Stunning limestone mountains, endless turquoise water views, breathtaking karsts that pop out of the water. Krabi offers all of these things in addition to endless water and ocean activities. Krabi town with your kids must be added to your bucket list. It is by far one of the best places in Thailand.
As you can probably tell I am biased towards Thailand. It is one of my favorite countries in the world. With its rich culture, beautiful architecture, and amazing scenery it has so much to offer. It appeals to adventure seekers, foodies, culture and history buffs. Yes, it has so much to do and see. I even have a, top 3 reasons you need to take your kids to Bangkok.
Now you might be here because you are thinking about taking your kids to Thailand, or maybe you have thought about Krabi as one of your destinations. Lucky for you, you stumbled on to my website. We can help to answer both of those questions.
We have visited many places in Thailand and it is difficult to pick which is my favorite. They all are unique and have made for some special and memorable experiences. I would put Krabi at the top of my list of best places to go in Thailand. But if you are looking to just get to Thailand and still trying to decide. Start with our top page on; “How to book your trip Thailand.” This is full of all the details you will need to know to help decide when and where to go!
Krabi, Thailand is a great destination with kids especially if you are looking for a short beach/adventure vacation, maybe a week at a resort, or if you are looking to make it a place to settle for a month or two. Krabi appeals to those that are looking for a long stay or just a short break. Read on for some of our top things to do and maybe somethings to avoid when visiting Krabi.
Where is Krabi?
Krabi is a southern province on Thailand’s Andaman seaboard with perhaps the country’s oldest history of continued settlement. It is located on mainland Thailand. The best way to get there is by the Krabi International Airport, it’s airport code is KBV. Driving from Bankok will take you up to 10-12 hours.
Krabi is known best for its limestone karsts that jet out of the sea and mangrove forests. It’s also rich in culture and offers amazing Thai food on every corner.
On a hilltop reached by stairs, the Tiger Cave Temple is a Buddhist site with panoramic views. Krabi sits on the Andaman Sea and is the gateway for destinations like the Phi Phi Islands, James Bond, and Poda Island, which are accessible by boat.
Here are some of our top travel tips for Krabi!
Where to stay in Krabi with kids
If you are traveling to Krabi with kids, you will want to consider a place that has things that they, and you like to do. If your kids are good being on the go all day then your options are limitless, but if your kids are not so good on the go all the time, then you will want to find a place that offers multiple activities.
You will want to take the location into account. Do you want to be near or on the beach, do you prefer the city and shopping, or do you like being nestled in the jungles away from it all?
The main part of Krabi is Ao Nang. This small town has lots to offer. There are endless restaurants and plenty of places to shop. You can also find vendors that will take you on excursions to see the other islands and around Krabi.
Krabi has many wonderful resorts of all these varieties. For our family, we like a mix of beach and possibly a few other things to do at the resort. Krabi offers resorts and hotels to meet all different budgets. They have every price range from the JW Marriott, more budget-friendly resorts, to hostels and shared rooms.
No matter what your price range, I always try to ensure that our resort has the following amenities:
- Great pool
- Ocean views
- A private beach if possible
- If not a private beach, within walking distance of a beach
- A kids club
- Breakfast included
- Close to town for more restaurant options
Centara Grand Beach Resort
We opted for the Centara Grand Beach Resort. The Centara Grand is like something out of a movie. It is surrounded by limestone cliffs and is situated on its own private beach, but doesn’t break the bank. This is a very budget-friendly hotel for a family or a couple on a honeymoon.
The resort is only accessible by boat or hiking through the Monkey trail. At low tide, you can walk along the beach past the cliffs to make it back to the city and markets. The privacy of this resort is a huge amenity.
We figured if we are going to enjoy Krabi, then let’s enjoy the views and why we came here. The Centara Grand is hidden away on Pai Plong Bay and a luxuriant national park, it is a beachfront resort in a tropical paradise.
Even our tours came directly to the hotel to pick us up by boat, which made it very convenient for us. We literally walked out of our resort and there was a boat waiting for us at the dock. We didn’t waste any time driving.
