Krabi has become a popular but offers a more an escapist alternative to far busier Phuket, outdated and overdeveloped Koh Samui, and backpacker haven Koh Phi Phi. The town of Krabi isn't much to see, serving only as useful main hub to reach nearby resorts. Ferries from other destinations connect via songtao and boats to the nearby beach and tourist strip at Ao Nang and to the farther flung beaches, including Haad Raillay, the famed "climbers beach" with its stunning karst towers, which is accessed by boat (from either and Khlong Mouang beach, only recently developed, just north of Ao Nang by car.
Krabi's main interests relaxing on the beach, boat trips to nearby picturesque marine parks, and water sports—kayaking, diving and snorkeling. Although the area's dive sites are a better option in Koh Phi Phi, Koh Yao, Koh Tao, and Phuket, here around Krabi are the similar clear blue waters and white sands Thailand's south is renowned for.
Indochina Travel Krabi Favorites
—The natural setting of Krabi, including the craggy karst cliffs of Raillay which make it one of the best-known rock climbing spots in the region (if not the world, considering the location). It is "sport climbing" done on mapped routes with safety bolts already drilled into the rock and there are a full and half-day courses as well as good equipment available for experienced climbers.
—Morning snorkeling in the stunning setting of the offshore Hong Islands marine reserve and enjoying a picnic linch on the deserted beach before returning to the resort.
—Spicy southern cuisine. Someone said food is best when it's painful to eat and here in Krabi is some of Thailand's spiciest and most delicious food. Sample fabulous red-hot curries like gaeng som and gaeng tai pla.
—Younger and fewer crowds than other destinations in Southern Thailand (for more solitude, consider Thailand's "secret island," Koh Yao.
—Two for one destination: Phi Phi Island is a 35-minute speedboat trip from Railay Beach.
—Krabi Town Street Market that's held 5-10:00pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Featuring delicious and fresh street food, live music, with a plethora of shopping stalls featuring handicrafts and clothes.
The spectacular and secluded Rayavadee, accessible only by boat, sits on 26 acres beneath Ao Nang Beach's towering karst spires located at the tip of the Phranang Peninsula, on the border of Krabi Marine National Park, an area renowned for its natural beauty and rich flora, fauna and marine life. The remote location offers the perfect escape fro a wedding, honeymoon, or family retreat, and offering a compelling reason in itself to visit Krabi. One hundred luxurious and private two-story bungalows and villas lie between lush landscaping footsteps from the sand. The Grotto, the resort's restaurant, is set dramatically in a cave and is one of Krabi's top dining venues.
A Ritz Carlton "Reserve" property with a secluded location in a dramatic area of rugged shoreline and limestone karsts on the Andaman Sea. Phulay Bay offers a contemporary take on traditional Thai style and design created by renowned architect Lek Bunnag, who masterfully blend core natural elements with native techniques. Here, at Phulay Bay, Bunnag has devised a true village-sized compound where fire and water meet the sea and sand.
Resident dining options include Jampoon (Mediterranean), Sri Trang (traditional Thai), and Lae Lay (fresh seafood) with a romantic setting right on the waterfront, and the poolside cafe, Plai Fah. For detox, the Raw Bar offers up raw fruit and vegetables, including wheatgrass. For dining outside the resort, Ao Nang is a 15-minute drive and Krabo Town a half-hour (see below). During your stay we recommend a snorkeling trip out to the stunning setting of the Hong Islands marine reserve, enjoying a picnic linch on the deserted beach before returning to the resort.
A sampling of suggested places activities in Krabi. Foremost, the landscapes—renowned Mu Ko Phi Phi and Railay Beach, Krabi's dream beach, offers spectacular coastline, lush mountains, and world-class water sports. With stunning rock formations and clear turquoise waters, the islands have been the location for several major international film shoots including The Beach; Bridget Jones’s Diary; Tomorrow Never Dies and The Man with the Golden Gun.
Popular activities include snorkelling, scuba diving, rock climbing, and hiking, as well as daytrips to uninhabited silands like Phi Phi Leh, which has stunningly beautiful bays and beaches, including world-famous Maya Bay. Located just south of Ao Nang and accessible only by boat, Railay Beach (or Railay Bay) is one of Thailand’s most picturesque beach areas. On this small peninsula, are stunning white-sand beaches with soaring limestone cliffs in the backdrop, viewpoints, caves and a hidden lagoon. Nestled in the crystal-clear water of the Andaman Sea, Mu Koh Lanta National Park covers the islands of Koh Ngai, Koh Rok, Koh Ha and Koh Lanta, featuring unihabited and remote white sandy beaches, limestone hills and lush forests. Koh Lanta is also a fantastic location for snorkelling and scuba diving.
For visitors who look for more local experiences, a small Muslim community on Koh Klang, less than 10 minutes by boat from Krabi town, has a lot of eco-tourism/ community based tourism activities on offer. While it is possible to do a day trip to Koh Klang, an overnight homestay will allow you more time to engage with the locals through DIY Batik fabric making, take part in long-tail boat model-making workshops, taste local style seafood, join the fishermen on their fishing boat ride, or observe their daily routines. Krabi also offers a lot of beautiful inland attractions, such as Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Suea), Khlong Thom hot springs schools. Several wellness spas, yoga and cooking studios offer activities to fill out your time in Krabi.
Outside of town, Krua Thara is a longtime favorite for its tasty authentic Thai featuring fresh seafood and exotic spices. Go for the outstanding fresh seafood and unpretentious, friendly environment. In Krabi town, Ruan Thip serves a wide variety of Thai specialties in a fine setting, often with live music. Fine Thai cuisine is featured at Ruan Mai in the picturesque setting of a tropical garden. In Ao Nang, the beachside town, the beachfront Sala Bua & Lo Spuntino offers Italian and Thai cuisine. Stunning panoramic views are a good reason for drinks or dining on traditional Thai at The Hilltop, ideal for sunsets.
Visit ideally February to March, or within November to April. April, May, June, and September are off-peak season months, best for avoiding the crowds. The rainy season runs May through some of October when it's wet about every other day and many businesses close down (the Gulf of Thailand side has about equal number of rainy days, but about half the volume of rainfall). Also consider Koh Yao, in Thailand for an more remote getaway just off of Phuket.
Alex Garland's The Beach is set in Bangkok's Khao San Road backpacker enclave and a nebulous secret beach cove on one of the Thai islands (actually filmed on Phi Phi Leh Island, near Phuket). A breezy read (how did this book become so popular?), it's about a backpacker's search for a legendary, idyllic and isolated beach untouched by tourism, and his time there in its small, international community of backpackers. The backpacker, Richard, lands in Bangkok and is given a secret map to a beach paradise from a mysterious stranger at a local guesthouse, who soon after kills himself. Richard pairs up with a French couple and the three manage to follow the map and join the remote beach commune. But paradise turns out to be a sunlit prison run by a kind but stern woman who was one of the founders. Richard tries to blend in to the commune, but as backpackers are known for, is soon bored. He shares the map with Americans while not telling anyone about it ultimately leads to the downfall of the secret commune. After escaping death several times, causing bodily injury and death to almost everyone he meets, and serving as the catalyst to end the dream of the beach commune, Richard arrives relatively unharmed back in England. Good fodder for Monty Python.
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