Krabi is a tropical gem located on Thailand’s southwest coast. It is bustling region with laidback beaches all in one. But as with most places in Southeast Asia, you’ll have to go to its outskirts to see it at its most beautiful.
Krabi is the epitome of those famous white-sand beach and turquoise water postcards. Apart from lounging on one of its many beaches, island-hopping is the most popular activity due to it’s proximity to islands such as Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta, which also make it a strategic jumping-off point.
Are you planning to travel to Krabi after a cultural immersion in Penang?
You can travel the 490km distance from Penang to Krabi in 2 ways: a 10-hour minivan or a trip of 4 hours by taking two flights (excluding transfer time). Fares for the minivan start from $25 and the two flights $58.
The minivan is our preferred option when travelling from Penang to Krabi. It’s quite a long 8-hour journey (excluding transfers), but you can divide it with a short stopover in Hat Yai. Combined fares cost around $25.
More importantly, the minivan produces much fewer emissions compared to the 2 flights you will have to take otherwise.
There are no direct flights from Penang to Krabi so you’ll have to make a stopover at either Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok. The fastest indirect flight takes almost 4 hours. Add the waiting time for your flight and the transfers to and from the airport and you don’t really get to save a lot of time. Combined flight and taxi fares start from $58.
A few notes when crossing the Malaysia-Thailand border
Thailand imposes a limit on the amount of alcohol and tobacco you can bring into the country:
1 litre for alcoholic beverages
250 grams for any type of tobacco (or 200 cigarettes)
If you’re carrying more than that on your journey from Penang to Krabi, you will be asked to leave the excess amount at the customs office. Note that if you refuse, you will not just be fined but also persecuted.
The best choices are the ones that depart from Penang at 08:30 and arrive in Hat Yai at 11:30. This schedule gives you 1.5 hours to stretch your legs and have a quick lunch in town before continuing on to Krabi.
KST Travel can drop you off anywhere in the city centre while Nominatee Tour parks at its office at 171 Thammanoonvithi Road, Hat Yai city centre.
Around 2.5 hours into your journey, your minivan will make a short stop at the Malaysian border in Bukit Kayu Hitam for customs & immigration procedures. Then you’ll cross the border to Danok Sadao in Thailand for another check.
Drive-through immigration booths are available on both sides of the very busy Danok Sadao-Bukit Kayu Hitam border. However, you will still be asked to get off your minivan for a customs check. Don’t forget to bring all your luggage!
From Hat Yai town centre, you will have to take a songthaew or taxi to the bus station, located some 3km away. It costs around 60 THB ($2) for the 10-minute ride.
My Son Krabi Tours operates 2 minivan trips from Hat Yai to Krabi. It’s only possible to make the entire journey in the same day if you take one of the early morning minivan trips from Penang.
They offer free drop-off to any hotel in Ao Nang only. If you’re staying somewhere else, tell the driver before the journey so he can take you to the nearest accessible bus stop or drop you off at your hotel for an additional fee.
A ticket costs 400 THB ($13) for the 4-hour journey when you book beforehand on BusOnlineTicket.
There are no direct flights from Penang to Krabi. The indirect flights for this route make at least one stop at either Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok. As well as that, you’ll also have to make transfers to and from Penang and Krabi Airport.
We honestly don’t think all these transfers and waiting times are worth it considering you can take a cheaper minivan ride. But if you’re really short on time, below is a step-by-step guide for taking a flight from Penang to Krabi.
Step 1: George Town to Penang Airport by Taxi or Bus
Duration: 30 minutes Cost: 30 MYR ($7)
If you’re staying in George Town, you’ll have to travel 18km south to reach the airport. You have 2 options: a 30-minute taxi or a 1-hour bus. Fares start from 30 MYR ($7) and 3 MYR ($0.70), respectively.
We highly recommend taking a taxi as city buses make a lot of stops, making travel time unpredictable. But if you really want to take a bus, ask your hotel which line is best to take you to the airport.
Step 2: Penang Airport to Krabi Airport
Duration: 3 hours 50 minutes Cost: 177 MYR ($43)
The fastest indirect flight from Penang to Krabi takes around 3 hours 50 minutes and this is usually operated by Air Asia.
From Krabi Airport, the town centre is located some 15km west. You can take a minibus or a taxi to your accommodation.
The most popular option out of Krabi Airport is the airport bus, which can take you to the city centre or Ao Nang for 100 THB ($3.20) and 150 THB ($4.80), respectively. Tickets are available at the shuttle bus booth in the arrival area. However, this service receives mixed reviews, with many passengers saying there is a very long waiting time for the shuttle’s departure.
If you don’t mind paying more for guaranteed good service, we recommend that you book a ride with Krabi Airport Shuttle via 12go.Asia. They offer minibus trips to Ao Nang and combined minibus and boat ride to Railay Beach. Fares start from 250 THB ($8) and below are their schedules:
Alternatively, you can just take a taxi. We highly recommend that you book one beforehand with Klook to do away with the often overpriced rates offered at the airport. A 25-minute private transfer from Krabi Airport to the town centre costs 470 THB ($15) and up.