Difference between revisions of "Krabi Town"
Revision as of 11:28, 8 May 2014
Krabi is a small city with a population of around 25,000. Located just upriver from the coast, it has no beaches and most visitors make a beeline for Had Yao, Ao Nang or Rai Leh (Railay). Nevertheless, Krabi is a relaxed place which is pleasant enough for travellers to spend a night or two and one can certainly better experience Thailand here than in Ao Nang or the other beach resorts.
Direct connections are by air, road and sea from other parts of Thailand.
To/from Ko Samui
To/from outside Thailand
The international departure tax surcharge is 700 baht but is included in most tickets now; domestic departure tax is included in the price of the flight.
National Car Rental has a branch at the airport; motorcycle taxi rides are available outside the terminal. Krabi Limousine (tel. +66-75692073) has a desk inside the terminal and provides "limousine taxi" (using large air-conditioned sedans) transport to Krabi for 500 baht; Ao Nang for 800 baht; Phuket for 2500 baht. travelkrabi.com offers taxi and minibus (minivans) for less however travellers have to make deposit payment of 200 baht online via credit card.
Getting to/from airport: An airconditioned airport bus service links the airport with Krabi Town, Ao Nang and Noppharat Thara Beach. Fares are 90baht to Krabi and 150 baht to Ao Nang/Noppharat Thara. Buses meet all flight arrivals. For times to the airport, see Ao Nang page.
Songthaews run from Krabi Town to the airport and cost 30-50 baht, depending how much they overcharge you. Going to the airport, they will drop you at the departure terminal. From the airport, you will have to walk out and catch them along the main road to Krabi, a distance of about 400m.
Krabi does not have a railway station. Most travellers head to Surat Thani and transfer onto buses to Krabi from there. See the Surat Thani page for train times and the "By Bus" section below for bus connections between Krabi and Surat Thani.
To/from Bangkok: Buses to/from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal (tel. +66-24351199) take about 12 hours and depart as follows:
Please note: Prices change, this information is quite old, expect about 100-200B increase In Krabi, buses arrive/depart from the bus terminal at Taladkao, about 5km north of town.
To/from Surat Thani: Public buses run from Krabi's bus station Talat Kao. These airconditioned public buses are run by Phantip and cost 150 bahts. They leave Krabi at the following times (correct in November 2012): 07:00, 08:00, 09:00, 11:00, 12:30, 13:30, 15:00 & 16:30. Tickets can be bought at the bus station or on the bus.
Make sure to buy the ticket at the bus station ticket office or on the bus and not from a travel agent. The trip should take no more than three hours, but some travellers have endured ridiculous ten hour rides on private buses (giving thieves ample time to go through the bags underneath the bus) which included extensive "repair stops" right in front of restaurants coincidentally affiliated with the bus company.
To/from Phuket: Shuttle buses run between Krabi airport or Krabi Town and Phuket airport several times a day. There are also mini-buses that make the 2 hour run (more likely to be 3 hours). They depart every hour from Phuket bus station for 120 baht.
To/from Hat Yai: Mini-Vans (may be very campy for Caucasians) take just over 4-5 hours, and cost around 250 Bt, and pick up / drop off at Krabi Town, you will need to top up extra 100-200 baht per person to the driver to get them to drop you at your Ao Nang hotel. Please take note the mini vans often go around different hotels in Hat Yai to pick up other customers before departing from Hat Yai and may take as long as 1 hour during low seasons period.
More spacious Government aircon Bus/Coach departs from Hat Yai Bus terminal for Trang to Krabi Town/ Krabi Bus Station to Phuket hourly (morning to night) and (on-time without delay) from Hat Yai Bus terminal. Cost around 220-250 bhts. It takes from 4-5 hours to reach Krabi.
To/from Ao Nang: White-coloured songthaews run from Krabi bus terminal to Krabi Town to Ao Nang via Klong Jilard, Sai Thai, Ao Nang Junction Village and Noppharat Thara Beach. Fares 50-60 baht during the day until 18:00, 60-100 baht between 18:00 and 22:00. They run every ten minutes during the day and every 30 minutes after 18:00. In Krabi Town, songthaews depart from in front of the 7-Eleven on Thanon Maharat (Vogue shopping centre).
