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Krabi Travel Guide | Hotels - Villa Rental - Accommodation - Restaurants and Sightseeing

► General Information

Thailand's Krabi province has grown hugely popular as a resort destination in recent years and with good reason -- white-sand beaches skirt spectacular limestone karsts for much of the coastline, creating postcard-perfect scenery. 

Unfortunately some of the worst examples of trashed beaches are also found in Krabi Province -- Ton Sai and Ao Dalam beaches on Ko Phi Phi, for instance, have been close to ruined through a mixture of greedy Bangkok business people, lax environmental regulations and over-eager tourists. Thankfully, there are still some relatively unspoilt beaches elsewhere on the island -- lets hope they stay that way.

But there's more to Krabi province than Ko Phi Phi. The eponymous provincial capital sits on the bank of the Krabi River and has a quaint tourist town feel to it, with a bunch of good guesthouses, traveler cafes, shops and travel agents satisfying most needs. There's some low keys sits which can be visited from the capital, like the Tiger Cave Temple and Fossil Shell Beach, but most people use it as a rest-stop before heading to or from the islands or nearby Ao Nang and Haad Nopphara Thara.

These two mainland beaches draw a steady crowd with Ao Nang in particular having a large range of lodgings from backpacker flophouses to luxurious resorts. Thrown into the mix are a vast range of eateries, tailors, travel agents and other tourist outlets. Ao Nang is very popular -- especially with European package tourists. Just around the headland from Ao Nang is Haad Nopphara Thara -- a long thin beach, split in two by a river. The latter section, most easily reached by boat, has a very laid back, hidden away feel to it with a handful of super-budget places to stay.

Also on the mainland, but only reachable by boat, the spectacular Railay Beach is almost as popular as offshore Ko Phi Phi. Tremendous rock-climbing opportunities along with jaw-dropping scenery, makes Railay Beach a very popular choice -- especially in peak season when it operates at close to capacity. This popularity though comes with a hefty price tag and the main beach is bearing the brunt of over-development and lack of infrastructure -- quiet and peaceful, it is not. Nearby Ton Sai Bay is the better location for those looking for some peace and quiet.

Further afield, the long, thin Ko Lanta, which sits to the south of the provincial capital has been a long-running favourite -- particularly with families due to its mostly calm waters and secluded beaches. Accommodation is far more affordable here than on Ko Phi Phi, Ao Nang or Railay making it a great spot for a budget beach break. Though don't assume it's all budget -- if you want, you can spend a fortune on Ko Lanta as there's some lovely resorts to choose from.

There's still more islands -- Ko Si Boya, Ko Jum and Chicken Island are all worth a look in.

Back on terra firma, Krabi province is also home to some primary rainforestat Than Bokkharani National Park, just 30 minutes north of Krabi town, where the endangered Gurney's Pitta still manages to eke out an existence. This small, yellow-bellied bird was thought to be extinct until 1986 when a few were discovered -- even today, only 13 pairs are believed to be alive. Other feathered rarities also dwell in Krabi's rainforest, making it a must-see stop for bird-watchers.

The provincial capital, Krabi town is mostly visited as a stop on the way to any of the above, but one could easily spend a day or two in this sleepy provincial capital. While not wallowing in exciting sites, there are some good value choices for your stay, some surprisingly-good eating, and the surrounds do have a few minor sites worth peeking at.

The town is carpeted with travel agents who can organise just about anything, including parting you with stacks of money in return for shoving you on poor quality buses. The only way to guarantee this won't happen is to use only the public buses from the bus station. They cost more, but are far better quality, and they'll always take you where you want to go. The regular minivans departing from town are also a safe bet.


Monday, May 17, 2021