The most convenient way to get to Bangkok from Krabi is by bus, but railway types can also make a combined bus+train journey, though it is not the most obvious and fastest way to get to the capital.
From Krabi to Bangkok by bus
Bangkok-bound buses leave from either from Nuea Khlong which lies 15km from Krabi by the Krabi international airport, or from Krabi bus terminal near Talat Kao, about 4km north of Krabi. In Bangkok buses arrive either to Southern bus terminal, Sai Tai Mai, located on Phutthamonthon Sai Road in Thonburi district on the western side of the Chao Phraya River, or to the Northern Bus Terminal, Morchit, which has better public transport connections with the city. There are express and VIP24 buses of Lignite company, which cover the distance between the two cities in about 11 hours and go to Sai Tai Mai. An express bus ticket cost THB 664, while VIP24 is more expensive at THB 970. There is a morning bus at 8am, which is a worthy option for those who want to get off on the route (e.g. in Hua Hin), but to get to Bangkok itself afternoon buses (4.10pm and 5pm) are a much more convenient option. Note that both of them arrive to Bangkok in the small hours, so arrange your lodging in advance, or, if you are connecting further to the north, opt for morning buses.
All buses provide snacks, air-conditioning and blankets and make several pit-stops along the route at large gas stations with convenience stores, cafes and toilets.
Getting from Krabi to Bangkok by train
Though there is no railway line anywhere near Krabi Town, you still can make a combined bus+train journey from Krabi to Bangkok. The Thai southern railway line goes from Bangkok to Suratthani, and the closest railway station to Krabi is the one of Suratthani. It is located in the town of Phun Phin, some 150 km from Krabi Town. To get there, you will need to make a three-to-four hour bus journey, so in most cases this is not an option to consider unless you wish to savour a bit of local life in Suratthani itself. The majority of buses are standard AC ones with prices around THB 180 per person. Book your bus ticket from Krabi to Suratthani here.
Trains from Phun Phin (Suratthani) to Bangkok arrive to Hua Lamphong Station. There is a morning 2nd class AC seats only which is also the fastest one covering the distance between Bangkok and Suratthani in 9 hours (and for THB 858). The rest of the batch are slower (up to 12 hours) and depart in the afternoon and in the evening at 4.40pm, 5.35pm, 6.37pm, 8.35pm, and 9.05pm. Even if slower than buses, trains offer the most comfortable ride, depending on which ticket you book. The top choice is an AC 1st class sleeper (the most convenient of which is #84 and #86 at 9.05pm and 6.37pm (both THB 1589). Second class sleepers are also air-conditioned and provide beds that fold out of your seating upon request or in the evening. These tickets cost from THB 998 to THB 1, 058 and while they may not be as private as 1st class, they are still very comfortable. The fan sleeper carriage works pretty much the same as a normal sleeper but excludes air conditioning and gives you an arguable opportunity to take in countryside smells along the trip. Fan sleepers cost 758 THB per person.
Tip: The lower berths are the first to sell out. Book them as much in advance as possible. They are also considerably wider than the upper ones. If you are travelling with a baby, opt for the lower berths by all means.
Why make a stopover in Suratthani?
Suratthani makes a good base for exploring the nearby areas which are rarely visited by tourist and can give you a taste of real Thailand. Visit Ban Phum Riang fishing village where Muslim women weave wonderful red, yellow and black silk cloths or make a romantic evening cruise along Tapi River, partly overgrown with mangrove forests. There is a monkey training centre 13km from Suratthani in Kanchanadit district; and if you have enough time and arrange your own transport you can go exploring the interior of the vast province. Suratthani is a true gem as far as the street food is concerned; its cuisine showcasing a great variety of Southern dishes and traditional Muslim curries.
From Krabi to Bangkok by plane
More than reasonable prices for air tickets offered by several low-cost carriers on Krabi-Bangkok route make a serious competition to overland travel between the two cities. If you have to choose whether to fly to or from Krabi, go by land from Bangkok to Krabi and fly from Krabi to Bangkok: it is ok to survive a long journey if you have a lazy vacation ahead of you; and spending 12+ hours on a bus seat from Krabi to Bangkok after a relaxing holiday may feel even more tiresome than it actually is. Flying time from Krabi to Bangkok is short – 1½ hour only – and if you are lucky with the weather (you are most likely going to be), then you will have a chance to admire those amazing karst formations Krabi famous for from above.
Thai Lion Air makes four flights a day from Krabi International Airport to Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok. There are two morning flights at 8.40am and 9.30am, one afternoon flight at 1.30pm and one evening flight at 6pm. In low season there are deals under THB1000, which is a real bargain as this price includes 15 kg of checked-in luggage and 7 kg of cabin luggage. Early birds can get the same prices all year through, though when buying your air ticket just a couple of days in advance may set you back THB2500-THB3500.
Krabi International Airport lies 15 km to the northeast of the city centre and about 30 km from Ao Nang. There are air-conditioned airport shuttle buses from both of these locations (THB90 and THB150 respectively) to the airport. There are public songthaews from Krabi Town to the airport (THB50) or your can negotiate a private ride with one of them (THB250). Motorbike taxis ask less (THB150), but are ok only if you do not have much luggage. The trip to the airport takes about 20 minutes from Krabi Town and 40 minutes from Ao Nang.
Note that Krabi airport has two separate terminals – for domestic and international departures. Shopping opportunities are limited, and there is not much in the sense of restaurants and cafes, either: only a couple of coffee-shops and snack booth is all you can rely on.
In Bangkok Lion Air is based in Don Mueang International Airport to the north of the capital. It is connected to the city by airport shuttle buses (routes A1 and A2). A1 terminates at Morchit bus terminal calling en route to Morchit BTS. A2 heads to Morchit BTS first and then proceeds to Saphan Kwai BTS, Ari BTS, Sanam Pao BTS and finally reaches the Victory Monument (THB30). Travel time depends on traffic and is from 60 to 80 minutes. There are commuter trains between Don Mueang airport and Hua Lamphong train station, 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 3.10am till 10.15pm.