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Boats are a common transportation method in Krabi
Boats are a common transportation method in Krabi | © carey*w / Flickr
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How to Navigate Transport in Krabi, Thailand

Picture of Sarah Williams
Updated: 17 May 2018
Thailand’s southern province of Krabi is a popular destination for travellers, with many people drawn to the gorgeous beaches, stunning islands, and fantastic climbing opportunities. Here’s how to get around Krabi.

Local bus and minivan

There’s a local bus service that provides cheap transfers between Krabi Airport, Krabi Town, and the popular mainland beach of Ao Nang. There are several stops along the route. Unlike many other places in Thailand, however, Krabi doesn’t have an extensive network of local buses. White minivans connect many places around the province; many services leave from the bus station in Krabi Town.

Local tip: Try and have small notes and coins to pay the fare; the driver may have limited change.

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Minivan on Koh Lanta, Krabi | © Bong Teo / Flickr

Songthaew

Songthaews are common around Thailand. They are pickup trucks that have been converted, with two benches in the back and a cover to provide shade to passengers. Krabi’s songthaews are among the cheapest modes of transport and they are popular with locals. They operate on fixed routes around Krabi Town, Ao Nang, and surroundings, and the main destinations are written on the truck. You can stop a songthaew anywhere on its route by waving. Press the buzzer when you want to alight. Try and have the exact change ready to pay the driver.

Local tip: It is sometimes possible to pay the driver extra to make a detour if there isn’t a vehicle going where you want to visit.

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Songthaew parked up in Krabi | © Chris Feser / Flickr

Tuk-tuk

There are two types of tuk-tuk in Krabi: the older-style three-wheel vehicle, and the newer four-wheel varieties. You’re most likely to find the older tuk-tuks around Ao Nang. Each works in the same way, offering private door-to-door rides. Always agree on a price before starting your journey. You should also agree on the total fare in advance if you want the driver to wait for you at a particular destination and bring you back after your visit.

Local tip: If you find a reliable and reasonably priced local tuk-tuk, ask the driver for his phone number or Line details (a popular messaging application) so that you can contact them for future rides. If they are unavailable they will send a colleague to collect you.

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Old-style tuk-tuk | © Alex Janu / Flickr

Taxi

While you will find taxis in Krabi they are not as ubiquitous as in other major tourist destinations. You’ll almost always find taxis at the airport, bus station, and along Ao Nang’s beach road, but if you want collecting from another place you will probably be best to call and order a ride. Many of Krabi’s taxis won’t do short local journeys; they prefer to do day trips or longer transfers to places like Phuket. Prices are usually displayed on a board close to the taxi ranks.

Local tip: Airport taxis operate on a pre-pay fixed-fare basis. Buy a coupon from the taxi booths inside before heading out of the terminal building.

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Taxis aren’t a common sight on Krabi’s streets | © Jukka / Flickr

Motorbike taxis

Motorbike taxis are one of the fastest ways of moving around Krabi and can be especially cost effective for solo travellers. Arrange the price before starting the journey and always wear a helmet. If a driver doesn’t have a helmet for the passenger, find another motorbike taxi.

Local tip: It often helps to have the full address of your destination, written in Thai, to show to motorbike drivers to make sure they know exactly where you want to go.

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Waiting for the rain to pass | © Syeefa aka Ruzi95 / Flickr

Samlor

Samlors are generally fairly inexpensive for relatively short distances, and widely available throughout Krabi Town and the Ao Nang beach area. A samlor is essentially a motorbike with a sidecar that has been welded to it. You should agree a price beforehand, but do keep in mind that they typically charge per person and not per ride.

Local tip: Samlors can be quite unstable; try to limit the amount of passengers to two or three and sit so that the weight is as evenly distributed as possible.

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Samlor in Krabi

Rental vehicle

Many travellers rent scooters and motorbikes to get around Krabi with ease. Although the daily rate is often inexpensive, and you have complete freedom to explore, only rent a vehicle if you have the relevant license and insurance, and are an experienced and confident driver. Thailand’s road safety record isn’t the best! Always wear a helmet and try to wear long sleeves and trousers in case of the worst.