The hotel is located a little far from the airport. The Krabi International Airport is about a 40 minutes drive from Nopparatthara pier which is the pier that takes you to the resort.
Downsides of privacy
One of the downsides to the resort is only being accessible by boat. On the first day with all of our bags, it felt very inconvenient to wait at the pier for the boat to pick us up. But they have a boat every hour back to the town and it only takes about 15 minutes. Once we didn’t have our bags and knew the boat schedule, this wasn’t a problem at all.
The resort offers spacious rooms, actually, each room is its own villa. Most of the villas have their own hot tub on the deck. Each villa has breathtaking views of the limestone hills and the jungle. The villas feel very private as they are looking out towards the ocean and they are on a terraced hill.
The resort offers complimentary water sports (kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding – the first hour is free). It also has 2 swimming pools, a waterslide, and 2 kids clubs. Babysitting is available for an additional charge.
I would definitely recommend this resort. In fact, I can’t wait to go back. In my opinion, it is one of the best places to stay in Thailand. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty that this amazing country has to offer. The resort also offers so many activities that you will never be bored!
Must see and do in Krabi
The top 3 things to see are Krabi Town, Ao Nang Beach, and the markets.
If you only have a day or two in Krabi you will want to put this as one of your must do’s. Visit the main town of Krabi and stroll the streets for some delicious local Thai food. Then discover some of the local shops and night markets.
f you are looking to party in Thailand, Krabi might not be at the top of your list. You will want to opt for a time in Bangkok or Patong Beach. It isn’t dead by any means, but Krabi’s after-dark scene does have a friendly, almost harmless feel to it that is tremendously appealing to many visitors, that’s why it is great for families and for traveling with kids.
You will still be able to have a good time with a great number of bars, a few clubs, and fine dining. Some fun unique things you can do at night in Krabi:
- Have dinner in a cave made of limestone
- Take a night cruise that includes dinner
- Shop to your heart’s content at the night market called the Walking Market
- Drink and dine at Ao Nang center pointe
- Go to a traditional Thai dinner show at Paka Showpark
Ao Nang Beach is Krabi’s main beach. You can quickly visit this beach and it will save you time from traveling around hunting for a great beach. You can grab a drink on the beach, play in the water and if you are adventurous grab a kayak.
The beach has some of the infamous tree swings for you and your kids to enjoy. They make great pictures 🙂 You can also take out a kayak at the end of Ao Nang beach and in just a couple of minutes, you will be greeted by beautiful karsts jetting out of the water.
While you are in Krabi you MUST go out on a boat and see the surrounding islands. Do not miss this!
There are a couple of different options offered by hotels and local vendors. We’ll talk about them below.
CAUTION~ the Phi Phi Island tour is typically an 8-hour tour. This is a long day if you are planning to go with young kids. So make sure to pack appropriately and plan to spend the whole day out.
Phi Phi Island Hopping
Book a tour or rent a boat, and hop around from island to island. This has to be one of the main reasons you came to Krabi. Checking out some of the most iconic, remote, or beautiful places in the world.
Phi Phi Islands- have to be some of the most iconic islands in the world. You are surrounded by karst on almost all sides, the white sand at your feet, and the blue-green water in front of you.
Made famous by Leonardo Dicaprio’s film “The Beach,” it has become one of the most visited places in Thailand. It is about a 45-minute boat ride from Krabi but well worth the visit.
**Warning it will be crowded with hundreds of other tourists. If you are looking for your solo shot, you will need to book a private boat and arrive early.
4 Island tour
Ther are many other beautiful islands similar to the Phi Phi islands around Krabi. One of our favorite tours was a 4 Island hopping tour that included snorkeling, lunch, and beautiful beaches.
We opted for this tour because it left our hotel just after breakfast and returned after lunch, just in time for the kids to take a nap.
Railay Beach and Phra Nang Cave
Railay sometimes it is spelled Rai Leh, is technically connected to the mainland but with the limestone cliff. The cliffs prevent it from being accessed by cars. Ther are a couple of places to stay right on Railay.
