Krabi Travel Guide

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In a nutshell

Krabi is one of the most breath-taking examples of Thailand’s natural beauty, boasting sandy beaches, turquoise seas, and incredible rock formations.

Why go to Krabi

Located on Thailand’s west coast, towards the south of the country, Krabi province has 160km of coastline as well as over 130 tropical islands in the Andaman Sea, including protected national parks such as Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta, so it’s no surprise that it is one of the most popular destinations (dare we say it) in the world. If you’re looking for some R&R, stunning scenery, and year-round warm weather then Krabi is the place to be.

Picture palm tree lined white sandy beaches with inviting crystal clear water… That’s why people go to Krabi. You could easily spend your 30-day visa allowance in Krabi Province alone exploring all there is to see, taking in the stunning landscape that makes this area so unique.

Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta are two of the most famous islands in the Andaman Sea and are both protected as National Parks, and accessible directly from Krabi Town.

Koh Phi Phi offers everything from rock climbing, to diving, snorkelling, and island hopping – including the famous Maya Bay, from ‘The Beach’. (Disclaimer: does not include Leonardo di Caprio) while Koh Lanta is the more chilled alternative with empty beaches, endless sea views, and hard-to-beat sunsets.

That said, Krabi Town itself should not be disregarded either. While it does not boast large-scale attractions, it does serve as a convenient base for touring the environs. Hire a motorbike and head to Wat Tham Suea, the famous cave temple on top of a mountain boasting a 360 degree panorama of Krabi; or explore amazing mangrove forests of Khlong Song Nam, a river with unbelievably transparent water.

When to go to Krabi

Off Krabi Island
Off Krabi Island
Attr: rajagopal_rajeev (cc by)

Thailand, like the rest of Asia, has its dry and wet seasons but it delights in warm temperatures throughout the year, welcoming visitors in any month.

The monsoon season falls between November and March, but you can still expect long periods of sunshine between the tropical showers. This is also a good time to visit as it’s slightly cooler and less humid, and the beaches and resorts will be less crowded in the low season. The hottest months are April-May where it can get pretty hazy and the seas are almost as warm as bathwater!

Where to stay in Krabi

Krabi province is a great destination for everyone: beach bum, nature lover, backpacker, or flash-the-casher. Whether you’re on the mainland in Krabi Town itself, down the road in Ao Nang or Railay, or out on the islands, you’ll find plenty of accommodation options to cater for both a limited and unlimited budget.

Krabi Town offers a great selection of relatively budget guesthouses. Priced between THB600 and THB1000 they are a great value compared to much pricier options of Ao Nang, not to mention the islands. Base in the centre of town or closer to Chao Fah pier area – the former has probably more food and shopping options but the latter is a couple of steps away from the riverfront – what is convenient both for an easy evening walk or taking a local boat for a day trip to Koh Klang.

Where to eat in Krabi Town

The food in Krabi Town itself is a mix of delicious local food from bustling markets – with an emphasis on Muslim menus – as well as Western cuisines. We always advocate trying local dishes, street food, and traditional delicacies as it’s a great way to experience a new culture.

Krabi Town has many markets you can visit if you want to experiment, including two different night markets where you can dine on curry and rice for just THB20. If you prefer to stick to what you know of the Western world, don’t worry you’ll find everything from burgers to pizza – and all within budget.

How to get around Krabi Town

The areas where the majority of accommodation is found, are easily walkable, but if you need to explore outside the city, you can either rely on public songthaews or rent your own transport: both bicycles and motorbikes can be rented from your accommodation. Expect to pay from THB50 for a bicycle and between THB250 and THB350 for a motorbike (depending on the model).

Songthaews ply several routes within the city (THB30 per ride) and go to the beaches (from THB50). New and modern buses now link the touristy areas of Krabi Town to the airport – check for the schedule at your accommodation.

Krabi Town has two ports and an international airport and you can easily arrange day trips or ferries out to the islands. You’ll want to make a beeline straight for the more secluded bays of Railay, or spend a week hopping around the numerous Koh’s (islands) that the area is so famous for.

How to get to and from Krabi Town

Krabi International Airport serves over 10 flights a day to/from Bangkok so one of the most convenient ways of arriving to Krabi Town to start your travels is to fly. It also connects other flights from all around Asia, should you be coming from a neighbouring country.

Once you’ve arrived, getting to Krabi Town is easy enough with private taxi options or a shared bus, dropping you off into the small bus station in the centre for just THB150.

Should you be heading directly to Koh Phi Phi, the port is a mere 20-minute drive where ferries run 4 times a day, and a longboat leaves from Ao Nang pier to Railay Beach on the hour until 6.30pm. To get to Koh Lanta the ferry runs between November–April, only, but there are minivan options throughout the year – be sure you will be offered the full array of destinations on your arrival at the airport. Prices are reasonable and minivans depart often – so it is a good idea to take one right from the airport instead of going to Krabi bus station first as you hardly save any baht.