Although many people do it, it’s also really not advisable to ride a scooter or motorbike in flip-flops! Remember to drive on the left hand side of the road in Thailand too, but keep your eyes peeled for people driving towards you on the wrong side, vehicles suddenly emerging from junctions, and road dogs. Don’t keep valuables in the basket (bag snatches are becoming more frequent) and lone females should avoid riding at night or in deserted areas.

Rental cars are a safer, albeit more expensive, way of independently exploring Krabi. There are several companies in Ao Nang and Krabi Town, and you can also arrange your car hire online with several major global firms. Many car hire companies will bring the vehicle to your accommodation.

Whether renting a scooter, motorbike, or car, make sure you check the vehicle’s condition before accepting it, and make a note of any scratches, dents, and similar. You don’t want to fall foul of a rental scam. Don’t leave your passport as a deposit either—if a company insists, rent elsewhere.

Local tip: If you plan on staying in Krabi for a longer period of time, find a rental company that offers discounted weekly or monthly rates rather than paying by the day.

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Scooters are popular in Krabi | © Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi / Flickr

Inter-city buses and minivans

Krabi’s main bus station is located in the heart of Krabi Town. Regular buses and minivans leave throughout the day for surrounding areas, and there are frequent long-distance departures too, including night services. Krabi is well connected by bus to Bangkok, Phuket, Surat Thani, and Hat Yai, among other places.

Local tip: Long-distance VIP services are more comfortable than government buses; the added expense of a private company can make night journeys, especially, a lot less tedious.

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Private bus in Southern Thailand | © Chris Feser / Flickr

Ferries and speedboats

Ferries and speedboats connect Krabi with several islands in the Andaman Sea. You can reach Phuket, Koh Lanta, and Koh Phi Phi with ease, with several services each day during the high season. There are often fewer services, and crossings are subject to cancellations, during the monsoon season. Ferries and speedboats can be caught from the pier in Krabi Town and the pier at Noppharat Thara Beach.

Local tip: Take anti-sickness medications before catching a boat if you’re prone to feeling queasy on the waves.

Boat taxis

Local long tail boats travel along the coast, connecting Ao Nang, Krabi Town, Ton Sai, Railay, and Phra Nang. Services are typically inexpensive and there are regular departures. Many drivers won’t leave until they have a minimum number of passengers, though, so if you’re the first on the boat you can expect to sit and wait for a while.

Local tip: Make sure your camera, phone, passport and wallet are protected against splashes.

Long boat
Long boat in Ao Nang, Krabi | © daniel julià lundgren / Flickr

Private boat charter

If you’re in a hurry to leave, travelling as a larger group, or simply don’t want to share, you can charter a private trip in a long tail boat. Boats will take you along the mainland coast and to nearby small islands like Poda Island and Chicken Island.

Local tip: You’ll need to plan to return before darkness falls if taking a round trip; the smaller boats cannot run at night as they do not have lights.

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Krabi has many boats! | © msokero / Flickr

Domestic flights

Krabi International Airport (KBV) has flights to and from Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well as a number of international routes. The main airlines for domestic flights are Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Thai Airways, Thai Air Asia, Thai Smile, Thai Lion Air, and Thai VietJet Air. Some flights connect with Bangkok’s large Suvarnabhumi Airport while other services operate between Krabi and Don Mueang Airport.

Local tip: Book flights in advance to get the best deals—flying can sometimes be a similar price to long-distance journeys by land!

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Nok Air plane at Krabi Airport | © Binder.donedat / Flickr

Travel apps

Save money by booking your Krabi journey with Grab; the ride-sharing app offers cheaper prices than regular taxis and you’ll have an estimate of the fare before your trip even starts.

Local tip: The Krabi Guide app is useful in so many ways when travelling around the area.