Just across the Bay of Phang Nga to the east of Phuket, lies the wonderland of beaches set amongst jaw dropping topography known as Krabi. For those who like their tropical beach with a side of towering, karst limestone formations, this is the place to be. Krabi is not an island, rather it is a province and a town within that province on the mainland. Therefore, when someone refers to “Krabi”, they are talking about the general area. The beauty of Krabi is not only found in its stunning scenery, but also in its proximity to many other destinations. Koh Phi Phi, Koh Hong, Koh Yao, and Phuket are all in, or just across the bay. Trang and Satun provinces, as well as Koh Lanta and Koh Kradan are located immediately south of the province. There is a modest but good selection of restaurants, shopping, and nightlife in both Ao Nang and Krabi Town.
Krabi has a small but busy airport with daily flights to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Darwin, Australia. Driving to Krabi from Phuket or Surat Thani is not only easy, but magical in terms of scenery. Many visitors also access Krabi by way of boat from Phuket or Koh Phi Phi.
As it is located on the Andaman Sea side of Thailand, the weather in Krabi is best between November and March. From April through October is the rainy season and the beaches are sometimes not at their best. During this season, rough seas sometimes interfere with boat trips in the Bay of Phang Nga.
Accommodations are plentiful, but Krabi is not as developed in terms of hotels and resorts as one would think. With the exception of a handful of quality, luxury resorts, most of the accommodations are fairly basic and geared more toward backpackers.
Krabi makes a great base for exploring the region. Day trips to various islands in the Bay of Phang Nga are some of the best reasons to stay in Krabi. These include Koh Phi Phi, Koh Hong, Kho Yao, and many more.
Krabi also offers a wide variety of inland activities. It is obviously one of the world’s best destinations for rock climbing, thanks to its topography. A beautiful 40 mile drive to the south of Krabi Town visitors can find the famous Krabi hot springs. This area is replete with natural “bathtubs” containing soothing hot mineral water. There are several elephant camps where guests can enjoy an elephant trek into the amazing landscapes of the area. The Tiger Cave Temple is perfect for those who like a bit of a physical challenge with a reward at the end. The 1237 steps to the summit of the mountain lead to a temple that looks out over a truly magical view.
For those wanting to visit perhaps the most exotic beach in the world, Railay Beach, Krabi is a handy place to stay.
Ao Nang – This is the main beach in the area from where most day trips and transports to other islands launch. Ao Nang also has a good size town to serve guests with restaurants, nightlife, and other necessities. There are no high end resorts on Ao Nang beach, but there are a couple nice accommodations for the guest that wants to be as close as possible to the action and boat transport services. The beach itself is quite large with some amazing views, but only average in all other regards.
Railay Beach – Krabi’s most famous beach certainly deserves its recognition as such. Reachable only by long tailed boat from Ao Nang (in about 10 minutes), it is an absolutely stunning setting. The scenery, the sharp cliffs rising straight up out of the beach, and the view of other islands offshore all make Railay the textbook definition of an exotic beach. It has always been a haven for backpackers and remains that way today. There are always a lot of people here. For this reason, it is best to simply visit there rather than stay on Railay, although there is one very high end resort that fronts three different beaches, making it an incredible experience. Just around the corner from Railay is another beach known as Phra Nang. This beach is equally stunning with a tall island right off the shore that visitors can walk to in low tide. Phra Nang is also known for its incredible grotto and cave at the east end. Railay and Phra Nang are absolutely must see places for anyone coming close to Krabi.
Tub Khaek Beach / Khlong Muang Beach – Located about 20 minutes by car to the north of Ao Nang, this beautiful stretch of sand is home to several of the best resort that Krabi has to offer. It is close enough to Ao Nang to make trips into town easy, yet far away enough to offer a very relaxed and uncrowded experience. The bay in front of these beaches is very beautiful, being littered with oddly shaped islands.