Less busy than Phuket and arguably more beautiful than Surat Thani, Krabi is well on the way to establishing itself as the go-to province in southern Thailand. Here are 11 reasons why it should be at the top of your Asia travel itinerary.
You can now travel with Culture Trip to Thailand on our 10-day adventure through some of the most beautiful islands and beaches in the country. Led by a local guide, you’ll get to experience places and activities others won’t.
The most talked-about island in Thailand is located in Krabi province, a mere 90-minute ferry ride away from the mainland. As well as having the stunning Maya Bay, Phi Phi is also home to wild beach parties, numerous bars and restaurants, and stunning natural features. There are even top-class diving adventures to be had for those of you whose day begins at eight in the morning, not the evening. Beaches, bars and buckets — what more could you want from a stay on an island paradise?
Here’s another gorgeous island to be found in Krabi. Koh Lanta is almost the polar opposite of Koh Phi Phi: a big island that’s largely peaceful, as opposed to a smaller, lively one. From peaceful beaches to swathes of rugged green jungle, Lanta is a paradise; there are also plenty of cosy beach bars to keep you entertained.
There are plenty of activities and tours you can enjoy during your trip to Krabi. Whether it’s making new friends below the waves on a diving excursion, making your Instagram followers jealous on a four-island tour, or even learning how to cook your favourite meal, Krabi has enough to keep you busy no matter how long your visit.
Markets are a great way to experience authentic slices of local culture, and Krabi has more than a few for you to delve right into. The best in the province is the Walking Street Market in Krabi Town; it’s a night market that runs from 5-10pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Not only is it home to delicious, freshly-cooked food; it’s also a shopping haven, with plenty of stalls selling locally-made crafts, accessories and clothing. It also features nightly live entertainment.
Located between the major hubs of Ao Nang and Krabi Town is the stunning peninsula of Railay. Whilst it isn’t an island, the fact that it’s cut off from the mainland by sheer limestone cliffs means it’s only accessible by boat — and it’s these cliffs that have put the area on the map. Regarded as a top place for rock climbing, the Railay cliffs have both beginner and advanced routes; each rewards climbers with stunning views of the bay. Not a climber? Railay’s also home to beautiful beaches that might be more up your alley.
Love spicy food and curry? You’ll feel right at home in Krabi. Southern Thai food is the fiercest and most delicious in the country, and Krabi is a great place to try it all. From red-hot curries such as gaeng som and gaeng tai pla to the biryani-esque khao mok gai, it’s a culinary hotspot.
If climbing up mountains sounds like the last thing you want to do on your holiday, you might want to stop reading now. Krabi is famed for its breathtaking karst landscape, and Tiger Cave Temple, or Wat Tham Suea in Thai, is a series of temples that includes a stunning Buddha statue just a mere 1,247 steps up to the summit of a mountain. A gruelling climb in Krabi’s tropical climate, it’s well worth the effort as those who reach the top are treated with stunning views out over the province and several beautiful statues.
The most popular place for tourists to stay in Krabi, Ao Nang is a bustling resort town just 20 minutes away from Krabi Town. Not only does it have a large number of great hotels, from the luxurious to the low-cost; it’s also chock-full of welcoming bars and restaurants. The main attraction, though, is Ao Nang beach. It’s a gorgeous strip of soft sand with mountain and karst views, it’s the perfect place in mainland Krabi to soak up the sun and go for a swim, just a stone’s throw away from all the action.
A stay in Krabi is one of the few stays in paradise that’s sure not to break the bank. Despite being popular with tourists, Krabi has remained much cheaper than nearby tourist hubs Phuket and Koh Samui. In terms of accommodation, the sheer number of choices available means bargains can be found without the need to compromise quality or stay in a hostel. Similarly, food from local joints and night markets isn’t subject to the”double-pricing” that you may encounter elsewhere in Thailand, leaving you with more cash to splash on tours and excursions.
Krabi’s also got plenty of reasons to get your trekking boots on. Whether it’s hiking to waterfalls near Tiger Cave Temple or kayaking around the mangroves in Ao Thalane, there’s plenty to do if you like to stay active. The best trekking route is found in Nong Thale; the Khao Ngon Nak trail is a tough climb up a mountain, made worthwhile with stunning views for miles at the top.
Despite a rapid growth in tourism, Krabi still feels like a true Thai experience. Local eating spots look like they haven’t changed in years, while it’s heartening to see the fishermen still going about their daily lives, bringing in catches in the early hours. Krabi Town is so laid-back and nostalgic that you’ll never want to leave, so make sure to visit before the charm is lost forever.