Dotting the Andaman Sea just off the shore of Ao Nang, the Islands of Krabi are the crown jewels of this gorgeous place. Islands hopping around the Islands in Krabi should be at the top of your list of things to do in Krabi. Just stroll along any of the beaches in Krabi and you’ll see longboats lined up to take you to your next island destination.
This post provides details on visiting the Islands of Krabi, including suggestions on how to find a tour or boat, which islands to visit, what to bring for your day on the water and more. With over 80 islands off the coast finding the places for island hopping in Krabi can feel overwhelming.
We’re sharing everything we learned and experienced on several island tours from Krabi during our 2 week Thailand Itinerary.
A Quick Overview of the Krabi Islands
Look across the Andaman Sea from anywhere in Krabi and you will see countless limestone islands rising out of the water. By either booking a tour, or a longboat for the day, you can easily explore many of these islands. You will want to select the tour that is best for your situation.
The first thing to consider is how far you want to go to get to the islands. The Phi Phi Islands are located quite a good distance from Krabi and are best reached by motorboat, while many of the other islands can easily be reached by longtail boat. Some islands are better for beaches and some are better for snorkeling or diving.
You will also want to avoid tours that try to visit 7 or more islands in a day. While it may sound appealing to see as much as possible, you will likely end the day feeling rushed without spending much time on any of the islands. We almost chose one of these tours, but ultimately only visited 4 islands and that felt like plenty.
Which are the Best Islands of Krabi?
Here is a quick overview of the most popular islands of Krabi to visit:
Phi Phi Islands – These islands are gorgeous and located about halfway across Andaman Bay to Phuket. You can spend the night on these islands and also access them by ferry although it’s possible to visit them on a day trip from Krabi on a motorboat. See more about How to Get to the Phi Phi Islands.
Koh Gai (Chicken Island): This island looks like the neck and head of a chicken. You will find a snack bar, beach and snorkeling
Koh Poda: This small, picture-perfect island is stunningly beautiful
Rok and Coral Islands: These islands are great for snorkeling and swimming
Koh Hong: This is a magical place. Your boat will take you into the center of the islands to a lagoon where you can swim and explore.
James Bond Island: check out the island where the James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun, was filmed. Explore a cave and kayak around the island.
Railay Beach: Although not technically an island, since you still need to take a boat to get to the beach, it has the island feel and is worth the visit. This is a stunning beach and you can also find a cave, food and shops.
There are many other islands you will see listed on the tours. In general, you will find dramatic limestone cliffs, clear water and beaches.
A quick note that these popular beaches can get very crowded midday – try to go early or late, or simply walk a bit down the beach to get the true feeling in a deserted paradise. Also, note that there is trash on many of the islands from the number of visitors. Please respect these beautiful places and do your part to keep them clean.
Looking for more gorgeous places in Krabi? Check out the Guide to the Best Beach in Krabi.
Map of Popular Islands of Krabi Thailand
Should you Take a Longboat or Speedboat when Visiting the Islands off Krabi?
Now that you have a sense of the islands you most want to visit, you will want to start making a few other decisions before you book a tour, starting with the type of boat you want to take. The most common way to get to the islands is by longtail boat or speed boat. Some of this depends on your own preference, but the main consideration if timing.
For the closer islands, taking a long tail boat is great. It’s the right speed to see the islands and you can get around quickly. Plus the boats are really cool.
If you are visiting the Phi Phi Islands, taking a speed boat is a much better idea. You could also take the ferry out to the islands and take a long tail boat tour around the islands, but it is quite a long trip out to the Phi Phi Islands from Krabi, even on a speed boat.
How to Find and Book the Best Tour
Now that you have a sense of the islands and how you want to get there, here are a few considerations for booking your tour.
- For peace of mind, you can book your tour online in advance – I like to use Viator or Get Your Guide and look through the reviews for the best possible tour.
- If you are comfortable leaving it up to the last minute, you can also go down to the beach and speak to the drivers there and negotiate your own trip
- Private vs group trips. If you can, booking a private trip will give you much more flexibility and you can adjust your trip as you go along, however a group trip is likely to be cheaper.
- It is very tempting to book one of the tours that does it all – 4 islands and Phi Phi and Hong Island, etc. This sounds great on the surface, but you will likely feel rushed all day.
- If you can, choose the tour that leaves early. We started before the other tour boats in the morning, which meant we had the islands to ourselves for most of the morning.
- Some of the tours include lunch, while other you will need to bring a lunch or buy lunch on one of the islands.
Some of the Best Island Hopping Tours in Krabi
4 Island Tour by Longtail Boat: This tour is one of the most popular Krabi Island Tours. It is a day long trip that includes lunch and 4 stops at different islands: Koh Poda, Koh Kai (Chicken Island), Koh Tub, and Koh Mor. You will find many different tours like this listed on Viator and other sites – just double check the details and make sure to read the reviews.
James Bond Island Tour: This is an awesome tour to a beautiful island. The tour includes lunch and like several of the other tours listed includes pick up from your hotel.
Phi Phi Islands: Look for a Phi Phi Island tour that goes by speedboat, includes lunch and snorkeling. If you want another option, you can book a ferry, but you will want to book a boat once you get to the islands. You can book a ferry transfer here or book through Andaman Ferry Service.
Hong Island Tour from Krabi: Hong Island was one of my favorite stops in Krabi. The drive into the lagoon is truly amazing and once you are inside the color of the water and the towering island clifss around are just spectacular. I highly recommend getting to this island as part of your tour.
What We Did: We did 2 boat tours to the islands during our visit. When we visited the Phi Phi Islands, we booked a day trip by speed boat in advance. I am very glad we did this since it was well organized and efficient. You can see almost the exact tour we took that included lunch here. We also booked private long boat tour out to see Hong Island and some of the Islands on the 4 island tour. We did this in person by going down to the Klong Muang Beach for dinner and speaking to some of the boat drivers there. We definintely got a better deal on a private boat tour for our family of 5. We asked to leave early which meant we beat the crowds and our driver was excellent and brought us drinks and snacks. If you are comforatble leaving it to the last minute this worked really well for us. You can see a short video of our island excursions from Krabi on You Tube.
What to Bring on your Krabi Island Hopping Trip
Once you’ve booked your tour, it’s time to get prepared. Most boats (not all) offer shade, but you should prepare for your day as if you’re going to the beach.
- Water (although all the tours will have drinks)
- Bathing Suit
- Snorkel Gear (optional) Most boats have some gear, but we prefer to bring our own masks and snorkels)
What to Know About Traveling to Krabi
You can find lots of direct flights daily from Bangkok to Krabi and plenty of places to stay in Krabi for every budget. Once you arrive, you can use the bus system to get around, book a car or motorbike, or use taxis. We booked an airBNB for our family of 5, but you can find some excellent lodging options on booking.com as well.
The best time to visit Krabi is from Nov-May when there is plenty of sun and very little rain. June – October tends to be rainy, but also quieter.
Explore more about Krabi: 15 Best Things to do in Krabi, Thailand