Thailand Unveiled: Krabi Naga Fest 2020

This time in the Thailand Unveiled series, we’re going to the southern province of Krabi, directly across Phang Nga Bay from the tourist mecca of Phuket and generally regarded as a mellower scenic alternative to Phuket’s bustling nightlife. Which is true, but Krabi is also a place of cultural charms all its own —

— and thanks to the Tourist Authority of Thailand we have a roundup for you from our trip to visit the delightfully engaging Krabi Naga Fest, a combination jazz festival and county fair and beach party held around the beginning of March each year that you should definitely plan your visit around! Check out our highlights reel of the weekend:

That was quite the time, wasn’t it? And here is our annotated itinerary of that video for planning your trip!

Crab Monument And Mangrove Tour

This riverfront statue is officially called the Monument of Black Crabs and it’s very appropriate as the first place to head to after landing at Krabi (KBV) airport, indeed; so we immediately took an Insta … and you notice that there’s no caption there? Yep, we are still in Instagram jail from the last trip we took. Learn from our mistakes, Dear Readers; once Instagram gets grumpy with you posting too much, who knows how long it’s going to take to unmuzzle you? Not us, that’s obvious.

Any-ways, there were long tail boats waiting here that picked us up and took us past the twin hills of Kao Kanap Nam, then down the Krabi River and through the mangrove forests on the way to dock at Koh Klang — a trip you can do with tours like The Mangrove Boat Tour in Krabi.


Krabi Nature House, Koh Klang

Even though it’s right across the river from Krabi town, Koh Klang is all but completely untouched by tourism — the population is 99% Muslim and this is the place to go to see the traditional culture. And participate in it too: the tuktuks in the video took us from the dock to The Nature House where you can stay, or just drop in as we did to try your hand at traditional batik painting:

Batik is an applied textile design, meaning a method of painting by process of wax (or any other substance with the same physical quality) resist to keep the original of color certain portions of a piece of cloth from the coloring matter in the painting process. The cloth can be colored in monochrome or multicolor up to the preference. There are many ways to perform the technique to result in different styles of patterns to better meet the need in terms of utility and aesthete.

The video shows how they stamp the design out in wax and then paint it in, just like a coloring book … although even with the wax, we still had trouble staying in the lines. But no doubt you are more coordinated than we are, and this is your chance to prove it.

Lunch — Baan Ma-Yhing

After our batik dried, we headed back to the dock where we tied up, which is in fact a floating restaurant, and more than that, a floating restaurant with its own fish farms — pretty sure we can guarantee that this is in fact the freshest fish you will ever have at a restaurant, even if you don’t take a full island tour it’s about ten minutes by water taxi from the twon if you don’t take the scenic route through the mangroves, so consider that for a unique meal experience — here is a great extended review of it, apparently they have cooking lessons too … and you can even take a selfie with a pufferfish, don’t get to do that every day!


Deevana Plaza Hotel, Ao Nang

Ao Nang Beach is the beach resort center of Krabi, and our hotel for the weekend was Deevana Plaza Krabi Aonang just around the corner from the Ao Nang Night Market— it has everything you’d expect from a destination resort, and to our particular delight a much better than you’d usually expect breakfast buffet, thoroughly recommend you check it out for your Krabi stay.

Krabi Naga Fest Opening Ceremonies

After checking in we headed over to Klong Muang Beach where the Krabi Naga Fest was being held — and it’s quite the festival indeed, there’s artisans at work to watch, beach parties with rum buckets to be drunk,

markets, carnival games, spectacular sunset photos from the beach, and finally the fire belching and spinning festival opening ceremonies.

A completely fun time all around — when you’re planning your Krabi trip, absolutely positively schedule it to join all the fun!

Dinner — Sabai Ba Bar

Our dinner for the evening was at Sabai Ba Bar In The Jungle, where you can dine on the terrace or actually down on the beach like we did, with live music playing no less — apparently there was a wedding there that afternoon, so we’re not sure the spectacular decorations you see the shot of there are a regular thing, but the food was delicious and they’re well-reviewed everywhere, check them out for your beachfront dining.

Island Hopping

The next day we were up bright and early for a speedboat island hopping tour with phiphitours.com — check out the video there as we visit Koh Hong, Koh Lao Lading, and Koh Pak Bia and do nature walks, meet monitor lizards, snorkel with the fish, and enjoy the magnificent scenery while hanging out on the beaches. Nothing more iconically Thailand touristy than an island hopping trip, and here is an excellent guide to deciding which to take.

Dinner — The Hilltop

Alright, it takes a fair bit to impress us with a dining view … but The Hilltop Ao Nang, wow, the sunset over the beaches and islands really is something not to miss! The food is good, but that view, yes put that on your checklist, “sunset dinner reservations at The Hilltop,” definitely. There’s even a table set up right at the edge of the hill for those perfect Instagrams, they know their tourist customer base, indeed.

Krabi Night Market

After dinner, rather than return for a second night at the Naga Fest we headed over to report to you on the Krabi Night Market, the weekly shopping highlight of Krabi Town — and yep, it’s a night market right up there with the best in Thailand; standard tourist souvenirs cheaper than most tourist hotspots (we got a Krabi tie dye shirt, because you can never have enough tie dye, can you?), a stage with live entertainment like those adorable little traditional Thai dancers you see a clip of, and several unique local artisans too such as those striking elephant lampshades you see a shot of there.

Sea Kayaking Ao Thalane

For the morning of our last day, we went out to Ao Thalane to sea kayak with Sea Kayak Krabi through the mangrove forests and limestone canyons you see there — and note that they don’t just rent to paddle around the bay, there’s sea kayaking trips to Koh Hong and other offshore islands, if the island hopping speedboat trip from the day before doesn’t sound active enough to you!

Lunch – Ruen Mai

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p dir=”ltr”>And having worked up an excellent appetite with all that kayaking, our last stop on the way back to the airport was at Ruen Mai Restaurant — a delightfully boutique setting with raised wooden boardwalks over the gardens where the vegetables and herbs are grown, and that bamboo hut of a dining room you see us entering in the video. The food is widely regarded as among the best authentically southern Thai in the area, and we particularly enjoyed the new to us Hoi Chak Teen, or “Dog Conch” the plate of snails you see closing out the video; we do love our escargot and this Thai version with spicy sauce is one to try for sure if you do too.

And there you have it, Dear Readers, the itinerary that we are most grateful as always to the Tourism Authority of Thailand for inviting us on — take it as an excellent start on planning your visit to Krabi!

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Alex

I go places.

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