Visiting Krabi’s Beaches on a (Slightly) Bigger Budget
Just two years ago, I wrote a travel guide for Krabi on ways to save money and travel on a budget. At the time, we were bootstrapping a new business and trying to save every dollar we made, unsure of how long this “digital nomad” lifestyle would actually last. Fast forward two years, we are still going strong with a much more reliable income stream. And while we still live well below our means and eat street food a large majority of the time (because its usually better), we do tend to splurge on certain comforts and luxuries when traveling these days. Some things are just worth it.
When we headed down to the beaches in April to escape burning season in Chiang Mai, it was a completely different experience for us than our previous visits. For one, our accommodations were a massive upgrade to the places we stayed in the past. And two, we tended to steer clear of tourist crowds and find our own little private hideaways. Since we didn’t exactly go on a honeymoon after our wedding in November (Charlie says my life is a honeymoon), I kind of thought of it as our delayed honeymoon. It was really kind of perfect and just what we needed to unwind after hitting our laptops hard for the first part of the year.
Alisea Pool Villas
Having our own space and privacy is one thing we truly value these days making the Alisea Pool Villas one of our most favorite places we’ve ever stayed in Thailand. Actually, we both asked the staff if they could offer a monthly rate at check-out! The villas are situated just a few kilometers outside of the main strip but it feels like you are worlds away. There is also a free shuttle to take you into town if you wish.
The villas are massive, fully equipped with a western style kitchen, spacious living room area, large master bedroom with king size bed, and a bathroom bigger than our entire apartment in Chiang Mai. The best part of all, however, was the private pool and garden. Honestly, if Krabi didn’t have some of the best beaches in the world, I would have been thrilled to lay out by our private pool for days on end. That’s my kind of vacation.
The pool villas are amazing for honeymooners, families, getaways with friends or anyone not wishing to be directly in the midst of mass chaos.
Aonang Cliff Beach Resort
I was actually quite sad to leave our pool villa, but we were invited to stay at the Aonang Cliff Beach Resort for a few days before we left Aonang. We’ve heard so many other travelers rave about this place we were excited to check it out for ourselves. It definitely didn’t disappoint.
This hotel is smack dab in the middle of the main strip, so it was a good mix getting to stay at both places. From here, we could walk right down to the beach in 5-10 minutes, as well as all of the shops, restaurants and bars.
We were placed in one of the Panorama suites and the views from the room were absolutely breathtaking. The room was also spacious and beautiful with all of the modern luxuries and amenities you could want. The highlight was definitely the gigantic infinity pool that overlooked Krabi’s spectacular karst landscape and the Andaman Sea.
Another thing that stood out about this resort specifically was the impeccable service and super friendly staff. We felt so welcome and they were very thorough in the tour of the property (which is pretty massive).
Escaping the Crowds at Andamana Beach Club
One of our very best days in Aonang was spending the day at the Andamana Beach Club and Restaurant. We had never even heard about this place before and, after visiting, only wished we had found out about it sooner. Off the beaten path, away from the chaos of tuk tuks, longtail boats and touts trying to sell you anything and everything under the sun, you’ll find this peaceful, hidden gem of a place on its own stretch of white sand.
The restaurant serves all sorts of delicious Thai specialties as well as a full bar for sipping on your favorite cocktails. I can honestly say we had some of our best meals in Thailand here (the cashew chicken stir fry was on point).
There are hammocks, swings and loungers available to relax on, as well as mats and beach towels free for use. We spent the day sipping on pina coladas and hopping from loungers to hammocks and taking dips in the sea in between. We couldn’t get over the fact that there was hardly anyone there and plenty of space for everyone to enjoy some privacy. I think we will be lifelong members of the Andmana Beach Club going forward.
Transportation in Krabi
There are so many options available whether you are on a backpacking budget or more of a luxury traveler. It really depends on what level of convenience you are looking for, what kind of travel you are looking for (private vs group) and how much you want to spend. On this trip, we were all about the private, door-to-door transportation. We wanted to make the most of our time at the beach, and sharing van rides and longtail boats just didn’t sound like fun so we opted for private transportation.
Normally, we opt for the shared van to and from the airport, which really isn’t a bad ride at all. The only problem is that you might end up waiting for them to fill the van up before leaving the airport, and then, depending on where your accommodations are located, you might be waiting while they drop other passengers off first. As guests of the Alisea Pool Villas and Aonang Cliff Beach Resort, we were offered roundtrip transfers to and from the airport. We were greeted with one of those lovely signs with our name on it as soon as we departed baggage claim and were swiftly delivered to our hotel room. It was so nice to not have to figure out where we were going for once and not having to wait around on other passengers. We could just sit back and enjoy the ride.
There are so many incredibly beautiful beaches and islands to visit from the pier in Aonang, and prices vary according to where you want to go, for how long, and if you want shared or private. This time we opted for a private longtail to visit two new islands for us, Poda and Tub Island. The best part of hiring your own private boat is the flexibility to go when and where you want and for us, it was definitely worth it. The cost of the private boat for half day was 1700 baht, plus the additional National Park fees at 400 THB/person.
To/From Koh Lanta
During our time in Krabi, we also spent 3 amazing nights at the Crown Lanta Resort in Koh Lanta which we wrote about here. Getting to and from Koh Lanta is a little more difficult, but also why it has retained its rawness and is not too overloaded with mass tourism yet. We considered the ferry or the option of a shared van, but both seemed like a bit of a hassle and we just wanted to get there as fast as we could! We did a little bit of our own research a found a private taxi to take us in a van for the 2.5-3 hour journey at 2600 THB. There were a few of the typical random stops that you can expect from just about any of the mini-bus drivers, but it was spacious, had cold AC and we could bring along snacks and drinks for the ride and enjoyed door-to-door service.