Krabi is a district located in Southern Thailand, on the edge of the Andaman Sea (south-west of Thailand).
It is, without a doubt, one of the most breath-taking areas in Thailand -
Its Landscapes and beaches attract tourists from all over the world, and you are about to learn the best of it.
In addition, it’s a great place for you to experience the “island vibe” if you lack the time or need to spend on an actual island.
The district became a lot more popular recently since the new inner airport was built, which links Krabi district to Bangkok.
My favorite thing about it is the fact that even though it was “discovered” by tourists about 10 years ago, its character hasn’t been spoiled by the tourism, therefor you can still feel a spark of the “real Thailand” there.
The capital city of the district is also named “Krabi”, and it’s located about 1000 km (620 miles) from Bangkok.
The city itself doesn’t have a lot to offer, and so most of the travelers who come to the district come for the sake of its beautiful landscapes, beaches, and islands (especially Koh Phi Phi and Railay Beach).
I usually like to pass through Krabi on my way to Koh Phi Phi island or Phuket, which are not far from it.
Do your best to get to Krabi between the months of November-April - during the dry season.
When the Monsoon season begins you’ll find it very difficult to find a ship that will take you to other islands in the area.
Krabi district, and especially the beach town Ao Nang, is a great starting-point from which you can go out exploring the entire area and islands –
Whether those are sailing trips, Kayaking or land trips, you can find it all:
Railey Beach is considered one of the best places to Rock-Climb in the world, if not the best of them all.
A climbing course costs around 5,000 Baht and includes the guide, food and water.
I personally enjoyed the climbing course the most while spending the night in the non-luxurious Tonsai Beach – one of Railay Beach’s four beaches.
This beach is very basic, and provides authentic huts that don’t have any running water or electricity.
The entire experience is very unique, and a great part of it is because of the brotherhood that is formed with your other climbing mates – you all work hard climbing during the day, and when night falls you spend time together in what feels like a deserted island.
Note: If you are uncomfortable with basic facilities or have a family with small children, you should probably stay in one of Railay’s other beaches where the conditions are much more comfortable.
How to get here: From Krabi town take a cab to Ao-Nang Beach (15-25 Baht). In the beach catch a “Boat-Taxi” to Railey Beach – about 15 minute sail.
A great occupation for those unexpected rainy days. I tried the “Smart Cook” cooking class. You will choose 6 different dishes to cook and receive a recipe-handbook at the end.
This is a light, fun experience, mainly because I never grow tired of Thai food …
How much does it cost: About 1000 Baht for a 4 hour class.
Hong is a group of islands located about 30 minute sail from Krabi (depends on the beach you leave from). In your day trip you’ll probably sail the largest island of the archipelago, also named ‘Hong’.
The name “Hong” (meaning ‘room’ in Thai) origins is the incredible secret lagoon that reveals itself once you’ve gone through a couple of enormous cliffs guarding its entrance.
The best thing about this beach is that it’s practically unknown to tourists, and so you just might find yourself alone in this great paradise starting the early afternoon hours.
Later on, i'd recommend renting a kayak (about 300 baht) and sail around and between the Hong islands. You’ll find all sorts of hidden caves and beautiful ravines.
Tip: I strongly recommend hiring a privet long-tail boat during your expedition instead of a combined boat, so you won’t have to obey the group’s schedule. Make sure the boat is equipped with snorkeling gear, although you might find it a bit unnecessary since the water is so clear.
Note that entering the reservation will cost you additional 200 Baht, although most of the boat-operators will offer you a small add-in to the sailing price that will cover the entrance fee.
This is, by far, the most incredible stalactite cave I have ever seen. Completing its course takes about an-hour-an-hour-and-a-half, and you should really prepare yourself for an amazing sight-seeing.
Not many tour guides know this place (not even the local ones!) so make sure you get the name right.
About 3 km (1.9 miles) from Krabi town lays a small temple hidden inside a long cave. Inside the temple live about 250 monks and nuns.
Both the temple and the cave are quite interesting but the “real deal” about the Tiger Cave Temple is how you get there – no elevators, only stairs. A lot of them.
The temple has two main staircases – the “less scary one” is the staircase which is located near the Chinese Fertility Goddess statue.
The second staircase, known as “the footprint of the Buddha”, consists of 1,272 stairs (about 45-60 minutes climb), which are quite difficult, especially in Thailand’s hot and moist climate. The reward for those who succeed, except burning down breakfast, is a magnificent panoramic view of the entire area, including the Andaman Sea, the islands and the rainforest.
The hot waterfalls are located in the middle of the jungle, where a thermal hot water spring meets the cool river.
After about a 10 minute walk down the stream's path you'll reach the hot water waterfall. The hot water running down the rock melted it and created little round pools in which you sit comfortably while hot water are pouring all over your body – a perfect natural Jacuzzi.
