Right here on our doorstep in Krabi is one of the best cruising grounds in the world: the hundreds of islands and archipelagos of the Andaman Sea. The large majority of these are uninhabited – although not all of them are deserted, especially those on the popular tour routes from Phuket and Krabi.
Though you might not mind sharing these crescents of coconut-fringed powdery sand once you see how beautiful they are, it may be too much to rub shoulders with complete strangers on the boat, or be informed how many minutes you are allowed to stay in the little corner of paradise you have just discovered.
In this case, boat charter is for you. Exceptionally easy to organise (with sites like us around!), this is our recommended way to visit the islands. It’s a no-brainer for groups and worth every extra penny for couples and families. All you need to do is bring a book, a picnic, perhaps a snorkel and mask, and enjoy a day of freedom in paradise.
Longtail boat charter
Traditional longtail boats with drivers are available for hire from most tourist areas (see our Getting Around page), and can take you to the various local islands – though it does involve a little extra planning than a normal tour.
If hiring a boat direct from the beach, you will, for example, need to bring your own food and drink with you – you can order a picnic from a local restaurant, or just grab some snacks from the roadside stands before departure.
You will also need to bring some cash: National Marine Park entrance fees are collected on all the popular islands, at the rate of 200 – 400 THB per foreign tourist. Most boat drivers will have snorkels and masks for rent for around 100 THB per set; otherwise you will need to bring your own.
To charter a boat, simply go down to the nearest beach whenever you wish to leave – no advance booking is ever required. In many places, e.g. Ao Nang, you will find an organised ticket booth where you can book and pay, then you will be assigned a boat and driver. If not, you can approach any of the waiting boatmen. You can leave immediately. Bargaining is almost never required as the local boat club fixes the rates every season.
The following are the current prices for longtail boat charter (driver and fuel only) departing from Ao Nang beach, for up to 6 people. If you leave from other beaches, or from Krabi Town pier, the prices will go up or down depending on the difference in travel time from the destinations. More people will also incur a higher charge:
Poda Island and Chicken Island group beaches (4 Islands), half day: 1700 Baht
Chicken, Tub, Mor, Poda Island and Phra Nang beach (4 Islands + Railay), full day: 2200 Baht
Ko Hong: 2500 Baht
Ko Hong group (Koh Hong + Ko Pakbia, Ko Rai, Ko Lahding): 2800 Baht
Bamboo Island (part of Koh Phi Phi group): 3800 Baht
The boat drivers know all the standard routes and will be aware of the tides and timeframe, so there is usually no need to guide them – they will take you to the right places at the right time. Most will have enough English to discuss how long you wish to spend in each place and modify the route if required. Note: longtail boats can go only to the islands mentioned above – not to James Bond or further afield.
Speed boat charter
To visit Ko Phi Phi or James Bond independently – which are much further away – you would have to charter a speedboat for the day; these are also available on a private basis for local island trips, which may be a good idea if you are short on time as you can see more in one day. Speed boat charters, especially for small boats, must be pre-booked.
A full range of prices and itineraries can be found on our Krabi speedboat charter page, as well as the possibility to customise the trip with add-on services, and book instantly online. Please see the link provided for further details.
Last updated: September 23, 2015