1/2 DAY MOUNTAIN HIKE with 360° VIEWS! NGORN NAK MOUNTAIN RAINFOREST TREKKING! ALSO CALLED DRAGON’S CREST HIKE.
Best Mountain Trail in Krabi!
(Page Updated: 14 August 2023)
What Can You Expect Hiking Up Ngorn Nak Mountain Trail?
This jungle trek is a short trail up to the peak of a mountain top which is a short distance from the beaches of Ao Nang and Noppharat Thara. In fact, it is located in Tub Kaak near the Amari Vogue Hotel. If you stay at the Amari, you can simply walk to this jungle path and start climbing after stocking up with some water and mosquito spray.
But, read this guide first! OR, Download it here as a PDF >
This is a rather intense hike. Meaning, if you are between the ages of 13 and 60, you can probably complete it if you go slowly and pace yourself, hydrating with water as you walk.
The distance of the trail from bottom to top is just 3.7 kilometers (about 2.3 miles) up and the same path is taken back down.
Anybody can walk 4.5 miles, but the difficulty level is deceiving because there is a significant amount of climbing as you walk up the trail. There is just under 500 meters (around 1,640 feet) of climbing – a significant elevation gain. The terrain is varied. A lot of the hike is simply walking on hard-packed clay littered with small rocks.
Some of the trail actually becomes a stream of water during very hard rain showers. The majority of the hike is over sand and leaf litter, also covered with rocks and roots every now and then.
It’s sort of a technical trail and as you hike you will need to look at the ground constantly to make sure you’re not going to fall or twist an ankle. There are a few cautions that should be mentioned. Any hike in Thailand’s rainforest is not without some dangers. That isn’t to say any of you should call off the hike because you fear what might happen.
Heck, your entire hotel could be swallowed up in a sinkhole if you really want to think about all the negative things that could happen!
How To Find Ngorn Nak?
1. If you do not have a motorbike or other vehicle to drive by yourself, contact Son at Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort.
2. If you have transportation – vehicle or motorbike, go to Google Maps (maps.google.com) and get directions for traveling from wherever you are (Ao Nang, Krabi?) to “Amari Vogue Krabi.” The national park entrance for this hike is just past this hotel, and Google has the hotel listed, so it’s best to use that as a reference point.
Ngorn Nak Hike Essentials
1. Wear athletic shoes or hiking shoes. Do not wear sandals or flip-flops. Some technical parts require good shoes.
2. Bring 2-liters of water for each hiker. Everybody sweats a lot from the effort, but it isn’t that hot really (31°C max).
3. Wear shorts and bring mosquito spray (SOFFELL liquid spray works well)
4. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. It is difficult to get lost, but better to be safe. There is sometimes a login sheet for hikers to sign before hiking.
5. Gibbons may be jumping in the trees. They might even stare at you. They don’t ever come down from the trees – you are safe as long as you don’t throw anything at them!
6. Bring a hat for the top of the hill when the sun can be bright. 95% of the hike is under the shade of the tree canopy.
7. Bring some ‘energy food’ to eat at the top to restore your carbohydrates. It will make the walk down easier.
8. It takes about as long to walk down as it does to walk up. Figure that into your plan.
9. The forest is very dark at 6 pm. Even at 5:30 pm it is getting hard to see.
1. AVOID LIGHTNING at the top of the mountain during storms. I have climbed the mountain about 300 times and I’ve been caught in some bad storms at the top. Now, when I see a storm coming in, I get under the tree canopy and back on the path to make my way down as quickly as possible away from the top of the mountain.
2. SNAKES on the Path. I’ve twice seen dangerous snakes on the trail. Remember, I’ve run the trail often for 15 years, so that is not a lot! Still, make sure you’re constantly watching where your feet are going. Another reason not to wear sandals or flip-flops.
The snake I’ve seen is the Malayan Pit Viper (photo above). It is not supposed to be active during daylight hours, but I’ve seen it as late as 11 am. in the morning. So, just watch the trail as you walk.
3. RUNNING OUT OF DAYLIGHT! The forest starts getting dark around 5:30 pm. By 6 pm. you’re going to be wishing you had planned things better. By 6:30 pm (sunset time) you will be in almost darkness and you had better have a flashlight (torch) to help you find your way down.
