- Coastline Craggy cliffs, beautiful beaches, unspoilt views
- Coast life Hard-bodied backpackers and sun-kissed sophisticates
With world-renowned hotels, high-kicking nightlife, mountains of adventure, and countless beaches and islands a long-tail boat ride away, Krabi is deservedly one of Thailand’s rising stars.
Not so long ago, the only way to get to Krabi was via Phuket. Back then, off-the-beaten-track backpackers used this gorgeous, mountain-flanked coastal strip as their playground, drawn by its snorkel-clear waters, seriously-white-sand beaches and astonishing karst cliffs (which they climbed for sport). Since the airport opened, however, Krabi’s been gradually evolving. New hotels mean places for Prada-packing mojito-sippers to rest their tired Manolo-shod soles in style and comfort. Compared to other hotspots like Samui and Phuket, though, Krabi’s still relatively underdeveloped, which is perfect if all you want is some quality time, barefoot, in paradise.
Do go/Don’t go
By far the best time to visit Krabi is between late November and April, with January and February being the ideal months. Just remember that you won't have the place to yourself, so if it's a quiet escape you're after, your best bet is to book later. May marks the start of the rainy season, which continues until October. Apart from the gloomy weather, many businesses close during this season, and there can be an abundance of jellyfish in the waters, so swimming and snorkelling is more hazardous.
- Planes Krabi Airport is serviced by Thai Airways (www.thaiairways.com) and a handful of budget carriers. There are several daily flights from Bangkok, as well as one daily flight each from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Well-heeled travellers already in Southern Thailand can consider jetting direct to their resort via seaplane: Destination Air services the area very efficiently (www.destinationair.com).
- Boats There’s a regular daily express boat that runs between Krabi and Phuket. It leaves Phuket at 8am and takes about two hours (call Ao Nang Tourist Centre on +66 (0) 7563 7730). There are also at least two ferries a day making the 90-minute trip from Koh Phi Phi to Krabi’s Ao Nang beach. Once in Krabi, you may need to hire long-tail boats to take you to various beaches – many of the areas here are inaccessible by land. Similarly, some of the resorts, like Rayavadee, are only accessible by boat.
- Trains There are no direct trains to Krabi. If you really want to take it slow (and we advise against it), you can take a train from Bangkok to the Nakhon Si Thammarat main station and then catch a bus or taxi (www.railway.co.th).
- Automobiles While there are car hire desks at the airport, you probably don’t want to drive in Krabi. It’s easy – and cheap – to call for a taxi to ferry you from place to place.
- Taxis Easier to call than to flag down, Krabi’s taxis are cheap, convenient, and charge according to distance.