Krabi is both a city and a province. Krabi town has about 20,000 inhabitants and is located in Krabi Province in southwestern Thailand on the Andaman coast.
The province is one of Thailand’s most popular tourist areas, but Krabi city itself is primarily a transit point on the way to the beaches or islands outside than a tourist destination in itself. During the high season from November to March, most hotels in Krabi are both fully booked and have a high price level to be in Thailand.
In the rainy season, however, you can pick and choose from hotels. During the rainy season there is usually a heavy rain shower in the afternoon, but you still get plenty of sun and good weather, so there is no reason to write off Krabi as a destination, even during these months.
Krabi for tourists
Few tourists will be interested in staying in Krabi town for more than a day or two. Krabi, by the way, does not print on the syllable Kra-, but on -bi. Krabi is a pleasant and relaxed little town with 20000 inhabitants, living well by the thousands of tourists passing the city en route to the beaches or some of the hundreds of Andaman Islands. Many of these islands are limestone cliffs with caves, beaches and vegetation, and these were previously a favorite haven for Asian pirates.
The nearest resort is 20 kilometers away and is called Ao Nang. Although Ao Nang has become a charter destination for tourists from Europe and Australia, and 80% of those you meet on the street are not Thais, Ao Nang is still a pleasant and relaxing little town. Compared to other holiday resorts, there is little hassle from sellers and taxi drivers, and the overt prostitution Thailand struggles with at resorts like Phuket and Hua Hin is almost absent here.
There are several luxury hotels in Ao Nang and plenty of travel agencies to help you get to other destinations. The 400 meter long main street runs along the water’s edge with stairs down to the beach. Restaurants and shops can be found on the upper side of the main street and the parallel street. It’s mostly just the western and eastern parts of the beach used for sun and bathing, the rest being dominated by longboats that transport tourists to idyllic islands like Ko Poda and Ko Hua Khwan, also called Chicken Island.
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Between Krabi and Ao Nang lies the peninsula of Rai Leh, which can only be reached by boat. Mountain climbers from all over the world flock here to embark on the steep limestone cliffs that cut off Rai Leh from the rest of the province. Here is also a peaceful car-free little village, a beautiful white sandy beach, some affordable rental bungalows and an expensive 5-star resort hotel that caters mainly for honeymooners. One of the most beautiful beaches of the Krabi Province is Hat Tham Phra Nang, or Phra Nang Beach, named after a mythical princess of the sea, whose soul supposedly lives in a small cave on the north side of the beach. Here, local fishermen have built a small temple with hundreds of phalluses to ensure good fishing conditions for them.
Both Krabi City, Ao Nang and Rai Leh escaped relatively lucky from the tsunami that hit the west side of the Thailand coast in December 2004.