Or, at least a phone so you can tell someone you’re stuck on the trail and the Thai forest rangers can come and find you.
Really, you don’t want to be stuck on the trail in the darkness. Start your hike no later than 1 pm. unless you have adequate lighting for the trail when it gets dark.
4. PLAN TO TAKE 5-6 HOURS on your hike up and down. This way you are less likely to get caught at night. This way you are not late for something else you thought you could do after the hike. You’ll be absolutely exhausted from the hike anyway, so don’t plan anything after.
I remember taking over an hour to go 1 kilometer (.6 miles) after twisting my ankle. It can happen to you too. Plan for contingencies and give yourself a couple more hours than you think it will take.
5. MOSQUITOS CAN BE BAD. But, the good news is – they are not usually bad. Bring this spray anyway, you can find it in 7-11 stores, but you may not even need it if you keep moving and don’t stop.
6. STINGING INSECTS. Make sure when you stop to rest you aren’t standing on ants or termites. Sometimes they are moving around after a rain. Scorpions can climb vines, so be careful grabbing them as you climb the hills. If you are bothered by a bee – do NOT swing at it or try to kill it. They leave pheromones in the air which bring many more bees and they may sting you.
Just move away from a bee that is being a pest. If you hear a hive of bees near the top of the hill, just turn around and go back if you are allergic to stings.
7. This hike is STRENUOUS EXERCISE. I would not recommend this hike for anyone who has heart or other medical issues in which climbing up a steep trail (at times) could cause harm or injury.
I would also not recommend this trail for people who may not have full ambulation. Meaning, maybe you have a knee problem, back problem, or something else that could inhibit you from completing a physically demanding climb.
This is one of my favorite climbs, and I am there climbing two to three times per week. I have seen 8-year-old kids and 75- year-old men and women complete this hike, but it definitely takes a toll on the young and old, and any age if you are not in any shape to be hard walking for 3-4 hours.
Let’s GET STARTED!
Oh, but wait…
If you want to experience the best of nature Krabi has to offer – we have an exclusive (nobody else offers it – just us!) Nature Wildlife Tour to show you some amazing WILDLIFE in our area. Don’t miss it! Click the gecko below for more info – and then come back and read the rest of this guide – lots of photos below…
When you arrive at the end of the road you’re driving up, it looks just like this. A small one-story flat is on the right and a covered bench area on the left. The path and stream are straight ahead. There is a small shop on the right, run by Thailand National Parks Service staff which sells water, soda, fruit juice in bottles, ice-cream, and sometimes fresh coconuts they soak in ice and cut open for you to drink with a straw. Highly recommended.
On the left there is a brown hut with park rangers inside. You must sign in before you start your hike, and after you return. There is now a 200 THB charge for all foreign adults.
Here the trail starts! Do you have your water? Snacks? Torch? Good shoes? The trail has various surfaces to walk on – hard-packed clay, mud in small areas, rocks, sand, over leaves, and on roots.
Looking down at the stream from the hiking trail you can see small swimming pools where you can relax after you are done with your hike! The water is cool, never cold or warm. Just right!
Please have a look at the map and rules for the Ngorn Nak trail. This is a Thailand National Park. You cannot remove anything from the park – plant or animal – under threat of severe fines and imprisonment.
As you get started, listen for things rustling in the leaves. There are many different lizards, skinks, and even flying lizards jumping off trees in front of you if you are aware of them. The flying lizards look like leaves falling sometimes, tricky – right?!!
The lizard above is Calotes emma – the Forest Crested Lizard. They are really common, but difficult to see sometimes unless it is right in the middle of the trail. There are green-hued lizards and dark brown with a red streak around the head and neck. These are under 50 cm (well under 2 feet) long.
There are no bears, tigers, wild cats, or anything else big and dangerous in this rainforest.
Disclaimer – Nobody has reported anything dangerous for the last couple of years. if you see something – do let us know!
You might also see monitor lizards. Some of these are over 2 meters (well over 6 feet) in length! If you hear something all of a sudden ripping through the forest (away from you) – it is most likely a big monitor lizard. They are harmless, and never attack people.
The first part of the trail is just like this – wide and rocks packed into the clay. This almost becomes a stream when it rains hard. The first part of the trail is a very easy incline. It gets harder and harder until the top of the first steep hill where you are nearly halfway done.
