Whether you’ve only got two weeks in Thailand or two months, Krabi is a ideal destination to visit. So here are my travel tips and guide to Krabi from when I visited Thailand to help you plan yours. Krabi is commonly known for its sheer, limestone cliffs, the kind that make your jaw drop. As well as dense mangrove forests and the hundreds of islands that are reachable from it’s coastline such as the Phi Phi Islands and Railay Beach. So here’s my complete guide to Krabi – enjoy!
This wouldn’t be a good guide to Krabi if I didn’t advise the best ways of getting there. Krabi is a great alternative destination to Phuket. It has it’s own airport where you can get international flights to and from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Doha. As well as domestic flights from Bangkok, connecting you to Chiang Mai, Koh Samui and Koh Lanta.
Minibus transport is often and regular when wanting to get to and from Krabi. We got a shared minibus from Khao Sok National Park, booked through our hotel in Khao Sok. (see my ‘Southern Thailand Two Week Itinerary’ post for costs). The minibuses aren’t in great condition but they get the job done. Local soughtaew buses run throughout the day from Ao Nang to Krabi Town. As well as tuk tuk’s and taxi’s which run wild in Ao Nang.
Ferry links are also a good way to get around when going to or from islands, such as Phi Phi or Koh Lanta. The pier commonly used is the one in Krabi Town. When you will buy your ferry ticket it will include a transfer from your hotel to the pier by minibus.
It’s worth noting that Krabi is a province in south Thailand. So you need to be quite specific, as there are various towns you can stay in. Here’s a guide to Krabi and it’s surrounding towns:
Krabi Town – This is the capital of the province! A town which can come across as a bit rough at times and there is no beach here. However it is situated close to the airport, bus station and pier which is handy if you are passing through.
Ao Nang – Located about half an hour away from Krabi town and on the coast. This is quite a touristy town but it is well located for day trips and boat trips. Making it a very popular area to stay in. There is a lot of choice of accommodation here as well as bars, restaurants and tour companies. This is where we stayed, our hotel was lovely as well as fairly cheap. As you walk away from the beach up the main road you will find a section of the street suddenly becomes the Muslim part.
Noppharat Thara – This is a town slightly further North of Ao Nang and has become a more developed town. With a variety of 5 star hotels as well as more affordable ones. The beach is long and is split in half by a river. All in all it is slightly quieter here and doesn’t have the choice of restaurants and transport links like Ao Nang.
Railay West – Accessible only by long tail boat. Railay gives off vibes of being an island even though it is part of the mainland. It is honoured with being home to some of those amazing limestone cliffs. Needless to say this makes Railay is a hub for rock climbers.
West is the ‘posh’ side of beach, where you will find fewer and more expensive choices in accommodation. Long boats land this side of the beach from Ao Nang. Meaning the beach can get quite busy and noisy during the day. Lazying on the beach, at your luxury hotel or rock climbing is what you come here for. Railay is known for it’s hippie like, laid back vibe with nightlife varying from romantic candle lit bars on the west to the usual Thailand parties on the east.
Railay East –The other side of the beach you will find Railway West. Here you will find a lot more choice of accommodation, but there is no beach as muddy mangroves grow wild this side!
Phra Nang Bay – There is only one resort here, Rayavadee Resort. This is one of the most stunning beaches you will see in the area, dare I say I preferred this beach to some of the islands! You can only access Phra Nang Beach by long tail or a little walkway from Railway East.
Tonsai – Located right next to Railway West and one stop prior on a long tail boat. This a smaller beach with cheaper accommodation and therefore popular with backpackers and rock climbers alike.
Tubkaak – This is a luxury holiday town. Where you would stay if you are holidaying for a week or so to escape the crowds. There are a range of luxury and romantic hotels near the long sandy beach with lines the coastline.
Where to Stay and Eat:
I stayed in Ao Nang so I can highly recommend this area. This town is convenient for day trips in land and catching a long boat to Railay or the islands. There is one main road which runs from the beach front up inland. Ideally you want to stay as near to the beach as you can as this is where the long boats run from. We stayed at the Mini House Ao Nang, which is about a 15 minute walk from the beach. Along the main road but situated back off the road a bit. We therefore didn’t get any problems with noise during the night and there was a 7 Eleven next door. The hotel is very reasonably priced we paid £112 in total for 4 nights (including breakfast). Each room has it’s own balcony, what more could you ask for! http://www.minihouseaonang.com
There are various bars along the beach front and for dinner you have a choice of restaurants. Ranging from anything near the beachfront being fairly expensive (in Thailand terms) with the food being more European. To more authentic Thai restaurants. Found further away from the beachfront and tucked away down side streets. Serving delicious noodles and spring rolls at half the price. We often judged the prices at restaurants by the price of the Sprite, the cheapest we found was 20baht but they sold for at least 90baht on Railay West!
Top Restaurants to visit in Ao Nang:
Ton Ma Yom Thai
Ao Nang Leela Restaurant
Things to do:
This wouldn’t be a proper guide to Krabi without telling you all the great things you could do…
Tiger Cave Temple – These temples located just outside of Krabi Town, it is still a sacred area so when visiting you must cover up your legs and shoulders. There are various temples to visit down on the ground but the main attraction is the climb to see the Buddha, if you can handle the 1,237 steps then you will be treated with stunning 360 views at the top. It may not sound like a lot of steps but when you have been walking for what feels like a good 20 minutes and suddenly see the number 300, you might want to cry…but don’t turn back, keep going and although you may end up sweating half your body weight off it’s worth the satisfaction. You can visit here yourself or with a day tour which is what most people do.
Hot Springs – These natural springs are just like an outdoor spa, very warm and maybe not so refreshing but worth a visit although it can be very busy here. Visiting here is often part of a day tour from Ao Nang.
Emerald Pool – Located near to the hot spring is this large natural pool filled with pure spring water and with that emerald hue making it look all the more inviting.
Poda Island – 300 baht per person return, plus 400 baht National Park fees. This is supposed to be one of the most stunning islands and it is, but when it starts filling up with tourists it slightly looses it’s charm but worth a visit if you want to sunbath and swim in it’s crystal waters.
Railay Beach – Visiting Railay is an absolute must do. Long boats are cheap at 100baht per person one way. Although you might have to come back before 6pm unless you can secure yourself a long boat ride back at night.
Railay offers a variety of activities – sunbathing, rock climbing or if you don’t fancy proper rock climbing you could always try climbing to the viewpoint at the top of the cliffs. Follow the signs from Railay East along the trail and soon you will see the path. A red chalk cliff to be more accurate with some rope down the middle – like that’s going to help! This is not for the faint hearted, it is climbing up an almost vertical cliff. But it’s worth all the clambering up when you get to the top sweat dripping in your eyes! Although it’s the getting down that is the tricky part. There is also a lagoon you can visit when you get to the top too.
Island Tour – There are various companies in Ao Nang that will offer day trips seeing the islands off shore. Alternatively if there is a group of you, you can hire a long boat and driver and visit the islands this way, prices in 2017 found below: