Krabi Province is a popular beach destination at the Andaman Sea in Southern Thailand.
Krabi, a coastal province, abounds with countless natural attractions that never fail to impress tourists. Such attractions include white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, fascinating coral reefs, caves and waterfalls, as well as numerous islands.
The distinguishing feature of both Krabi and neighboring Phang Nga is the massive limestone karsts, rising vertiginously out of the flat rice paddies on land and as islands from the sea. Add in some gorgeous beaches and excellent scuba diving and rock climbing, and it's little wonder that tourism in the area has been booming.
While less commercialized than neighboring Phuket, Krabi Province cannot be described as undiscovered: it receives two million visitors a year, and the major tourist areas cater extensively to foreigners.
From archaeological discoveries, it is believed that Krabi is one of the oldest communities in Thailand dating back to the prehistoric period. It is believed that the town may have taken its name after the meaning of Krabi, which means sword. This may have stemmed from a legend that an ancient sword was unearthed prior to the city’s founding.
Krabi Province was badly hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. Several years later, signs of the damage are now hard to find anywhere.
The best time to visit Krabi is from November to April when the area's climate is not as hot. During this period the region gets a lot of dry northeasterly winds, giving dry blue skies and starry nights. Then, down on the beaches one can enjoy nice sea breezes. From June to November the area gets a lot of rainfall, more on average than the rest of the country. During this period the islands get a lot of moist southwesterly winds, which give a mixture of dry days and wet ones. The sea stays a warm 29°C all year round. Visitors however, coming in this period will find it cheaper.
Bordering the Andaman Sea, Krabi is located 814 kilometers south of Bangkok and covers an area of 4,708 square kilometers. Its mountainous physical geography is broken by highlands and plains, covering more than 130 large and small islands, and abounding with mangrove forests. The Krabi River flows 5 kilometers through the town and into the Andaman Sea at Tambon Pak Nam. There are also klongs (canals) such as Klong Pakasai, Klong Krabi Yai, and Klong Krabi Noi, which all originate from Krabi’s highest mountain Mount Phanom Bencha.
You can get around on English alone in the more touristic areas, although a few words of Thai will come in handy off the beaten track and will be much appreciated anywhere.
A number of other European languages are spoken in dive shops
The most popular way to enter this province is via its capital, Krabi Town.
Krabi International Airport (KBV) is about 10 km from the city limits, 15 km from the city centre, 40km from Ao Nang and 23km from Had Yao. Thai Airways operates daily direct flights to/from Bangkok, likewise Air Asia from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Bangkok Airway flies to Ko Samui nearly every day of the week. Destination Air Shuttle, Thailand's only Seaplane service also routinely flies in and out of Krabi (Ko Lanta) from Phuket and to the numerous outer islands. For more information, contact:
Also see Krabi International Airport
Krabi is on Highway 4. Shared songthaews (pickup truck taxis) from Ao Nang to Krabi are frequent and cost Bt 40. Originating in Phang-nga province, Highway 4 links many of the province’s districts. Other main routes include:
From Phuket: Proceed along Highways No. 402 and No. 4. The total distance is 176 kilometers.
There are regular direct bus services between Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal and Krabi (~ 500 baht), but probably the best option is to take a VIP bus, which for 250 baht more makes the 10 hour ride much more comfortable.
Buses from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal (tel. +66-24351199) to Krabi take about 12 hours and depart as follows:
The nearest train stations are:
The nearest train station to Krabi is in Trang province just south of Krabi. From there, there are trains to and from Bangkok. Distances
The distance from Bangkok to Krabi is approx 950 km or about 12 hrs by car.
Songthaew (public passenger pick-up vehicles)
Various tourist attractions can be conveniently reached by local Songthaew. Such attractions include Ban Huai To, Ban Nong Thale, Ban Khao Thong, Hat Noppharat Thara, Susan Hoi, Ao Nang, Ban Khlong Muang, Ban Nai Sa, Amphoe Khao Phanom, Amphoe Nuea Khlong, Amphoe Khlong Thom, Ban Bo Muang, Ban Hua Hin, Ban Khlong Phon, Amphoe Lam Thap, Amphoe Ao Luek, and Amphoe Plai Phraya. The local Songthaews depart from the Vogue Department Store on Maha Rat Road. Trips to other destinations can be made by taxi and rental car.
Krabi is mostly coast and islands, so you'll be spending quite some time on boats when getting around.
The most common boat type for shorter hops is the long-tail boat (reua hang yao), which true to the name has the propeller at the end of a long 'tail' stretching from the boat. This makes them supremely manoeuvrable even in shallow waters, but they're a little underpowered for longer trips and you'll get wet if it's even a little choppy.
Krabi roads are not as crowded as other Thai provinces and cities and driving here is a cost effective and convenient way to get around, especially if you are staying away from Ao Nang and want to go into town to go to markets, eat at restaurants, etc. All major car rental agencies have desks in Krabi airport and cars are reasonably priced when compared to the taxi fares to and from Ao Nang.
Beach and islands
Shopping in Krabi Town is by far the best experience and has everything from local art and handicrafts to the amazing local food which may be spicy for some peoples taste.
Ao Nang is the regular tourist trap and has the obligatory shops T-shirts and 'Billabong' shorts. These are intermixed with the restaurants and bars of the area.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a coastal region, seafood features prominently on the menu. Traditional southern Thai food includes milder coconut-milk based curries popularly associated with Thailand: the dry, Malaysian-influenced Panaeng curry and Indian-influenced Massaman (Muslim) curry with potatoes and nuts.
A wide variety of international cuisines is available in the many resort towns, visited by millions of overseas tourists every year and home to many expats. Tourism has also brought migrants from other parts of Thailand, and their food with them.
Krabi's more well developed tourist centres offer internet cafes and international calling cards. Free wi-fi is increasingly available in bars and restaraunts.