Our four day trip to Tonsai beach wasn’t planned. It was a very spontaneous decision to go there. My birthday was coming up, and with my mother visiting us from Russia at the time, we thought it was an excellent opportunity to drive from our home in Phuket and explore the nearby seaside town of Krabi.
Since moving to Phuket life has been great but not having any outside help with a baby made me miss fun times. I wanted to do something adventurous but also involve my mum and my son.
What could be fun to do for a family in Thailand? Explore the some of the places less travelled of course!
After we decided that we want to go to Krabi, we ended up with another idea of going further than that and take a boat to this secret beach. The «secret beach» was the name that my husband gave to the place. He went there years ago with his friend, and the area was not very popular with tourists but very well known amongst full-time travellers and backpackers. The place felt very secluded. Not just everyone goes there. It sounded like a perfect idea for me, so we booked our rooms at the only functioning hotel on the beach.
Before getting into more details about our stay in Tonsai, I think it would be helpful if I cover first on how to get there from Phuket.
HOW TO GET FROM PHUKET TO TONSAI BEACH IN KRABI
To get to Krabi from Phuket by car takes about two hours and 40 minutes. Once you are in Krabi, you have two options to catch the boat to Tonsai beach. You can either catch it from the Ao Nang beach which would be the most popular option, or you can drive to the Ao Nammao pier instead. On that day the weather was quite gloomy, so we have been advised to catch a boat from the Ao Nammao pier as that’s where all the boats were at that time. There’s a little car park right by the dock where you can leave your car so that I would recommend this place over the Ao Nang beach.
You could also take a ferry from Rassada Pier in Phuket direct to Ao Nang Beach with the trip taking a little over two hours.
ALWAYS CHECK THE WIND FORECAST BEFORE GOING ON THE BOAT TRIP
To get from the Ao Nammao pier to Tonsai beach usually takes about 20 minutes. In our case, it took 40 minutes because of the high winds.
The tricky thing about the weather as you can’t tell whats going on in the open water. Before leaving the pier, the water was very still, and our captain said there is no problem going to the beach. We got ourselves into a very rough ride and to say that it was stressful it would be underestimated. It was terrifying!
During the low season in Thailand the sea is rough most of the time, so make sure you double check wind forecast before getting on the boat. On the way back the weather was great, so we had the opportunity to enjoy incredible views of the surrounding islands. It was a truly fantastic ending to our trip.
If you do not feel like braving the conditions, there is also an option to hike through the Jungle from Krabi. This was never an option for us because we were travelling with my mother and our young son but if it were just the two of us, we would have considered it.
TONSAI IS HOME TO WILD MONKEYS
As we arrived at Tonsai beach, we have been welcomed by the group of wild monkeys that live nearby in the jungle. Even though these monkeys are used to people, they choose to keep their distance. You can spot them anywhere on the land jumping amongst the tall trees or hiding in the mountains. I think those monkeys were the biggest attraction on that beach as they were very entertaining to watch. At night, while having our dinner at the local restaurant, we could hear all the action that was going on in the forest next to us which made the experience truly WILD!
When it comes to accommodation, there is a tiny selection of hotels available. I think there are only two hotels on the beach and the rest are backpackers. We stayed at the Tonsai Bay Resort which had the best location and the most decent looking accommodation.
When we arrived, we were picked up by the hotel’s golf cart which took us to the resort. The location of the resort was, and the surroundings were stunning. The rooms were situated right by the vast mountain which I thought was cool. It did give me chills every time I looked at it. The other entry to the resort was through the main beach that people can access through long hiking or a boat ride. On the beach, you have one local restaurant that would serve very basic food and drinks. While sipping on the cocktails and watching the stunning sea views, you can also watch people climb the mountains from the bottom to the top right in front of your eyes. It was genuinely entertaining and nerve recking at the same time.
A CLIMBING PARADISE
Tonsai is a tropical paradise surrounded by water and massive, endless mountain walls. The typical crowd that you will find on that beach are budget-focused travellers that are interested in recreational activities. Rock climbing, sea kayaking, slacklining and hiking tends to attract travellers from all over the world. But this is not the only attractive side of this secret place.
THE VILLAGE OF TONSAI
The village of Tonsai beach used to sit facing the ocean but was forcefully relocated to make space for a new mega-resort that never materialised. Now the people of Tonsai face the concrete wall that travellers covered in the art as a protest. The rumours say that the resort had to stop the construction as their realised that at low tide the beach is covered in sharp and jagged rocks. Which is from my beach experience there is correct!
During the day, the village stayed very quiet and almost inhabitant, in the evenings the place came to life with dancing and hypnotising views of twirling flames. Travellers and locals gathered together every night at the local Reggae bar to watch their famous fire show, smoke and relax. The happy atmosphere and reggae music were floating in the air. We had a great time celebrating my birthday there, and it was indeed a one of a kind experience.
WATCH MY TONSAI VIDEO
I can go on and on about the beauty of the Tonsai beach, but I think its better once to see that a hundred times to hear. I came up with a video of the best moments of our family trip. I hope you enjoy watching it and it will inspire you to visit this beautiful place. If you have any questions about this place, don’t hesitate to comment below!