Are you contemplating a stay in Krabi Province? In this blog, I’ve highlighted ten of the best areas to stay in Krabi, where you can be closest to your favourite things to do, in the celebrated Land of Smiles.
Located in Southern Thailand, the alluring province of Krabi is made up of exotic beaches and mysterious off-shore islands and is one of the most beautiful and popular vacation destinations in Thailand.
Fabulous vistas, magnificent beaches and islands, stunning coral reefs, sheer limestone cliffs for the climbers, wildlife parks, hot springs and sea caves, along with fabulous Thai cuisine and hospitality, are just some of the things that await you.
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Where to Stay in Krabi: 10 Best Areas
1. Ao Nang Beach, where to stay in Krabi for first timers
If your holiday planning is all about sandy beaches, warm turquoise waters, island hopping, day-tripping, lively bars and plenty of restaurants, booking at Ao Nang Beach for your stay in Krabi would be a good option.
After landing at Krabi Airport, getting to Ao Nang for your stay is reasonably hassle-free.
One of the easiest options is the airport shuttle, which stops at Krabi bus station before continuing its journey to Ao Nang Beach. Journey time is around 45 minutes to an hour and costs about 100 baht.
Other options include shared taxis, around 80 baht. Solo taxis, around 400 baht. Or public transport buses and pre-booked hotel transfers.
To make the most of this popular tourist destination, I would recommend one lazy day of sand, sea and cocktails on Ao Nang Beach. Followed by a day of long-boat excursions to the surrounding beautiful islands and beaches.
The busy Ao Nang resort area derives much of its popularity from the fabulous savanna countryside of palm plantations, high mountain ranges and forests of various hardwoods.
Pristine local beaches and fantastic small islands can be reached in minutes by long-tailed water taxis, or on excursion boats from Ao Nang beach.
With plenty of shops, bars, cafes, takeaways and restaurants to suit all tastes, evening entertainment in Ao Nang is never a problem, with many bars open through the early hours.
Ao Nang beach resort has plenty of tour-operated self-catering apartment complexes, guest houses, and hotels to suit all budgets, along with high-end all-inclusive hotels and luxury villas.
2. Nopparat Thara Beach, where to stay in Krabi next to Ao Nang in a calm beach
It wasn’t so many years ago that the coastal area of Nopparat Thara beach was a part of the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu ko Phi National Park, and only accessible with permission from the park authorities.
As the wheels of mass tourism keep turning, an area directly behind the beach has been slowly taken over, with bungalows and a campsite being built in the park, and apartments and luxurious hotels going up along the Ao Nang road.
Nonetheless, it is a much quieter area than that of Ao Nang.
A two-minute cab ride, five minutes in a tuk-tuk (20 baht), or a pleasant 15-minute stroll will get you to Noppharathara Beach from Ao Nang, and if you choose to walk, you will notice the fellow visitor numbers dropping as you get closer to Nopparat beach.
The beach runs adjacent to Ao Nang Beach and is a three-kilometre, narrow stretch of golden sand, backed by steep, vegetation-covered cliffs, with coconut palms and casuarinas trees lining the rear of the beach.
It is an area popular with those who prefer quieter locations but want to be close enough to all amenities.
The water inshore is warm and shallow, making it ideal for the youngsters to splash about in, and with the tide out, you can walk to a few of the small islets just offshore.
With the new beach promenade completed, there are a couple of café/bars along the front where you can pick up snacks and drinks, or buy them in the shops just behind the beach.
For the evenings, an increasing number of friendly bars and good quality restaurants are opening in Noppharat Thara, and, with Ao Nang just a short distance away, evening entertainment shouldn’t prove problematic.
Accommodation available in Nopparat Thara Beach is increasing, with a good selection of guest houses, apartments, hotels, bungalows and villas on the market.
However, care needs to be taken when making your choice. In some instances, hotels and apartments advertised as being in Nopparat are actually in Ao Nang.
3. Railay, where to stay in Krabi in a rock climbers and divers paradise
Although you can lay back and chill on this island paradise, it is a magnet for visitors preferring active holidays, such as rock climbing, scuba diving and snorkelling.
