A useful guide to hiking the Monkey Trail in Ao Nang, Krabi. A short coastal track from the end of Ao Nang Beach to Pai Plong Beach where you can see wild monkeys in Krabi.
Looking for a short adventure near Ao Nang Beach? Make sure to check out the famous Monkey Trail, picking up at the end of Ao Nang Beach and leading to the quiet shores of Pai Plong Beach.
In this guide, I’ll outline everything you need to know about this hike, including how to get to the trailhead, how to spot wild monkeys safely, and some tips to avoid getting bitten!
- About the Monkey Trail in Ao Nang
- How to Get to the Monkey Trail in Ao Nang
- Top Ao Nang Adventure Activities
- What to Expect on the Monkey Trail Hike to Pai Plong Beach
- Wild Monkeys in Ao Nang
- What to do at Pai Plong Beach
- Tips for Staying Safe on the Monkey Trail
- Where to Stay in Krabi
- Best Time to Hike Ao Nang’s Monkey Trail
- More Krabi & Thailand Travel & Adventure Guides
About the Monkey Trail in Ao Nang
- Distance: 450 meters, or 0.27 miles (one way)
- Hike Duration: 15-20 minutes
- Elevation: 80 meters total climb (260 feet)
- Difficulty: Easy but steps are steep at Pai Plong Beach side
The Ao Nang Monkey Trail is a short, 15-minute walk around the forested jungle headland between Ao Nang Beach and Pai Plong Beach. The track is mostly made up of bamboo boardwalk, wooden stairs, and a narrow sand-bagged pathway on the edge of the slope.
The main attraction of this short hike is the opportunity to see many wild macaque monkeys who live on this trail. These monkeys are very common in South East Asia and are quite used to humans.
However, Pai Plong Beach is also one of the best beaches in Krabi and certainly worth the walk if you're looking for a relaxing spot to swim and sunbathe.
How to Get to the Monkey Trail in Ao Nang
The trailhead to the Ao Nang Monkey Trail is located at the end of Ao Nang Beach (southern end). If you're staying in Ao Nang, you can reach it by walking along the beach, or by taking a car, motorbike, or tuk-tuk to the location pinned as "Shrine AO Nang Beach" near the popular Centara Hotel.
Here there is plenty of space for parking.
For travelers staying in Krabi Town, expect a 30-minute journey to Ao Nang Village, one of the most amazing places in Southern Thailand.
Top Ao Nang Adventure Activities
Spend less time in transit & more time snorkeling among coral gardens and lazing on white sand beaches at the incredible Phi Phi Islands. Visits Maya Bay, Lohsamah, and Monkey Bay.
An epic 7-hour tour to the turquoise sea and white sand beaches of Koh Hong. Relax in the warm Thai sunshine, swim and snorkel in clear blue water & go kayaking.
3. Railay Beach Beginner Rock Climbing
An introduction to Krabi's limestone rock climbing on a half-day tour at Railay Beach. Learn climbing & belay techniques from an expert guide & climbing the cliffs above Railay & Phra Nang Beach.
What to Expect on the Monkey Trail Hike to Pai Plong Beach
When you arrive at the end of Ao Nang Beach, continue walking to the forested area, where you'll see a clear bamboo walkway and wooden bridge leading over the small creek and up the slope of the headland. There is a sign covered in stickers here saying that you are entering a National Park.
This walkway is well-built and maintained, as this is a very popular hike in Ao Nang. It begins by climbing quite steeply up the small hill, where it levels off.
We didn't see any monkeys until we reached the top area, which only took about 5 minutes from the beach. It seems that the monkeys like to hang out at the top, often sitting along the bamboo handrail and in the trees above.
From this section, you also have a beautiful view of the Andaman Sea and Pai Plong Beach just a little further on.
Related:Dragon Crest Mountain Hike in Krabi
Wild Monkeys in Ao Nang
The monkeys on the Ao Nang monkey trail are macaques– the most common ape in Thailand and South East Asia. These monkeys are usually fine with people, but they are known for being very cheeky and they can also be aggressive if you act strangely around them.
We spotted at least 20 monkeys on our quick walk, many of them with babies.
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Tip: Beware of Your Belongings
Along the way, we saw that one girl had quickly rested her bag on one of the bamboo poles. It wasn't long before a large male macaque took her bag, opened the zipper, and started pulling out all of her belongings in search of food.
