Destination Guide: Noppharat Thara & Klong Haeng

Noppharat Thara (pronounced Nop – a – rat – ta – ra) is a long beach, adjacent to Ao Nang and split into two halves by a river and the local ferry pier. The side closest to Ao Nang is the most developed as it is bordered by the main coastal road; access to the other side across from the pier is via a winding track off Highway 6024 to Klong Muang a few miles west.

The beach is known locally as Klong Haeng, the name of the river that divides it. The name translates literally as ‘dry river’, a reference to the distance the water retreats at low tide, often so far that you can walk out to the small islands in front of it. Klong Haeng is also the name of the village closest to the main beach, some 700m away (see below).

Note that both Nopparat Thara beach and Klong Haeng village are commonly referred to on hotel booking sites as “Ao Nang” – which is technically correct as they belong to the larger Ao Nang subdistrict – even though geographically they are a separate area. If you can’t check on a map, the key will be in the address: anything with Moo 3, Moo 4 or Moo 5 is in or near this area.

Noppharat Thara Pier is located at the mouth of Klong Haeng river.

The name “Noppharat Thara” is also that of the local National Park to which much of the beachfront land supposedly belongs; however in the last few years most of the trees have been felled and hotels and shopping plazas put up in their place. The National Park itself is building more bungalows to accommodate the Ao Nang ‘overspill’ and has created a large car park and camping ground for the Thai daytrippers and school groups who come to picnic here.

Development has also spread back from the beach, into Klong Haeng village and beyond, with hotels, guesthouses and apartments sprouting like mushrooms overnight.

All this activity means Nopparat Thara justifies a page of its own (although much of the information we provide about neighbouring Ao Nang also applies here).

The beach road along Nopparat Thara is lined with small shops and restaurants.

As befits a place that has been developed higgledy-piggledy, there is a stark range of accommodation along the recently widened beach road. There is a huge complex that is a pastiche of a historical Thai palace (Ayodhoya Suites) at one end and a minimalist modern block at the other; in between are several 3-star hotels; a sprawling Holiday Inn; smart new guesthouses; and a whole host of locally-run budget bungalows, set further back from the beach, along the dirt road to the boxing stadium. As development is on-going, it is possible that you find yourself staying next to a construction site; please check for up-to-date information on our Krabi news blog.

Many people who stay in the Nopparat Thara area catch a tuk-tuk (40 baht per person) to Ao Nang to eat and drink, although there are a growing number of decent restaurants and small bars along the centre of the strip near Deang Plaza, down towards Ao Nang in the Holiday Beach Walk complex, and around Luna Bar at the far end of the beach, which mean it is perfectly possible to dine within walking distance of your hotel.

People who stay further out from the beach, in Klong Haeng Village, tend to be repeat, or long-stay visitors who are familiar with the area. Perhaps they want to be close to the beach and Ao Nang, but not bang in the middle of it; overall, accommodation prices here tend to be slightly cheaper than the equivalent standard in Ao Nang proper. The village area also has several markets, including the good Wednesday “walking street”, as well as some local Muslim Thai eateries.

This beach is made for walking…

The main beach area along Noppharat Thara is more pleasant and open than Ao Nang, with benches, pavilions and off-road walkways along its length. At low tide, it’s a lovely place for a walk as you can go all the way out to the islands quite safely, and the sunsets are spectacular. At high tide, on the other hand, the sand along the stretch closest to Ao Nang all but disappears, so check the tides before you go – or head towards the National Park / Pier area as the beach is wide enough here to sunbathe all day long.

Nopparat also attracts more of a mixed crowd including, at the weekend, many Thai people, who like to splash about in the shallow water. In general the scene is quieter than Ao Nang, offering the convenience of staying on the mainland (full access to tours, transport etc.), without the Ao Nang crowds and prices. Nopparat certainly offers better value for money if you take proximity to a beach as the measure.

… but beware high tide at the Ao Nang side of the beach.

On the other side of the river, across from the pier, the beach continues, though actually this side is considered to be a separate area, known as “Pan Beach”, due to it only being accessible by road from the north (around 2km from the main road). It is also possible to stay here, right on the sand, if you are looking for real seclusion – and don’t mind the sandflies which can plague sunbathers. The water is equally shallow here, and there are another set of rock islands, favoured by local fishermen, that you can walk out to at low tide. There are plenty of birds and crabs – and a blissful lack of long tail boat engine noise – that give it a more natural feel.

Bungalows are very basic, due to restrictions imposed by the National Park and the proximity to the royal residence on the cape at the far end of the beach. However, all provide food and drink so there is no need to leave to eat. If you don’t want to be isolated, however, check carefully on which side of Nopparat Thara beach your hotel is located – many do not specify this as a matter of course.

Pan Beach is almost always deserted and is another beautiful spot for walks

The main beach of Nopparat Thara is located around 20km from Krabi Town and 25km from the airport. It is about 2 minutes drive from Ao Nang. There are direct boat connections from the pier to the islands of Phi Phi, Phuket, Koh Yao Noi and Yai, as well as Lanta in high season. Longtail boats can be chartered to visit the local islands. The other side, “Pan Beach”, is 30km from Krabi Town and about 15 – 20 minutes drive from Ao Nang. It is also possible (before 6pm) to take a longtail boat across the river to the side of the beach; this takes about 5 – 10 minutes.

More guides to Nopparat Thara

Getting to Klong Haeng and Noppharat Thara (with area map)
Hotels on Noppharat Thara Beach and Klong Haeng (includes hotels in Ao Nang – use the “map view” to search in a particular area)
Krabi tide times

More Krabi destination guides

► Aonang Beach
The main tourist centre
► Railay Beach, Krabi
Hippy-chic, with an island feel
► Ton Sai Beach, Krabi
Backpackers’ and climbers’ hangout
► Klong Muang and Tubkaek
Upmarket escape from the crowds
► Krabi Town
Authentic Thai market town
► Koh Jum, Krabi
The last get-away-from-it-all
► Ko Ngai (a.k.a. Ko Hai)
One of Krabi’s most pristine spots
► Ko Phi Phi (external site)
The ultimate crazy / beautiful destination
► Ko Lanta (external site)
For laidback lounging

Posted in Destination Guides.