Towering limestone karsts emerge from emerald seas. Longtail boats head out to idyllic islands and sea eagles glide the thermals above. Welcome to Krabi. A province of outstanding natural beauty where stunning stretches of white sand await dedicated beach lovers, magnificent mountain scenery provides a treat for the eyes and the welcome from local people provides a treat for the soul. With so many reasons to visit Krabi it’s a difficult job to whittle down the list, but here are 10 examples of the diversity this beautiful province has to offer.
Enjoy a room with a view on the Hong Islands
Although there are no hotels or guest-houses on the Hong Islands, there is a room with a superb view. In the Thai language the word ‘hong‘ translates as room or chamber. The spectacular room in question is the lagoon and beach in the middle of Ko Hong. Surrounded by cliffs on all sides, the chamber is accessible by small boats via a narrow channel. Ko Hong is one of a cluster of uninhabited islands collectively known as the Hong Islands which are part of Than Bok Khorani National Park. Visit on an organised tour or hire a longtail boat privately from the Krabi mainland at Ao Nang, Nopparat Thara or Tubkaak.
Experience local life on Ko Klang
With countless islands and beaches to choose from, Krabi province is the perfect choice for sun-seekers. But if you do visit Krabi it’s worth taking time out away from the sand to see another side of local life. A short boat ride away from Krabi Town is the compact island of Ko Klang. You’ll find no dazzling beaches here or throngs of tourists, but you will find a fascinating island which is proud to show its culture to open-minded and respectful visitors. For over a decade, villagers on the island have been running a Community Based Tourism (CBT) project enabling visitors to learn about the way of life and the traditional fishing and farming techniques that are maintained on Ko Klang. Discerning travellers who do make time to visit Ko Klang will find fabulous food and a welcome as warm as anywhere you will find in Thailand. Find out more from Local Alike and Andaman Discoveries or stay overnight at Islanda Hideaway Resort.
Soak up the sun on Railay Beach
No visit to Krabi is complete without a stop to soak up the sunshine and sublime views at Railay Beach. Although Railay is part of the Krabi mainland, the geography of the area makes it feel more like an island with the peninsula on which it sits only accessible by boat. The headland at Laem Phra Nang is made up of three main beach areas which are all inter-connected by walkways. Head to West Railay and Phra Nang Beach for the best stretches of sand. Let one of the beachside vendors rustle up a tasty som tam for you, wash it down with a tropical fruit shake and simply relax and enjoy those incredible views.
Pay your respects to the spirit of the princess at Phra Nang Cave
A cave with a collection of wooden phalluses is one of the more unusual sights you will see in Krabi. Some tourists aren’t even aware the cave is there and those that do see it are often left baffled and amused in equal measures. Tucked away at the southern end of Phra Nang Beach beneath the limestone cliffs, the sacred cave has a special place in local folklore. According to legend, the cave is occupied by the spirit of a princess known as Phra Nang and the flowers, incense and carved wooden lingams which are left here are offerings to her.
Visit Krabi Town
As provincial capitals go, Krabi Town is one of the most pleasant in Thailand. Take a stroll along the riverside promenade past the art installations and sculptures and admire the view of the river and estuary. Take a longtail boat out to the twin mountains of Khao Khanap Nam and learn more about the mangroves and ecosystem. Feast on fabulous food at the Night Market and wander around the bustling Morning Market. Local specialities to try include roti with curry or khao yam (rice salad). Visit Krabi Town on a weekend to take in the enjoyable Walking Street Market or visit any day of the week to sample a cocktail or cold beer at one of the town’s welcoming bars.
Laze on the white sand beaches of Poda Island
Hop on a longtail boat at Ao Nang for the short ride across to the gorgeous island of Ko Poda. With powdery white sand, crystal-clear water, and stunning views, it’s no surprise this lovely island features on so many boat tours. Most tours only include a brief stop for lunch and a quick swim so if you really want to relax and spend a few more hours here, it’s best to make your own arrangements with the longtail boat owners at Ao Nang.
Walk along the sandbars at the Separated Sea
Make the 20-minute boat journey from Ao Nang to experience the natural phenomenon at Talay Waek (Separated Sea). This is a scenic sight at high tide, but it’s when the waves recede that the magic starts to happen. Slowly, but surely, the sea reveals the sandbars that link Ko Gai with the twin islets of Ko Mo and Ko Tub. The location can get busy, especially if you visit as part of the ‘4 Island Tour’ that is offered by every tour office in Krabi. To beat the crowds you can arrange your own longtail boat which will also give you more time at nearby Poda Island.
Get active on your holiday
If you prefer to do something a little more energetic on your holiday, there are plenty of options in Krabi. Try your hand at rock climbing in the amazing setting of Railay and Tonsai. If heights aren’t your thing, take a tour by sea kayak and explore the outstanding natural beauty of the nearby Phang Nga Bay or explore the wonderful Hong Islands or the bay at Ao Thalane. Alternatively, take to two wheels and explore the delights of Krabi by bicycle. Shorter tours can be arranged via Krabi Eco Cycle or for an extended trip around Krabi and southern Thailand check out the itineraries from specialist tour operator Spice Roads.
Take in the panoramic views at Wat Tham Suea
Wat Tham Suea (Tiger Cave Temple) is located in the countryside outside Krabi Town. The tiger who lived here many years ago has long since gone, but you will find plenty of monkeys in the area around the temple. You’ll also see monkeys on the way up to the shrine and viewpoint located at the top of the cliff behind the temple. You need to be reasonably fit to tackle the 1,237 steps that lead to the top and don’t underestimate the effort involved. The steps are steep and, in places, uneven. Expect to take at least 45 minutes to reach the top so it’s advisable to bring plenty of water with you and take advantage of the rest areas along the way. The reward for your efforts are the wonderful panoramic views that take in the mountains, valleys and coastline. It’s hot and sweaty work to get to the top, but please remember this is a holy site with Buddha statues and not a place to be wearing bikinis or going bare-chested.
Explore the islands in the Andaman Sea
Not only is Krabi an excellent location for a holiday, it also makes a great jumping off point to explore more of southern Thailand. Take a ferry south to Ko Jum, the Phi Phi Islands or Ko Lanta.
Phi Phi Islands
Alternatively, head west towards Phuket via the delightful twin islands of Ko Yao Yai and Ko Yao Noi. And to the south of Krabi, there are more tropical delights awaiting in the form of the gorgeous Trang Islands and the spectacular Tarutao National Marine Park.