Is Krabi worth visiting?
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 the mainland, Krabi province is quickly becoming a tourist hotspot, thanks to its breathtaking beaches and stunning views on the limestone cliff Islands in the Amandan sea.
Of course, Krabi’s international airport and t’s 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 such 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.
Where to stay in Krabi
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 Krabi.
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 Beach road and you’ll find pretty much everything you need, apart from the traditional Thai experience some of us are constantly seeking out!
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 -hHidden 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.
The area 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 guest houses 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 it’s own beaches, it is 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.
Everywhere you look you’ll probably find a tuk-tuk or samlor whizzing about the streets of Krabi. 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 song-taews may be a better option for slightly longer journeys. Running differently to 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, but 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 aren’t as tricky and busy as Bangkok or Phuket but it’s still best to have some experience and have an international driver’s license, of course.
Visiting Krabi’s main beach areas
If you are planning on visiting either Tonsai Beach, Railay Beach, East Railay or Phra Nang Beach, you will need to take a short 15 minute boat drive from Ao Nang Beach.
The boattrip 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 organize this for you and point you in the right direction.
Top 7 things to do in Krabi
Like we said earlier, there are a lot of ways to occupy your time whilst you’re in Krabi. Here are some of our favourite:
#1 Swim, climb or relax at Railay beach
If you don’t end up staying in Railay, you at least have to make a day trip (or two if you can’t get enough) to visit the beaches raved about across the world and to immerse yourself in the hippie vibe!
Offering 4 beaches, here’s a quick rundown of what to expect from each of them:
Encompassed by the limestone cliffs, a feeling of a small self-contained village has been created. There are a few local and hotel restaurants to satisfy your hunger or quench your thirst after a long day of relaxing before the nightlife begins!
You know what a west facing beach means…stunning sunsets!
Railway West, the main beach in Railay, definitely doesn’t disappoint. Watch on, drink in hand, as the sun disappears for the day all whilst being framed on both sides by the looming limestone cliffs and glistening carpet of water below.
During the day you can take breaks from relaxing on the soft sand to peruse the shops nearby run by locals and expats selling necessities, beachwear and handicrafts.
Phra Nang Beach
A 10 minute walk from Railay East, you’ll find Phra Nang beach. This beach ticks most people’s boxes when it comes to finding the perfect spot for the day!
The crystal clear shallow water provides great swimming conditions and a perfect backdrop for the coral reefs just off shore.
You can spend your time lazing on the beach in the much welcomed shadows of the limestone cliffs or explore the two near-shore islands before wandering over to Princess Cave.
The lesser frequented of the four due to the reef and rocks that line the shoreline making access difficult for boats and not the best swimming conditions during low tide.
The soaring limestone cliffs that offer great climbing opportunities also means the beach is only accessible by foot from Railway West during low tide. You’ll have to plan your visit accordingly!
The upside, once you do get there is that you may only have to share the 600m long beach with a few other tourists.
#2 Take a day-trip to Thung Teao Forest National Park and visit the Emerald Pool
Visiting Thung Teao Forest National Park is almost like a two for one deal. You get to wander through virgin tropical rainforest, one of the last in Southern Thailand, before encountering the Emerald Pool 800m along the path.
The water perfectly replicates the colour of an emerald gemstone, giving the pool its name, and hovers around a delightfully warm temperature just right for swimming in.
You can soak up the sun whilst keeping an eye on the surrounding lush vegetation that provides a home for exotic wildlife, particularly birds.
To get to this paradise it’s a one hours drive from Ao Nang and once you arrive, entrance to the national park is 200 baht. We recommend visiting in the morning before it gets too busy.
#3 Only 1,237 steps to reach Tiger Cave Temple
Legend has it that the cave of Wat Tham Sua used to be the home of a tiger before it just disappeared into the forest one day, giving the site the name – Tiger Cave Temple.
Whether you believe the legend to be true, there’s one thing there’s no debating, and that’s the number of stairs to get to the top. 1,237 to be exact!
