Hiking to Khao Hang Nak (also known as Dragon Crest and Hang Ngon Nak) is by far one of the best things you can do in Krabi. It was the highlight of my motorbike trip there. Half the reason I travel is for the hikes and scenery that will challenge and reward me, and this particular hike up Khao Ngon Nak didn’t disappoint.
Located about 30 minutes north of Ao Nang, the park entrance and trail head for Khao Ngon Nak can be found at the northern end of Highway 6024 in Tubkaek Beach. If you’re comfortable driving a motorbike, this is the way to go. It’s a beautiful drive, and traveling along scenic country roads early in the morning offers a rare kind of happiness.
When I reached the entrance to the park at the end of Highway 6024, there was a small check-in desk where I had to sign in with the park rangers, and surprisingly, that was it. No entrance fee. No getting haggled for a guide. It was great.
From the trailhead, it’s a 3.7 kilometer hike to the peak, with two viewpoints and a waterfall along the way. I was on the trail at 8:30 a.m., and it took me a little over an hour to hike up to the peak, and that includes resting for a few minutes at each viewpoint. I moved at steady pace the whole time, but I did skip the waterfall because a fellow I met on the trail said it was a tiny trickle and not worth the time (if it was rainy season though, I definitely would have checked it out).
Anyways, going at a slower pace and even stopping at the waterfall, one could probably reach the peak in two hours.
On my way down, which also took an hour, I had several groups of flush-faced people asking me how much further it was (this wasn’t past the first viewpoint yet). I told all of them it’s definitely worth the hike up, even as my eyes scanned the flimsy rubber flip-flops sticking to their feet. (I don’t fault them for this horrible choice of footwear, because so many viewpoints and attractions in Thailand are paved with cement staircases to accommodate the droves of tourists that flock to them, so the poor things were probably expecting a similar set of staircases rather than a slick, steep dirt trail. Ah well.)
With that said, the climb to the first viewpoint is the toughest portion of the trek. After this, the climbs are shorter and less frequent.
It’s another 10-15 minute walk from here to the second viewpoint, and on the way you’ll pass the fork to the waterfall. And let me say, the second viewpoint is spectacular. I almost enjoyed it more than the peak because there were no selfie sticks, I had the place to myself, and the cool winds that swept through the trees were a welcome relief from the heat.
From the second viewpoint, it was perhaps another 15-20 minutes to the peak.
At the peak, there are multiple viewpoints to enjoy the landscape—my favorite being on top of a massive rock at the top (look for a three-pegged ladder made of branches). There will probably be a small crowd of people around the overhang viewpoint, so get your photo there and then steal away to a private spot and appreciate this view and some trail mix.
How to get to Khao Ngon Nak – Dragon Crest Mountain
To get to the trailhead for Khao Ngon Nak, simply get on Highway 6024 and follow it up the coast through Tubkaek Beach. Also, I recommend driving a motorbike there if you’re able and willing. You can take a tuk-tuk or taxi as well, but I’ve heard it costs around 1,000 baht.
Below is a photo from my phone of the actual trail to Khao Ngon Nak from the Maps.me app (the trail itself doesn’t show up in Google Maps).
A Few Tips
- Go for sunrise. I made it to the peak of Khao Ngon Nak by mid-morning, and I loved it, yet I imagine at sunrise it’s even more stunning and I wish I would’ve woken up earlier for it.
- Avoid going in the late morning or early afternoon. The crowds will be thicker and it’ll be suffocatingly hot.
- Bring plenty of water. I didn’t see any 7-Eleven’s, Family Mart’s, or even family-run stalls selling snacks and water in northern Tubkaek Beach. However, there are small water bottles for sale at the trailhead for 20 baht each (still cheap, but three times what one costs at 7-Eleven).