This is a very popular beach and during the day it is filled with boat tours and tourists stopping to check it out. When the tide is high, the beach becomes small and crowded. Try to get to this beach as early in the morning as possible. Still, even during the day, you can find some secluded areas on the beach to enjoy its beauty.
On the east side of Railay Beach, under the limestone cliffs is the Phra Nang Princess Cave. This is a symbolic cave where fishermen, before going to sea, make offerings to the Phallus of Shiva.
The fishermen say the cave is the home of the mythical sea princess. By giving offers she will bring them success in fishing and protect them. The cave also offers large wooden penis symbols. These offerings are believed to help with fertility. I do have to say it is an interesting display. The cave its self is small and there isn’t much to discover besides being intrigued by the sculptures.
Keep your kids close to you on this island. It is a very busy part of Krabi and kids can easily get distracted and wander off.
This is a natural landmark. It is one of the largest limestone karst that is shaped like the head of a chicken. This is a great area for snorkeling and taking in a view.
When we took our boat tour, we didn’t get off the boat at Chicken Island. We just stopped close to it for some great photos on the front of the boat. I’m not sure if some boats let you off here but the pictures turned out awesome so it was worth the stop!
This island actually looks like two. It is separated by a sandy causeway that in high tide is covered and making it impassable. We were not able to make it to the other island as it was high tide, but it didn’t stop us from snorkeling and watching a monkey walk along the beach.
I can’t get over how great these islands are for photos. Even though we didn’t get to walk to the other island, the water was stunning and there are fish all around your feet! You don’t even need to put on your snorkel gear to see some awesome fish.
Poda Island is just as stunning as the others. It has more to offer than some places, with both lowland, picturesque bamboo plantation and majestic, rocky cliffs, bordered by a long, beautiful beach. We were able to have lunch on this island and had time to explore the beach.
There is a small resident population on this beach. We walked from one side of the island, through the little village, and then walked back along the beach. Once we got to the other side of the island, we had the beach to ourselves! It was awesome 🙂
Our kids loved the privacy of this island. One of the grew places where the kids had the beach all to themselves in all of Krabi. This was a great way to get away from the crowds and really enjoy some of the beautiful scenery and some quiet.
Tiger Cave and Temple
The Tiger Cave and temple sit just outside of the town of Krabi about 5 kilometers inland. The temple sits atop one of the tall limestone towers. To get to the historic site you have to hike/climb 1,237 steps.
This is a challenging climb. I consider myself fairly active and exercise regularly and this was a challenge to me. Part of the challenge is hiking in extreme heat and humidity.
On the hike to the top, you will pass a number of Buddha statues and monkeys to keep you company. If you wish to feed the monkeys on your hike, you can purchase some bananas or food at the entrance for only a few Thai Bhat. Just remember to keep your distance, don’t look them in the eye, as they can scratch and bite.
Once at the top, the temple offers 360-degree views of the Andaman sea, the valley, and the rainforest below.
Please keep in mind this is an extremely difficult climb and I would not recommend it for kids and or adults who are physically able.
There are so many other great activities for kids in Krabi so please don’t try to hike this with young children.
Also if you do decide to do this hike, make sure to pack a hat and wear sunscreen. Drink and pack lots of water. The sun beats down on the stairs making the climb hot and difficult.
Emerald Pools and Hot Springs
If you are up to a drive, you can visit the national forest that is close to Krabi. It is about a 45-minute drive to this national forest. You will find a stunning emerald pool that you can swim in.
There is also a natural hot spring close by the emerald pools. You can swim in this as well. The spring is known for its healing qualities. It is supposed to help heal lots of different ailments.
I would not recommend driving out to these sites. It was a long drive and when we arrived, it was not worth it. The pools were overcrowded with locals so we didn’t want to swim.
Also, the emerald pool was pretty, but it was not as magnificent as the ocean water that will surround your hotel. The pools are about a one-kilometer hike from the parking lot.
This seems like an eternity when you are hiking with 3 kids who just want to swim. Also along the path, there is a possibility of seeing snakes, and cobras are known to be in the area. Luckily for us, we didn’t have such an encounter.
