We've only really got 3 full days in RE and were hoping at least to get to Koh Hong and kayak in Ao Thalene. Was looking at organising trips for 2 out of 3 of the days, as we're not serious sunbathers (pale-skinned Paddys with freckles!). Was asking a tour co in Krabi for advice and they're determined to have us hopping from one beach to another for all the days we're there, with costs ranging from 550/adult, 350/kid (4 islands) to 800/a, 650/k (Hong) to 1200/a, 700/k (Ao Thalene). I'm wondering, would it not be easier/cheaper just to hop on a longboat from Railay East/West early in the morning before the crowds get to Hong, maybe book the Ao Thalene with the tour co for the next day and then walk (is that possible?) to pranang beach on day 3? Did I read s/w, that you can only do Ko Hong at low tide, 'cos when we're there high tide is ca. 9-10.30 am the days we're there. Another thing, where is Ao Nummao pier from RE? I don't want to annoy the tour co with repetitive emails, but rather than answer my questions, they keep firing new alternatives at me, which is why I'm asking you pros for advice. Thanks in advance!
Ko Hong has an awesome beach. Highly recommend it. I paid 600 baht which included lunch and drinks. There is an extra option to kayak for some extra money but I choose to not to do that because it cut into beach time on the island. The tour leaves in the morning and returns around 4pm. You'll have to go via organised tour because an individual one will be really expensive. It takes over an hour on a longtail boat.
Thalen Bay kayaking takes half a day and is also very good. It's good fun zig zagging thru the mangroves. There is an option to do an elephant ride for 1 hour afterwards for a few extra hundred baht. We did this and enjoyed it. I'm sure the kids would.
Phra Nang beach is only 5-10 mins walk from Railay and is the best beach in that area.
Re booking. No need to book in advance from overseas. In Thailand you can book tours the night before you go. With 5 people you will be able to get a discount.