Chances that Krabi Town is your final destination are low as the overwhelming majority of travellers just use Krabi as a convenient jumping point to the mainland beaches of Ao Nang and Railey or to the islands of the Andaman Sea, including pristine Koh Phi Phi and laidback Koh Lanta. It is a pity as Krabi Town itself is a wonderfully cosy and pleasant place to spend a few days. The two limestone mountains looming over the Krabi river are a signature picture of the city, and the landscapes around Krabi with karsts covered with lush jungle jutting from rubber tree and oil palm plantations, mangrove forests and tapioca fields are majestic.
The accommodation options abound in the city with stylish guesthouse rooms sometimes offered at as low as THB200. Lovely coffee shops, beautiful beaches within half an hour drive from the city, worth visiting sights and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere of a provincial capital complete the picture. All in all, Krabi Town is an excellent place to take a break from the islands without moving far away form the sea.
How to get from Suratthani to Krabi
There is no railway line between Suratthani and Krabi. The Gulf and the Andaman Coast are linked by numerous buses. Private taxi is also an option if you want to travel with more comfort.
From Suratthani to Krabi by bus
It does not take long to get from Suratthani to Krabi. A 170 km route can be covered just in two-hour time by car, but buses are considerably slower so be prepared to spend from three to four hours on the wheels. Buses between Suratthani and Krabi are standard AC buses which pick up passengers on their way to Krabi and sometimes detour to let passengers get off at smaller villages – it explains longer travel time.
Phantip Travel operates buses from Suratthani Town to Krabi at 6am. 7.30am, 9am, 10.40am, 12.30pm, 2pm, 3.30pm, 4.30pm, 5pm and 6pm at THB250. You can also catch their morning bus at 7.30am from Suratthani train station in the town of Phun Phin. Travel time from Phun Phin to Krabi is three hours and tickets cost THB180. It costs from THB50 to THB100 to get from Suratthani Town to Suratthani train station or vice versa by songthaew.
Note that in Krabi buses arrive to Krabi Provincial Transport Station which is located close to Route 4 and Route 411 junction, some eight km north of Khlong Jilard Pier from where boats to Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta leave and some three km from the centre of Krabi Town. Songthaews from Krabi Provincial Transport Station head to the city centre, the pier and Ao Nang, from where there are more boats for your onward travel to the islands of the Andaman, including Phuket.
From Suratthani to Krabi by taxi
Phantip Charter whisks passengers striving for comfort from Suratthani Town to Krabi (THB3,150) and Suratthani Airport to Ao Nang (THB3,650) in two and 2½ hours respectively. Prices are all-inclusive and their Toyota Commuter accommodates up to nine travellers. It is an option to consider if you travel with children or a group of friends – it saves you quite a lot of time.
Your onward travel from Krabi
From Krabi Town to Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta
Boats from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi leave from Khlong Jilard Pier, about five km to the southwest of the centre of the city. The two main operators between Krabi and Koh Phi Phi, Andaman Wave Master and Chaokoh Travel Group, both bring you to the island in 1½ –1¾ hour. Andaman Wave Master is a bit cheaper at THB450 and offers two boats at 9am and 1.30pm; Chakoh Travel Group’s vessels are a bit faster and cost THB600. They leave at 10.30am and 3pm. In Koh Phi Phi, both companies moor at Ton Sai Pier.
Boats to Koh Lanta connect via Koh Phi Phi. You can catch a Chaokoh Travel Group’s departure at 3pm. It takes only one hour to get to Koh Lanta from Koh Phi Phi and costs THB600.
Tip: A cheaper way to get to Koh Lanta from Krabi is by van from Krabi Airport or Krabi Provincial Transport Station. Tickets cost about THB500 and the journey takes three hours. Look for transfer counters on the spot or ask in tour agencies throughout Krabi Town.
From Krabi to Phuket
Though technically it is possible to get from Krabi to Phuket by boat, it is easier to buy a bus ticket. It will cost you noticeably cheaper and take less time. If you are of one blood with chao leh, then consider Chaokoh Travel Group service. They have one boat a day from Krabi to Phuket leaving at 10.30am. The journey takes from four to five hours, and the sea is often mossy. Tickets cost THB900.
Krabi Town is relatively small, so you can cover it on foot. Songthaews ply the main streets and connect Krabi Provincial Transport Station with the Khlong Jilard Pier and mainland beaches.
Motorbikes can be rented through some of the guesthouses for about THB200 per day and are handy if you are going to explore the environs of the city. Bicycles are not as convenient as motorbikes for this purpose as some of the most interesting destinations like Tha Pom are rather distant (about 40 km).
Krabi province is so diverse in the sense of what it has to offer to an inquisitive traveller, that you are sure to find some sort of activity to your taste. Apart from stunning beaches, both on the mainland and on the neighbouring islands, there is much more to do in Krabi than just enjoy crystal turquoise waters and inviting sand beaches.
Kayaking in mangrove forests is a highly recommended activity with Ao Thalane offering the most picturesque setting for it. You can join a tour or just rent a kayak independently. Mangrove forests are numerous in Krabi and one of the most popular destinations for wandering among the mangroves is Khlong Thom famous for its incredible Emerald Pool and a hot water spring and waterfall. Tour groups visit this place regularly, so in order to enjoy it to the fullest, come early in the morning. Another intriguing and underrated destination is Tha Pom, or Khlong Son Nam, boasting absolutely transparent water. Seawater during high tide meets fresh water there resulting in a very unique combination of mangroves and jungle vegetation.
It is next to impossible to visit Krabi and miss Wat Tham Suea, a cave temple occupying a commanding position on a hill some 7 km northwest from Krabi Town. Its 1200+ steps are a challenge, but you will be rewarded with a mesmerizing panorama of limestone karsts covered with lush vegetation. For even more exciting experience, climb Dragon Crest mountain, or Khao Ngok Nak. There are designated trails for trekking there, and the climb itself takes just about two hours.