Like many of the world’s great travel destinations, Krabi warrants more than a day to truly experience the many facets of this tropical wonderland. But if you’re short on time, it’s easy to hit a range of highlights in this southern Thai region and get a decent feel for its special ambiance. Between the Andaman Sea, inland national parks and cultural attractions, visitors will find a delightful selection of sights and activities for travellers of all types.
Krabi Town has a good tourist infrastructure including many guesthouses, bars and restaurants. This market town is mainly used as a jumping off point for the surrounding attractions; however, a handful of attractions and the vibrant local culture make it worth an overnight stop. Krabi Town’s main highlight is Wat Tham Seua – a cave-based temple with a mountain-top pagoda. Other interesting tourist sights include Krabi Contemporary Art Gallery and the newly built Wat Gaew. Just wandering around town taking in the sights, sounds and smells is often an eye-opening and memorable experience.
A short boat ride from Krabi Town, Railay Beach is an idyllic spot boasting outstanding natural beauty. Railay is completely cut off to cars due to impassable cliffs, but is easily reached by boat from Krabi Town, Ao Nang and Ao Nam Mao. This is one of Thailand’s most beautiful tourist destinations, and a great place to for a holiday. The waters are calm, crystal clear and warm, making them ideal for swimming, kayaking and snorkelling, as well as lounging on the powdery white sand.
Railay is also Thailand’s hottest rock climbing destination, so if you’re a serious climber or just want a taste of this popular sport, Krabi is the place to do it. Taking a day trip here is a good idea; the views from your beach towel are simply stunning and it is sure to be one of the main highlights of your trip.
Krabi’s other local beach is Ao Nang; a pleasant 30-minute drive west of town. Although not quite as stunning as Railay, Ao Nang is a better place to be based for boat excursions, snorkelling or scuba diving trips around the Andaman. There are dozens of guesthouses, resorts, restaurants and bars right on or near the beach to keep you comfortable. The Four Island Tour is a popular day excursion from Ao Nang, taking visitors on a boat cruise around Krabi’s neighbouring islets. An extension of Ao Nang is the endless, near deserted beach of Noppharat Thara National Park.
But not all of Krabi’s highlights are based around the sea. Inland, visitors can explore Buddhist shrines, natural hot springs, and protected jungle parks full of wildlife and beautiful scenery. Around 40kms south of Krabi Town, the hot springs are tucked into the middle of a tropical forest. These soothing natural pools hover around 35°C and will ease your muscles while you soak and enjoy the symphony of birdcalls. Nature lovers should explore the trails in the nearby Huay Toh, Khao Phra-Bang Khram, and Tharnbok Khoranee national parks. Well-marked hiking trails lead to swimming holes and waterfalls amid old-growth jungle and its resident creatures.
Krabi’s most famous attractions are offshore, though, and if you do stay longer you’ll most certainly want to take a day trip on speed boat to the world famous Phi Phi island archipelago, or even arrange to stay over on Phi Phi Don. Closer to Krabi are the offshore islands, including the remarkable Hong Island, which has a perfectly enclosed lagoon accessible at low tide through a tunnel. Having been listed as one of Thailand’s cleanest beaches, Hong Island is one of the main highlights in Krabi. There are other similar islands to stop off at, many also in pristine condition since development is not permitted on them.
Back in Krabi Town or Ao Nang, there is no better way to end a day of exploration and adventure than a relaxing traditional Thai massage. This ancient form of healing and relaxation uses stretching and massage to rejuvenate the body. To lap up even more luxury, check out one of Krabi’s full-service spas where you can have a full body indulgence including a facial, manicure, pedicure, body wrap and other treatments – it’s sure to be another of the many highlights of your Krabi experience.