Krabi Province is a popular beach destination at the Andaman Sea in Southern Thailand.
Krabi, a coastal province, abounds with countless natural attractions that never fail to impress tourists. Such attractions include white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, fascinating coral reefs, caves and waterfalls, as well as numerous islands.
The distinguishing feature of both Krabi and neighboring Phang Nga is the massive limestone karsts, rising vertiginously out of the flat rice paddies on land and as islands from the sea. Add in some gorgeous beaches and excellent scuba diving and rock climbing, and it's little wonder that tourism in the area has been booming.
While less commercialized than neighboring Phuket, Krabi Province cannot be described as undiscovered: it receives two million visitors a year, and the major tourist areas cater extensively for foreigners.
From archaeological discoveries, it is believed that Krabi was one of the oldest communities in Thailand dating back to the prehistoric period. It is believed that this town may have taken its name after the meaning of Krabi, which means sword. This may have stemmed from a legend that an ancient sword was unearthed prior to the city’s founding.
The best time to visit Krabi is between the months November to April when the area's climate is less hot than usual. During this period the island gets a lot of dry North Easterly winds, so giving dry blue skies and starry nights. Then, down on the beaches one can enjoy nice sea breezes. From June to November the area gets a lot of rainfall, more on average than the rest of the country. During this period the island gets a lot of moist South Westerly winds, so giving a mixture of dry days and wet ones. The sea stays at a warm 29°C all year round. Visitors however, coming in this period will find it cheaper.
Krabi Province was badly hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. A year later, signs of the damage are now hard to find in many places, but in the worst hit areas (especially Ko Phi Phi and Khao Lak) reconstruction is still ongoing.
Bordering the Andaman Sea, Krabi is located 814 kilometers south of Bangkok and covers an area of 4,708 square kilometers. Its mountainous physical geography is broken by highlands and plains, covering more than 130 large and small islands, and abounding with mangrove forests. The Krabi River flows 5 kilometers through the town and into the Andaman Sea at Tambon Pak Nam. There are also klongs (canals) such as Klong Pakasai, Klong Krabi Yai, and Klong Krabi Noi, which all originate from Krabi’s highest mountain Mount Phanom Bencha.
North: borders with Phang-nga and Surat Thani
South: borders with Trang and the Andaman Sea
East: borders with Nakhon Si Thammarat
West: borders with Phang-nga and the Andaman Sea
Ao Nang - Krabi's most developed beach, a long beach fringed by palm trees
Had Yao (Long Beach) - the last untouched beach in Krabi Province, and perhaps the most spectacular with its views of Jum Mountain and Ao Nang's cliff walls.
Ko Jum - peace & quiet for those looking for solitude
Ko Lanta - sleepy island, the new escape for those who find Ao Nang/Rai Leh too touristy
Ko Ngai - part of Krabi Province, but easier to reach from Trang
Ko Phi Phi - Thailand's largest Marine National Park and backpacker favorite where The Beach was filmed
Ko Siboya - rural Thailand with a difference
Rai Leh (Railay) - Thailand's rock climbing Mecca, a craggy peninsula with several small beaches
Ton Sai - Cheapest bungalows in the area. Preferred by backpackers away from the hordes of tourists and an easy walk to Rai Leh.
The most popular way to enter this province is via its capital, Krabi.
Krabi International Airport (KBV) is about 10 km from the city limits, 15 km from the city centre, 40km from Ao Nang and 23km from Had Yao. Thai Airways operates daily direct flights to/from Bangkok, likewise Air Asia from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Bangkok Airway flies to Ko Samui nearly every day of the week. Nok Air operates daily flights to Krabi from Bangkok (Don Muang). Destination Air Shuttle, Thailand's only Seaplane service also routinely flies in and out of Krabi (Ko Lanta) from Phuket and to the numerous outer islands. For more information, contact:
Krabi International Airport, Tel. 0 7563 6541- 2
Air Asia Airlines: Tel. 0 2515 9999 or visit www.airasia.com.