There is no train station in Krabi and the nearest point which you can reach from Bangkok by train is Suratthani. From Suratthani train station (which is actually in the town of Phun Phin, some 20 km from Suratthani proper) there are songthaews to Suratthani bus station, from where frequent minivans and buses to Krabi depart.

Buses from Bangkok take up to 12 hours to bring you to Krabi and can cost anywhere between THB600 and THB1100.

Is Krabi Town safe?

Safety in and around Krabi Town and province is much like anywhere else in Thailand. The locals are known for their friendliness – it’s true that the country is known as ‘the land of smiles’ – but it’s always prudent to be mindful of the Thai culture and traditions by dressing modestly (not in your bikini) when you are walking around town or in residential areas. Also beware of scammers and keep your wits about you when carrying around any valuable items, as you would normally.

Krabi station guide

Krabi Bus Terminal - Bus

Set a short distance upstream of the Krabi River estuary, Krabi Town is best known as a transportation hub for Thailand’s southern beach resorts and other visitor attractions. Surrounded by karst topography, it’s more the real Thailand than a tourist hub. Its long-distance bus terminal is just five kilometres to the north of the town at Talad Kao, and is a typical small-town Thai bus station with snack and drinks stalls and seating.

The town is connected to Bangkok via either the capital’s Southern Terminal or the Morchit terminal. Air-conditioned BTS buses leave from the Southern Terminal and buses run by private companies use Morchit, making it a slightly better option as regards choice and convenience. Trips from both terminals take around 12 hours, and cost from 910 baht for the VIP service through 686 baht for first class to 578 baht for second class.

Once you’ve arrived at Krabi Town bus station, onsite onward transportation to the popular beach resorts in the region is straightforward. For Hat Yai, a mini-van service takes around four to five hours and costs from around 400 baht, although it adds to the transfer time by dropping off at most of the town’s hotels and guesthouses. An hourly air-conditioned public bus runs to and from Hat Yai via Krabi Bus Station to Phuket and is the comfortable option at around 350 baht.

Nearby Ao Nang is served by white songthaews running from the terminal every 10 minutes in daytime and every half-hour after 18:00. The route passes Nopparat Thara beach and shouldn’t cost more than 100 baht. For Surat Thani, air-conditioned public buses leave on the half-hour from the bus station, starting at 07:00 and ending at 16:30. Late arrivals can purchase their tickets on the bus. For general getting around town trips, songthaews and tuk-tuks can be hailed on the streets, and motorcycle taxis are another option.

Ao Luek - Bus

Ao Luek is a small settlement situated approximately 50km north of Krabi, on the main road to Phangnga and Phuket. Buses depart to and from Krabi and Phuket at regular intervals throughout the day, although they can sometimes fill up quite quickly, so online advance booking can be advisable to avoid disappointment.

There are several local eateries near the bus station offering budget-friendly food, and a few small shops for stocking up on food and snacks. The Mountain Resort is about three to four kilometres out of town in the direction of Phangnga, reachable by songthaew, and there is a wide choice of accommodation in Krabi and Phangnga as well.

Thanbok Khoranee National Park can be accessed by songthaew from Ao Luek and hosts a number of interesting caves, namely Pii Hua Toe (Big Headed Ghost Cave), Tam Lot, and Tam Pet (Diamond Cave). Each one is unique and guided tours of the caves can be booked, or you can get around independently with local transportation. The park also features waterfalls and walking trails and kayaking tours of its streams are offered. It is possible to kayak into some of the caves, a great experience for enthusiasts.

Lam Thap - Bus

The southern Thai town of Lam Thap is about 65kms inland from Phang Nga Bay and Krabi Town. It is close to Huai Thap Miai Liam Lake. Guest houses here such as the Ratchada provide visitors with easy access to the lake and trekking routes amid the beautiful landscapes in the locality.

Lam Thap is 760kms south of Bangkok. It has no train station and is not on direct bus routes from Bangkok either. Most travellers take a bus or fly to Krabi. Buses take a little over 10 hours to reach Krabi’s bus station from Bangkok’s Southern terminal. The bulk of the buses are overnight services. It takes another hour to get to Lam Thap on a local bus.

Khlong Thom - Bus

The Krabi district of Khlong Thom is most famous for its Namtok Ron waterfall, where cool streams meet soothing natural hot springs. The Khlong Thom bus station is situated about 12kms from the Namtok Ron waterfall. Bangkok's Mochit station offers regular bus service along the 816kms journey to Khlong Thom. The hot springs themselves can be reached by private bus tours, minivans, automobiles, or taxis.

Most Khlong Thom hotels are located near the hot springs, such as the Hotstream Resort, VP Resort, and Wareerak Hot Spring Retreat. All of these establishments offer private accommodation with thatched roofs. The Wat Khlong Thom Museum is Khlong Thom's other major attraction aside from the hot springs.