Located on a peninsula in the Andaman Sea, you can reach Railay Beach from numerous points in Thailand, but all end with a short boat trip out to the beach.
Landing at Krabi International Airport is the best option. From there, you can pick up a taxi, bus or shuttle, which will take you to Ao Nang Pier and a ferry to the beach.
Railay comprises an East and West beach, and both have positives depending on your holiday preferences.
Railay West Beach is a 500m strip of golden sand, and probably the peninsula’s more affluent side. Although the beach sees an increase in water traffic during high season, private boats, ferries and water taxis are confined to a smallish channel and pose no danger to swimmers.
Tall sandstone cliffs rising skyward at each end of the beach attract large numbers of climbers wanting to hone their skills, and there are a handful of rock climbing schools available for those wanting to try this extreme sport.
Railay East Beach is just a short walk over to the other side of the peninsula. It is a narrow strip of sand and is not considered suitable for swimming, although there are several mangrove swamps which can be explored.
If scuba-diving or rock climbing doesn’t do it for you, you can hire a kayak, tour the Diamond Cave or book excursions to other beaches or islands.
Both beaches have a decent selection of bars, restaurants and a mix of accommodations, with the West Beach being the more popular with visitors.
4. Tonsai Beach, popular with rock climbers, backpackers and those with a carefree hippy spirit
Close to Railay Beach, Tonsai is another beach only accessible by water, although it is attached to the mainland. Water-taxi long tail boats depart regularly from Railay and Ao Nang, with just a short five to ten-minute journey across the water, depending on your point of departure.
One thing to note, long boats don’t depart until they are near to, or full, usually eight to twelve passengers. So you may have a short wait while the craft fills up.
Tonsai is also what might be termed a very paradisiacal, ‘natural’ beach, with the most basic of facilities and some affordable accommodation.
It is one of the most popular rock-climbing venues in Krabi Province, and attracts climbers from all parts of the globe to its many climbing routes.
It is also a big draw for young backpackers, older hippies, and those who just want to relax on the beach amongst the tropical flora and fauna.
During daylight hours, there is no electrical power on Tonsai save at one or two larger complexes using their own generators. Power comes on around 5.00pm until 10am for the bars, restaurants and facilities to continue operating through the late hours.
Swimmers should be aware that at certain times of the month, as the tide recedes further out, the beach can get very rocky and wearing beach shoes or Crocs during this time will save cut toes from sharp rocks or shells.
The small village behind the beach sells basic foodstuffs, artisan crafts, clothing and souvenirs, but be sure to have enough cash for your stay, as there are no ATMs on Tonsai.
Around the village, you will find several massage parlours and spas. Ideal for soothing those aching muscles and joints after a hard day on the rock face.
You will also find a selection of restaurants for your evening entertainment. You can enjoy traditional Thai cuisine, seafood menus, a variety of Western dishes, and delicious Thai street food.
Accommodation here for your stay in Krabi is varied, although very limited, and fills up very quickly. Choose from hostels, Thai bamboo bungalows, guesthouses, self-catering apartments, purpose-built resorts or private, secluded villas.
5. Krabi Town, where to stay in Krabi on a budget
If you prefer a less touristy, more traditional, authentic Thai atmosphere, staying in Krabi, the administrative capital of Krabi Province, is well worth considering.
Just 15km from the airport in one direction, and the pristine beach area of Ao Nang in the other, Krabi Town is a popular base for those who want to enjoy exploring the province of Krabi by hiking, biking, bus, hire car or on organised trips.
A pretty inland town situated on the banks of the River Krabi and with a population of around 28,000 residents, it is the province’s administrative capital.
Although Krabi Town has no beach, it has some relaxing river walks you can enjoy, numerous attractions to visit, and a central bus station that can be used to get to the beaches and other attractions in the surrounding coastal areas.
You will find plenty of bars, cafes, restaurants and shops along the river promenade and numerous statues, with sculptured bronze crabs being a particular highlight.
You will also find traditional Thai long-tail boats offering trips to local beaches, or tours to the mangrove swamps or Khanab Nam Caves.