Before you know it, you’ve conquered the first steep hill and you are nearly halfway to the top. There are some benches here that you might want to take advantage of because the climb you just completed was the toughest on the whole trail! Some people take around an hour to reach this spot, some people more. Some less! No rush, just go carefully… drink some water and congratulate yourself – you’re over the very difficult part.
After one more rather steep climb (the last big one), you reach the first real viewpoint! The view is of Thalen Bay on the right. You can see many islands and limestone karst formations rising up out of the water. The gibbons may be howling in the rainforest below, they sound a bit like bombs falling!
Views in the morning are like this. If you are hiking toward the evening and you are close to sunset (and have a very dependable torch (flashlight)) there is a really nice sunset here.
The second viewpoint is just about 2 minutes after that last one. This one gives you views all the way to the Khao Phanom mountain range way over near Krabi Town in the area known as Krabi Noi. This is a really amazing viewpoint, but you’ll have to peak between some trees to see as far as you can see. See our other QUICK GUIDES like this one HERE!
20 I took this photo close to where you are now on your hike… There are not very many flowers on the trail because the tree canopy blocks the sun for the most part. That means, if you hike in the morning, it isn’t very warm. Ideal!
The trail splits here and gives you an opportunity to go see the waterfall on the right. Honestly, I’d never call it a waterfall. It’s a trickle of water coming off the hillside. It’s an interesting area – very green – that might give you a nice photo. I usually suggest that people go to the left – to the Ngorn Nak mountain peak first.
If you have more energy by the time you come back down to this point, then go see the waterfall area too. Do be careful here not to take the trail down the hill from the waterfall – thinking you will find your way back to the start of the trail. Some people have been lost doing the same.
The trail does NOT end up anywhere near where you started, and there are dogs in some areas that won’t be any fun to walk through. Reverse course and head back up the hill to the trail you came in on. When you see this sign, you have about 25 minutes more!
Did you make it? Is this the end? Well, sort of. You’re not ‘there’ yet! This is the best viewpoint so far. You can see Thalen Bay area and past that is the Ao Luk and Phang Nga Province. This is a great place to rest, there are flat spaces to lay down on the rocks and enjoy the awesome views.
The Ngorn Nak trail continues up on your left side, along the edge of the hill. It isn’t so easy to see the path because it crosses rocks like this. Just stay to the left and pay attention to where the path is. At this point you have about 200 meters left to go, but there are some rocks to climb. It isn’t dangerous really, just pay attention.
When you get just past that balancing rock in the last photo, you’ll come to a big flat rock on top of another one. Look up in there and see if you see a group of Tokay geckos.
Sometimes they are there and sometimes not. They’re harmless – I mean, you wouldn’t want to try to grab one, but they’re really amazing to look at. See our other QUICK GUIDES like this one HERE!
When you reach the end of the trail just go straight over a rock, and you’ll see this. On the left side of this big rock is usually a small ladder built of branches from trees. If this ladder is not there, you can still climb right here – there is one little ledge you can use to climb up with your feet, and hold on to the rock above to pull yourself up. When you do – you’ll see THIS!
The view here is spectacular. You can see all the way around from Thalen Bay, to Khao Phanom in Krabi Noi, to Railay Beach, to Ao Nang, to Noppharat Thara Beach, and down to Tub Kaak. It’s a great place for a panorama view if your camera does them. Make sure you know how to do it before you hike!
LET ME KNOW IF YOU GO AND ENJOY YOURSELF. If you want to send me any photos you’ve taken of reptiles or other things – great!
Important and Emergency Phone Numbers for Krabi
- Krabi Emergency: 1669 from any mobile.
- TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand): 07.562.2164
- Krabi Tourist Police: 07.563.7208
- Marine Police: 07.561.2756 and 2757
- Krabi Airport: 07.563.6541 and 6549
- Immigration: 07.561.1097
- Krabi Bus Terminal in Krabi Town: 07.561.1804 and 1184 • Krabi
- Hospital in town: 07.563.1768 and 1769
- Transportation / Tours: “Son” at 081.089.6135
DON’T FORGET TO GO -> Night Time Wildlife Tours are the BEST!
There is a lot of information in this little guide! Make sure you read it all because it will save you from experiencing a number of problems that may develop! Thank You for Reading!