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Hiking the Monkey Trail in Ao Nang to Pai Plong Beach, Krabi

Hiking the Monkey Trail in Ao Nang to Pai Plong Beach, Krabi

A useful guide to hiking the Monkey Trail at the end of Ao Nang Beach, Krabi.

Looking for a short adventure to spot wild monkeys near Ao Nang Beach?

Make sure you check out the 450 m long 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!

Macaque monkey with baby in krabi, thailand
Mother and Baby on the Monkey Trail Ao Nang.
Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler & adventure photographer for 6 years with 700+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

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.

Pai Plong Beach is also one of the best beaches in Krabi and is certainly worth the walk if you're looking for a relaxing spot to swim and sunbathe.

However, the main attraction of this short hike is the opportunity to see many wild macaque monkeys who live on this trail.

Walking the monkey trail in ao nang, krabi

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 popular places in Southern Thailand.

Monkey trail map in ao nang
Map showing the location of the Monkey Trail
End of ao nang beach, palm trees
Start of Monkey Trail

Top Ao Nang Adventure Activities

Speedboat tour krabi phi phi islands

1. Phi Phi Speedboat Tour

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.

Hong island krabi beach

2. Hong Island Day Trip

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.

Rock climbing railay beach

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.

Wooden steps on the ao nang monkey trail

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.

Monkey trail hike in ao nang, thailand
Baby monkey on the ao nang monkey trail
Macaque monkey in krabi, thailand

From this section, you also have a beautiful view of the Andaman Sea and Pai Plong Beach just a little further on.

Ao nang monkey trail, 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.

Ao nang monkeys
Baby monkey in thailand
Girl on the krabi monkey trail

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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.

Monkey trail in ao nang beach, thailand

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.

Bamboo and wooden staircase to pai plong beach
Steep bamboo steps to pai plong beach.
Jungle hike in ao nang

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.

Pai plong beach, krabi
Pai plong beach, krabi

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.

Ao nang monkey trail bamboo bridge

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 you'll notice the beach is quite protected, and a great place for swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking. During low tide, this beach is much better for swimming than Ao Nang since it is a little deeper and has less boat activity.

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.

Pai plong beach, thailand

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 Southeast Asia very often, especially at popular tourist spots like this one and the nearby Tiger Cave Temple.

However, there are some things you can do to stay safe and avoid getting bitten.

  1. Keep your distance: This is the most simple and effective way to avoid a monkey attack. Remember to keep a safe distance.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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 to monkeys, it's important to remain calm and avoid showing fear. You should stand your ground avoid running away, and pretend to be uninterested in the monkey.
Ao nang monkey with a baby

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.

Monkey with baby in krabi, thailand
Walking the monkey trail in krabi

FAQ About The Monkey Trail in Ao Nang

Is the Monkey Trail Hike Hard?

The hike is considered easy, and suitable for most fitness levels. It involves a total climb of 80 meters over 450 meters distance, with steep steps near Pai Plong Beach. It takes about 15-20 minutes one way, however, this could take longer if you stop for photographs.

Is the Monkey Trail Hike Free?

No, there is no entrance fee required to hike the Monkey Trail. However, Pai Plong Beach is managed by Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas but is open to the public until 6:00 pm daily.

Is the Monkey Trail safe for children?

Yes, the trail is safe for children under supervision. Ensure children understand to keep a distance from the monkeys and not to feed them. The steep steps near Pai Plong Beach require careful navigation and might be difficult for young children so they might need to be carried.

How do I get to the Monkey Trail from Krabi Town?

From Krabi Town, it's about a 30-minute drive to Ao Nang. You can take a local bus, or rent a motorbike or car. The trailhead is located at the southern end of Ao Nang Beach, near the Shrine AO Nang Beach.

Where to Stay in Krabi

The best places to stay in Krabi to explore the beautiful islands, hikes, and white-sand beaches include staying at Ao Nang Beach, Krabi Town, Ton Sai, and 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 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!

Hidden beach, railay beach

Plan Your Krabi Accommodation

Still in the planning stages of your trip? Perhaps you're booking on the fly. The below accommodation guides will help you plan where to stay in Thailand.

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Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel journalist & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 700 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.

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