If you enjoy exploring Buddhist temples, two of the top places to visit during your stay in Krabi are Wat Kaew Korawaram and Wat Tham Suea.
Wat Kaew Korewaram is a stunning Buddhist temple complex inside the town at Issara Road, Pak Nam, Krabi. During your visit, please adhere to a dress code of no shorts, short skirts or bare shoulders. The temple is open to visitors from 08.00 to 17.00.
The second, equally impressive Buddhist temple sits northeast of the town. Wat Tham Suea is a majestic temple high up on a mountainside pilgrimage trail, and involves climbing over 1200 steep steps to reach the Buddha and viewing platform.
Nonetheless, the magnificent views across the town and surrounding countryside make the tough climb well worth the effort.
Around town and along the riverside walks, evening entertainment is plentiful, with a large selection of all types of bars. Many of which are open until the early hours. National and international restaurants serve everything from traditional Thai cuisine, to steaks, burgers, curries and pizzas.
You can also enjoy the unique atmosphere generated at one of the many night markets in Krabi. The Walking Street Market is one of the most popular and runs from 5.00pm to 10pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening.
The large number of stalls selling everything from pans and household utensils, artisan goods, clothing, accessories, souvenirs and mementoes; the bustling, babbling locals bartering over the cost of goods, and the mouth-watering aroma of numerous street food stalls hanging in the air – all add to the distinct ambience of an Asian night-time market and is an experience not to be missed.
Accommodation for your stay in Krabi is excellent and well-priced across the board. Hostels, private lets, self-catering apartments and economy to luxurious hotel options are all often substantially cheaper than in the larger resort areas.
6. Tab Kaek Beach, where to stay in Krabi for luxury holidays
If the thought of ten days in a bamboo bungalow doesn’t do it for you, how about a stay in a luxurious beachside complex with over two kilometres of soft white sand to lay your beach towel?
The virtually exclusive Tab Kaek Beach nestles below the Hang Nak Mountain on the western side of Krabi Province, and provides glorious views of the Pak Bia islands and Hong Islands rising out of the Andaman Sea in Phulay Bay.
From Krabi International Airport, your transfer to Tab Kaek Beach will take around an hour, or from Ao Nang, about 30 minutes. The fact no public transport covers this secluded area may well account for its exclusivity, with just hotel shuttles, cars, taxis, scooters or motorcycles providing the transport.
If you like to mix lazy beach days with a bit of light activity, most hotels and resorts rent kayaks and paddle boards. If you enjoy something more strenuous, consider a hike into the National Park from the north end of the beach.
One of the most popular walks begins at the end of the beach road, taking you onto the Khao Ngon Nak nature trail. A walk of medium difficulty, it is a three-hour round trip, so be sure to carry fluids and snacks in your backpack.
Organised long boat trips from a couple of hours to all day are available to the outlying islands, where you can get up close and personal with the monkeys and other wildlife.
If you’re visiting with a young family, the beach is perfect for little ones to run around safely and with a gentle slope into the water, ideal for them to play and splash about in the shallows.
For an evening away from your complex, you will find a few excellent restaurants and bars along the edge of the beach, where you can wine and dine as the sun goes down.
Accommodation on Tab Kaek Beach tends to be primarily high-end. However, compared to similar quality venues in some of Thailand’s other premier resorts, are still excellent value for money.
- ($$$) Banyan Tree Krabi
- ($$$) Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
- ($$$) The Tubkaak Krabi Boutique Resort
7. Klong Muang Beach, where to stay in Krabi in a pleasant, relaxing beach for the whole family
Located a 45-minute drive from Krabi Airport or a 20-minute drive from Ao Nang, and lying north of Nopparat Thara Beach, Klong Muang is a relatively new, pleasant, relaxing beach resort gaining in popularity as the word begins to spread.
A four-kilometre-long stretch of sandy beach, spread across two bays, it is an excellent location for family holidays or those romantic getaways.
When you see several inshore fishing boats swaying at anchor in the bay, you are at the beginning of Klong Muang Beach, and just need to follow the signs.
