Tackling the Monkey Trail, Ao Nang, Krabi

Are you looking for something unique to do during a stay in Ao Nang near Krabi? Do you like nature, sea views and hidden coves? Do your kids yearn for adventure? If the answer to any of these is a resounding yes then a visit to the Monkey Trail, Ao Nang is an absolute must.

As much as I advocate for everyone trying this hike I think there are several things people need to know before setting off or before trying to visit the hike at all. In this blog I’ve tried to include all the hints I learned whilst walking the monkey trail, safety tips you need to know before you go and many photos of the actual route so you’ll know what to expect.

monkey trail ao nang wooden walk way with the sea on one side

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What is the Monkey Trail, Ao Nang?

The monkey trail is a short hike through the Krabi jungle from Ao Nang beach to the secluded Pai Plong Beach. It consists of bamboo bridges, steps and pathway with follow the coast offering some breathtaking views out to sea. It’s called the monkey trail unsurprisingly due to the monkeys you will meet at the start of the hike. They tend to hang around at the end of Ao Nang beach, climbing the trees and splashing about in the shallow water. As soon as you start ascending the steps you’ll leave them behind.

monkey sat in a tree in ao nang beach

Where does the Monkey Trail Ao Nang start?

You start the Monkey trail at the end of Ao Nang beach, it’s the end which is furthest away from the shops and bars of Ao Nang Town. Walk down the narrow street keeping the beach to your left. You’ll pass some lovely hotels, massage parlours and beach bars on the way.

street to get to the monkey trail in Ao Nang

At the end of the road you’ll find the Centara Ao Nang Beach Resort Gates. You can either skirt around it’s walls and hop down onto the sand or just wander through the gates. I’ve heard it reported that security can be fussy about letting non residents through but we didn’t seem to have a problem. Any bother – just go the beach way.

gates of the centara grand hotel right on the beach

Keep walking until you get to the end of the beach, you should see a small temple and a bridge to your left. This is where all the monkeys hang out and is the start of the Monkey Trail.

monkeys on the bridge at the end of Ao Nang beach which is the start of the monkey trail

What is the condition of the Monkey Trail in Ao Nang?

Here is where the fun starts! Cross over the bridge and walk along the bamboo raised path. You’ll be following this the whole way so there really is no chance you’ll get lost en route.

Near the start of the trail you’ll see the old route to your right. This is now fenced off and it’s easy to see why, I wouldn’t fancy dodging all those holes and wobbly railings! The newer trail is a lot sturdier I promise.

girl in green t shirt and long hair looking at a very old, run down section of the monkey trail ao nang

Next it’s up some very, very steep wooden steps which have a few platforms for passing. Here you’ll leave the monkeys behind so at least you don’t have those to contend with!

wooden steps next to the national park sign on the monkey trail in ao nang

Parts of the trail are fairly flat and on solid ground rather than platform. But I’m not going to lie, parts of it gave us very shaky legs. I’m sure it is safe (Thai standards safe) but just take plenty of time and don’t feel pressurised by those behind you. It’s really not that far.

views from the monkey trail in Krabi

Pai Plong Beach

When you finally come to the last descent of the monkey trail you’ll come out at fabulous Pai Plong beach. This is a relatively hidden cove which is only accessible via the Monkey trail or by longtail boat. Even though it is home to a luxury hotel, The Centara Grand Beach Ao Nang, it still feels very quiet.

limestone cliffs jutting out of water at pai plong beach

To get on to the beach you have to sign in a book which is on a table at the base of the trail. There will be a security guard from the hotel guiding you to it when you arrive. After that you’re free to enjoy the beach and splash is the waves until you’re ready to retrace your steps back along the monkey trail.

if you fancy visiting stunning sandy coastline that’s a little easier to access, make sure you check out Ao Nam Mao beach. It’s practically deserted and home to some of the sweetest local restaurants.

signing the check in book at pai plong beach

Take extra care on your way down to the beach. The steps are particularly steep here. Find out more about Pai Plong Beach in my recent post.

steep descent along wooden steps down to pai plong beach

How far is the monkey trail in Ao Nang?

This is a really short hike in Ao Nang, in fact it is less than on kilometre long. Whilst the heat and steps and climbs will probably make it feel a lot longer it’s not actually far at all.

monkeys in trees at the monkey trail krabi

How long does it take to walk the Monkey Trail

It only took us around 15 minutes to walk from the bridge at the start of the trail to Pai Plong Beach. This was taking it fairly slow and being very careful. It’s a similar amount of time back. You’ll also want to factor in some time at the beach when you arrive. We hung out on the sand for an hour.

