Krabi is basically a beach destination. From Ao Nang town you can visit dozens of islands with spectacular beaches, and that is the main reason why most people visit this beautiful province in southern Thailand. But truth is that in Krabi isn’t all about beaches. If you have time and are interested, there are plenty of other things to do in Krabi. Some of them we have already told you before in our Krabi Guide. Today we tell you about one of the best: Dragon Crest Viewpoint.
Today we share one of the best excursions for those who like mountains and jungle, and who are not afraid of sweating profusely by climbing uphill. Dragon Crest (or Mount Khao Ngon Nak, its Thai name) is one of the most famous viewpoints in Krabi. From its top you will get really spectacular views of Krabi province. Actually this hike made it to our list of the 10 best trekkings in Thailand.
Dragon Crest (or Mount Khao Ngon Nak) is a small National Park located at the end of Tubkaek Beach, a beach 20 km northwest from Ao Nang town (where most people who visit Krabi province overnight). Tubkaek Beach is a long and quiet beach with several good 4 and 5 star hotels, such as Anyavee Tubkaek (4*) or Tubkaek Boutique Resort (4-5*). If you’re staying in one of these, getting to the entrance of the National Park, where the path to the Dragon Crest summit begins, it is a simple 10-minute walk.
Why climb the Dragon Crest? And what is the climb like?
If you want to get a closer look at the typical jungle vegetation of southern Thailand, climbing Dragon Crest is a good opportunity to do so. The path to the top is very well signposted, so it is impossible to get lost, but at the same time it is surrounded by spectacular lush vegetation. Reching the top will reward you with truly spectacular views.
The first 500 meters of the hike are fairly flat, with only a slight unevenness. But after that, the path slopes up quickly and becomes quite steep… And it goes on like this until almost reaching the top. Fortunately, the path is almost always sheltered in shade, but humidity is very high, so you will sweat like there is no tomorrow. As you approach the top, vegetation begins to change, and the path opens up and begins to turn rocky. Once at the top, there are several rocks that make perfect vantage points from which to admire the beautiful scenary over the Andaman Sea.
Facts about the hike to Dragon Crest viewpoint:
- Distance to travel: 3.7 kms
- Duration of the climb: 1h (if you’re very fit), 1.5h (reasonably fit) and 2h (average).
- Total duration of the excursion climbing up, enjoying the views and climbing down: between 3 and 4 hours.
- Price: It is free, but you have to register.
- Hours: the rangers start working from 8 am, but you can start climbing earlier, since the path is not closed.
- Recommended time to start climbing: 8 am in the morning, to avoid the midday heat.
- Location of the starting point in Google Maps.
☠️ Dangerous selfie alert: A very famous photo circulates on Instagram in which people stand on top of a rock jutting out of the cliff, and take a photo with their feet dangling. Access to that rock is fenced and therefore prohibited. It is an obvious risk that we do not recommend taking for a simple Instagram photo. You wouldn’t be the first to accidentally kill yourself for a good selfie.
What will you need to climb Dragon Crest?
To climb to Dragon Crest Viewpoint it is advisable to bring a large bottle of water (or two small ones) per person, good hiking footwear (as the path can be wet and slippery), and sunscreen. Cap and sunglasses can also be helpful. It is forbidden to fly drones at the top.
It is not necessary to hire a guide, since the path is well signposted and it is very easy to follow. You just need to use the good judgement that visiting any National Park requires. It may be that you come across a snake, although it is rather unlikely. In any case, it is best to be careful and act with common sense.
How to go from Ao Nang to the hike start point?
Driving your own wheels
Being 20 kms from Ao Nang town, to get to Khao Ngon Nak National Park you will need some type of vehicle, be it a bike, motorcycle, car or van. The cheapest way to get there is by renting a motorcycle in Ao Nang (it will cost you around THB 300/day) but you have to be very careful, as the local driving style is quite crazy and unpredictable. Renting a car can also be a good option (about 1000 or 1200 THB/day). They usually don’t require you to show an international license. Whatever you rent, remember to take pictures of it from top to bottom before you leave the rental store, so that when you return it, you can show that any damage to the vehicle was prior to driving.
By public transport
If you prefer to have someone else drive you there, you can choose one of these options:
- 🛵 Moto taxi with sidecar. Although the journey will be quite long. Price is negotiable.
- 🛺 Songthaew (red pickup van): They drive through Ao Nang and you can just flag down a songthaew, ask the driver how much he’d charge for Dragon Crest, and haggle if necessary.
- 🚕 Taxi: You can get a taxi at your hotel or at any street agency. They’ll probably ask you for 1200-2000 THB for a round trip including waiting time.