My family and I spent months debating on where we should take our first family vacation together as a “big” family. We finally settled on Krabi because it was a short hour or so flight from Singapore and easy-to-find halal food. Plus, a Muslim-friendly beach destination seems like an ideal travel destination for a family traveling with toddlers and an infant. We actually spent about 5 days in Krabi but honestly, you’d only need 3 full days. Our 2 extra days were free-and-easy days which were spent either just sleeping and swimming at the resort.
Getting around in Krabi
Upon arrival, you could either opt for an airport transfer with your hotel or simply book yourself a Grab ride to your resort. The ridesharing app is the easiest and most convenient way to get around Krabi without burning a hole in your pocket. Plus, many resorts in Krabi provide free shuttle services to popular attractions and halal restaurants.
Halal food in Krabi
Compared to other popular Thai cities, Krabi is regarded as Muslim-friendly due to its abundance of halal food and a pretty mellow party scene unlike cities like Bangkok and Phuket. I was recommended by friends to stay in the Ao Nang area where there’s a large population of Muslims. A myriad of halal restaurants line the roads of Ao Nang so you’ll essentially be spoilt for choice. Furthermore, the night market near Ao Nang Mosque is quite a treat for a Muslim foodie like me.
Day 1: Check in at Phu Pi Maan Resort and explore Ao Nang Mosque Market
My family decided to book a midday flight because we weren’t keen on lugging suitcases and kids to the airport at 7am. But if you’re sans kids, I would recommend an early day flight so you get a full day in Krabi on your first day.
After arrival, we were picked up by our resort airport transfer. The drive to Phu Pi Maan Resort took about 30-40 minutes. There was a little bit more traffic than usual. By the time we got all checked in, it was about late afternoon. After prayers, we decided to grab an early dinner near Ao Nang Mosque. Ao Nang Mosque is just a 5-minute walk down from our resort.
There are plenty of halal restaurants within walking distance of Ao Nang Mosque. My favourite is Bangboo Halal Seafood Restaurant which is a short walk down and across the street. This halal restaurant serves a variety of seafood and crowd favourite Thai dishes like Tom Yam and Green Curry. You can even select your seafood fresh out of water!
Address: 445/5 Moo-2, aonang, Ao Nang, Krabi 81180, Thailand
Opening hours: Daily, 11:00 – 23:45
After dinner, head to the Ao Nang Mosque Night Market to check out the delicious street Thai food. Fret not, all the food stalls here are halal. Trust me and get yourself the Thai Pancake with banana and Nutella! If you need some cooling down, grab a cup of sweet watermelon juice. There are also souvenir shops around here if you’re looking to get yourself some keepsakes.
Address: 420/14-15 4203, Ao Nang, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi 81000, Thailand
Day 2: Embark on a island hopping tour to the 4 islands
We started the day with an early breakfast to fuel us for the island hopping tour. There are varying types of island hopping tours that bring you to different islands such as Hong Island, James Bond Island and Phi Phi Island. If you’re a first-timer, you might want to opt for the famous 4 island tour. This half-day tour would take you around the various islands either by a longtail boat or speedboat. Plus, each tour package would also include a hotel pick-up and drop off.
Personally, I opted for a private tour on Klook with my family because we were travelling with kids. Though a private boat tour is more expensive, you will have the luxury of taking your own time. The private tour is also highly recommended if you’re travelling in a large group of 10-20 people.
Our 4-island hopping tour brought us to Poda Island, Railay Beach, Tup Islets and Chicken Island. We managed to spot coral reefs and colourful fishes when we snorkelled. Don’t forget to bring along your sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself. The sun here can be unforgivable when it wants to be (haha).
Most island tours will bring you back to the mainland at around 2pm or so. So you’ll still have about half a day. On our way back to the resort, we decided to have lunch at Yaya Thai Food. This halal Thai restaurant is rather quaint but they do have a nice variety of Thai dishes. I would recommend the Thai Chilli Fried Fish!
