Seen from the sky, the Thai region of Krabi looks like a finely detailed mandala with subtle curves: incredibly fine sand covers the beaches with a creamy white. The pattern is topped off with delicate shades of blue from the sea and the sky. Embellishing these clean lines, it’s as though a naughty child has dropped a handful of stones forming rocky islands covered with vegetation. This karstic landscape is reminiscent of the Vietnamese bay of Ha-Long but the proximity of huge expanses of sand and the deep blue of the skies above the coastline make the whole thing more voluptuous and vibrant.
In the south of the country, 800 kilometres away from the capital, Bangkok, the city stretches out to meet the Krabi River and the Andaman Sea. Winding through the city before giving way to the waves in Tambon Pak Nam, an array of streams from the nearby mountain join the river as they shape the landscape. Ao Nang is the most famous of the amazing beaches lapped at by the deep blue waves. This expansive, decadent, central carpet of sand stretches out to the rocks and contributes to Krabi’s reputation as a seaside paradise. A haven of privileged wellbeing, the more intimate Railay beach is cut off from the noise of the engines and stresses of modern life.
Surrounded by hundreds of islands, many of which are untouched, the city is only a short speedboat ride from the fascinating island of Phi Phi. Danny Boyle made the most of its mysterious atmosphere for the dramatic, gripping film, The Beach, staring Leonardo DiCaprio and Virginie Ledoyen, but this island is first and foremost a place where you can rest your soul and marvel at the peace and quiet. The nearby popular Koh Lanta is another well-preserved Garden of Eden. The bay is full of caves, the perfect setting for meditation and temples. But it is higher up in the northeast that you’ll find the stunning Wat Tham Suea, or Tiger Cave Temple, and its impressive statue of Kwam Im. The region’s rolling hills and marine landscape are as popular with climbers as they are with divers. Shopaholics will love the shopping streets, the Outlet Village and the night market with its local food stalls.
A peaceful waterfront destination, Krabi celebrates the beginning of each new tourist season during the Full Moon festival and comes to life with the rest of the country for the Buddhist New Year, otherwise known as Songkran. Always respectful of its monarchy, the city also bows in deference and lights candles to celebrate the birthday of the king, Rama IX. During the Festival of Light, Loy Krathong, hundreds of symbolic baskets made out of leaves are released on the water to guarantee rebirth and good fortune. These “Krathongs” echo the cares that passing travellers bring here to let go of and leave behind in this peaceful place.
Krabi has a tropical monsoon climate, with daytime temperature superior to 30°C almost all year round. Keep in mind that at night the temperature is still high. Expect the hottest months from March to June. The average number of rainy days and rainfall is generally at its highest from July to October, with frequent 30 minutes showers followed by a clear sky.
New Year’s Day, 1 January 2016
Magha Puja, National Holiday commemorating Buddha, 22 February 2016
Enjoy Krabi’s picturesque beaches, March 2016
Songkran, Thai New Year Celebrations, 13 – 15 April 2016
Coronation Day, in honor of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 5 May 2016
Head to Kho Phangan for the Full Moon Party, 19 June 2016
Asalha Puja, National Holiday commemorating, 19 July 2016
Queen’s Birthday, commemorating Queen Sirikit, 12 August 2016
Krabi Vegetarian Festival, end of September 2016
Chak Phra Festival, Procession of Buddha’s Images, end of October 2016
Loy Krathong, Festival Honouring Buddha, 16 November 2016
King’s Birthday National Holiday, 5 December 2016
Expect a large range of methods of transportation in Krabi, including: local cabs, private car services, rental car, collective buses (the songthaews), bikes, motorcycle, boats and of course the legendary tuk-tuk (motorized rickshaw).
If you’re planning a day out on the sea to visit some islands, traditional wooden longtail boats can be found on all of the coastal shores and can be rented for the day.
Taxis are cheap and easy to find in Krabi, although you may be tempted to travel by tuk-tuk or songthaews for a more local experience. A trip within Krabi by tuk-tuk or songthaews should be around 30 – 50 bahts.
Motorbikes are also a very convenient way to visit Krabi and its surrounding beaches. Expect to pay a daily fare of around 250 Bahts.
Keep in mind that when driving in Krabi, you must drive on the left side of the road.
Air-conditioned taxis can be hired in all of the main resort areas around Krabi Town. The charge is usually higher than tuk-tuks or songthaews and they can be rented for the whole day (expect a fee of 2,500 bahts). A trip in an air-conditioned taxi to the airport should cost around 500 bahts, 600 bahts to Ao Nang and 2,500 bahts to Phuket.
Credit cards are usually not accepted, and keep in mind that you may sometimes have to negotiate the final fare with the taxi driver, who may try to apply a flat fee for the journey instead of the metered system.
Krabi International Airport is located 15 km from the centre of Krabi town. The easiest way to transfer between the airport and Krabi is by the air-conditioned bus service that links the airport and Krabi town. It will take you about 15 minutes and costs 90 – 150 bahts per person. Songthaews (collective taxis) run regularly from the town to the airport and should cost 30 – 50 bahts depending on how much you get overcharged.
Private luxurious air-conditioned taxis can be organised at the airport. It will cost about 500 bahts for the trip to the centre.