Ton Sai is a little beach village located in Krabi, Thailand. This southern coastal area of Thailand is most widely known for places like Phuket and the Phi Phi islands, which are extremely populated party beaches. We learned in our research that the Krabi region is similarly beachy, but without the grungy party scene. Railay beach has become more popular in the past few years, but neighboring Ton Sai remains relatively secluded. It’s a little town of locals, rock climbers, and yogis that’s only accessible by boat or a 20 minute hike through the jungle from Railey Beach. It’s famous for it’s prime deep-water soloing spots.
Arriving at Ton Sai felt like taking a vacation from a vacation! It’s hard to explain. It was our last stop in Southeast Asia and we had been traveling at a quick pace. It was heaven to stay in one place, soak up the sun, and float in the calm waters. Ton Sai was hands-down my favorite destination of the entire trip.
The best part about this beach is that, while you are perfectly permitted to lounge on the dreamy beach all day, you also have lots of active excursions at your fingertips. And there are lots of restaurants with cheap, healthy food options that seem to have been influenced by the rock climbing scene. Picture dirt paths leading up into the rain forest, monkeys climbing in the branches above you, colorful bamboo shacks advertising superfoods or nightly fire-dancing, and lots of young men in crocs with ropes thrown over their shoulders. Most places here shut off electricity during the day and then suddenly, right after sunset, the town glows with colorful lights and fun reggae or oldies music.
Among my favorite excursions was the hike into a large cave at the end of Phranang beach. On the way here, you pass a very entertaining fertility shrine known as the Phranang Princess Cave. “Fishermen and navigators hold faith in this princess, believing that she will serve and protect their livelihood and fulfill one’s wishes. When their wishes are filfilled, votive offerings would be left at the shrine. Common gifts are flowers and incense sticks, but usually the Goddess is offered a special gift, the lingam, which is carved from wood. The belief of the lingam and holy womb shall create fertility and prosperity to the whole earth and mankind.”
After walking to the end of Phranang Beach, you enter a large cave opening. You then proceed into the dark with a headlamp and climb up about 5 bamboo ladders in the pitch black. At the top we arrived at a beautiful lookout over Railey West. This part of the cave had sparkling citrine crystal all over the walls. It was really magical!
There are a few items that I brought everywhere with me in my backpack. You never knew where, or how long, you were going to end up on excursions around Ton Sai and Railey Beach. There’s a lot of hiking involved to get places! So I carried a backpack that always had:
How to Get to Ton Sai from Bangkok:
- Fly into Krabi Airport (2 hr flight from Bangkok, usually around $80-$150)
- After Baggage Claim there is a counter for a shuttle service. Most everyone will be using this from your flight. Buy tickets to Ao Nang. (100 baht)
- In Ao Nang, exit the shuttle and walk up to the little window office that sells tickets for the Long-Tail Boats. Tell them you’re going to Ton Sai. Walk onto the beach and find the boat with the number on your ticket. You will have to wade through some water to climb into the boat so make sure you wear shorts and waterproof sandals (like Tevas). Ticket costs 100 baht each for a boat with 8 people.
- Disembark the boat in Ton Sai! Walk up the dirt path and find a place to stay. There are cheap bungalows up the hill for about 400 baht a person, or nicer hotel options. We got a mid-priced non-airconditions bungalow way in the back of Dream Valley Resort. Definitely try and work out a deal for a lower price.
Have you ever been to Krabi?! Any other questions or additional advice? Please share in the comments below!