The beach is narrow and divided into four main areas. For most of it, you can walk from one location to another on the sand, although there are a few areas where you might have to use the road if the tide is in. High tide sees the surf right up to the numerous sun beds, while the treeline extends to the waterline.
Although becoming increasingly commercial, there is still enough local colour, culture, and exceptional views of the numerous islands to provide that tropical paradise vibe.
Along the beach, slotted between breaks in the treeline, are several colourful local shops, bars and eateries where you can browse, take time for a drink and snack, or enjoy an evening meal as you watch the sunset.
You will also pass a small water sports school where you can hire kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle boards. Or book a windsurfing course.
The water is shallow and calm for the little ones, although care needs to be taken when entering the water at low tide, as several rocky/pebbly areas need to be crossed.
For those looking for a little time away from the sand and sea, more shops, bars and restaurants can be found in the small village behind the beach, and a good number of excursions are available to various offshore islands, the Tiger Cave Temple, and the Emerald Pools.
Evening entertainment tends to be low-key (no full moon parties here), although a few beachside bars and restaurants include music and live entertainment on some evenings.
Klong Muang Beach has an excellent range of accommodations for your stay in Krabi, with a selection of high-end beachfront choices, including golf, spa and sauna options, and a few economy apartments and hotels behind the beach.
8. Koh Phi Phi, where to stay in Krabi for nightlife
Situated in the Andaman Sea, 42km from Krabi Province on the coast of Thailand, Koh Phi Phi is not one island, but a group of six.
The largest, and only inhabited island, is Koh Phi Phi Don. In comparison, the second largest and most popular day-trip island is Koh Phi Phi Le. Both, plus the four smaller islands, comprise the Koh Phi Phi National Park, which includes the marine conservation areas surrounding the islands.
Unless you’re a Thai holiday aficionado, you’ve probably not heard of Koh Phi Phi, but you’ve probably heard of the film ‘The Beach’, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It was filmed on the curving, white sand beach in Maya Bay, on Koh Phi Phi Le – and turned this stunning deserted island into one of the world’s favourite places to visit.
If you’re flying into Krabi Airport, make your way to Krabi town, shuttle bus, taxi etc. Ferries leave from Krabi River Marina and Chao Fah Pier in Krabi Town, or from a little further down the coast at Railay East Pier – journey time by ferry is around 90 minutes.
For an island of just 10 square kilometres, Koh Phi Phi is blessed with more than its fair share of stunningly exotic beaches.
For those looking for a party vibe, head for Tonsai Beach and its village of the same name, where you will find dozens of excellent bars and eateries to suit all tastes.
Look out for the Phi Phi Reggae Bar in the village, a sports bar with a pool table, table tennis, a Thai boxing ring, and plenty of booze.
Check out the Sunflower Beach Bar at the end of Loh Dalum Bay if you’re into a hippy vibe. Or Slinky Beach Bar a little further along the beach if you’re into fire breathers and beach parties.
For those not so interested in partying 24/7, there are numerous other beaches and resorts where you can soak up the sun and relax. Check out areas such as Laem Tong, Long Beach, Ton Sai Bay and Aonang.
There are various boat excursions to tour other islands in the group, especially Koh Phi Phi Le, or you can venture inland to explore the national park.
Accommodations on Koh Phi Phi Don are numerous and varied, from high-end villas and hotels, to spas, mid-range and economy hotels, and self-catering apartments and hostels.
9. Koh Lanta, home to some of Thailand’s finest beaches and a popular backpackers retreat
Koh Lanta is located just off the southwest coast of Thailand. Not a single isle but an archipelago of 52 islands. The two main ones are Koh Lanta Yai (the largest) and Koh Lanta Noi.
While many of the islands are uninhabited, others have one or two local guest houses or private hotels, and are a great choice if you like quiet, and want to immerse yourself in the local culture.
The majority of visitors base themselves in Koh Lanta Yai. Strangely, Koh Lanta Noi, connected to Koh Lanta Yai by a road bridge, seems devoid of any tourist industry.