The water temperature reach about 35-40C (95-104 F) and the feeling is amazing. Don't miss this magical place!
Where is it: located about 70 km (44 miles) south of Krabi town and near the Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve.
How much does it cost: 80-100 Baht for a grown up, children enter for free.
Right in the middle of the jungle, passing by old trees and magical Bamboo bushes, you’ll find this natural pool, created by a spring.
Also known as the “Crystal Pool” because of its crystal clear water, the really special thing about this pool is its extraordinary water hue. Ranging from blue when the water is warm to green when it's cold, this pool really is a sight for sore eyes. And healthy ones too!
The water in un-drinkable due to its calcium carbonate content, but the pleasure of swimming in it, enjoying the pleasant under-water streams and sliding down the slippery rocks is more than enough.
Tip: Try to avoid this pool during weekends because of it’s awfully crowded local weekend audience.
How much does it cost: about 200 Baht entrance fee to the Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve.
This magical market is very much like the lovely markets of Northern Thailand. Unknown to most tourists and travelers, in this market you find a lot of good food, music concerts and so many clothes, jewelries and shoes to buy you almost get confused (keep your eye open for original brands).
The prices in this market are particularly low, and so the traditional bargaining are hardly necessary.
Be sure to not get confused with the daily night market, which is mainly a food and restaurant market.
Where is it: The weekend night market is located about 10 minute walk from the dock, near the Vogue department store. It’s open Fridays till Sundays between the hours 17:00-22:00.
A magical forest, filled with small natural pools and waterfalls. On your way to the reserve you’ll pass through local rubber-tree plantations, where you’ll get to see how the tree is being “milked” for its rubber.
Where is it: About 50km (31 miles) north of Krabi town, in ‘Ao Luk’ District. The drive should take about 45 minutes.
Staying in the district is recommended in 3 main places: Krabi town, Ao-Nang town or Railay Beach.
As I mentioned above, most travelers who come to the area come for the sake of the beautiful beaches and islands near-by, especially the famous Railay Beach.Therefore, spending the night in Railay beach seems like the obvious choice… or is it?
The advantages of staying in Railay Beach are obvious – First, you don’t have to travel from Ao Nang or from Krabi town only to get to Railay Beach every day (although it is only a 10 minute sail…) and second - you wake up in paradise every single morning (or noon…).
On the down side Railay beach has almost no active night life and the tourist services such as restaurants, shops, traveling agencies and budget-accommodations are limited.
If you do wish to stay in Railay Beach, here’s a guide to explain about your different possibilities within that beach.
If you prefer to stay in Ao Nang or in Krabi Town, here are my two cents:
Ao Nang is a beach town which is located about 20 km (12 miles) from Krabi Town. The town is awfully pretty and its landscapes are absolutely spectacular.
Ao-Nang’s beach is not a pleasant place to swim in, still most of the travelers choose to stay in Ao-Nang rather than in Railay Beach because it offers a much wider selection of guesthouses and hotels than Railay Beach, as well as travel agencies and restaurants, shops, cafés, bazaars, massages and pubs which are open until 01:00 AM.
In Krabi terms – Ao-Nang is where “all the action happens” .
The fact that Railay Beach is only a 10 minute sail away and that Ao-Nang is a great starting point to all sort of expeditions in the area only make it that more appealing for young people, families with children and for those who seek a bit of interest.
Tip: If you choose to come to Ao Nang during the peak season and would like a three-star hotel quality and above, know that the prices are much higher than any other season and make sure to order your hotel in advance.
Krabi town is the place to go if you are on a tight budget because this is where you’ll find the cheapest guesthouses (the locals like to call them ‘hotels’, so don’t get fooled).
It’s a quiet town, and by living there you will save a few Bahts and enjoy all the facilities a town provides (including a great market), but I think you will miss the experience of waking up every morning and have Railay Beach’s or Ao Nang’s beautiful shores in front of you.
My favorite way, always the easiest and fastest option to get from place to place in Thailand. Arriving to Krabi has become extremely easy since the district got its own inner airport.
The train leaves Bangkok and arrives at the Surat Thani Train Station. From Surat Thani you’ll take a bus to Krabi (4 hour drive).
If you choose to take the train, I recommend buying the night ticket, with the air-conditioned sleepers. After all – 800 km (497 miles) is not an easy ride.
Tip: It is possible to buy a joined ticket (Train&Bus) from any traveling agency in Bangkok.
Take a bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani (about 12 hour drive) and then another bus from Surat Thani to Krabi (4 hour drive).
Ferries leave to Krabi from Koh Phi Phi Island (2.5 hours), Phuket (2 hours)and Ko Lanta (1.5 hours).