With the exception of Phi Phi – the party island – the bar scene in Krabi is fairly relaxed, reflecting the easy-going southern beach culture. Prettily-lit, bamboo beach bars are the most common place to hang out in, with plenty of cushions, pavilions and even hammocks to ensure you won’t leave again in a hurry. A few tunes, the sound of the waves and a view of the stars is all you have in the way of entertainment; although some Krabi bars will put on fireshows or live music in the peak season.
Even in town, most of the bars are relaxed, open-air cafes, often with a giant screen showing the latest Thai pop videos, or Premiership football games. Live music is also popular here, with Thai bands regularly performing covers of local and Western hits.
In fact, the only place in which you’re likely to stay behind closed doors is if you wish to frequent the small number of ‘karaoke’ venues in town – for more on this and the go-go bar scene in general, see the Krabi nightlife section. And in that respect, Ao Nang – being a tourist centre – hasn’t escaped the usual corner of girlie bars. They are tucked away behind the shophouses on Beach Road and within a couple saucy sois along Krabi Town Road. This is about as lively as this resort area gets, though, since it’s more of a family venue, but there is fun to be had for some.
For a more active nightlife, it will be necessary to make a trip to Phi Phi Island. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys guzzling ‘buckets’ of local whisky and Red Bull and falling over on the dance floor, you will be in your element here. Phi Phi – where this sophisticated cocktail was invented – holds nightly parties in super-sized beach bars, as well as in clubs in the village. DJs, fireshows, magicians, Thai boxing, ladyboy cabarets; nothing is spared in the quest to entertain the tourists.
Here, bars can stay open all night, while elsewhere most bars shut (in theory) at 01:00. In practice, most beach bars and other tourist nightspots are rarely forced to close – so if they have customers, they will continue to serve them.
Below, we suggest a variety of Krabi bars to please every taste. As many bars are of a fly-by-night nature, we have tried to list more established venues, but even then we cannot guarantee that they will still be there when you arrive!
Krabi bars in Ao Nang
Luna Bar: beach bar with a lively atmosphere, pool tables, moon parties and DJs. Only fills up after midnight, however. Head to one of the chilled out bars next door until it kicks off. Noppharat Thara Beach (just after the bridge from Ao Nang).
The Last Fisherman: classy beach bar fashioned from recycled materials, with tables on the sand and great cocktails. Far end of Ao Nang Beach, past Golden Beach Resort. Open: 11:00 till late, tel: (075) 637 968.
The Last Café: great escape from the excesses of Ao Nang, with beer, cocktails, DJs and fire dancers on the sand well away from everything else. Open from 10:00; situated beyond the Last Fisherman and massage huts, Ao Nang Beach.
Roots Rock Reggae Bar: lively, vibrant bar on the burgeoning Krabi Town Road, with nightly band, reasonably priced beer and tasty food. Opens from 17:00; near Soi Bamboo and McDonalds, tel: 082 813 1565.
Big Ska Bar: relaxed, fun bar on the busying Soi 8 where numerous new hotels have recently sprouted. Features ska and reggae music nightly, with rum and cheap beer. Open from 16:00,199/34 Moo 2, Soi 8 (down an alley near 7-11), tel: 087 474 0390.
Amy’s 69 Bar: one of the best rated girlie bars in Krabi, with several pleasant ladies, TV screens, reasonable beer and a buzzing atmosphere. Soi RCA (off Krabi Town Road), tel: 081 273 8819.
Ao Nang Girlie Bars: there are three main areas; Ao Nang Center Point (Beach Rd), which is the main hotspot with three floors of fun, and the RCA Entertainment zone and Soi Bamboo (both on Krabi Town Road). All bars follow a similar theme; lots of neon, bar stools and eager women. It is no Bangkok or Phuket, but fun can be had most nights.
Krabi bars in Railay Beach
Joy Bar: popular and laid-back bar in Railay East, this two-storey place on the sand is known for its cocktails, triangular pillows and bamboo tables. Also has great pizzas and Wi-fi. Railay East beach.
Last Bar: backpacker-type bar-cum-restaurant-cum-dance venue in Railay East, with open-air terrace, great food and happy hours (till 21:00). Railay East beach, past the other bars.
Bars in Krabi Town
Chilling Bar: set within the main entertainment area of Krabi Town and has a bit of everything; drinks, good food, TV sports, DJs and live music. Open: 07:00-02:00; 12/3 Chao Fa Road, Krabi Town, tel: 089 171 8107.
Old West Bar: themed bar in a central location of Krabi Town. Nice little seating area over the pavement and live rock inside, as well as cheap beer, cocktails and all-day food. Open: 13:00-02:00; 91 Uttarakit Road (near the pier), Krabi Town.
Bars on Koh Lanta
Most people here tend just to go their nearest beach bar – usually less than a 100m away – but for something different, you could try the following:
Otto’s: a larger beach bar with pool table and occasional live music. Otto himself is a great host, though some nights are slow. Bungalows are on site. Open: 10:00-01:00; Klong Nin beach, Koh Lanta.
Funky Fish: a popular beach bar on Long Beach with good music and plenty of expat/diving regulars. 241 Moo 3, Long Beach, Koh Lanta, tel: 0812759501.
Majestic Bar: fabulous spot on Klong Nin Beach, right over the sea, does an array of cocktails plus food from next door’s restaurant. Good music, vibes, happy hours and friendly staff. 67, Moo 6, Khlong Nin beach (near Lanta Beach Resort), Koh Lanta, tel: 084 846 8688.
Kandi Lounge: smart, foreign owned place at Long Beach, known for its happy hours and very tasty burger and chips. Open from 18:00; Long Beach, Koh Lanta, tel: 093 637 5483.
Bars on Phi Phi Island
Hippies: holds regular half-moon parties in a nice beach bar – good place for a ‘warm-up’ before heading into town. Food a bit hit and miss but a great setting and layout. Around 5 minutes walk from the village; Ton Sai Bay East, tel: 085 476 1761.
Carlito’s: popular beach bar, with DJs and dance floor. Chilled by day, loud at night with cocktails and fire shows. Head towards Ton Sai East from the village.
Apache: vertigo-inducing tiered bar that holds weekly cabaret shows, and good dance music. Less than a minute’s walk past the Marlin statue along Loh Dalum Beach, tel: 080 141 9192.
Reggae Bar: the oldest and, some say, the best. It certainly offers the ultimate in Phi Phi decadence, with several bars, Thai boxing and loud music. Beware the dance floor, which is slippery when wet. Open from 17:00; central Ton Sai Village.
Banana Rooftop Bar: a bit more chilled than some of the other Ton Sai bars and boasting a fine sea view over the restaurant on which it sits. Bamboo gazebos and rich cocktails make for a relaxing sundowner. Central Ton Sai, tel: 087 330 6540.