Sunset Tours in Krabi, Thailand, are a dime a dozen. There are hoards of businesses offering to take you out on speedboat or a longtail boat, many at suspiciously low prices.
After 2 years living in Thailand and working in tour shops, selling these sunset trips (and getting to go try them out), the underlying message is clear … YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!
So, out of all the sunset tours in SE Asia, why has Krabi Sunset Cruise made my bucket list?
Starting the sunset trip
My day out with Krabi Sunset Cruise started on a long tail boat from Railay (though pick ups from Ao Nang are common for customers as well). A few minutes out, and you reach your cruise ship for the day, a spectacular restored Siamese junk boat. Think Asian pirate ship. The boat sports two floors, a partially shaded lower floor with relaxed soft seating, and a top deck for those hardcore sun bathers and premium view seekers.
On arrival we were greeted by our guide, Michael, a sporty Ozzy chap who quickly adapts his personality to his audience. Children are kept busy with talks of snorkelling and paddle boarding, couples drawn into conversation about their holidays, backpackers entertained with the lure of a free beer on the attempt of a back flip from the top deck. This is one of the key sells of this trip for me. A lot of Thai island tours ferry you onto a boat, sit you down, and transport you from stop to stop. Communication tends to be a little sparse, with guides usually just highlighting where you’ve stopped, and how long you have there. Michael and the rest of the crew make a big deal of getting around everyone personally, handing out complimentary water, fruit snacks and settling their guests in.
I’m not one for lying about in the sun doing nothing for too long, especially in the Thai 30 degree heat! My poor Scottish skin just won’t hear of it.
If you’re anything like me, this boat has your back. It’s big enough to move about and, whilst the cruise is moving, the top desk generates a natural breeze that stops you from feeling too hot and fidgety (just remember the sun screen!). Throughout the afternoon, we stopped for swimming and photos in front of most of the main islands surrounding Railay:
- Ko Si
- Poda island
- Ko Ta Ming
- Chicken island (yup..it looks like a big chicken
At each of these, the crew helped guests into the water, assisted with snorkel masks/fins, and took photos for you (Michael had a Go-Pro that he then set up for everyone to download at the end of the trip). The Go-Pro is a deal sealer for me. Ever tried to take your iPhone into the Andaman sea for an Instagram fish selfie? The wildlife are curious, and in abundance. The big colourful fish will come over to eat out of your hand, the temptation of the leftover melon rind from earlier snacks.
Sunset cruise dinner
Two years in Thailand taught me that being a vegan/vegetarian tends to mean you’re getting some boiled rice and a bit of cucumber for dinner. The Australian/Thai ownership combo of this company means that their approach to food is a little more Western when it comes to dietary requirements. Their buffet style meal provided me with a veggie massaman curry (amazing!), rice and Thai fried veg. HOORAY!
I ate my meal on the top deck and watched the sun go down over the horizon. My Instagram account was delighted! The more adventurous of the group took strong advantage of photo opportunities, taking sunset lit handstand and back flip shots. Impressive and fun to watch.
After dark bio-luminescence
If you’re afraid of getting into dark waters, now is your time to get over it. The bio-luminescence are floating around all over the place around the Krabi area, but the boat trips are able to take you out to good little dark spots to get the premium experience. A little bit of research tells me that they glow when stressed, so getting into the water and splashing about a bit really does the job. The result? A thousand glowing lights around you in the water, like swimming in the stars. Trip goers can see the plankton from the boats, but it’s not as fun!
If you can get on the tour during a new moon, or when the moon is barely showing, then it’s a bonus. I found the darker the sky, the better the glow. You’re not getting to see this in many places in the world, so don’t waste the opportunity.
Have you been to Krabi and done an island tour? Did you get the opportunity to swim with the glowing plankton? I’d love to hear your stories.