Address: 24 Ao Nang, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi 81180, Thailand
Opening hours: Daily, 10:30 – 23:30
The rest of the day was spent swimming at the resort pool and taking a nice long nap. It was a great way to unwind from the craziness of the morning. If you want to tire your kids out even more, there’s a fun playroom at Phu Pi Maan Resort.
Since it was actually our parents’ anniversary that day, we went to De’Fish Restaurant for their special dinner. You could ask the concierge to help you make reservations which includes a free shuttle service to the restaurant. It’s not a fancy restaurant but it has a quiet atmosphere. The staff were also nice enough to help us arrange a dessert to celebrate.
Day 3: Greet the elephants at the Krabi Elephant Sanctuary and dinner at Ao Nang Night Market
My sister wanted us to see some elephants in Krabi especially since my niece is obsessed with Dumbo. So, I found this ethical elephant sanctuary. We booked a half-day tour to the Krabi Elephant Sanctuary. Conscious travellers can be assured that this sanctuary is ethically run by a group of skilled volunteers and experts. It’s important to note that elephant riding is strictly prohibited here.
You can choose 1 out of the 2 time slots for your visit to this elephant sanctuary. Each visit will take about half a day so you either choose morning or afternoon. We went in the afternoon because it’ll be difficult to wake the kids up. However, I do think a morning visit would be less sunny. There will be light refreshments provided such as snacks and fruits. I would advise having lunch before an afternoon visit.
You’ll travel about an hour out of the main city to the sanctuary. Not only would you be able to feed the elephants, but you’ll also be able to embark on a jungle trek and even bathe the elephants! Since there are limited slots for each tour, you’re guaranteed an intimate and authentic experience with these gentle giants. Since you’ll be getting down and dirty, be sure to pack yourself a change of clothes and bring along comfortable shoes.
On our way back, we had the driver drop us off at Ao Nang Night Market for dinner. This night market is not to be confused with the one near the Ao Nang Mosque. It’s a 10-minute walk from Ao Nang Beach. You’ll spot various stalls selling street food and others selling halal seafood.
After ordering your dishes at the stall, the vendor will lead you to a seating area behind the market for you to enjoy your dinner away from the chaos of the market. The food here is much cheaper than dining at the other halal restaurants. However, I would caution you to manage your expectations. When you’re done with dinner, you should walk around the night market and browse the many cool shops. You could do souvenir shopping here if you want. At the end of the night, we headed back to our accomodation via tuk tuk which cost less than S$10.
Day 4: Shop for souvenirs at the Big C Market and Krabi Town Night Market
The day is rather uneventfully spent shopping for simple souvenirs. There is no better souvenir than some yummy snacks. You might already know about the ubiquitous Big C Market in Thailand. The bright green and red sign is not hard to spot as we were driven there via Grab.
Address: 349 หมู่ 11 Petchkasem Rd, Krabi Noi, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi 81000, Thailand
Opening hours: Daily, 08:00 – 22:00
After an hour of snack shopping (essentially loads of Thai milk tea and seaweed), we decided to head over to the Krabi Town Night Market in Pak Nam for some dinner. Since we had an hour to waste, we went to Vogue Shopping Center which is right next to the night market.
Krabi Town Night Market is a great place to look for bargains and cool souvenirs. Fret not, there are also endless rows of food stalls here for the excited Muslim foodie. You could easily spend the night away as you sample all the cheap and delectable street food. Remember to check with the stall vendor as not all stalls here sell halal food.
Address: Pak Nam, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi 81000, Thailand
Opening hours: Friday – Sunday, 18:00 – 21:30
Day 5: Time to head home!
You can opt for a late night flight the day before if you’re on a budget. Our midday flight allowed us to have one last swim, a slow check out and made our way to the airport. Muslim travellers are advised to have a late lunch as there are limited halal food options at the airport.
You’ll be able to enjoy a relaxing short holiday to Krabi with this itinerary in hand. Besides getting sunkissed, Muslim travellers would leave Krabi captivated by its calming waters and friendly animals. So, wait no more and book your next Muslim-friendly escape to this island paradise!