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Dragon Crest Mountain Hike: Khao Ngon Nak Viewpoint, Krabi

Dragon Crest Mountain Hike: Khao Ngon Nak Viewpoint, Krabi

A complete hiking guide to the Dragon Crest Mountain viewpoint hike in Krabi, Thailand.

Hiking Dragon Crest Mountain, also known as the Khao Ngon Nak viewpoint trail, or Khuan Sai in northern Krabi offers some of the best views in Southern Thailand!

While this is a relatively steep and admittedly sweaty 3.7 km hike, it’s worth the views after just 1.5 hours of hiking. If you’re into adventure travel I recommend adding this to your list of things to do in Krabi.

In this guide, I’ll detail everything you need to know about hiking to the summit viewpoint, including tips on how to get to the national park, what to expect on the hike, and photos from my trip.

Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, traveler, travel blogger & photographer for 5+ years with 600+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

About Krabi's Dragon Crest Mountain Hike

  • Hike Distance: 3.7 km (2.3 miles) one-way (7.4 km round trip)
  • Hike Duration: 1.5-2 hours one way
  • Elevation: 550 meters total elevation gain (1,804 feet)
  • Dragon Crest Mountain Height: 498 meters above sea level (1,633 feet)
  • Difficulty: Moderate (quite steep & hot)

Dragon Crest Mountain, also called Khao Ngon Nak is officially located within the broader Moo Koh Phi Phi National Park. This is a popular trail, well-maintained, and easy to access via a large parking lot near Tubkaek Beach at the northern end of Krabi.

This Krabi hike is an out-and-back trail, leading straight up to the Khao Ngon Nak viewpoint (Nong Thale Peak), and back down on the same trail. The hike is not technically difficult but is rather steep with some very light boulder scrambling toward the top.

We reached the top in roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes, which included some stops for photos along the way. The descent took roughly 1 hour.

Dragon crest mountain viewpoint rock in krabi, thailand
Khao ngon nak viewpoint, krabi

How to Get to Khao Ngon Nak National Park

The Dragon Crest Mountain is located in Northern Krabi approximately 18 kilometers (11 mi) from the popular tourist area of Ao Nang Beach and Railay Beach.

For directions type in "Checkpoint Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park" into your Google Maps, which will take you directly to the trailhead. Once you arrive, you'll pass the gate entrance to the National Park, and pay the 200 Baht entrance fee.

To get to the trail, I recommend renting a car or motorbike in Krabi Town or Ao Nang. We paid 200 Thai Baht per day for our Honda Click, which was the cheapest way to get around and explore the broader Krabi province.

Map showing route to dragons crest trail in krabi, thailand
Map from Ao Nang Beach to the starting point of the Dragon Crest Hike.

The ride from Ao Nang Beach to Dragon Crest Mountain involves a scenic 29-minute drive via Klong Mung Road following the coast of Krabi. This road is sealed and well-maintained.

For those staying in Krabi Town, expect a 30-kilometer (18 mi) journey of at least 40 minutes.

This park is referred to as Khao Ngon Nak but is officially just a segment of the Nopparatthara – Moo Koh Phi Phi National Park. However, this huge park designation encompasses many islands and national park areas around Krabi.

Update: It is now possible to book the Khao Ngon Nak hiking tour online, which includes transport and a guided day trip.

Hiking in khao ngon nak national park, krabi, thailand

Entrance Fee to Khao Ngon Nak National Park

The entrance fee to Khao Ngon Nak is 200 Thai Baht for foreigners (100 baht for children), and 40 baht for Thai Nationals (20 baht for children).

As you arrive at the trailhead for the Dragon Crest hike, you'll see a small hut with a National Park Ranger desk. Here, you'll sign your name and pay the entrance fee before heading off on the hike.

Dragon Crest Park Opening Times

The official park opening time is 8:00 am, Monday to Sunday. However, as we wanted to hike Dragon Crest Mountain for sunrise, we arrived around 6:00 am and we could still begin the hike, even though there was nobody there.

While we thought we could get away without having to pay the high entrance fees, we were asked to do so on the way out. We also noticed that there was a sign saying that the park closes at 2:00 pm. When I asked about this, I was told that this is the closing time for those commencing the hike, to ensure visitors return before sunset.

Hiking in nopparatthara – moo koh phi phi national park, krabi

Book a Dragon Crest Hiking & Adventure Tour in Krabi

If you're staying in Ao Nang and up for an epic adventure day trip, then it's possible to combine the Dragon Crest hike with a fun ATV ride and kayaking trip on the amazingly clear Khlong Nam Sai lagoon.

This small group trip runs daily and is the best bet for hiking to this viewpoint, especially if you don't have your own form of transport.