Plai Phraya - Bus

Plai Phraya is a provincial town around 50kms inland from Phang Nga Bay and Krabi. It is a gateway to Khao Phanom Bencha National Park and Khlong Phraya Wildlife Sanctuary. The town has a number of resorts which are popular with people visiting these two sanctuaries.

Plai Phraya is just off Highway 44, the main road from Krabi to Surat Thani. Local buses travelling between the two towns call at Plai Phraya en route. From Bangkok it is 700kms by road and intercity buses from the city’s Southern terminal take about 10 hours to reach Surat Thani. From there it is another two hours to Plai Phraya.

Khao Phanom - Bus

The best known landmark in the Krabi district of Khao Phanom is the Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, home to this southern Thai province's tallest peak, the mountain of Phanom Bencha. Krabi Town is situated just 20kms south of this breathtaking rural wilderness filled with breathtaking waterfalls and exotic wildlife.

Khao Phanom is also the name of a small town containing a namesake temple and bus station. Buses travel between Bangkok's Southern terminal, nearly 750kms to the north, and Khao Phanom on a regular basis. Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, on the other hand, can only be reached by motorcycle or tuk-tuk.

The nearest rail station is in Surat Thani, where passengers can board buses headed towards Krabi Town, home of the closest airport to Khao Phanom. Krabi Town's bus terminal, known as Talad Kao, is located about five kilometres north of the centre of this gateway to Ao Nang, Had Yao, and countless other Krabi islands.

The closest place to stay in Khao Phanom Bencha National Park is Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort, a spartan and spacious retreat 10kms from Krabi's Tiger Cave Temple. Krabi Town is filled with low budget guesthouses like Chan Cha Lay and mid-budget options such as City Hotel.

Phi Phi - Bus

Koh Phi Phi is the quintessential holiday island offering beautiful tropical vistas and a pleasing mix of nightlife and gourmet dining. Its twin bays are one of Thailand’s most renowned sights. The island is the largest and only inhabited one of six which comprise the archipelago in the Andaman Sea around 20kms south of Krabi on the mainland.

There is no airport on the islands and the only way of getting to them on public transport is by ferry. Ferries run from two locations, Phuket and Krabi, to Phi Phi with several sailings a day in each direction from both places. Although there are sometimes extra ferries during the November to February high season, demand is high and passengers should try to book in advance online.

Phuket can be reached by bus or aeroplane. The bus trip from Bangkok’s Southern teminal takes around 13 hours and the majority of the buses travel overnight. Ferries for Phi Phi leave from Phuket’s Rassada Pier. Sailing time is around two hours. Krabi takes about the same time to get to by bus from Bangkok and also has its own airport, which gives passengers the option of flying if they so wish.

Klong Jilard Pier is three kilometres outside Krabi Town and replaced the old pier as the district’s main ferry port some years ago. Crossing times to Phi Phi are 90 minutes. There are also some ferries from Ban Saladan Pier on Koh Lanta, a large island to the south of Krabi. Different companies operate ferry services to Phi Phi and offer differing levels of comfort. First-class boats provide films and usually a snack and drink.

Arriving ferries dock at Ton Sai Pier, a basic facility. As soon as arriving passengers walk off, they are in the village and there are plenty of restaurants and shops here. The October and Ban Thai guesthouses are among plentiful accommodation options just a few minutes’ walk away.

Nuea Khlong - Bus

Nuea Khlong is a town and changeover point for taxis between Krabi and Laem Kruat. The town is beside Highway 4, the main route through the southern Thai peninsula. The town has shared songthaew taxis from Krabi and Laem Kruat. The latter is a ferry port for the islands of Koh Siboya and Koh Jum.

Nuea Khlong is 15kms from Krabi Town and just a few minutes’ drive from Krabi Airport. Bangkok is almost 800kms away and it takes up to 13 hours to get to Krabi by bus. There are departures every evening from Bangkok’s Mochit and Southern bus stations. Songthaews depart regularly during the day from Krabi for Nuea Khlong.

News

Krabi national park rangers post red flags at Nopparat Thara beach

Rangers in charge of Krabi’s Nopparat Thara Beach yesterday put up red flags warning beachgoers not to go swimming. The chief ranger at Nopparat Thara-Phi Phi National Park said he has instructed his team to allow swimming in specially delineated safe zones only.

09 August 2017

Krabi authorities say tourists face penalties for stealing coral

Maritime authorities in southern Krabi Province have cautioned tourists that it is against the law to take coral and clam shells from national parks. The director of the Krabi regional office of the Thai Marine and Coastal Resources Department says any violators face arrest and fines.

11 May 2017

Krabi environment group sources new hot springs in wildlife preserve

Environmentalists in southwest Thailand say they have found a trio of new hot springs at a wildlife preserve in Krabi Province. Niwat Wattanayomnaporn is a member of the local Environmental and Cultural Conservation committee and he told reporters the springs were in the Khao Pra Bang Khram Wildlife Preserve.

24 June 2016