Should you splurge on a longboat in Krabi?
Short answer yes.
We took our kids and my mom on an 11 day Thailand Holiday. I have a three kids – 7, 3, and 2. We’re a big family for Asian standards (lots of families have only one or two kids).
On the second phase of our holiday (first phase was Chiang Mai), we stayed in the sleepy beach city of Krabi. We stayed at Lux Family Villa which is close to Ao Nang Beach.
We wanted to visit all of the islands but couldn’t figure out the best time to go since we had the kids and had to factor in nap schedules and food consumption of hangry small humans. We checked out the schedule for the long boat ferries and a large wave of anxiety just consumed both me and my husband.
Just imagine --- showing up to a boat dock with ALL your stuff (towels, sun screen, water, snacks, floaties, goggles, money, and sun hats) to wait for the next ferry to show up (could take 10 mins...could take an hour! who knows?!), fill with people, and then wait your turn with two small kids running around while your 7-year-old complains that he doesn’t want to carry the stuff he’s carrying but he doesn’t want to set it down and get it all sandy.
Then sitting, stuffed in a long boat shoulder to shoulder with strangers, a child with motion sickness, and a parent with motion sickness driving to the next island and getting dropped off. The boat driver says “we’ll be back in 30 mins! If you don’t come back when we call for the boat – we’ll leave you!”.
Then imagine driving to the next island smushed up against a wet stranger while you try and rock your child to sleep so they can nap while your husband digs in your bag for snacks for your other kids that are hungry. Then repeat until you’ve visited all the islands on the tour. Sounds terrible? Yeeeeeah, that’s why we didn’t do that either. If it were just me and my husband travelling I think this option would have been fine, but since we had the three kiddos we didn’t want to take any chances.
So we booked a private long boat tour for our family of six (we were traveling with my mom) with Andaman Camp and Cruise for about $400USD. They picked us up at 10am and dropped us off at night (around 9-10pm-ish). They provided us with unlimited soda and water, nausea medicine (if needed), fed us lunch AND dinner and snacks, and snorkel gear. It was LEGIT the most magical day.
sunset dinner on top of the boat after a snorkeling session
They picked us up from our hotel and dropped us off at the docks. They helped us carry all our stuff to the boat. While we were walking to the boat, we saw the loooong queue of people carrying all their stuff waiting to get on a long boat tour 😖 and felt incredibly thankful that we splurged on this.
The tour is completely customizable so you tell the company what you like what you don’t like, what your family likes, what you want to see, and they cook the food and tailor the places to visit based on that.
our tour guides knew exactly when to go.
Three out of the four places we visited were almost completely deserted! We had the entire beach to ourselves for an hour!
We visited four different spots. It’s not like other tourists weren’t out and about – but its like our guide knew when the beaches wouldn’t be so busy because we got there when most of the boats would transition to the next island.
We got 3 out of the 4 places almost deserted so we were one of the five people on the beach!
This is SO HELPFUL when you have two young kids and an older, curious, adventurous kid so you can easily keep an eye on them.
Our first stop was snorkeling in this gorgeous lagoon. There were mangroves and huge stone walls that surrounded the swimming area. On the way there we saw SWARMS of jellyfish in the water. It was both really gross and really amazing to see. I appreciated our guide keeping an eye out while we swam around because there was a brown jellyfish that got lost and floated in and apparently those stings hurt SIGNIFICANTLY more than the pink jellyfish stings.
We had lunch on a private beach and continued our day to three other islands and ended our day with snorkeling and a sunset dinner on top of the boat.
It was pitch black out while we were driving back to the loading bay so night sky was incredibly clear.
It was magical lying down on the boat looking up at these bright stars with the kids while they sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star driving past the iconic rock formations of those Thai Beaches.
The kids fell asleep driving from island to island.
No one got sick.
No one felt uncomfortable.
We moved around the longboat as we pleased and weren’t confined to a bench and weren’t worried about our stuff getting stolen.
Our soaking wet towels were able to dry between swim sessions.
No one got left behind and no one had any hangry temper tantrums.
Long answer… yes -- splurge on the Private Boat Tour with you and your family or go with another family and split the cost. Is it expensive? Hell yes. Is it worth it? HAIL. YES.