Krabi is a seaside province on the Western coast of Southern Thailand. The unique beauty of Krabi allures its visitors with limestone rock formations rising along the coastline; some of Thailand's finest beaches are found hidden along the bays.
Most of the province is made up of several national parks, and for the energetic traveller the rock climbing opportunities around Railay beach are some of the best in Asia. The province has over 80 islands famous for the diversity of activities and adventures they offer.
The picturesque coastline with its white sand beaches, coral reefs and lush vegetation make Krabi an essential beachside destination for anyone traveling through Thailand. It is also an important way point for accessing many of the surrounding islands via ferry.
Getting to Krabi
Traveling from Bangkok to Krabi overland is possible both by bus and by train. There is no railroad line in Krabi Town, meaning that you will need to make the final leg by bus. The combined train+bus journey takes a bit less that 15 hours in total; and the direct bus from the capital brings you to your destination in about 11 hours.
From Bangkok to Krabi by bus
Buses from Bangkok to Krabi leave from the Southern bus terminal, Sai Tai Mai. It is located on Phutthamonthon Sai Road in Thonburi district on the western side of the Chao Phraya River and is easily accessible by taxi. There are express and VIP24 buses of Lignite company, which cover the distance between the two cities in about 11 hours. An express bus ticket cost THB 648, while VIP24 is more expensive at THB 970. There is a morning bus at 7am, which is a worthy option for those who get off on the route, but to get to Krabi Town itself a night bus is a much more convenient option. Buses depart at 5.30pm, 7.10pm (2 buses), 7.20pm, 7.50pm (2 buses) and 8.40pm. There are also a number of private bus companies serving the same route from the Northern bus terminal in Bangkok, Morchit.
All buses provide snacks, air-conditioning and blankets and make several pit-spots along the route at large gas stations with convenience stores, cafes and toilets.
In Krabi buses from Bangkok arrive to either Krabi bus terminal near Talat Kao, about 4km north of Krabi, from where you can easily organise your onward journey to the islands, or to Nuea Khlong which lies 15km from Krabi by the Krabi international airport.
Getting from Bangkok to Krabi by train
There are no direct trains from Bangkok to Krabi, but it is possible to get package deals that include a train to Suratthani and a connecting bus to Krabi. Trains leave from Hua Lamphong station in Bangkok, easily accessible from the MRT subway. By far the most convenient train is the night one #85 departing at 7.30pm and arriving in Suratthani at 7.10am, but you have many other options, as well. You can choose the 1st or the 2nd class sleeper, both of which are air-conditioned and provide enough privacy and comfort for an overnight journey. The price is THB 1539 and THB 968 correspondingly.
Suratthani train station is located in the town of Phun Phin, some 15 km away. From there buses leave regularly both for Suratthani and other southern cities, including Krabi. If you book a joint train+bus ticket, you can catch a 7.30am bus to Krabi (THB 180, 3 hrs).
From Bangkok to Krabi by plane
Krabi is reportedly one of the most popular domestic destinations which sells first during special promotions period by any airline serving the route. But even without special discounts air tickets from Bangkok to Krabi are often amazingly affordable with prices starting from as low as THB1000 one-way per person. Travelling by plane reduces the time spend on the move considerably: from 12 hours to mere 1 hour 20 minutes.
Thai Lion Air, an associate of the namesake Indonesian carrier, flies to Krabi International Airport from the second airport in Bangkok, Don Mueang Airport. The company operates four flights from Bangkok to Krabi a day: at 6.45am, 11.5am, 3.20pm and 6pm. In the peak season it is hard to hit the lowest prices (THB1025) if you buy a couple of days in advance, but with a certain degree of flexibility you are in any case likely to find a deal under THB2000 with 15 kg of checked-in luggage and 7 kg of cabin luggage already included into the price.
