Forget about Koh Samui. Leave the crowds in Phuket. Krabi is where the idyllic Thai beach lifestyle can still be found. Located in a southern province of Thailand’s Andaman seaboard, Krabi is the perfect choice for those wanting a more eco-friendly alternative to Thailand’s most famous beach resorts. With increasing numbers of hotels and a growing tourist infrastructure, there’s never been a better time to visit either. Perhaps best of all, Krabi Province is an easy day trip from nearby Phuket so you can easily stay for a few nights or a few hours.
Krabi’s star attraction is definitely its beaches. Home to over 80 majestic islands, Krabi Province offers everything from angular limestone mountains, blindingly white sandy beaches and unlimited water sports opportunities to quirky little towns with a typically provincial Thai feel. Popular beaches Ao Nang and Railay can both be found less than an hour from town, but venture further and you’ll find your own oasis. Koh Lanta and the Phi Phi Islands are some of the most popular landmasses in the area, and rightly so. You’ll be hard pressed to find better scuba diving, snorkelling or boating locations anywhere in the world.
Eat and Drink
If you’re serious about sampling some classic Thai fare, Krabi Town is hard to beat. There you’ll find countless options to wine and dine with both Thai and Western restaurants lining the streets and prices much cheaper than those found on the beach. Ao Nang, 13 miles west of Krabi town, has the next largest congestion of bars and restaurants and here you’ll find a sea of restaurants near the beach. In reality, most people don’t come to Krabi for buzzing nightlife and those that visit are most likely to find themselves sipping on cocktails or enjoying the fine selections from some of the outstanding hotel kitchens and bars.
Where to Stay
Choices of where to stay in Krabi grow by the day. Krabi town makes a good starting point to explore the region but you’ve come all this way so why not get closer to the beautiful beach? Ao Nang is the easiest of them all to access from Krabi town but also the most developed. Ko Phi Phi on the other hand is in the midst of a tourism explosion and offers something special for everyone. We’re going to whisper this so everyone doesn’t hear, but for those seeking a holiday away from the party towns, look no further than the islands that make up Koh Lanta. Remember, that’s our little secret!
It wouldn’t be Thailand if you couldn’t buy DVDs and knock-off clothes, and all the usual items have made their way to Krabi too. Prices generally start higher than in Bangkok and Phuket but haggle and you’ll still find yourself a bargain or three. Diving gear and beachwear can all be found in Krabi, as can local art and crafts. For a more Western shopping experience, head to the Vogue Department Store in Krabi town where you can find original items from leading international brands.
Krabi Like a Local
Krabi’s most famous claim to fame is being the location of the Leonardo Di Caprio blockbuster The Beach. Shot on location, the story takes place in Koh Phi Phi Le (the real star of the film). The lush jungles and fine sand dunes are still the perfect definition of a tropical paradise, but are getting busier. There are still a few places where you can find an oasis all to yourself in Krabi though. Less awe-inspiring but definitely more secluded is Tub Kaek Beach. This simple mainland beachside resort features little more than clear water, white sand and beachside trees... but what more could you want?