to find the best beach. But those who go around will for sure find a place to their likings. Around Krabi there are many islands, but may be the best beach in Krabi is not even located on an island...
Best beach in Thailand
I have been around the country many times, but who am I to tell you what is the best beach in Thailand? I can tell you about my favorite places in Thailand, but all beaches have their own charm and therefore it is impossible to tell you where to go to find the best beach in Thailand. Since I have spent a lot of time in Koh Tao, there are definitely a couple beaches from Koh Tao that make it to my top 10. But here in Krabi there are just as charming beaches to be found.
The best beach in Krabi
There are 3 popular beaches and all of them are different. Tonsai Beach, Railay Beach and Ao Nang Beach are those places people come to Thailand for. Their unique setting surrounded by mile high limestone cliffs make these places extremely popular for photography. A traditional Thai longtail boats will make the picture complete.
Although Tonsai Beach is located on the mainland in the Krabi province it is only accessible by boat. Its surrounding limestone cliffs cuts it off from civilisation and therefore can only be reached by boat. The first time I visited Tonsai Beach I ended up there coincidentally as I got off at the wrong beach during an island hopping trip, but I straight away fell in love. It seems like life has stood still on this beach. Where are all the tourists? Why are there only a handful people around here? It was very surprising to see that there were probably only like 25 people around. There was a little bar where I ordered a banana shake and I plunged in a beanbag. There were some youngsters reading a book in the shade, and I would say a little bit more of a hippie crowd smoking some funny cigarettes and trying to balance on a rope! Tonsai was laid-back as hell, for me may be the best beach in Krabi to chill out. If you are looking for a peaceful place to read your book this is definitely the beach you are looking for! :)
Tonsai Beach and Railay Beach are connected by an adventurous but very easy jungle walk. Getting from one beach to the other will only take you about 15 minutes and it is such an easy walk that you can do it on bare foot, though I would advise you to wear flip-flops. Railay Beach is also cut off from the mainland by huge limestone cliffs but nothing like its little brother Tonsai Beach. As soon as I got a first glimpse of Railay Beach I was shocked how busy it was compared to where I just came from. I mean there was still plenty of room on the beach, but I saw at least 50 tourist boats lined up. Railay beach definitely is the most touristy of the two. Though if you are looking to mingle with other travelers than this is the best beach in Krabi for you. Here there is way more to do and to see than in Tonsai. There are little shops, there is a hike to a viewpoint, there are restaurants, bars, all within perspective as this is a tiny bay without any proper streets or vehicles, but way more bustling than Tonsai Beach. Railay Beach is also a little bigger, but equally stunning and in the past rated as best beach in Thailand. To get to Railay beach you have to take a longtail taxi boat from Ao Nang for 100THB one way. Where to stay overnight? Keep on reading...
Ao Nang Beach
To be really honest this is nothing fancy, it is just huge and has a couple cool beach bars, but it is the tourist hub for all the people that go on tours to nearby islands like Hong Island and Poda Island or those who go to Railay and Tonsai. When the sun set, locals tend to come out and hang at the beach as well. So if you are in for a game of football you will always find some people to play with.
Backpacking routes for Thailand
Of course did I included Krabi when I created the best backpacking Thailand routes as I think this region is one of the most incredible one in Thailand. If you have the time to come here you definitely should and I honestly rank Krabi higher than the Phuket area.
Another great idea for island hopping from Krabi is the nearby Bamboo Island. Go camping on this protected island.
Why Tonsai is the best beach in Krabi
It can be really hard to get away from the crowds nowadays especially on the banana pancake trail while island hopping in Thailand. Krabi is a famous backpacking destination in Thailand and therefore you will find many tourists here. Tonsai Beach is somehow still one of the most quiet places I have come along and to me therefore the best beach Krabi has to offer. It is totally forgotten by tourists who en mass go for Railay Beach. As I arrived in Ton Sai I only saw a handful people on the beach. Most of them clustered below a massive tree, reading or sleeping in the shadow. The beach was deserted for a couple hundred meters and the only bar I spotted was empty. If you are looking for an islandlife destination this is your spot. But fair enough when the sun goes down you may be want to be in Railay Beach, a 15 minute walk. So when you ask me what is the best beach in Krabi to stay overnight... ;)
I ordered an ice-cold beer and plunged in a bean bag. The vibe in Tonsai bay is so amazingly laid-back that it is hard to leave! From what I could see this place was definitely a retreat for hippies, but as well for some die hard rock climbers. Tonsai Beach is a rock-climbing mecca with very challenging climbs. Krabi is famous for its limestone cliffs and apparently they are perfect for rock climbing. I put it on my bucketlist for next time!
Best beach in Krabi to stay overnight
Tonsai Beach is still pretty untouched and therefore pretty basic. There are 3 options to stay overnight. In 2016 Dream Valley Resort has been going through a renewing process and is now the most upscale place to stay. Dream Valley has built an impressive swimming pool and some luxury bungalows. It is by no means a 4* resort but still the prettiest one on in the bay. The mid-range option is Mountain View Resort and there is also a budget option on the island: Chill Out Bar And Bungalow.
Although I love Tonsai Beach I think Railay Beach is the best beach in Krabi to stay overnight. There are simply more facilities, restaurants, a mini market, bar, and way more accommodation options. There are a lot of options to stay overnight, for a luxurious place you definitely want to check out Rayavadee and its impressive infinity swimming pool. A great mid range option is the Railay Phutaman Resort, tucked away a little in the back, super quiet but still only 400m from the beach and great views. A great budget option with good reviews is the Sunrise Tropical Resort.
Thailand stole my heart the first time I started traveling here in 2008. I have since been 17 times till the day of writing and there are a lot of things I miss about Thailand when I am abroad, click on the link to check them out all 18. If you need any help planning your trip to Thailand, worried about the safety issues or need some island hopping Thailand tips, click on the links to read my articles.
Considering Philippines to be your next destination? Smart choice! I compared Philippines vs Thailand in terms of traveling for you. For some serious wanderlust inspiration check my article El Nido Island Hopping and let the stunning drone footage blow your mind. Thailand Island hopping itineraries are amazing but these places come just a little closer to my definition of paradise. Island hopping is my favorite thing to do and therefore I made this list of the Most Beautiful Tropical Islands that I have visited with some hidden gems.
For cheap domestic flights in Thailand search on Kiwi.com.
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