Ferries run from/to Ko Phi Phi, Ko Jum and Ko Lanta daily. Most depart in the morning. Tickets can be purchased at the dock or from tourist offices and most local guesthouses and hotels. The normal passenger ferry does not start from the centre of town anymore, but from a new passenger port about 4 km outside Krabi (Klong Jilad). Free taxi transfer to the pier should be included in the price of your ticket. If your boat starts from the old piers in the center of town (Chao Fah pier or Phi Phi pier), you are most likely on a more expensive and longer tourist boat ride. Also, make sure that when you arrive at the airport the taxi driver takes you to the correct pier. Many times they'll take you to a travel agent near the old pier and sell you additional accommodations or services. Only ever buy the ticket you need. Prices will often get cheaper the closer you get to your next destination.
There is one ferry a day from Krabi town to Ko Yao Noi at 11 am. Frequent speedboats and longtail boats run from Krabi Thalen Pier which is about 27 km West of Krabi town. Speedboat costs 150 bahts and longtail boat costs 120 bahts.
Ferry tickets to Ko Phi Phi are 300 baht as of September 2012, including pickup and transport to the pier outside town. High season price is 100 baht more (signs may list 400 bath, but the low season price is only 300). In fact, two of the four daily boats actually run for 250 bath, but you may have a hard time finding someone to sell for this price (this is easier when buying your return ticket on Ko Phi Phi).
The large displayed time-tables in the many travel agencies are just for show and the times are often not to be taken literally. Ask. As of September 2012, there were four ferries a day from Krabi to Ko Phi Phi a day, including: 9am and 2:30pm. They may add additional ferries during high-season.
The pier at Klong Jilad, for ferries to and from Ko Phi Phi has a taxi desk with posted prices: 150 baht to Krabi town, and 350 baht to the airport.
You can use either the songthaew or a taxi. From the bus station a taxi will cost B100 as it is about a 4Km trip. As you come out of the bus station, there should be dark brown songteows nearby. Ask if they are going into town (they should be, or just hop aboard and wait until the driver takes off.)They follow the river road into town, and turn right into the road where the night market is on the right, and the City hotel on the left. The next intersection you will come to is the one where the male prehistoric statues hold up the traffic lights. Cost is B40 unless you use them as a private hire. Usually they just do the round trip collecting locals on the way to and from.
From the bus station: To the right as you look out is a road past the market to the main road into town, a couple of hundred metres distant. (turn right into this road, about 4Km). Brown songteows wait at the bus station. To the left of this road, about 100 metres is a three way intersection - to the left is to Phuket, and the right to Surat. As you go to the right you will pass the Big C a couple of Km out on the left. To the immediate left of this is the road to the Tiger Temple and is about one Km walk. Continuing, is Tesco Lotus on the left, followed a couple of Km also on the left is the road to the airport.
To the Tiger Temple from town, pay B200 in a taxi. With a songteow - opposite and a couple of hundred metres up from from the pier (opposite the police station)is a songteow stop at Maharaj Soi 7. Blue ones go to Tesco Lotus and other out of town places (this is on the way to the airport and Tiger Temple) Brown ones go to the bus station and charge B30. Blue with white/yellow/red stripe (variable) go to the airport. To get to and from Ao Nang - in the centre of town on Maharaj Rd (main road) near the traffic lights where male statues hold them up (you will know once you see this!) is a Vogue shopping complex. A white songteow goes from here to Ao Nang and costs B50. It will come into Ao Nang along the beach road. Many of these white ones were also seen at the bus terminal but the writer did not go to Ao Nang from here, but only returned. It went through Krabi and arrived at the terminal for a cost of B80 from Ao Nang. With the songteow, push the button to stop where you want to get off, then go and pay the driver.
If you want to be more adventurous and hire a car, then Krabi Friendly Car Rental, krabicarhire.com (ph 075 612558, 081 6071494)will do it for you. The Writer hired a car for a day as at May 2012, and the rental is for 24 hours-we hired at 1pm, and returned at 1pm the next day. You must post a "bond" (by credit card)in case someone who is uninsured runs into you or you are at fault. This is B10,000(and is returned to you at the end of the hire if no problems). At the point of hire,the company checked all damage on the car and recorded it so when the Writer returned,there was no problem. The lady who delivered the car spoke reasonable English.Hire is B1300 per day of 24 hours, plus refill of petrol. The writer did a fair bit of driving and the refill was B700,costing B2000 for the 24 hours.
