A true gem in southern Thailand, Krabi is a place where lush green forests and pristine beaches meet the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. This, combined with its rich cultural heritage, makes Krabi one of the best places to visit and indulge in various activities, including exploring ancient temples and kayaking through hidden caves.
So, embark on an adventure and fall in love with this charming destination, as we guide you through the unique and unforgettable experiences Krabi has to offer.
Best time to explore Krabi
Krabi has a tropical climate throughout the year, with two main seasons — the dry season, from December to April, and the wet season, from May to November. During the dry season, Krabi gets quite crowded as the weather is warm and sunny, which makes it the most popular time to visit. If you’re looking for a quieter trip, then the wet season is a suitable option, as it usually rains during the afternoons.
Best places to visit in Krabi
Also called Rai Leh, Railay beach includes three beaches and is often misunderstood as an island. Each of these beaches is known for its unique characteristics — on the north is Ton Sai Bay, which has amazing spots for rock climbing enthusiasts and affordable stays. On the west is Railay West known for its spectacular views at sunset. If you are an early riser and want to catch the sunrise instead, Railay East is your place to be. Phra Nang Beach is located between Railay East and West and is named after a cave with a sacred Buddha image. Though smaller than Railay East and West, Phranang Beach is the best spot if you plan on swimming in crystal-clear waters.
Railay beach is not accessible by road. You can take the long tail boats that frequently depart from Ao Nang.
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Phi Phi Islands
Located in the middle of the Andaman Sea, these islands are a must-see destination in Krabi. Comprising two big islands, Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Le, and four smaller ones, they are known for their beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters. The islands are a popular spot for snorkelling, diving and spotting exotic marine life like the docile leopard sharks. Its vibrant nightlife also makes the islands the perfect spot for party lovers.
You can get to Phi Phi Islands from Krabi by taking the speedboat or ferry which takes roughly 90 minutes.
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Tiger Cave Temple
The Tiger Cave Temple, also known as Wat Tham Suea, is a Buddhist temple located in Krabi. It is known for its distinctive tiger paw prints and a towering chedi, or Buddhist monument, that can be seen from a distance. Visitors can climb the steep 1,237 steps to reach the top where they will be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding forest and coastline. The temple is also home to several shrines and meditation rooms, making it a popular destination for spiritual seekers. With its unique blend of natural beauty and religious significance, it is a must-visit destination in Krabi.
The Tiger Cave Temple is easily accessible from anywhere in Krabi. You can take a tuk-tuk, or songthaew to get to the location. There are no entry fees to explore the temple.
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Known for its pristine beaches, lush green jungles and laid-back vibe, Koh Lanta is a popular beach destination for travellers seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The island is dotted with small villages, national parks and diverse wildlife, offering a range of activities for visitors, including snorkelling, kayaking and exploring the rich cultural heritage of the local sea gypsy community.
Koh Lanta Yai is six kilometres wide and over 30 kilometres long and features nine beautiful beaches with golden sand. A paved road parallel to the coastline connects the island from its north to the southern tip. Koh Lanta houses some of Thailand’s finest beach resorts along with many other attractions such as the Tanod Cape Viewpoint and Mu Koh Lanta National Park.
Koh Poda is a small island known for its beaches and turquoise waters that are ideal for swimming, snorkelling and diving. The island is surrounded by a stunning coral reef teeming with diverse marine life, making it a popular destination for underwater exploration and one of the best places to visit in Krabi.
Visitors can also take a leisurely hike through the island’s lush forests, or relax on the beach and soak up the sun, enjoying its unspoiled natural beauty. They can reach the island on a speedboat or long tail boat from the nearby beaches Ao Nang or Railey.
Klong Muang Beach
A picturesque stretch of coastline known for its clear waters, sand and tropical surroundings, Klong Muang Beach is the perfect place to escape the crowds and enjoy a serene getaway. Here, travellers can watch the majestic and calm Andaman Sea, swim in its warm waters, relax on the sand or explore the nearby caves and rock formations.
Travellers can reach Klong Muang Beach by road from Krabi town, which is 22 kilometres away.
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Khao Khanap Nam
Khao Khanap Nam is a pair of picturesque limestone hills, welcoming guests at the entrance to Krabi city. It is one of the most distinctive landmarks of Thailand, with a rich history as it was once home to ancient settlements. While you enjoy the views of the twin hills from the riverside, you can also take a 15-minute-long-tail boat ride from the Chao Fah Pier to the ragged hills and marvel at the stalactites and stalagmites formed within the caves.
