A sun-kissed corner of one of the world’s most stunning countries, Krabi’s mixture of bustling mainland towns and idyllic island paradises offers something for everyone. Can’t decide where to visit? Here are its best destinations.
The main town of the province, Krabi Town used to be simply a place to stay for a night before moving on to an island, but in recent years, it has grown into a must-visit destination. A small town that’s almost like a window into the past, its collection of authentic local eateries, great Western restaurants and happening bars beside the river offers more than enough entertainment to keep you busy for a few days. But its best feature? The weekend night market. Running Friday to Sunday, it features delicious local cuisine, hand-made crafts and local fashions all available at bargain prices.
A large island reachable by both van and ferry, Koh Lanta has long been on the lips of travelers, touted as Thailand’s next big thing but has resisted over-development so far. A large island with a beautiful natural park and several stunning beaches, it’s well-famed for its laid-back vibe that’s almost infectious. That said, it isn’t all yoga sessions and hippy activities; there are a number of beach bars providing entertainment well into the night too if that’s your thing. The rustic, wooden shophouses that make up Saladan and Lanta Old Town are well worth checking out too, housing a variety of different shops and restaurants.
The busiest and most popular area on the province’s mainland, Ao Nang has much more to offer than its well-famed beaches. Just behind its popular strip of soft, sandy beach are a number of busy restaurants and bars that have kept punters happy for decades now. Home to a mixture of low-price and luxury hotels, its variety of accommodation options has ensured its enduring popularity, whilst Ao Nang Beach and nearby Nopparat Thara Beach provide the surroundings that helped put it on the map in the first place. Throw in its shopping experiences and it’s easy to see why people keep coming back.
Located to the east of Ao Nang and accessible only by boat, Railay is perhaps the most gorgeous spot in all of Krabi. Featuring a number of sublime beaches with turquoise seas and steep limestone cliffs, it’s truly a place with jaw-dropping beauty — but it has much more to offer than just aesthetics. There’s a fun, laid-back nightlife scene on the island, particularly towards Tonsai Beach, whilst the daytime offers some of the best rock climbing experiences in the country. Only a few minutes from Ao Nang on the boat, it’s a must-visit destination in Krabi even if you’re not staying the night.
A small island just a five-minute ferry ride away from Krabi Town, Koh Klang isn’t a place you’ll stay in Krabi, but it is one you’ll love to visit. Despite being so close to Krabi Town, the atmosphere is completely different. An island comprised nearly wholly of members of southern Thailand’s Muslim community, it provides a glimpse into their world and their relaxed pace of life. Stilted wooden houses take up residence beside the road, whilst the fields are full of crops and buffaloes, providing an authentic look at rural Thai life and a contrast to the hustle and bustle of nearby Krabi Town. The ferry can take your motorbike across, but its flat roads and gorgeous views make it perfect for cycling around.
Perhaps Thailand’s most famous island, Phi Phi has been one of the star attractions of the Land of Smiles for well over a decade now. With its gorgeous bays, beaches and natural features, Phi Phi has more than earned its glowing reputation, but some would argue that its nightlife is its crowning glory. Famous for beach parties, bars and nightclubs, there’s never a dull moment to be had on Phi Phi, where friends are made in a second and memories last for a lifetime.
If Koh Lanta is considered by some to be underdeveloped, then Koh Jum is practically undiscovered. A picturesque island that’s small in size, Koh Jum has a number of scenic beachfront bungalows to choose from that’ll prove to be the envy of all your friends. With little to do other than swim, sunbathe and explore the island, it’s perfect for a relaxing stay in Krabi. Gorgeous beaches, beautiful sunsets and friendly locals — what more could you want?
Located further west than Ao Nang, Klong Muang is another mainland beach area that’s worth considering in Krabi. With its long stretch of soft sand and clear seas, it’s a quieter and arguably more beautiful stretch of beach than Ao Nang is, but is thought to be a little too laid back for some. That said, there are bars and restaurants in the area, and taxis can take you to the heart of the action in Ao Nang in just 20 minutes. A perfect place for families.
Not particualrly bothered about the beaches but looking to explore Krabi’s natural spaces? Ao Thalane is the place for you. The top spot in the province for kayaking, visitors to Ao Thalane can hop aboard a kayak and explore Krabi’s mesmerising mangrove forests. Weaving in, out and around the mangroves allows you to experience some of Krabi’s most beautiful natural spaces and lets you get up close and personal with creatures who call it their home. A peaceful and different way to spend a few hours in Krabi, it just might prove to be the highlight of your trip.
Situated on the western edge of Krabi province, Tub Kaek is home to a quiet, mesmerising beach that’s often overlooked by visitors. Usually empty, this special stretch of land is not only a great place to rest and swim, it’s also perfect for admiring the view of the limestone karsts and mountains that sprout out of the sea in front of you. Away from the beach, its national park offers the best hiking experience in the province, with the gruelling trail up Khao Ngon Nak mountain to the Dragon Crest viewpoint, where you can enjoy unforgettable views of the province.