Ao nang and Railay beach, Krabi Thailand
Krabi is a small town located in southern Thailand. With around 25 000 inhabitants, Krabi itself doesn’t have that many attractions. But gets its fame because the stunning nearby beach and islands. Some people use Krabi as a base, from which they can explore the many paradise-like islands or continue to Railay Bay. When people talk about Krabi, they usually referring to Ao Nang, Railay or the province in general. An area that is an absolute must in your southern Thailand route, and a personal favorite of mine.
Spending one or two nights in Krabi is not a bad idea, it can be a good way to know the life of this small Thai town. Renting a bike or car to explore the area can be a pretty good experience. However few people stay in the city of Krabi itself for a long time. Because Ao Nang and other areas feature plenty of nice and cheap hotel locations, located just in front of the beaches.
How to get to Krabi, Thailand?
Krabi has a fairly big airport about 7 km from the city, where several companies like Air Asia or Bangkok Airways fly to and from Bangkok, Krabi, etc.
A taxi from the airport to the city of Krabi can costs 500 baht or even more, as Taxis are not metered you might have to discuss a deal with the Taxi driver. There are also buses or vans that travel for about 150 baht and go straight to Ao Nang. If you want you can book the airport pickup from Krabitaxi.com. You can also take the train from Bangkok to Surathani and from there take a van or bus to Krabi. Krabi is well connected by bus with all cities and most towns in southern Thailand.
Reach Krabi town from Ao Nang takes about 15 minutes driving. It is a small tourist town full of hotels, sea food restaurants, travel agencies, souvenir shops and massage parlors. It has a fairly long and good looking beach, although not many people choice to swim or sunbath in this beach. The landscape is generally pleasant, and i noticed that there isn’t that many people in this area. As compared to Phuket. In Phuket the general feel is not as pleasant as Krabi. Sometimes one can feel like in a sardine box, with it’s many heaps of tourists… Here in Krabi i didn’t got that feeling at all. Even on the night when the scorching sun hides, there isn’t that many tourist walking in Ao Nang, so this is big points in my book. The really cheap but good accommodation is one of the strong points of Ao Nang. I had a 4 star hotel that felt like a 5 star, with the price of a 3 star, which i must say left me pretty satisfied. The variety of restaurants and services was also good. Thai food, Italian food, sea-food restaurants, McDonald’s, Pan’s and company. A little bit of everything.
There are also plenty of tours and links to islands (like Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Phuket, etc.) or tours coming and going to the Railay peninsula. I can recommend these kind of Island tours, they pack a lot of short visits, with plenty of opportunity for photography and discover the Krabi province islands.
All in all Ao Nang can be an almost perfect place to stay and dine while spending the day hiking in the islands or other areas. As a kind of base for touristy field.
In town transportation
From Krabi town “Songtaews” (car pick ups) depart to Ao Nang for 40 baht. You can also take the occasional Tuk Tuk. From the airport there is a bus that can take you for around 150 baht.
In theory, all year long there’s a ferry going from Ao Nang to Koh Phi Phi (2 hours and 500 baht) for those who want to stay overnight on the island other ferry’s leave the beach side of Ao Nang, Hat Nopparat, to the island of Koh Lanta (2 hours and 30 minutes) to Phuket (3 hours). During the rainy season (June-October) chances are there is would be only one ferry per day, so better ask ahead. Also there’s more info about the schedules of the boats in Andaman Island Hopping.
Railay: A small paradise
Railay is a peninsula surrounded by cliffs that prevent access by land, it can only be reached by sea. Railay is one of those places i strongly recommend visiting, especially if Krabi is also part of your trip around Thailand.
Railay feature three pretty beaches that you will find spectacular, where you can relax, sunbathe or do various activities such as rent kayaks to explore the area. Railay is one of the most famous destinations for rock climbing in Thailand. The many surrounding cliffs (some 300 meters high!). Offer plenty of climbing routes.
Reaching Railay from Ao Nang is fairly easy, the famous Long-tail Boats (Thai boats) constantly come and go towards Railay, the journey only takes 15-20 minutes and costs around 100 Thai Bath.
Going to Phi-Phi from Krabi
While at Krabi, is imperative to go and see the really beautiful beaches of the bay. The most famous excursion is the one that goes to the island of Koh Phi Phi, the island of the movie “The Beach”. If you are going to go to this island,get assured that the particular tour you are hiring will stop in Maya Beach (the featured beach of Leonardo Di Caprio movie “The beach”) at a time when there are not that many ship’s making a stop-over, it would make quite a difference.
Other tours can take you to islands like Koh Hua Khwam, Koh Poda, Koh Taloo, Koh Hong, Koh Rai, Koh Pakiba, bamboo-island, etc… These kind of tours, usually begin in the morning, and finish at middle afternoon. They include hotel pickup, lunch, snorkeling, and all the transportation required in the island hoping. Just don’t forget to bring sun-bathing lotion, as the sun can be really unforgiving here.
Krabi outlived its fame, and definitively did deliver a pleasant holiday. The only inconvenience i could find in the whole trip was transportation from the Airport, Airport Taxi surely was overpriced…but then again, this is a common problem of many of the world airports. But apart from that, everything else, went smoothly fine. The beaches were amazing, the food and services great, and Thailand people very friendly and warm, as always. I absolutely recommend visiting Krabi.