Nok Air : Tel. 0 2627 2000 or 1318 or visit www.nokair.com,
Also see Krabi International Airport
Krabi is on Highway 4. Shared songthaews (pickup truck taxis) from Ao Nang to Krabi are frequent and cost Bt 40. Originating in Phang-nga province, Highway 4 links many of the province’s districts. Other main routes include:
Highway 4035 to Plai Phraya district (Krabi) & Phra Saeng district (Surat Thani)
Highway 4034 links Ao Nang and Nopparat beaches
Highway 4037 to Khao Phanom district (towards Surat Thani)
Highway 4038 links Klong Thom and Lam Thap districts
Highway 4206 links Klong Thom to Koh Lanta
Proceed along Highway No. 4, passing Phetchaburi – Prachuap Khiri Khan – Chumphon – Ranong – Phang-nga, to Krabi. The total distance is 946 kilometers.
Travel along Highway No. 4 onto Highway No. 41 at Chumphon via Amphoe Lang Suan and Amphoe Chaiya, Surat Thani. Proceed towards Amphoe Wiang Sa, change to Highway No. 4035 for Amphoe Ao Luek, and switch back to Highway No. 4 again to Krabi. This route is 814 kilometers.
From Phuket: Proceed along Highways No. 402 and No. 4. The total distance is 176 kilometers.
There are regular direct bus services between Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal and Krabi (~ 500 baht), but probably the best option is to take a VIP bus, which for 250 baht more makes the 10 hour ride much more comfortable.
Buses from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal (tel. +66-24351199) to Krabi take about 12 hours and depart as follows:
VIP bus - 07:20 - 1055 baht
First class bus - 19:00 - 680 baht
Second class bus - 07:30, 19:00, 19:30, 21:00 - 378 baht
The nearest train stations are:
The nearest train station to Krabi is in Trang province just south of Krabi. From there, there are trains to and from Bangkok. Distances
From Bangkok The distance from Bangkok to Krabi is approx 950 km or about 12 hrs by car.
Route 1: Phetburi - Prachuabkirikhan - Chumporn - Phang Nga - Krabi = 946 km.
Route 2: Phetburi - Prachuabkirikhan - Chumporn (Highway No 41) to Chaiya (Suratthani) - Krabi (Viangsra) - Highway No 4035 - Krabi (Ao Luk) and along Highway 4 again = 814 km.
Surat Thani - 3-4 hours away from Krabi by bus
Various tourist attractions can be conveniently reached by local Songthaew. Such attractions include Ban Huai To, Ban Nong Thale, Ban Khao Thong, Hat Noppharat Thara, Susan Hoi, Ao Nang, Ban Khlong Muang, Ban Nai Sa, Amphoe Khao Phanom, Amphoe Nuea Khlong, Amphoe Khlong Thom, Ban Bo Muang, Ban Hua Hin, Ban Khlong Phon, Amphoe Lam Thap, Amphoe Ao Luek, and Amphoe Plai Phraya. The local Songthaews depart from the Vogue Department Store on Maha Rat Road. Trips to other destinations can be made by taxi and rental car.
Krabi is mostly coast and islands, so you'll be spending quite some time on boats when getting around.
The most common boat type for shorter hops is the long-tail boat (reua hang yao), which true to the name has the propeller at the end of a long 'tail' stretching from the boat. This makes them supremely manoeuvrable even in shallow waters, but they're a little underpowered for longer trips and you'll get wet if it's even a little choppy.
You can get around on English alone in the more touristic areas, although a few words of Thai will come in handy off the beaten track and will be much appreciated anywhere.
Phang Nga - yet more beaches and strange limestone formations
Phuket - the original southern Thai beach resort island, just two hours away
Ko Samui - the paradise islands on the gulf coast, about 6 hours away by bus+ferry
Surat Thani - main land of tourist islands, wet forest and Srivijaya Empire. 3 hours by bus.
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Globe-trotter, Jani Patokallio
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