This beach paradise lives up to the legend

Krabi’s fame is well deserved. With its iconic islands and towering limestone karsts, dreamy beaches and adventure opportunities, this southern Thai paradise ticks a whole lot of boxes.

A popular base for visitors to the province, Ao Nang is home to stunning beaches and dramatic cliffs, lush forest (hint: monkeys!), and a lively tourist scene. It’s also a great jumping-off point for boat trips to glorious Railay Beach and a multitude of islands off the coast.

And it's these beautiful islands that are Krabi’s greatest drawcards. From backpacker party hubs like Ko Phi Phi to pristine natural wonderlands like Ko Jum, you’ll have a hard time choosing which ones to visit.

But Krabi’s attractions aren’t all aquatic. Make time for Krabi Town, where you’ll find plenty to keep you busy. Head inland to the exquisite Emerald Pool, nestled amid verdant jungle. Hike the Khao Ngon Nak (Dragon Crest) Trail or climb to Tiger Cave Temple for views that’ll make your jaw drop.

Some folks say Krabi is like Phuket’s more laidback cousin. There’s a strong family resemblance, but both have their own distinct personalities!

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Things to do: Krabi

  • View of the Andaman Sea from inside Phra Nang Cave, Railay Beach, Krabi.

    Take a longtail boat ride to Railay Beach

    Only accessible by boat, Railay Beach is all your tropical-holiday dreams come true. Relax on blissful beaches with silken white sands and turquoise waters, enjoy a longtail boat tour of the nearby islands and hike scenic trails. High limestone cliffs are a magnet for rock-climbers, while thriving coral reefs close to shore make the sublime Phra Nang Beach a primo snorkel spot. Phra Nang is also home to the Phra Nang Cave, with its famous shrine inside. The magical Diamond Cave is full of stalactites and cute bats. For mind-blowing sunsets, don’t miss Railay Beach West.

  • Tiger Cave Temple, Krabi, with tiger statues guarding the entrance.

    Get high (altitude) at the Tiger Cave Temple

    Work up a sweat, climbing the 1,200-plus steps up to Wat Tham Sua, Krabi’s incredible Tiger Cave Temple. It’s not an easy ascent – the steps are different heights, the climb is long (about an hour), and the resident monkeys will try to pinch your stuff. But the sweeping views from the summit will make you forget your fatigue! Wander the temple complex (built around several caves), and check out the giant golden Buddha and beautiful tiger statues. Be sure to take lots of water, and try to avoid visiting during the hottest part of the day – early morning or late afternoon is best.

  • Aerial view of Ko Hong, surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea.

    Set sail for adventure

    Whether you’re chasing underwater action, uber-fresh seafood or the perfect secluded beach, Krabi’s islands deliver. Best known is Ko Phi Phi, attracting hordes of visitors keen to party and see the sublime Maya Bay (setting of hit movie The Beach). Ko Lanta is more relaxed, with fewer crowds, spacious beaches and great seafood. Head to idyllic Ko Hong for snorkelling, kayaking and Thale Nai, its stunning inland lagoon. Play castaway on pristine Ko Jum and be charmed by gorgeous Chicken Island. The possibilities are practically endless!

  • Krabi’s mud-crab sculpture is a much-loved landmark of the town. Image credit: Peech Wattanasaranont

    Get off the tourist trail in Krabi Town

    Many tourists bypass Krabi Town in favour of the coast, but it’s well worth a visit. Check out its much-loved mud crab sculpture by the scenic Krabi River, then follow the boardwalk to the Mangrove Walkway. Keep your eyes peeled for native birds, frogs and other critters on this short stroll through unspoiled mangrove forest. Take a longtail boat to the atmospheric Khao Khanap Nam Cave, visit Wat Kaew Korawaram, a gorgeous Buddhist temple in the town centre; and don’t miss the fabulous night market. Here, you'll find local handicrafts, souvenirs and lip-smacking street food.

  • The stunning view from the peak of the Krabi's Dragon Crest trail, with the Andaman Sea in the background.

    Hike the Dragon Crest Trail

    When it comes to stunning views, Krabi has more than its fair share. But the view from the top of Dragon Crest Mountain (Khao Ngon Nak) is possibly the most spectacular of the lot. Like all good things, though, it doesn’t come easily. Get set for a steep (but well sign-posted) trail through dense jungle, best tackled while wearing sturdy shoes and carrying lots of water. Usually taking between 90 minutes and two hours, the trek up is strenuous but well worth the effort – the panoramic views of the Andaman Sea are truly gobsmacking. There’s also a couple of lookouts along the way.

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Airport information

Krabi International Airport

Distance to Krabi Town: 12km

Distance to Ao Nang: 25km

Taxi A taxi from the airport to Ao Nang takes around 30min and costs around THB ฿600-800, depending what time of day it is.

Shuttle A shuttle bus runs between the airport and Ao Nang, stopping at many hotels along the way. Buy your ticket at the booth in the arrivals hall. It costs THB ฿150 per person and can take 60-90 minutes.

Car hire There are many car-hire companies operating at the airport if you’d prefer to make your own way.

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When to go

Krabi’s tropical climate means it’s never really cold. But it can get super-wet! Most people avoid the hot, rainy season (June to October), when there is also the chance of monsoons. November to February is relatively dry and cooler, but still warm enough to enjoy the province’s beachy charms. Consequently, it gets extremely crowded during these months.

Songkran, the Thai New Year and the country’s biggest holiday, falls mid-April. November brings the Andaman Sea Festival, celebrating the region’s traditional culture and the start of peak tourist season. Also in November, the magical Loy Krathong (Festival of Lights) sees local rivers and waterways aglow with thousands of floating, candlelit vessels.

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Getting around

You won't have any trouble finding a taxi in Krabi (car or motorbike), but you may have a hard time finding a driver who’ll use a meter. It’s best to negotiate a price before you get in. Grab is the only rideshare service available in Krabi, while hiring a scooter is a cheap, fun way to get around (you’ll need an international driver’s license). Choose from ferries, longtail boats and speedboats to explore the islands.

Three-wheeled tuk tuks are plentiful along the Ao Nang beachfront. Songthaews (converted pickup trucks) run between the beach areas and Krabi Town. Samlor (motorbike sidecar taxis) are also widely available. As with conventional taxis, check what your fare will be first.

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