If they ever tire of making sandcastles on the beach, the majority of activities available in Krabi are suitable for all but the youngest children: snorkelling; rock climbing; kayaking; island hopping, even scuba diving (usually taught from 10 years and up). All equipment is available in junior sizes, although for toddlers you will need to bring your own inflatable rings and armbands for swimming. Very few companies offer infants’ life jackets either, so if this is a concern, you will need to bring your own, or purchase here (around 500 baht).
The best beaches for children
In terms of which islands to visit, younger children would probably do best at either 4 Islands or Hong Island. Both have relatively short travel times, as well as shallow water near the beach where fish can often be seen – no snorkelling necessary. Swimming is possible all day long, irrespective of tides. Charter a longtail boat from the beach to visit either place (you will need at least half a day).
An even shorter journey, which will leave no child disappointed, is a trip to Railay. With two amazing beaches, and plenty of food options, you can easily spend an afternoon, or whole day over here. Longtail taxi boats depart frequently from Ao Nang (every 10 – 15 minutes) or hourly (on the half hour) from Ao Nam Mao.
Tubkaek Beach is a great place for slightly older children – around 7 – 11 years old – who enjoy outdoor play. Wide and clean, there are lot of rocks to clamber over and, at low tide, rock pools with tiny crabs to chase and catch. There’s also a clean freshwater stream in which to sail twig boats.
For parents with strollers, the best beach is probably Nopparat Thara. The wide walkway along the sand means you can comfortably push the length of the beach without getting your wheels stuck. The beach itself has a very shallow incline, which is great for toddlers to splash in.
Water parks in Krabi
Most children love nothing more than splashing around in a pool; throw in a couple of slides and obstacles and you have a whole afternoon’s entertainment sorted out! The water parks in Krabi itself tend to be small and for younger children. Heaven-7 in Ao Nam Mao is the best of the bunch, with a very reasonable 170 baht entry fee. Set on a steep hillside overlooking the sea, it used to be a strange “selfie garden”, filled with kitsch Instagrammable installations, but in late 2016 was revamped with a water and amusement park.
Expect slides, inflatables, fun pedalo boats, ball pools, trampolines and even a few fairground rides (charged additionally at 20 – 40 baht per person). There is plenty of shaded seating for parents, as well as a good restaurant with panoramic island views at the top of the hill.
Holiday Inn on Nopparat Thara Beach offers a couple of fun water slides in its large children’s pool area. Although there is no official policy, we have found outside guests are able to use the facilities if you purchase food or drink from the resort outlets. If you are staying in the area it’s a convenient way to fill a couple of hours, though it can get quite crowded in high season.
Several other places (without water slides) also operate their pool on the same principle, which can be useful if you are staying in a hotel with no swimming facilities. It is worth trying the resort closest to where you are staying, otherwise we can confirm that at least two places – Arawan Krabi in Ao Nam Mao and Sabai Ba-Bar on the road between Ao Nang and Klong Muang – will allow outside guests to swim.
Note: the water park on the road from Krabi Town to the beaches is not recommended as it is not constructed to international safety standards.
A little further afield, in the neighbouring provinces, can be found the Dino Sea World Park (Phang Nga) and the much cheaper Andaman Water Park (Trang) with its giant inflatable rides and soft play. Either place could conceivably be visited on a (long) day trip from Krabi; as could the famous Splash Jungle in Phuket, though most people do an overnight trip for this one, as the hotel room rate at Centara includes free entrance to the water park.
Animal activities for kids
Although there is no zoo in Krabi, there are plenty of opportunities for children to learn about and meet some of the local wildlife. The government-owned “outdoor aquarium” in Ao Nam Mao is an ongoing project to protect endangered marine species. Visitors can see a variety of (harmless) sharks, turtles and, yes, “Nemos” (anemone fish), in tanks and in sectioned salt water pools where they are bred and then released back into the sea.
A local favourite near Ao Nang, known as “Catfish farm”, is a fun and and slightly offbeat place to learn about local plants and trees. It’s somewhat of a jungle, but hidden inside you will find a mini botanic garden, replete with tarantulas, butterflies and even some crocodiles, as well as the famous giant catfish that squirm and writhe impressively when food is thrown to them.
And no trip to Thailand would be complete without an encounter with the country’s national symbol, the elephant. Several elephant camps can be found around the province and most adhere to ethical standards in the treatment of the animals. An elephant sanctuary, where the animals are not ridden, is also in the works and should open sometime in 2018.
In Krabi Town, “wildlife” is of the sculpted variety and can be spotted at various intersections adorning traffic lights, as well as in more traditional street art. Children will have fun spotting the different creatures – there are eagles, elephants, crabs and sabre tooth tigers, as well as a life size T-Rex outside the region’s only museum, the Andaman Cultural Centre on Maharat Road. The museum houses a permanent collection of local art and the occasional exhibition. It is only worth a visit if you are in the neighbourhood and need to duck out of the heat for a few minutes – entry is free.
Soft adventure activities
Aside from lolling on the beach with their gadgets, older children and teenagers may enjoy the challenge of rock climbing in Railay or kayaking, especially in the areas with caves (Bor Thor is a good one). Neither activity requires any prior knowledge or experience and training is given on the job. For younger children, there is a cool indoor bouldering wall at the Real Rocks shop on the Ao Nang – Ao Nam Mao road, which they can try out for free. If they enjoy it, children as young as 4 or 5 can be taken onto the cliff for the real deal.
There is also a go-kart track on the way to Krabi Town (Sai Thai village) that allows over 12s to drive solo (under 12s can “drive” with an adult), and which is conveniently located in front of a jungle paintball park, for those who wish to up the ante in sibling rivalry!
Slightly further afield (tours with complimentary transfers available) you can find white water rafting as well as some fun and challenging adventure parks, with ziplines and treetop rope bridges (minimum height of 100cm required). For more detailed information about the height restrictions and which park would be suitable for your children, please follow the link provided.
– Find more tours and activities in Krabi.