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Finding Island Paradise in the Hong Islands, Thailand

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Getaway Category: Island LifeGetaway Tags: Asia, Hong Islands, krabi, and thailand

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  • Set against the picturesque backdrop of Phang Nga Bay with countless limestone outcrops, the Hong Islands is one of Krabi’s most spectacular day trips. A four-island archipelago, the Hong Islands are uninhabited and most tourists visiting Krabi opt for the Four-Islands Tour, and as such, the condition of the island remains pristine and there are much less crowds than other areas like Phuket. The Hong Islands are an often-overlooked paradise.




    Day 1 in Krabi, Thailand 

    Arrival in Ao Nang

    Ao Nang is the main gateway to Krabi’s beautiful beaches. Upon arrival in Ao Nang, take a quick walk around Ao Nang city and check out the many local tour operators by the street and beach side to compare their prices and excursions. The Hong Island tour should typically cost around SGD 30 on a longtail boat or SGD 40 on a speedboat, or if you’re lucky you can get them for less.

    Explore Railay & Phra Nang

    Depending on how early you arrive, you might have the time to take an afternoon hop to the famous Railay Beach, with its mammoth limestone cliffs which is practically a rock-climbing paradise, yet serves as a postcard-perfect backdrop if you’d just want to have some chillaxing time by the beach.

    You can explore Railay towards the Phra Nang Cave area, which hosts a shrine full of phallic symbols. Phra Nang area also has a sizable sandy beach with equally spectacular rock formations, so if you fancy some sun-tanning or just reading a book by the beach, this is the perfect place to do so.

    You can easily reach Railay in just 15 minutes from Ao Nang. It costs just SGD 3 per person.

    Dinner at The Grotto

    An experience which you should not miss is to dine inside a cave with a view of the Andaman Sea, and that’s precisely what The Grotto is all about. Lose yourself in the magical sunset as you sip your favourite cocktail with soft sand underfoot, finished with sumptuous barbecues for dinner. It is best to book your table in advance as The Grotto is quite popular!

    Day 2 in Hong Island, Krabi, Thailand

    Early morning, head to the beachfront of Ao Nang to find your boat and depart towards the Hong Islands. The Hong Islands can be reached from Ao Nang within 20 minutes by speedboat, or 45 minutes by long tail boat.

    Hong Islands’ Lagoon

    The first stop for the day will lead you to a large hidden chamber inside the island cluster, with towering cliffs which slowly give way to reveal an emerald green lagoon inside it. The lagoon can only be accessed during high tide, which is why it’s usually the first visit.
    Try to embark with a tour operator which departs early morning (around 8.30am) to give you a head start to fully take in the natural beauty of the lagoon before the other boats arrive.

    Pakbia Island

    After a short trip on the lagoon, make a stop at your first island of the day. Pakbia is a quaint, small island with two beaches on each side. The front has a small limestone rock which looks like a mushroom with a bonsai-like tree growing on it.
    The other side is even more peaceful, with a swing to relax on and take in some alone time as you watch ships sail in the distance. If the tide happens to be low on the day of your visit, it will reveal a beautiful sandbar connecting Pakbia to the smaller Rai Island.

    Lading Island

    Around lunch time, continue to Lading Island with its beautiful sheltered cove. Your tour should include a lunch box which you can enjoy while you appreciate the beauty of Lading Island. Please check that the lunchbox is indeed included, you don’t want to pass on lunch.
    Lading Island is visited by many small fish, and the water is clear enough that you can see them even from above the water, so this is definitely a great place to put your snorkelling gear on (usually comes together with the packaged tour) and start swimming with the fishes.

    While you sail around Lading Island, you will also notice a few caves where there are bird’s nest harvesters making a permanent living there.

    Hong Islands

    Finally, the big highlight: Hong Island itself!

    Head to the crystal clear beach, separated by two huge limestone cliffs with a postcard-ready bay ideal for all sorts of paradise activities, whether relaxing, swimming or snorkelling. Float along the bay as you observe tiny schools of fish hanging out in the shallow waters.

    Spend the rest of your afternoon in this super-relaxing, calm and undisturbed slice of paradise. Most tourists to Krabi tend to overlook the Hong Islands. On top of that, due to its large size, it never really feels crowded and you can have a section of the bay all to yourself even after more boats pull up to the island.

    Sunset at Last Café

    Once you are ready, head back to Ao Nang (the Hong Islands are only open for day visits and overnight stays are not allowed, as an initiative by the Thai government authorities to keep it pristine).

    Watch the sunset from the chilled Last Café with a beer or cocktail on hand. As the sky gradually changes from orange to pitch dark night, this place really comes alive with beachside barbecues, DJ shows and fire dancers. Last Café is located right on the southern end of the Ao Nang beach.

    Day 3 in Krabi, Thailand

    11.50am: Return flight home

    After the previous day of island hopping, have a late start this morning or enjoy a morning walk at the beachfront of Ao Nang before departing to the airport for your international flight back to Singapore.

    "southern ridges, Singapore, nature, walk"




  • Places to stay in Krabi, Thailand

    Affordable

    For a bargain price of SGD12, you can stay at Ao Nang Krabi Guest House. Your accommodation will be simple but it will include a bungalow with its own private bathroom. Find the latest rates and availability on HotelsCombined or Agoda.

    Mid Range

    Aonang Paradise Resort offers a peaceful retreat away from the bustling streets of the town and beach area. Rooms are spacious with stunning views, a relaxed atmosphere and a reasonable price from SGD 41. Find the latest rates and availability on HotelsCombined or Agoda.

    High End

    Islanda Hideaway Resort is hidden in the tranquil island of Koh Klang, offering 29 spacious bungalows inspired by southern Thai culture. Price starts from SGD 119. Find the latest rates and availability on HotelsCombined or Agoda.

    Getting to Krabi, Thailand

    The closest airport to Ao Nang (Krabi's gateway) is Krabi Airport.

    AirAsia and Scoot are the two main flight operators serving this route. Flights are available daily and flying time from Singapore is just under 2 hours. Tickets usually cost around SGD 183 return.

    Getting around Krabi, Thailand

    Ao Nang is a small place and you can get around on foot very easily. But if you do not feel like strolling, tuk-tuks are abundant and they can get you around the city for just around SGD 2.

    To explore the neighbouring islands, there are long-tail boat services (or "water taxis", as the locals call it). The boats will usually take off only after they have at least 8 people on board, with each passenger paying around SGD 3.

    Other important notes

    Time difference

    Krabi is 1 hour behind Singapore.

    Best months to visit

    Go between November-March, when it is not as humid and there is a great breeze that cools the weather. This is also the period when rain is at its minimum.

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