Go get a relaxing but powerful (and wildly inexpensive) massage, or couples massage, at Dhara Massage and Spa. The two women working there must have real certifications and training, and they are very focused in their work. Just off Thanon Issara on the small street near Soi Ruamjit. If you're walking away from the water on Issara, pass major street Th. Ma Ha Rat on your right, then take your first left and it will be on your left.
Krabi Town is far cheaper than any of the tourist resorts - this is reflected in the price of food and drinks especially. There are two night markets in Krabi town that are worth a look, and at weekends there is the 'Walking Street" market from 5-10pm. Also there is a Vogue department store where real items can be found cheaper than in Ao Nang. Do check out the Tesco Lotus Shopping Mall and Big C which are near the airport. Prices are cheap and there are lots of eateries available there. There are a few art gallery offering affordable pop art pieces.
At night there is a night market close to the promenade next to the piers. Some say the food is good and cheap, whilst others argue that it is actually sub-standard. The night market is a tourist attraction, as such food and hygiene is not to local standards. It's advisable to eat where you see locals eating. From time to time the town organizes shows on a small stage next to the market.
An even better market can be found on Maharat Soi (Lane) 10 in the center of town. This market has plenty of fresh fruit and lots of authentic cooked food. Only a few places have menus, otherwise point and enjoy. This market does not sell alcohol. There is also the new 'Walking Street' night market, between Vogue Department store and ViengThong Hotel, Fri-Sun, 5-10pm which sells food and general items such as clothes and handicrafts etc, and there is a largish seating area.
Not to be missed is the covered morning market (the biggest in South Thailand) on Maharaj Soi 9 (behind the Shell station). For early birds only. After 8am all the action is subsiding. Exactly at that time you can watch a show of national pride: the national anthem is playing and almost everyone comes to a standstill for a minute. The best place to get all kinds of fresh fruit and vegetable, khao njao (sticky rice), PatongKhoo, ChaRaawn (sweetened Thai-Tea) or fresh hot soymilk. The section of fresh fish and meat sellers is for hardened stomachs only.
There are several Italian restaurants of varying degrees of authenticity. Viva has Italian management.
Since August 2010 Tamarind restaurant in ChaoFaa road is a good option too with amazingly good Pizza from 150-190TB, thin and crispy; french fries are terribly soft though, and the pricey Tuna-salad wins a prize for lack of creativity.
Fantastic Thai food available from 31 kitchen next to Fubar.
The Sin-O-Cha bakery next to Vogue department store does meals and is a good place for breakfast or to have coffee and cake. At night the pavement pancake stall outside the bakery is always packed with locals, the pancakes are larger than those at other stalls.
RuenMai restaurant, about 2km from the center on Marharat road, has very nice atmosphere and very good local dishes from 100 TB. open every day but closing between 3 and 5pm.
You can get great western and thai breakfast (and maybe even the best coffee) at Relax Coffee near the pier.
Arun is a good breakfast place too (same roadside as Relax, more colourful atmosphere, here it is better go for the fresh Thai-coffee version: a large, very strong coffee. closed during low season.
During low season are very few restaurants open at all! The floating restaurant (RuenPae) was open as well as a couple near the tourist area towards the pier, but in the town very little at all.
The floating restaurant near the police station at the river does brilliant seafood at a reasonable price as well as provides mosquito coils to keep these pests away from your legs. As at March 2013, a good fish dinner for two, beer included, was B400.
There are a number of bars and cafe bars in Krabi town centre that cater to tourists, expats and natives. A few of them will have live bands at the weekend belting out cover songs, though Rocky Bar has live music every night. Stick to the main areas and it is most unlikely you will have anything but a pleasant time.
The Roof Top Bar above KR Mansion next to the 7 eleven on Chao Fa Road is an option. Its a good place to watch the sunset and have a cocktail.The friendly British girl who runs it is a great source of information on the locality. Writer noticed that bar is closed and abandoned march 11th 2014)
The central town area is flooded with a variety of guesthouses. Most have wifi and can arrange tours, tickets and trips to the islands. In the low season, you can get a room from 100 baht.
Nationwide television, cable TVs and local cable TV channels are available. International newspapers and magazines are available at some bookstores.
Landline telephones, satellite phones, all mobile phone systems, high-speed internet (ADSL) are available.
There is also a main post office on Uttrakit Rd. about a block south of Chao Fa Rd. with parcel services.
In addition to the above, to get to Surat Thani, buses go regularly from the bus station to and from for B150. It wanders through the countryside on the way there, but drops you off in the centre of the city.