Planning a few days to Krabi makes you feel like you’re way too short on time to do everything on your Thailand itinerary.
Sitting on the southwest coast of mainland Thailand, Krabi province is quickly becoming a tourist hotspot, thanks to its breath taking beaches and stunning views on the limestone cliff in the Andaman sea.
Of course, Krabi’s international airport and connections to the islands scattered within the Andaman sea – of which Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta are only two of the 150+ islands off the shore of Krabi – has also made it a popular choice.
The area offers so much diversity when it comes to ambience, whether you’re looking for a bustling city or a hippie beach lodges. On top of this, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the activities on offer, from rock climbing, temples, exploring the geology of the area or simply becoming a beach bum!
If you have any energy left after your adventures during the day, the excitement continues long into the night in many of the vibrant bars and nightclubs Krabi has to offer.
Krabi province is a lot bigger than most people first think, 4,709 km² to be exact, but still visitors tend to cluster in the same places.
Below, we’ve provided you with all information you need to know to help you decide on which of the three main areas to stay in.
Location #1: Ao Nang – abustling beach resort town
Like with most places rapidly developing to cater for tourism, Ao Nang is a trade-off between convenience and authenticity.
The upside of the compromise is that you’ll have access to everything you need; restaurants, shops, international brands, bars and clubs. Take a stroll down the beach road and you’ll find pretty much everything you need, apart from the traditional Thai experience some of us are looking for!
Due to Nopparat Thara Port, Ao Nang is a great jumping-off point to the islands in its vicinity such as Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. As a result, this convenience attracts a variety of tourists.
To meet all travellers needs, there’s a large choice of accommodation to cater for all tastes, ranging from budget backpacker hostels to expensive resorts.
PRO-TIP: Like most places in Thailand, if you look hard enough you’ll still be able to find the hidden world that has managed to preserve Thai tradition. This world is Ao Nang village, 1km behind the beach, where you’ll be treated to whaffs of delicious street food whilst being surrounded by the buzz of locals.
Location #2: Railay – Hidden beaches and rock climbing
Head South from Ao Nang and you’ll stumble upon Railay, a small peninsula separated from the mainland by those towering limestone cliffs most of us associate with Thailand.
The roads being cut off by the cliffs signifies not just the inability for motorised vehicles to enter the paradise but it seems, the rest of the world.
This detachment means it’s only accessible by boat, preserving the 4 breathtaking, dreamy strips of pristine white sands – Tonsai, Railay West, Railay East, and Phra Nang – that are quoted as not only some of the best in Thailand but the world!
Although Railay feels like a secluded island, it’s only a short longtail boat ride away from Ao Nang and Krabi Town, costing you 200 and 400 baht respectively for a round-trip.
Railay boasts a laid-back hippie vibe that continues into the night through its dining and nightlife, creating a Rasta-feel with a Thai twist. You can enjoy this ambience in a range of accommodation options, from guesthouses to 5-star resorts.
Location #3: Krabi Town – the capital of the Krabi province without the capital feel
Being the provisional capital of Krabi, most of us assume cities like this will be stuffy, touristy and too busy! Despite an influx of tourists, Krabi Town hasn’t rushed to cater for them too much, helping them to maintain a quaint Thai-Chinese market-feel.
Although Krabi Town doesn’t offer its own beaches, it’s only a short hop over to the gorgeous beaches of Ao Nang and Railay. Whilst being a cheaper option for those keeping an eye on the pennies.
Generally speaking, accommodation and food prices are slightly lower than the neighbouring resort towns.
Speaking of food, Krabi Night Market hosted Friday-Sunday will give you your much needed dose of street food we all start to crave.
However, if this doesn’t meet your tastes, there’s a selection of hipster cafes arriving on the scene. Those who can’t tackle the day without a coffee or smoothie bowl then 89 Cafe and Sprucy Cafe are definitely worth a visit.
How to get around in Krabi
You’ll be glad to hear that Krabi is a relatively easy place to move around due to the abundant modes of transport.
Tuk-Tuk and Samlors
Everywhere you look you’ll probably find a tuk-tuk or samlor whizzing about the streets. These nippy little vehicles are great for short distances, delivering you right to your destination and at the low price of between 20-50 baht for most short rides.
Local buses or songthaews may be a better option for slightly longer journeys around. Running differently from what most of us are used to, it’s good to get the low-down on how to use these before venturing on one.
Like a normal bus there are some fixed stops but you can pretty much hop on and off almost anywhere by flagging one down or ringing the buzzer onboard.
To give you an idea of price, Ao Nang to Krabi town is 50 baht per person. Unlike privately hiring a vehicle, journey time can vary between 20-45 minutes, depending on pick-ups and stops.
If you prefer to travel in comfort then taxis are your best bet. However be prepared to pay 10 times the amount as the bus for the same journey from Ao Nang to Krabi Town.
Possibly the cheapest and most independent method is to hire a motorcycle for around 250 baht/day. The roads in Krabi aren’t as tricky or busy as Bangkok or Phuket, but it’s still best to have some experience and an international driver’s license.
The boat trip can be booked when you arrive in Ao Nang Beach for 100 THB ($3.30). The public ferries are located near Wangsai Seafood Restaurant and near Phanang Inn Hotel. Your hotel should also be able to organise this for you, and point you in the right direction.
This hostel is great, the location, the staff, the beds, the social atmosphere, it truly has it all. Just steps from the Chaofa Pier you can easily grab a boat and head to Railay for a day trip. It’s within close proximity to countless restaurants, bars featuring live music and amenities. The hostel offers a bar, laundry facilities, extremely helpful staff who can help with tours and travel arrangements.
If you’re looking for a bit of a quieter hostel then we suggest staying at the Sleep Easy Krabi Guesthouse. This hostel is conveniently located in central Krabi, within walking distance of the night market, Wat Kaew Korawaram, and the local city market. You can enjoy a drink in the Guesthouse bar before retiring to your comfortable bunk and getting a good night's rest.
Located centrally in Krabi Town, within a few minutes of many sights, this is a great location for your stay. The spacious, colorful rooms with large comfortable beds will offer you a great night’s sleep. Each room is equipped with air conditioning and a flat-screen tv for your enjoyment. The owners are friendly, welcoming and offer motorbike rentals onsite.
Excellent location in the center of Krabi town, less than 1 kilometer to Wat Kaew Korowaram and just 2 kilometers to Thara Park. There is a restaurant on-site and a lovely terrace offering beautiful city views for the guests to enjoy. The rooms are spacious and the beds are comfortable, you’ll definitely have a great sleep here! The owners are very friendly and will offer to help in any way possible.
Set in central Krabi, within walking distance of all amenities, the night market, and sights, this hotel is a great choice. Take in the views from the shared guest terrace or relax in your private room with extremely comfortable beds. The sleek and modern furnishings will have you feeling right at home. The hotel is extremely clean and the staff is fantastic.