Read Next: The Fabulous Samet Nangshe Viewpoint in Phang Nga Bay

steep wooden steps leading into a jungle with people at the top

Safety tips for walking the monkey trail

Whilst the trail might not actually feel very safe, it is very well constructed. At no point did we feel that the path or steps would give way under us. The main thing you need to be aware of is where your feet are. There are gaps, the steps are all different levels and hand rails aren’t always consistent.

gaps in the wooden trail from ao nang to pai plong

Hiking in Ao Nang feels hot at most times in the year so you need to be hyper aware of dehydration and sunstroke. Take more water than you think you’ll need, extra suncream and wear a hat. Mosquito repellent and long sleeves and trousers are also a good idea – you’re hiking through the jungle after all.

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I would not recommend wearing flip flops for this hikes. You’ll be concerned about them dropping off and they wont protect your feet from stones and debris on the ground. Hiking sandals, boots or trainers will be absolutely fine.

sand bag lined path at monkey trail

Do not attempt this trail in the wet or after heavy rain. It would be very slippy and dangerous to lose your footing.

Don’t get too close to the monkeys, don’t try to give them food or get them to climb on your shoulders. They’re wild and you do not know what diseases they may be carrying. Don’t be afraid of them, they wont attack you unless provoked. Keep food and water well packed away until you’re well passed them.

getting close to the monkeys in ao nang

This is not a trail to attempt if you have mobility issues.

Is the Monkey trail suitable for kids?

We completed the hike with out 12 year old daughter. She loved watching the monkeys play and actually enjoyed the sense of adventure on the wooden paths and step. She was a little nervous at times but was so proud when we finally made it down to the beach.

piper quinn on phai plong beach

Toddlers and babies will need to be carried along parts of it which may throw you slightly off balance. Most kids above 5 should manage it ok …… just go super slow and remember to fill them with water!

If you don’t fancy tackling the monkey trail with kids, have a read of my post on the best things to do in Krabi with kids for some other fantastic ideas.

What are the Monkeys like on the trail

We tried to give the monkeys plenty of space having met a few fairly aggressive one at the Batu Caves. They seemed pretty happy with that. I did see other people get a bit too close and get hissed at. There’s no doubt these monkeys would lash out if they felt threatened. I also saw people giving the monkeys food so they would climb on their shoulders. Just don’t do it, these are wild creatures, not pets.

baby monkey sat on a stone bridge

If you watch them from a short distance they really are a sweet troop of monkeys. There are always mums and little babies. You can watch them play in the sand, groom each other, climb trees and even jump in the sea for a swim – I’ve never seen that before! They’re macaques so known for their fun temperament.

If you like up close animal encounters then be sure to read my post on our visit to Thailand’s Pig Island just off Koh Samui. It was one of our favourite tours during our whole trip.

Where to eat and drink near the monkey trail

I’ve heard varying reports on whether or not you are allowed to get food and drink at the Centara Grand on Pai Plong beach if you’re not a guest. We didn’t try but most hotels in Thailand are open to walk ins.

We stopped for a cold drink after our hike along the monkey trail at the Last Fisherman beach bar. It was great value and a lovely shaded space to take in the views of Ao Nang Beach and the Andaman Sea.

cold bottle of singha beer with stunning ao nang beach in the background

Further back towards Ao Nang town you’ll find heaps of bars and restaurants. Just take your pick of what you fancy.

Where to park for the monkey trail in Ao Nang

If you arrive by bike you’ll probably be able to park fairly close to the start of the trail near the Centara Hotel. We had rented a car for our time in Krabi but found it very easy to find free parking on the streets of Ao Nang Town and then walked to the trail which wasn’t far.

Where to stay to visit the monkey trail in Krabi

The obvious choice is the Centara Grand Beach Resort on Pai Plong Beach as it’s right in the centre of the action. If you don’t fancy hiking in and out each day, the only way to access the hotel is by boat from one of the piers in Ao Nang. Thats pretty cool! This is very much a luxury hotel but the prices aren’t too ridiculous.

centara grand beach resort ao nang swimming pool and sun loungers

For our stay in Ao Nang we wanted to be a little out of the action so chose the Anana Ecological resort. We absolutely loved the boutique feel of the hotel, the fabulous views from the rooftop pool and it’s exceptional eco credentials. It’s less than a 15 minute drive into Ao Nang town.

Discover more great hotels in Krabi

Facilities at the Monkey Trail

There are no public toilets on the monkey trail, being so short you probably wont need them. We did manage to use the restrooms at the Centara Grand Hotel on Pai Plong beach. Although I’m not sure this is officially allowed. Once you’ve finished the trail there are toilets in the beach bar closest to the start of the trail. I think you can use them for a small fee (currently 10 Baht) but it’s also a great place to relax with a cool drink after your hike.

toilets near the monkey trail in ao nang

More Monkey Trail Ao Nang Photos

few monkeys on the bridge at the start f the trail
monkey jumping into the sea from a bamboo path
monkey trail krabi pathway
amazing views from the monkey trail ao nang
You’ll be rewarded with some great views from the top
shaded part of the monkey trail ao nang
Some parts of the trail are a bit shady!
view of sea from start on monkey trail
macaque monkey in thailand