Krabi Travel Guide
This provincial capital along the Andaman coast is one of the most popular destinations in the country. It’s known for its otherworldly seascape dotted by unique limestone (karst) formations.
These rocky formations are a key asset for adventure seekers. Rock climbers flock here for well-developed routes scaling sheer cliffs at Ton Sai Beach. Underwater, these same formations host coral reefs that are perfect venues for snorkeling and scuba diving. Sea kayaking through gauntlets of rock pinnacles and mangrove orchards is also popular.
Experts believe Krabi is the site of Thailand’s earliest settlement. Even today unique groups of sea gypsies travel from coast to coast in the islands, fishing and living off the sea.
Krabi Town hasn’t seen much in the way of tourism. It’s a sleepy stopover with a few tourist-oriented restaurants and shopping centers. While a visit to Krabi Province is likely to take you through the capital city, most tourists make a beeline for the coastal resorts and islands.
Ferries depart the mainland for the Phi Phi archipelago, Ko Lanta and Ko Yao. These tropical paradises are heavy on infrastructure and ideal places to escape for a few days. Everything is more expensive on the islands, but that’s just part of the experience. Longtail boats are a key mode of transportation here.
But there are plenty of sites to see on the mainland as well. Tiger Cave Temple is a unique Buddhist grotto hidden in a dense tract of jungle. Another major site near Krabi Town is Shell Fossil Cemetery, a composite of millions of years-worth of snail shell fossils.
Getting There & Away
There’s a regional airport in Krabi near the Ao Nang resort area, but it may be easier to get a flight into Phuket, which is only an hour’s drive away. Phuket offers a limited selection of international flights. Flights from Krabi to the massive international airport in Bangkok take an hour.
Buses to Bangkok take as long as 12 hours and are mainly used by budget travelers. The train is a more comfortable budget option, with overnight sleepers to Bangkok or as far south as Malaysia. But trains can only take you as far as Phu Phin Station in Surat Thani, at which point you’ll have to board a shuttle bus bound for Krabi. It’s also possible to hire a car in Phuket and drive the Krabi coastline.
Ferries to the islands take between 2 and 3 hours and depart from various locations along the coast. A growing fad is to charter a seaplane into Phuket and fly directly to Ko Phi Phi and other islands. Prices vary greatly depending on the season.
Things to Do
- Shell Fossil Cemetery
10 miles from krabi town, this 16-inch thick rock slab is composed of ancient snail shells that date back 35 million years.
- Wat Tham Sua
Tiger cave temple is the largest temple in krabi. it’s concealed in a network of jungle caves topped by a great lookout point.
- Ko Phi Phi archipelago
This collection of six islands is free of cars and features beautiful white-sand beaches and excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities.
- Ton Sai Beach
Notable for its world-class rock-climbing, the unique karst formations in this area have well-bolted routes that offer stunning 360-degree panoramas of the sea and coastline.
- Ao Nang
The chief resort area on the mainland, set against a backdrop of limestone cliffs.
- Ph Nga Bay
This is a beautiful karst landscape lined with mangroves that are the ideal setting for sea kayaking.
- Ko Lanta
A 3-hour ferry ride from krabi town, this resort island enjoys a laid-back atmosphere. life moves slower here than on ko phi phi or phuket.