So again, I would not recommend these sites. Everyone was disappointed and felt like we had wasted an afternoon by going to these sites. Spend your time enjoying your resort and playing in the ocean. This is not the best option if you are going to take your kids with you to Krabi.
Getting around in Krabi
There are so many different transportation options in Krabi, it’s hard to decide how to get around. I would recommend taking whichever option is easiest for you.
Taxis are easy to find in Krabi. We saw them everywhere and especially in tourist areas. You simply wave them down like you would a normal taxi in the US.
If you are going to take a taxi, make sure to pre-arrange your fare before getting in the taxi. The driver will always start high, so don’t be afraid to negotiate the price a little.
You can easily take Grab car (like Uber in Southeast Asia). This is the method I prefer because the fare is set on the app and payment is through the app. I always feel much safer taking Grab.
To use Grab, download the app first. The app will walk you through how to register. Caution, it may not allow you to input your credit card information until you arrive in Southeast Asia.
Once you have app up and running, it’s very easy to use. Simply input where you want to go and find the nearest driver. The app will take care of all payments. You can also chat with the driver on the app and it will translate for you.
**Pro-tip~ If you are going to take a taxi, you can use the Grab app to get an idea of what your ride should cost.
You can also hire a private driver for your time in Krabi. It is very common in Southeast Asia to hire a driver (they come with their own car). The price of a private driver with a large van for the day in Krabi will cost about $100. The cost will be significantly less if you just need a driver with a car.
I would recommend asking your hotel for the number of private drivers. We have used private drivers many times and it is a great way to have flexibility. Sometimes the driver will even double as a tour guide 🙂
You can also find private drivers on Trip Advisor, just make sure to read reviews. You don’t want to hire a driver that isn’t going to be on time or that doesn’t drive safely.
If you are going to drive a lot, this is the easiest option. Especially if you are taking your kids with you to Krabi.
Renting a car
I would not recommend renting a car and driving it yourself! Thailand has different road laws than the US and they drive on the opposite side of the road 🙂 Also, your insurance will most likely not cover any accidents that may happen.
If you’re still keen on driving yourself around the island. I would take a look at renting scooters for the day and touring the island. This is a great way to see the sites!
The best time to go to Thailand
In most of Thailand and especially in Krabi, it is always hot and humid. The average temperature is around 90 degrees every day. It rains a lot in Krabi so pack accordingly. But beware, the rain does not make it any cooler. In fact, it usually gets hotter after a short rainstorm.
The best time of year to visit Thailand is from November to March. This is the least rainy time of the year. This is also a high tourist time in Thailand so be aware that hotel rates may be higher during this time.
My favorite time of year to visit Krabi
We visited Krabi in October which technically is still the rainy season. It rained every afternoon while we were there. Bu the rain never got in the way of any of our activities.
That being said, if you are going to travel from June to October, expect rain. The good news about the rain is there will be fewer tourists. I actually prefer this because the rates are cheaper and there are fewer crowds. Especially if I am going to Krabi with my kids, I want to avoid crowds.
So, in my opinion, the best time of year to visit Krabi would be in October. The rains have calmed down and the crowds are low. It’s an all-around win for a great vacation.
What to Pack
- Lightweight and cool clothes
- Bug spray
- Hats to protect your face from the sun
- Medications from home (Advil, etc.)
- Flip flops
- Tennis shoes or other closed-toed shoes
- Life straw water bottle this will allow you to drink straight from the sink or even from natural water sources (you cannot drink the tap water in Thailand)
What to pack for the beach with kids
Wrap Up on Krabi
Overall I think Krabi is a great place to spend a beach vacation with your family. It is a lot quieter than it’s neighbor Phuket. But there is still a lot to do and see.
Thailand offers breathtaking views all over the country but Krabi should not be missed. The views of the emerald ocean water and karsts that shoot out of the sea are something everyone should see once in their lifetime.
If you are planning to go to Krabi, book your hotel and transportation from the airport in advance. Everything can be scheduled once you arrive.
So grab your swimsuit and sunglasses and get ready for a great adventure!