Krabi is the busiest beach resort and one of Thailand’s southern provinces. If you're looking for something off the beaten trail, you may be unhappy to find that it’s now pretty much an open secret – a huge variety of activities are ready for you here, most either along the beach or along Airport Road. It’s still a good choice for those looking for something less commercial than what can be found in Phuket and Ko Samui.
This province has the oldest history of having been continuously settled, and has been home to modern people (Homo sapiens) since 25,000-30,000
Like many southern provinces, Islam has a significant presence in Krabi. Though the majority of the population practices Buddhism, Muslims constitute 42 percent of the population and are a majority in rural areas. Like in Phuket and other provinces in Thailand with a heavy population of Thai-Chinese, the Buddhist practices of many in this community are syncretised with beliefs from Chinese folk religion.
Krabi’s populace is highly diverse, with many inhabitants of Chinese descent. In general, each ethnic group in Krabi is representative of one of the many waves of immigrants that have landed on its shore over time. As such, be prepared for a melange of cultures – besides Thai culture, you will find Chinese and even Indian culture upon travelling to this area. Be on the lookout for the nomadic tribe of Moken (chao le in Thai or ‘Sea Gypsies’) who are also Krabi natives.
- PDA frowned-upon
- No touching (especially in head).
- Showing soles of feet or pointing with feet considered indecent and rude.
- No public raging or loss of face.
- Respect elderly and monks (who are not allowed to touch women).
Krabi has a tropical monsoon climate and is therefore warm all throughout the year. However, it is affected by monsoon winds due to its proximity to the Andaman Sea so there are quite distinct seasons in Krabi itself. Between May and November, it often experiences a 6-month rainy season.
Krabi’s coasts are special in two distinct ways: its astounding limestone outcrops dot the landscape, proving a continual challenge for those who enjoy rock climbing, while its unique turquoise green sea lends a unique flavour to spending time at the beach here. If you enjoy diving, be on the lookout for some of Thailand’s most pristine reefs. Besides, much of Krabi province has been given over to several national parks.
For those seeking animal life, the best option would be to dive into the waters of any of Ao Nang Beach’s 7 main groups of islands. The diverse waters here guarantee aquatic thrills for those who love life under the sea. Otherwise, it’s easy to find (and ride!) the occasional elephant around Krabi itself, and cheeky monkeys are a common sight.
Before you go
- Language: Thai, or Siamese, a language of the Tai–Kedai family closely related to Lao.
- Currency: Thai baht (thb)
- Time Zone: Indochina Time, utc+7
- Voltage: 220
- Electric Socket: Type A/B/C
- Local network sim cards are widely available and work on any unlocked phone in the gsm network.
- Prepaid cards sell for as little as $3 in convenience stores.
- A $15 card will get you a month’s worth of internet data and talk time.
- ATMs are widely available throughout Krabi and charge approximately $5 to every withdrawal with a foreign card.
- Usually no more than 20 notes or 20,000 baht can be withdrawn at once.
- Foreign exchange can be converted at banks and moneychangers at competitive rates.
- Please be aware that defacing or abusing Thai banknotes and coins may be considered disrespectful towards the royal family, a serious criminal offense throughout Thailand.
- Gaeng som – A ‘sour’ curry made with a liquid fish base combined with curry paste and turmeric and cooked with bamboo shoots, green papaya or slices of pineapple
- Kua kling – This southern Thai dry curry is commonly made with pork, beef or chicken. It isn’t made with coconut. Meats are injected with curry paste, chilies, garlic and shaved lemongrass before being sprinkled with wafer-thin kaffir lime leaves and even full peppercorns.
- Goong pad sataw – Look out for them stir-fried with a choice of meat or pre-made in a variety of curries. This version comes with shrimp stir fried together with the beans.
Topping is not customary in Thailand but feel free to show appreciation through small gratuities for great service.
Taxis: Both Thais and expats commonly round up the fare to the nearest multiple of ten
Restaurants: it is customary to leave behind any loose change in coins as a tip. In high-end restaurants larger tips of 5%-10% are common
Hotels: tipping is not expected but is appreciated. Examples of good tips include 20-50 baht for the porter who carried your bags up to your room, or 20 baht left under your pillow for the cleaner.
- Suggested vaccinations: hepatitis A and typhoid
- Safety: Keep an eye out for barnacles when stepping into the water around the beach. These are very sharp, so try to always wear some kind of footwear (normal flip-flops will do) when navigating around the beach water.
- (KAL - Krabi / Ao Nang Locals) is the Facebook group used by both expats and locals in Krabi, and is the best place to ask any questions travellers may have about the island.
- Tourist Police: 1155 (English-speaking operator)
- Local police: 191
- Krabi Nakharin International Hospital (private): 1 Pisanpob Road, Paknam Sub-district, Muang Krabi District, Krabi Province, 81000, Tel: (+66) 75 626 555
- Krabi Hospital: 325, Uttarakit Rd., Pak Nam, Muang Krabi, Krabi 81000, Tel: (+66) 75 61 1212
- Hello (in general): Sa-wat-dee
- Excuse me. / Sorry: Koh-tohht
- Thank you: Kob-khun
- You’re welcome: Mi-penrai
- Good morning/evening: Sa-wat-dee-krahp
- Goodbye: Baai-baai
- How much is this?: Rak-ha-tao-rai
- Cheers! (Toasts when drinking): Chai-yoh
- Bon appetit: Kin-hi-aroy
- Where’s the toilet?: Hong-nahm-nyu-nai
- Help!: Choo-wai-doo-wai
- I understand: Kao-jai-lao
- I don’t understand: Mi-kao-jai
How to get into this area, and how to get around it!
Krabi International Airport serves this area, and the beach is 40 minutes away by car .The limo racket at the airport charges around 600 baht (for a van for four people) to do this trip, and if you arrange pickup through hotels you’ll find similar prices. Otherwise, songthaews (converted pickup trucks misguiding named ‘shuttle buses’) will take you back and forth for 50 baht, and the trip takes around 2 hours.
If coming via Phuket, it is possible to get to the Ao Nang area on a ferry operated between the two places. These boats generally leave from Rassada pier in Phuket. If you’re taking a ferry, expect to pay around 700 baht for the trip, while a speedboat will do the job for 1200 baht (this service is generally only available from November to April).
Be aware that there are no trains serving the Krabi area! Instead, use the buses going to Krabi leave from Bangkok’s Southern Bus terminal on Boromratch Chonnani Road. Travelling at night and costing 626-920 baht a head (depending on the level of comfort you expect), anticipate to reach Krabi within 10 hours – tickets on these buses aren’t generally booked in advance, but try to do so around Thai public holiday season. There are also direct bus connections from Ko Samui (via Surat Thani, around 400 baht); Had Yai (234 baht); Phuket (155 Baht); Trang (129 baht); and many other destinations, including Malaysia.
These motorised rickshaws charge a flat 30 baht per person for most trips around time, with a minimum charge generally being 60 baht even if you’re a single passenger.
These can be found running all across Ao Nang onto Shell Beach (the main beach), and some even go all the way to Krabi town. Depending on the distance you travel, expect to pay around 10 baht.
If you’re looking to not only stay within the Ao Nang area, but also check out the areas around the beach town – why not opt for a motorbike rental? Up and down the major strips it’s easy to find a wide variety of motorbike shops, generally charging 150-200 baht for a rental period of 24 hours.
Things to see
The top locations to visit in this destination.