With deserted beaches, rubber plantations, palm forests and traditional fishing villages, it is an excellent place for day-tripping by hire car or motorcycle to absorb the customs of old Thailand.
With some of Thailand’s best beaches along the west side of Koh Lanta Yai, it’s little wonder most complexes and resorts are on this side, with a few economy to high-end resorts on the east side.
Starting from the north of the island, you can choose from the seven incredible beach resorts running down the west coast:
- Baan Saladan Village – close to the ferry terminal and with a medical centre, rental companies, dive centre, shops and market.
- Klong Dao Beach – three kilometres of soft white sand popular with families and the first resort beach on the island.
- Phra Ae Beach (Long Beach) – over 3.5km of pristine white sand with a wide selection of affordable and high-end accommodations attracting young travellers, divers and families.
- Klong Khong Beach – three kilometres of beach with a good selection of locally owned complexes
- Klong Nin Beach and Klong Tob – laid back, with shops, bars, restaurants, bungalows and villas on the beach, and hotels and resorts located at Klong Tob.
- Kantiang Beach – in beautiful Kantiang Bay, it is popular with backpackers but also has limited 5-star accommodation, which fills very quickly.
- The Far South resort area – several attractive small bays with just a smattering of resort complexes surrounded by jungle and natural forests.
All these beach resort areas have a good infrastructure of food markets, retail shops, bars, restaurants and excursions to other beaches and islands.
10. Koh Jum, where to stay in Krabi in an island paradise for some real Rest and Relaxation
If you’re looking for a stay in Krabi where you can eat like a native, sleep like a native and live like a native, take a closer look at Koh Jum.
Probably one of Krabi Province’s least commercialised islands, this small, diamond-shaped isle glistens in the Andaman Sea between Krabi and Koh Lanta, off Thailand’s west coast.
How you get to Koh Jum will depend on whether you’re touring Thailand, island hopping, or have chosen to use Koh Jum as a base.If the latter, from Krabi Airport you need to make your way to either Laem Kruat Harbour, 30 minutes from the airport, or Krabi Town.
From Laem Kruat, long-tail ferries leave every hour to Koh Jum. From Krabi, you can catch a ferry heading for Koh Lanta, and then transfer to a long tail boat to be ferried onto the island.
There are nine amazing tropical beaches on Koh Jum, and all are very similar, although care needs to be taken at low tide when a few of them can get very rocky.
For similar, read warm turquoise waters and pristine white sand. Tropical vegetation. Pine trees that reach the edge of the beach. And the tall Karst mountain in the background.
Most beaches will have at least one bar or snack shack constructed with local bamboo poles and dried palm leaves for roofs.
On Koh Jum’s Ting Rai Beach, it’s Wood Don’s reggae bar, where you can lay back and chill with a local beer, and Bob Marley serenading you in the background.
If you’re not on a beach, you’re probably walking through lush tropical vegetation. Or maybe checking out the small traditional villages for locally made holiday mementoes.
Or maybe you’re just chilling in your swaying hammock – it’s that kind of place.
If you develop a sudden surge of energy, Koh Jum is a popular snorkelling and scuba diving island with its cliffs, reefs and colourful marine life.
If you want to explore more of the island, cycles and scooters can be hired from most resorts and in the villages. For scooter hire, expect to pay around 250baht (€6.40, £5.50) per day.
There are also several hiking trails on the island, where you can trek into the jungle, see water buffalo toiling in the fields, and watch monkeys swinging through the forest canopy.
Evening entertainment is as you would expect on Koh Jum – quiet.
Most resorts cater to foreign visitors, adjusting their menu offerings and cuisine to suit. That said, if you prefer to eat like a native, visiting at least one of the local restaurants during your stay will be rewarded with the best authentic Thai cuisine served by friendly local staff.
Accommodation on Koh Jum ranges from bungalows and villas on the beachfront, to cottages and apartments in green, tropical gardens, to hotels and sumptuous villas.
For your stay in Krabi Province, the monthly average temperatures range from the low 20s to the low 30s centigrade year round.
December through March is considered the high season, with the monsoon season running from July through October. During this period, some resorts and amenities may close, while others offer discounted rates.