What to Expect on the Dragon Crest Mountain Hike

The Khao Ngon Nak Nature Trail

The hike begins roughly at sea level by walking through a park-opening gate adjacent to a clear, flowing stream on the left side. This rather rocky and uneven trail begins climbing gently through a thick cover of jungle and is very clearly defined and easy to follow.

Early morning hike to dragon crest mountain, krabi

Additionally, along the way, there are sets of clear markers indicating the distance hiked. On the way up, we were powering on and missed the first few.

After approximately 1.5 kilometers, the trail meets a steep, wooden staircase. From here, the track steepens again, with some small sections of thick, fixed ropes to help you up. These ropes are only there to be used as a makeshift handrail.

Wooden stairs on the dragon crest mountain hike in thailand
Hiking to khao ngon nak viewpoint

Coming into this hike, somebody told us that there were many lizards on the trail. This was definitely true! I'd also imagine there'd be some snakes so keep an eye out.

Shortly after the short climb following the wooden staircase, the jungle opens up for incredible views of the islands to the west and the dense, rainforest canopy 300 meters below. This was approximately 50 minutes into the hike.

View of krabi islands from dragon crest mountain

Next, we continued on, climbing gently and following a level section just beneath the ridgeline. This is where we met a huge troop of monkeys running wildly through the forest. Prior to starting, I heard that this was fairly rare. But I guess the chances are higher first thing in the morning.

Blurry photo of a monkey in khao ngon nak national park
Missed the focus on this guy– a blurry shot of a monkey on the trail.

Pha Nam Yod Detour

Following our monkey encounter, we pushed on for the final section leading up to the Dragon Crest Mountain top. The last section features a well-signed fork, indicating straight ahead for the Khao Ngon Nak viewpoint, or right for Pha Nam Yod.

Signpost showing the direction to dragon crest mountain viewpoint

Curious, we took the 300-meter detour to this attraction, which turned out to be a dried-out waterfall. Although it wasn't a waste of time for us, since we managed to spot more monkeys.

There was also a light trickle of freshwater here, which is great to fill up the much-needed water if you use a Grayl Purifier bottle like us.

Pha nam yod waterfall khao ngon nak nature trail hike

Last Section to & First Viewpoint at Khao Ngon Nak

Returning to the fork, we continued straight for the final 30-minute hike to the summit. This section begins a little steep, levels off, and then requires another short steep section before the top.

Dragon crest mountain nature trail hike, krabi

Once you reach a large open plateau area, you've reached the official Khao Ngon Nak viewpoint, indicated by a sign.

However, I highly recommend continuing for another 300 meters or so to the actual summit, where you'll see the famous Instagram photo spot with the rock overhanging the jungle (let's call this Dragon Crest rock).

Climbing to dragon crest mountain

Just before this Dragon Crest viewpoint, there's a very light section of boulder scrambling, which honestly shouldn't be a problem for anybody who's gotten to this stage already. This section is mostly out of the rainforest and offers some pretty magnificent views.

Views of the krabi coastline and islands in phi phi national park
Girl on the krabi monkey trail

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Dragon Crest Mountain Viewpoint

Arriving at the Dragon Crest Viewpoint, we walked out to the large granite boulder overlooking the Krabi Valley to the south. We were rewarded with 360-degree views of the Krabi coastline, the distant islands including Koh Hong, Koh Poda, Koh Lao Lading, the Phi Phi Islands, and the beautiful green limestone peaks rising from the valley to the south.

This was an excellent spot to hang out and ring out our completely sweat-soaked shirts.

Summit of khuan sai, dragon crest mountain

The panoramic view from here is excellent. However, continuing down to the right you'll reach the famous overhanging rock beside a weather station setup. Unfortunately, the National Park officials have closed this with barbed wire, probably to reduce the risk of someone eventually falling off.

Overhanging rock at dragon crest mountain
Khao ngon nak panorama viewpoint, krabi

Yeah, the cliff edge is a really high drop, be careful, and remember, only you are responsible for your own safety and actions!

View from dragon crest mountain

The Way Back Down the Mountain

After about an hour at the top, we turned around and continued on the same trail going back to the Khao Ngon Nak National Park entrance. However, this time we took another quick detour to a mythologically significant freshwater pond known as Nam ta Nak.

Honestly, this was fairly insignificant and I'd probably advise skipping it unless you're really into local Buddhist mythology.

Nam ta nak pond on dragon crest hike

Following this short 150-meter detour, we continued back down the mountain, arriving at the entrance in around an hour. Just before the end, I decided to enjoy a quick swim in the cool waters of a small spring in the creek which I recommend!