The hike up is a worthy challenge and all part of the fun, with the reward greatly outweighing the effort. Once you reach the temple 238 meters in the sky, you’ll be met with incomparable, panoramic views of the Andaman Sea, the islands that lie within it and limestone formations. It’s definitely a view that will make you question how you can be so lucky to be in such an incredible place!
If you’re looking to tick two things off the itinerary in one day, we suggest joining a day tour which will organise absolutely everything for the day, meaning you don’t have to do a thing.
We recommend the Tiger Cave & Emerald Pool Jungle Tour booked with Klook. At just 715 baht ($22.69), not only are you booking with a reputable company, but they also offer a price guarantee. If you find the price cheaper elsewhere, they’ll pay you back twice the difference! You can’t really lose.
#4 Natural hot spring jacuzzi…yes please!
Ok it isn’t an actual jacuzzi, but it pretty much feels like it!
Located about 70 kilometers from Krabi town, in the heart of a small jungle preserve you will find the Krabi Hot Springs, also known as Klong Thom.
The hot springs flow from deep rooted thermal springs inside volcanic chambers, heating the water to a bath-like temperature of 35-40 degrees Celsius. This formation leads to the pools being filled with natural mineral salts that are believed to cure numerous health ailments including rheumatism and sciatica.
You’ll need to pay 90 baht to enjoy the springs, but that’s a small price to pay for some natural healthing!
#5 Rock Climbing the limestone cliffs of Krabi
With over 600 climbing routes, Krabi is the mecca of rock climbing, just like Koh Tao is the place for diving.
Why not push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new? There is an abundance of highly reputable climbing companies around Krabi, catering to the visitors that flock from all over the world to take on the hundreds of routes that cover the limestone cliffs.
#6 Take a boat along the Krabi River to Khao Khanab Nam Mountains
Seen as the iconic symbols and entryway into Krabi, the Khao Khanab Nam Mountains should be up there on your to-do list.
Standing over 100m tall, these striking limestone cliffs peppered with vegetation are a stunning sight from the water, but even better from atop one of them.
If you’re not the biggest fan of heights, you can remain firmly on the ground and explore the collection of caves at the mountain’s base that proudly sprout stalagmites and stalactites. Cast your eyes to the cave walls and you’ll find prehistoric paintings depicting stories from thousands of years ago.
To visit these natural wonders you can easily hire a longtail boat, for 300-500 baht/hour, from Krabi’s Chaofa Pier and be at the Khao Khanab Nam Mountains within 15 minutes.
We recommend extending your expedition and visiting the local mangrove forest or taking a look at Koh Klang island, a floating fishing village.
#7 A glimpse at the past at the Shell Cemetery
Maybe not one for everyone, but if you’re interested in geology or just looking for something slightly different, then give the shell cemetery a go (not to be confused with a real cemetery!) .
Believed to have been formed over 40 million years ago, Susan Hoi, is one of only 3 shell cemeteries in the world. The 200m long site was created after limestone deposits in the water covered and fossilised shellfish, snails and other sea creatures.
The way that the natural historical relics have been frozen in time is rather fascinating!
How To Get To Krabi?
|Leaving from||Duration||Prices from||See details|
|Bangkok||2.5hrs-15.5hrs||680 THB-1,150 THB ($22.50-$38)||Bangkok to Krabi|
|Phuket||2hrs-4hrs||150 THB-2,600 THB ($4.90-$85)||Phuket to Krabi|
|Surat Thani||2.5hrs||390 THB-3,000 THB ($13-$99)||Surat Thani to Krabi|
My favourite places to stay in Krabi
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.
- Social atmosphere
- Ideal location
- Bar onsite
- Very comfortable beds
Single bunk starts at $13 per night
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.
- Ideal location
- Onsite bar
- Walking distance to markets
- Comfortable beds
Single bunk starts at $13 per night
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.
- Garden setting
- Comfortable and clean rooms
- Motorbike rentals available onsite
- Friendly staff
Private rooms start at $18 per night
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.
- Great views
- Large terrace
- Wonderful staff
- Clean and comfortable
Private room starts at $29 per night
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.
- Ideal location
- Large terrace
- Sleek and modern furnishings
- Comfortable beds
Private room starts at $49 per night
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