There’s nothing like a refreshing dip in a natural crystal lagoon. Emerald pool or Sa Morakot, a haven in Krabi for tourists who are looking for rejuvenation. A natural lagoon formed by streams amidst hills, it is known for its prominent colour due to its high limestone and mineral content. So, relax in its calming waters while enjoying the views of the lush greens surrounding you.
To reach this serene place, visitors must take a taxi from Krabi Town and reach Thung Teao Forest Natural Park. From here, they can also avail of a scooter to proceed towards the pool.
Though small, Tup Island is known for its brilliant views of the parting of the sea and is one of the best places to visit in Krabi. The island is also known for the unique sandbar that emerges during the low tide season and connects Chicken Island to Tup Island. It is the perfect spot for the ones seeking a quiet time amidst the sea and sand.
Klong Thom Hot Springs
Located 70 kilometres away from Krabi Town, the Klong Thong Hot Springs has thermal sources from volcanic chambers and is known for its mineral-rich content. It is also believed that taking a dip in the hot springs can relieve people of rheumatism, skin issues and body aches. While such claims are debatable, there’s no doubt that taking a dip is a truly refreshing experience, which makes it one of the best places to visit in Krabi.
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Things to do in Krabi
With numerous limestone cliffs, Krabi has been luring rock climbers from across the world for ages. Some of the most popular climbing spots in Krabi include Railay Beach, Tonsai Beach and Phra Nang Beach. These locations offer a wide range of routes for climbers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned climber or just starting, Krabi is a great place to experience the thrill of climbing in a stunning natural setting.
One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Krabi is by taking a long-tail boat tour to explore the surrounding islands. Take in the mesmerising views of the limestone cliffs and crystal water as you explore them. Some popular island hopping tours include visiting the Phi Phi Islands, Chicken Island and Koh Poda. These tours usually include stops for swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing.
Krabi is a great destination for jungle trekking, with its lush and diverse forests offering a range of trekking experiences. Some popular jungle trekking destinations in Krabi include Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, where you can hike through dense jungles and encounter a variety of wildlife. These routes will also take visitors to Tiger Cave Temple.
Enjoy the nightlife
With a lively nightlife scene, Krabi offers a range of options for visitors to enjoy after dark. The majority of the nightlife in Krabi can be found in the tourist hotspots of Ao Nang and Railay Beach, where you’ll find a variety of bars, clubs and beachside venues.
What to eat in Krabi?
Tom yum goong
One of the most popular Thai food items, the spicy and sour tom yum goong is a must-try in Krabi. It’s made with a combination of seafood, mushrooms, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and chilli paste. It is a great dish to have when you want to experience the taste of the sea and the spices of Thailand.
A stir-fried rice noodle dish, Pad Thai is typically made with ingredients such as rice noodles, tofu, eggs, peanuts, bean sprouts and a combination of seasonings and sauces. It is often served with a lime wedge and crushed peanuts, and sometimes includes ingredients like chicken, shrimp or vegetables. Pad Thai is known for its sweet, sour and savoury flavours and is considered a staple of Thai cuisine.
Mango sticky rice
The dish is made with glutinous rice that is sweetened with sugar and coconut milk and is served with slices of juicy, ripe mango. The combination of creamy, sweet rice and fresh, tangy mango is a classic taste of Thai cuisine.
Green papaya salad
Made with shredded green papaya, tomatoes, peanuts and chilli, the green papaya salad is a great option for those who like something spicy and refreshing. You can find it at several street food vendors and local markets in Krabi.
What to shop in Krabi?
Krabi is a great place for shopping. Travellers can choose from an array of options at local markets and shops, offering traditional Thai handicrafts, souvenirs and much more.
When it comes to handmade products, visitors can buy wood carvings, lanterns and textiles, among other things, at places like the night markets in Ao Nang and street stalls near the pier in Railay Beach.
If you’re a foodie, you should check out the local markets. Here, you will find local spices and ingredients such as lemongrass, galangal and chilli paste to make authentic Thai food back home.
For souvenirs and gifts, you can find key chains, t-shirts and other trinkets. Some of the best places to visit in Krabi for shopping souvenirs are Krabi Town’s Walking Street and Ao Nang Walking Street.
(Main & Featured image credit: Miltiadis Fragkidis/Unsplash)
This story first appeared on Travel + Leisure Thailand
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Three days are enough to explore major tourist spots in Krabi. However, a longer trip of at least five days is recommended to sit back and relax amidst the spectacular views of nature.
Answer: Living in Krabi is not expensive. Krabi has many budget-friendly food and accommodation options.
Answer: There are many options for getting around Krabi. Some of them are long-tail boats, tuk-tuks, songthaews, taxis, motorcycles and scooters.
Answer: Since Krabi has a tropical climate throughout the year, it is recommended to pack lightweight and breathable clothes for your trip.