Swimming at khao ngon nak national park, krabi thailand

Local Story of the Dragon Crest Mountain

Dragon Crest Mountain is the English name given to the National Park, translated from Khao (mountain) Ngon (crested) Nak (Naga). Naga is the serpent creature from Buddhist mythology often seen guarding the Buddhist Three Gems at the front of temples.

Locals in Krabi believe that this snake-like dragon formed the nearby Tubkaek Beach when it laid down to rest. You can also find a sacred freshwater pool on this trail which locals believe is Naga's eye.

View of the krabi islands from dragon crest mountain

Tips For the Dragon Crest Mountain Hike

Here are some useful tips and things you should bring with you on the Dragon Crest Mountain hike.

  • Pack at least 2 liters of water - hiking in Krabi gets very sweaty, especially on a steep trail in the humid rainforest like this one. 2 liters should be the bare minimum.
  • Wear good enclosed shoes - while the trail is well-defined and easy to follow, it is not well-graded. The track is very rocky and features many sections of eroded, uneven surfaces. Don't wear flip-flops.
  • Take sunscreen for the top - most of the track is shaded by a dense rainforest canopy. However, the summit is mostly exposed so it's a good idea to pack sunscreen.
  • Pack mosquito repellent - we didn't have too many issues with mosquitos but this is a good idea when hiking in Thailand.
Hiking the dragon crest mountain nature trail in northern krabi

FAQs About Hiking the Dragon Crest Trail

How difficult is hiking the Dragon Crest Mountain trail in Krabi?

This is a non-technical yet quite steep hike requiring the energy to hike up 500 vertical meters on a 3.5-kilometer trail in a humid, rainforest environment.

When is the best time to hike to the Dragon Crest viewpoint?

The best time to hike at Dragon Crest Mountain is in the early morning. While the Khao Ngon Nak trailhead officially opens at 8:00 am, you can begin earlier than this. This means you'll get cooler conditions on the way up, and avoid the crowds.

Which season is best for hiking in Southern Thailand?

The best time to hike in the Mueang Krabi district is during the months of December to April, when the weather is most settled. The coolest time of the year is August, but it is also a month that falls within the longer rainy season.

Is Dragon Crest Mountain worth it?

This hike is definitely worth the trip, as it is one of the best viewpoints in all of Krabi!

Khao ngon nak overhanging rock viewpoint

Where to Stay in Krabi

To explore the best of Krabi and experience the beautiful islands, hikes, and white-sand beaches, you'll want to stay at Ao Nang Beach, Krabi Town, Ton Sai, or Railay Beach.

Below are the three top accommodation picks for all budgets.

Rayavadee outdoor views of the bungalow accommodation and swimming pool, krabi

1. Rayavadee Luxury

Amazing 5-star luxury accommodation adjacent to the Krabi Marine National Park in Railay. Boasts immaculately designed rooms, 6 restaurants, an outdoor pool, & incredible balcony views.

Bedroom suite with large bed and lounge areas at the anana ecological resort krabi

2. Anana Ecological Resort Mid-Range

An eco-friendly resort offering a large outdoor swimming pool, beautifully designed rooms & amazing garden with onsite cooking classes. The best part is the excellent price.

Chill-out area and downstairs workspace and cafe at the tan hostel, krabi

3. TAN Hostel Budget

The best backpacker hostel in Krabi just 700 m from Ao Nang Beach & near many restaurants, shops, & bars. Has a great vibe with a neat and tidy co-work area & an excellent onsite cafe.

More Thailand Travel & Adventure Guides

I hope you've enjoyed this hiking guide to Dragon Crest Mountain, or Khao Ngon Nak viewpoint in Krabi, Thailand.

While you're here, make sure to check out some of my other travel guides and blogs from Krabi as an adventure inspiration for your trip!

Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel blogger & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 600 travel guides on We Seek Travel. These draw on my personal experience to share unique itineraries, accommodation tips, & fun adventure guides covering hikes, viewpoints, beaches, waterfalls, & tours. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

Your feedback & updates are crucial to keep my guides factual & current. Got new info or updates? Drop a comment below or contact me directly.

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I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you.

Tamara Guest

Tuesday 19th of December 2023

Guess you missed the giant sign that said the overhang rock was closed? Quite irresponsible to be promoting the climbing to the viewpoint when it is so dangerous and actually closed for safety reasons.

Olly Gaspar

Wednesday 20th of December 2023

Hi Tamara, thanks for your comment. When I hiked here there was no sign saying that the rock was closed, but I appreciate your update, it'll be helpful for readers.

However, I am not promoting any action, I'm documenting my experience hiking to this viewpoint and providing logistical information.

Kaylini

Monday 21st of August 2023

Is the overhang section for the main photo shot closed at the moment? Like the picture in your featured image?

Olly Gaspar

Monday 21st of August 2023

Hey, yeah there seemed to be some kind of rope blocking it off;