Any tour agent in Krabi town, Ao Nang, Klong Muang or Railay can set you up on these snorkelling day-trips and other activities; prices usually include transport from your accommodation. Diving and rock-climbing are also available.
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By far the most popular organized outings from Krabi, Ao Nang and Laem Phra Nang are the snorkelling trips to nearby islands. The main islands in question are Ko Poda, Ko Tub and Chicken Island, all of them less than half an hour’s longtail ride from Ao Nang or Railay. There are various permutations, offered by numerous companies, including the number of islands you visit (usually three, four or five) and whether you go in a longtail boat, a larger wooden boat or speedboat; prices start as low as B450 for a longtail trip to three islands, including packed lunch and snorkel set. In all cases you should be prepared to share the experience with dozens, even hundreds, of others, because pretty much everyone congregates at the same spots. It’s a lot more fun than it sounds though – so long as you’re not expecting a solitary experience.
It’s also possible to organize your own boat trip with the longtail boatmen on Ao Nang waterfront. Their prices are fixed, but don’t include snorkelling equipment or lunch: for the return trip to either Ko Poda, Ko Tub or Chicken Island (8am–4pm), they charge B300 per person, minimum six people; for Ko Hong it’s B2500 per boat per full day, for Bamboo Island, near Ko Phi Phi, B3800 per boat per full day. Krabi town is quite a bit further away so its boatmen charge B1800–2300 for the three main islands.
From some angles, one of the pinnacles on Chicken Island does indeed look like the scrawny neck and beaky head of a chicken. There’s decent snorkelling off its coast, with a fair range of reef fish and quite a lot of giant clams, though most of the reef is either bleached or dead. Its dazzlingly white-sand northeastern shore, which has a food stall, toilets and kayak rental, is connected to the islets of Ko Tup by a sandbank, which is walkable at low tide – quite a striking sight as you arrive to see other visitors seemingly walking on water. Nearby Ko Poda, which sits directly in front of the Ao Nang beachfront, is encircled by lovely white-sand beaches and clear turquoise water. There’s a restaurant here and plenty of shade under the casuarina trees, so this is the typical lunch stop; sandwich-selling boats dock here too. Though you might get three hundred people lunching on the shore here at any one time, it’s big enough to cope. Some itineraries also feature Ao Phra Nang and its cave, on the Laem Phra Nang (Railay) peninsula, and this is the one to avoid unless you enjoy scrambling for your metre of sand on this overrun little bay.
Half- and full-day rides into the Krabi countryside, or to Ko Klang, Khao Phanom Bencha falls or Khlong Tom’s Emerald Pool, with Krabi Eco Cycle, based about 2km inland from the Hat Nopparat Thara National Park visitors’ centre on Route 4202.
Nosey Parker‘s Elephant Trekking, 7km north of Ao Nang, has a good reputation. From B800 for an hour’s trek along the river and elephant bathing.
Guided and self-paddle trips around the spectacular karst islands and secret lagoons of Ao Phang Nga, usually focusing on Ao Luk, Ao Thalen and Ko Hong in the eastern bay. Dozens of companies offer this, including Sea Kayak Krabi, Soi 2, Thanon Maharat, Krabi town, who offer a multitude of day and multi-day trips, charging B1500 for a full-day trip to Ao Thalen, for example.
Thai cookery lessons
Ya’s Thai Cookery School, about 4km inland of Ao Nang off Route 4203, runs morning and afternoon courses.