This monkey sat with her bag very close to the trail and quickly became quite protective of it. It began to swipe at anybody who walked passed. I recommend keeping your belongings on you at all times and not tempting the monkeys into stealing your things.
Arriving at Pai Plong Beach, Krabi
After just 15 minutes, the trail drops steeply to the shores of Pai Plong Beach. The last section features a very steep bamboo and wooden staircase, so make sure to take your time so you don't trip.
Once we arrived, there is a beach official sitting at the base of the wooden steps. He will ask you to fill in your name and details in the register. But, don't worry, there's no entrance fee at Pai Plong Beach for day visitors or hotel guests of Centara.
However, he did tell us that the beach closes at 6:00 pm for day visitors. We walked the Monkey Trail for sunset, and therefore only had about 15 minutes at the beach when we arrived.
The way back follows the same small trail, which was quite busy since everyone was leaving Pai Plong Beach at closing time to return to Ao Nang. There are some lights positioned on the bamboo trail to illuminate the track if you are walking back in the dark.
What to do at Pai Plong Beach
Pai Plong Beach, also known as Ao Pai Plong, is a secluded and beautiful beach that is much more relaxed than the neighboring Ao Nang or Railay Beach. It's a private beach run by the private resort, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas– but open to the public. Pai Plong often appears on postcards for the iconic towering limestone island situated just a short distance from its shores.
Once you arrive at the end of the Monkey Trail onto Pai Plong Beach, there are plenty of things to do. There's a kayak rental place operating here, that also offers snorkel gear rental.
The beach is quite protected, and a great place for swimming, snorkeling, or just relaxing under the shade of the palm trees lining the soft white sand. During low tide, this beach is much better for swimming than at Ao Nang since it is a little deeper.
If you speak to the boat drivers, you can even take a long tail boat to Railay Beach from the long pier at the end of the beach area.
Tips for Staying Safe on the Monkey Trail
Spotting monkeys is a fun and exciting experience. However, it's important to remember that the monkeys in Krabi are still wild animals and can be unpredictable. Unfortunately, monkeys bite tourists in South East Asia very often, especially at popular tourist spots like this one and nearby Tiger Cave Temple.
However, there are some things you can do to stay safe and avoid getting bitten.
- Keep your distance: This is the most simple and effective way to avoid a monkey attack. Remember to keep a safe distance.
- Don't feed the monkeys: Whatever you do, don't feed them. This can encourage them to become aggressive and will associate humans as a source of food.
- Keep your belongings secure: Monkeys are notorious for snatching bags, phones, cameras, and other belongings. They are usually in search of food, so don't tempt them with food in your hands.
- Don't pack food: Monkeys have a good sense of smell and will usually know if you are carrying snacks in your backpack. Don't do this as it can encourage monkeys to try to steal your food.
- Avoid eye contact: Direct eye contact can be seen as a threat by the monkeys in Krabi. So, it's best to avoid looking them directly in the eyes, and definitely don't stare!
- Don't show fear: Walking on the Ao Nang monkey trail, it'll be hard to keep a big distance because of the narrowness of the trail. So, when walking close by monkeys, it's important to remain calm and avoid showing fear. You should stand your ground and avoid running away, and just pretend to be uninterested in the monkey.
Where to Stay in Krabi
The best places to stay in Krabi to explore the beautiful islands, hikes, and white-sand beaches include Ao Nang Beach, Krabi Town, Ton Sai, and Railay Beach.
Below are the three top accommodation picks for all budgets.
1. Rayavadee Luxury
Amazing 5-star luxury accommodation adjacent Krabi Marine National Park in Railay. Boasts immaculately designed rooms, 6 restaurants, an outdoor pool, & incredible balcony views.
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.
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.
Best Time to Hike Ao Nang's Monkey Trail
I would recommend walking this trail in the early morning to avoid the crowds. While the beach is quiet, the trail can easily become overcrowded with people hanging around to take photos.
However, if you want to take photos of the monkeys, I would recommend taking the Monkey Trail walk in the afternoon. In the early morning, the sun is shining behind the mountain and it will be too dark.
The photos you see on this blog were taken just before sunset. After the hike, we packed our motorbike and rode straight to the Ao Nang Night Market at Noppharat Thara Beach.
More Krabi & Thailand Travel & Adventure Guides
I hope you've enjoyed this quick but useful guide to hiking the popular Monkey Trail in Ao Nang to Pai Plong Beach. While you're here, make sure to check out some of my other travel guides below for more inspiration for your travels to Krabi!