Krabi has become a popular but more an escapist alternative to far busier Phuket, dated Koh Samui, and backpacker haven Koh Phi Phi (or at least a stop along the way). The town of Krabi isn't much to see, serving only as useful main hub to reach nearby resorts. Ferries from other destinations connect via songtao and boats to the nearby beach and tourist strip at Ao Nang and to the farther flung beaches, including Haad Raillay, the famed "climbers beach" with its stunning karst towers, which is accessed by boat (from either and Khlong Mouang beach, only recently developed, just north of Ao Nang by car.
Krabi's main interests relaxing on the beach, boat trips to nearby marine parks, kayaking, diving and snorkeling. Although the dive sites are a better option in Koh Phi Phi, Koh Yao, and Phuket, here are the similar clear blue waters and white sands Thailand's south is renowned for.
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—The craggy karst cliffs of Raillay make it one of the best-known rock climbing spots in the region (if not the world). It is "sport climbing" done on mapped routes with safety bolts already drilled into the rock and there are a full and half-day courses as well as good equipment available for experienced climbers.
—Morning snorkeling in the stunning setting of the offshore Hong Islands marine reserve and enjoying a picnic linch on the deserted beach before returning to the resort.
The remote Rayavadee sits beneath Ao Nang Beach's towering karst spires, a perfect honeymoon or family retreat, and in our opinion, offering a compelling reason to visit Krabi. Private two-story bungalows lie between lush landscaping footsteps from the sand.
PHULAY BAY (RITZ CARLTON)
A Ritz Carlton "Reserve" property with a secluded location in a dramatic area of rugged shoreline and limestone karsts on the Andaman Sea. Phulay Bay offers a contemporary take on traditional Thai style and design created by renowned architect Lek Bunnag, who masterfully blend core natural elements with native techniques. Here, at Phulay Bay, Bunnag has devised a true village-sized compound where fire and water meet the sea and sand.
Resident dining options include Jampoon (Mediterranean), Sri Trang (traditional Thai), and Lae Lay (fresh seafood) with a romantic setting right on the waterfront, and the poolside cafe, Plai Fah. For detox, the Raw Bar offers up raw fruit and vegetables, including wheatgrass. For dining outside the resort, Ao Nang is a 15-minute drive and Krabo Town a half-hour (see below). During your stay we recommend a snorkeling trip out to the stunning setting of the Hong Islands marine reserve, enjoying a picnic linch on the deserted beach before returning to the resort.
In Krabi town, Ruan Thip serves a wide variety of Thai specialties in a fine setting, often with live music. Fine Thai cuisine is featured at Ruan Mai in the picturesque setting of a tropical garden. In Ao Nang, the beachside town, the beachfront Sala Bua & Lo Spuntino offers Italian and Thai cuisine. Stunning panoramic views are a good reason for drinks or dining on traditional Thai at The Hilltop, ideal for sunsets.
When to go?
Visit ideally February to March, or within November to April. April, May, June, and September are off-peak season months, best for avoiding the crowds. The rainy season runs May through October when it's wet about every other day and many businesses close down (the Gulf of Thailand side has about equal number of rainy days, but about half the volume of rainfall). Also consider Koh Yao, in Thailand for an more remote getaway just off of Phuket.
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