In Bangkok Lion Air is based in Don Mueang International Airport to the north of the capital. To get there, use airport shuttle buses (routes A1 and A2). A1 starts from Morchit bus terminal and A2 originates at the Victory Monument, calling en route to Sanam Pao, Ari, Saphan Kwai and Morchit BTS stations (THB30). The latter is also served by A1 route. Travel time depends on traffic and is from 60 to 80 minutes. There are commuter trains between Hua Lamphong train station and Don Mueang airport, too. Trains take about 50 minutes to get from the railway station to the airport and are always a secure bet. Operating time is from 4.20am till 10.25pm.
Krabi International Airport lies 15 km to the northeast of Krabi Town. It serves over three million passengers per year and is waiting for expansion to increase its capacity to five millions soon. There are a lot seasonal international flights to Krabi airport from Europe and mainland China and an impressive number of daily flights between Krabi and Bangkok as well as some other domestic destinations including Koh Samui.
There is an air-conditioned airport shuttle bus plying the route between the airport and Krabi Town (THB90) and Ao Nang&Noppharat Thara (THB150). Normally these shuttle buses meet every arriving flight. If you miss it or do not want to use the service by some reason, take a songthaew which can be found along the main road to the airport. Taxis are also available (THB350).
Note that transfers to all possible tourist destinations throughout Krabi province are offered at the airport. Prices are usually reasonable: you will hardly find a better deal anywhere else even in Krabi Town, considering the time and money spent on getting to Krabi Town from the airport. If your final destination is Koh Lanta or Koh Phi Phi, do not hesitate to buy a ticket right on the spot.
It is not at all necessary to head to the islands to enjoy wonderful beaches of Krabi Province. Here are some ideas to have a great sun-and-sea adventure.
The most developed of all Krabi beaches stretches out some 20km from Krabi Town. It may feel overpopulated, but it still preserves its postcard-like feel with limestone mountains looming as a backdrop and colourful long tail boats rolling on the waves. Nightlife and day restaurants are a stone’s throw away.
Noppharat Thara beach
A 3km long stretch of sand right by the side of Ao Nang remains relatively undeveloped. At low tide you can walk on sandy pathways in the company of millions of small crabs to the small islands close to the beach.
Railey beach is an absolute must-see for every Krabi visitor. The two sides of the beach –the Western one and the Eastern one – are an ideal mix of crystal clear waters, pure sandy beaches and lush mountains.
Khlong Muang beach
This up-market side of Krabi is located some 20km further from Ao Nang. Khlong Muang resorts cater mostly for families and couples, and the setting is wonderful.
A place to hide away from it all. Long, clean and peaceful beach is complemented with breathtaking views of Koh Hong islands. It offers beautiful sunsets, too.
Your onward journey from Krabi
The whole Krabi Province is a natural wonder of limestone rock formations, transparent streams and dense mangroves, and Krabi Town is a quirky little town to savour the taste of provincial life of the South. It is also a convenient starting point for your journey to Phi-Phi (from two to 4 boats per day depending on the season; 1½ hrs), Koh Lanta (one boat per day from November to May, two hours); and Railey Beach (long tail boats leave throughout the day, 45 minutes). The same destinations are also served from nearby Ao Nang, where you can as well catch a boat to Phuket (4 hours) or Koh Yao islands (45 minutes).
Getting around in Krabi
Krabi Town itself is relatively easy to explore on foot. But for longer trips (e.g. Wat Tham Suea or Tha Pom) your own transport is a wise option giving you much more freedom compared to package tours from agencies.
Motorbikes and Scooters are the most convenient way to get around. Many guesthouses both in Krabi Town and Ao Nang offer quite a good fleet, which sometimes includes even the bigger ‘farang bikes’ (Honda PCX). Prices range from THB 150 to THB 300 per day depending on the model you choose. Note that some of the famous Krabi attractions are about 40km away from the city, and if you are not much of a motorbike rider, you may prefer to rent a car (THB 1500- THB 1800).
Bicycle is a good choice for getting acquainted with the city. Find them in many Krabi guesthouses (THB 50-THB120).
Songthaews travel between Krabi Town, the airport, bus terminal and nearby beaches. Prices vary depending on the destination and are from THB 50 to THB 100 for a seat in a shared vehicle. If you want the whole truck for yourself, agree on the price before you get on board.