Krabi is situated on the west coast of Southern Thailand, surrounded by clear, turquoise seas and beautiful nature. The area holds something for everyone, whether you prefer to spend your holiday soaking up the sun, enjoying beach and water sports or exploring your surroundings. Find out how to fully experience this lovely coastal area with this handy Finnair travel guide to Krabi.
Sights in Krabi
Krabi is a world-renowned rock climbing destination, with the dramatic and jutting rocks of Rai Leh offering adventures galore. Hiking, horse riding, ATV riding, rafting and kayaking are just a few other activities to indulge in. There are terrific opportunities to explore the underwater world too, with numerous diving and snorkelling trips in the sparkling waters of the Andaman Sea. If you prefer to soak up the views without getting wet, regular boat trips are available too. The coastal area has a plethora of gorgeous beaches, ideal for sunbathing and swimming. Ao Nang is the main beach resort on Krabi’s mainland, boasting the scenic Nopparat Thara Beach with views of limestone karsts jutting up from the waters, the secluded Rai Leh Beach and Fossil Shell Beach. Ao Nang is also where you’ll find most of the mainland’s nightlife.
There are several cultural sites in Krabi Town, including the new temple of Wat Kaew and the Contemporary Art Museum of Krabi. Don’t miss seeing the twin limestone peaks of Khao Khanab Nam, which together form the symbol of Krabi Province. If you’re feeling energetic you can tackle the climb up to Wat Tham Suea (the Tiger Temple). More than 1200 steps lead to the hilltop temple, where you can admire terrific views of the surroundings and see a tiger’s footprint. One of the area’s most unique sights can be found on Ton Sai Beach; Phra Nang Cave is a small alcove with a shrine surrounded by phallic-shaped offerings. Nature lovers should schedule a visit to the stunning Emerald Pool in the off-the-beaten-track Khao Phanom Bencha National Park. The park is also home to a beautiful 11-tier waterfall: Huay Toh Waterfall. Several of the waterfall’s pools are suitable for swimming and it’s well worth hiking through at least some of the tiers to find your perfect spot. Massage shops are plentiful in Krabi, offering a fantastic (and inexpensive) way to relax at the end of each day. You’ll also find activities like yoga and cooking classes to add even more diversity to your trip.
Things to See and Do Near Krabi
- Koh Phi Phi – Often said to be Thailand’s most beautiful islands, the Koh Phi Phi islands sit just off the coast of mainland Krabi. The smaller of the islands is famous for Maya Bay, also known as “The Beach” from the famous Hollywood movie of the same name.
- Koh Lanta – Another island off the coast of mainland Krabi, where you’ll find white sandy beaches, dense patches of mangroves, caves, a culturally and architecturally diverse old town and a very worthy animal sanctuary. Take time to find out more about the island’s Chao Le community. Known in English as sea gypsies, the community lives almost completely separate from the rest of the population and has distinct beliefs and traditions. Chao Le people are also known for their incredible free-diving skills.
- Ban Ao Luek – Explore the interesting caves in this coastal area, but do remember to take a torch and wear appropriate footwear.
Shopping in Krabi
Although Krabi isn’t known as one of Thailand’s top shopping destinations, you’ll still be able to find a good selection of items, especially clothing, beachwear and beach accessories. Prices are generally lower in the main provincial town than in the tourist resorts. Remember that haggling is common, apart from in fixed-price stores, and negotiating prices is all part of the Thai shopping experience.
- Nopparat Thara Plaza – A shopping plaza with some 20 retail outlets, this is one of the area’s new shopping destinations.
- Krabi Town Walking Street – Held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5pm until 10pm, the entire street becomes one large open-air market. Around 50 vendors set up stalls with a diverse array of products, selling everything from cheap clothing, watches, shoes and CDs to local handicrafts, ornaments and food.
- Maharaj Market – Always open (although busier at certain times), this is one of the main places for locals to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. Fish, seafood, meat, dry goods and other items can also be found here.
- Klong Muang Plaza – A quieter shopping area with just a handful of shops, this is a great place for those who are overwhelmed in busier shopping areas.
- Catalunya Walking Street – A permanent shopping fixture in Ao Nang, this partly-covered lane has stores and stalls selling all manner of trinkets, souvenirs, crafts, clothing and artwork.
Food and Drink
- Coconut – Coconuts grow in abundance in Southern Thailand. As well as being used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes, whole coconuts can be bought to drink the sweet juice before scraping the pulp out of the shell.
- Kaeng tai pla – A type of sour and bitter curry that contains lots of shrimp paste and turmeric, a signature ingredient of this dish is fish stomach! It also commonly contains bamboo shoots and aubergine, and is usually served with jasmine rice.
- Khao mok – Influenced by the large Muslim population in Southern Thailand, this dish is similar to an Indian biryani, made from rice and a variety of vegetables, meat or seafood.
- Satay – A popular street food all around Thailand but especially in the southern provinces, this snack originates from Indonesia. It is grilled meat on a stick with peanut dipping sauce.
- Pad Thai – Although certainly not unique to this part of the country, this is one of the most popular dishes in all of Thailand and it is now known in many other places around the world. Widely available from roadside stands and in restaurants, the noodle dish typically contains egg, shrimp, bean sprouts, chilli flakes and chunks of tofu.
Transport in Krabi
Krabi Town itself is easy to explore by foot, although other popular areas within the province, such as Ao Nang, will require some form of transportation. There are several transport options although many people choose to rent their own vehicles.
- By foot – Walking is a great way to see the sights of Krabi Town and explore the beaches of Ao Nang.
- Songthaew – Used in place of buses and minivans, songthaews are common vehicles in Thailand. They are converted pickup trucks with two benches in the back. They generally operate on fixed routes for a flat fee, although it is possible for a group to charter the entire vehicle for a private journey. The transport choice of locals, songthaews are generally the cheapest way of travelling between Krabi Town, Ao Nang and other nearby places of interest. You can usually flag a vehicle down along its route, as long as it isn’t full, and they will stop to drop people off whenever they press the button in the back.
- Tuk tuks – Small vehicles that operate in place of taxis, it is essential to negotiate the fare before starting a journey in a tuk tuk.
- Ferries – Several ferry services connect the mainland with the islands. Prices vary between operators.
- Long-tail boats – A traditional type of boat used in Thailand, long-tail boats can access some of the more secluded mainland beaches that aren’t connected by road or easy to reach by foot.
- Scooters – Scooter rental shops are plentiful in Krabi and they provide an affordable and independent way for people to travel between the beaches and explore the wider area. Always wear a helmet and be particularly cautious of larger vehicles speeding along narrow roads.