Like many holiday hotspots in Thailand, Krabi’s biggest attributes occur naturally in the form of idyllic beaches, lush national parks and stunning scenery. The area is perfectly set up for those just looking to relax and breathe in the paradise, while hiking, biking, water sports and climbing are always easily arranged for those to can bear to drag themselves off the sun lounger.
One of the biggest attractions for tourists in Krabi is by far the area’s stunning beaches. With its striking backdrop of sheer cliff, Ao Nang Beach is the most popular spot on the mainland for sunning and swimming activities. Water sports, such as banana boating, jet skiing, tubing and parasailing, are also available in high season. Most of the hotels and resorts are here and along Ao Phai Phlong, where there is a plethora of touristy shops and restaurants which are all more than willing to help you get through that holiday spending money.
Cut off from the mainland by stunning limestone karsts but only a five-minute boat ride away, Railay Beach offers unbelievably heavenly scenery – the type usually only found on computer screen savers. While holidaymakers can choose to stay at the decidedly swanky resorts on Railay West or the slightly cheaper options on Railay East, longtail boats nip between Ao Nang and Railay in a constant all-day relay, so this beautiful beach is never far away. Many active types also come here for the unbeatable beach-side rock climbing on offer.
Holidaymakers undoubtedly return to Krabi year-after-year as the area’s perfect location for day trips makes it pretty difficult to get bored. With so many amazing islands just a stone’s throw away, it would be crazy not to venture off the mainland during your stay. The Phi Phi islands are easily reached, with the lively Phi Phi Don island giving visitors a taste of the young and fun, if wholly untraditional, side of Thai tourism.
The iconic Maya Bay, where The Beach was filmed, is also worth a visit despite the throngs of Leonardo DiCaprio fans; as is James Bond Island, which featured in The Man with the Golden Gun. These nationally-protected spots offer great diving opportunities and boast towering white cliffs and idyllic crescent-shaped sandy beaches. The laidback Koh Lanta island is also easily reached.
Those looking for an authentic taste of southern Thai life should head away from the main tourist beat and into Krabi Town. This colourful and friendly urban area, centred around an estuary and promenade, is a bargain-hunters dream, with traditional arts and crafts at a fraction of the price of those in beachfront areas. There are many colourful markets to explore and cheap but tasty local food which has not been toned down for delicate tourist tastebuds.
Set in a dramatic overhanging cave in one of Krabi’s distinctive limestone cliffs, the Wat Tham Suea temple offers unbeatable panoramic views from its pinnacle. The climb is exhausting though, so expect to break a sweat for your picture-perfect birds-eye snap.
Those who have hired transport can get back to nature with a visit to one of the area’s three main national parks. Khao Phanom Becha is the closet and offers pleasant picnic areas, hiking trails and waterfalls. Than Bokkharani Park is located in an ideal position for anyone looking for a stop-off on the journey between Krabi and Phuket, and boasts a delightful collection of glades and grottos. A little farther on near Pha Nga Town, Sa Nang Manora national park provides a secluded getaway.