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Krabi
 
Only the beaches surrounded by bizarre rock formations are already worth a visit. Besides this the water is crystal clear, the underwater world is fascinating and there are many secluded bays on the many smaller offshore islands. To those vacationers can get with a long tail boat for just a couple of Baht. The boats are leaving from all the main beaches around Krabi. Not to be missed is the back country. Near the provincial town of Klong Thom lies on of the last lowland rainforests of south Thailand with magnificent natural pools as well as hot springs that flows into a natural Jacuzzi. At the city border of Krabi lays a mountain monastery built into a limestone mountain and is a frequently used excursion destination for locals. Kayaking through the mangrove forests and diving around the offshore islands are getting more and more popular.
 
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The city of Krabi itself is a small town in south Thailand with a population of only 25,000 people. Phuket and Koh Phi Phi (Phi Phi Islands) are not far away and can be reached within a short time. The Krabi River that is originating in the Phanom Bencha Mountain flows through the city into the Andaman Sea. Due to his central position in the southern part of Thailand, it is no surprise that the tourism industry is the key economy of the region. One reason is the good infrastructure with many shopping centres, supermarkets, 3 hospitals and gut developed streets.

The province consists of about 4,700 square kilometres and some famous islands like Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta are part of it. The province has a total of 160 kilometres of coast line. It is assumed that Krabi was already inhabited by prehistoric men about 25,000 to 35,000 years B. C. Findings that had been made in this region, confirm this assumption. The highest mountain of the province is the Khao Phanom Bencha with 1,350 meters. The 150 offshore islands are only accessible via boats, which is limiting the total number of tourists on the island group and protects the natural beauty of them. The bigger part of the province, with its beaches and islands are in the Hat Noppharat Thara- Koh Phi Phi National Park which gives an additional protection to the area.
 
Beaches
Besides the two main beaches along the coast of Krabi are the wonderful beaches of the offshore islands more than just an alternative.

Ao Phra Nang (Ao Nang)
Ao Nang itself is the actual centre of Krabi with many hotels, boutiques, little supermarkets, a huge variety of restaurants with local and also international delicacies, travel agencies, diving shops and a good seafront. The main part where the seafront is situated there many boats are landing and therefore the conditions here are not suitable for swimming. But only a few meters further away it is possible again. Except for the Krabi Resort, which is expensive is no hotel located directly at the beachfront.

Hat Nopparat Thara

The Hat Nopparat Thara is a long stretched beach that especially appropriate for beach walking. Along the coast there are many little cook- shops inviting for a picnic. There you can find many delicacies meals and drinks for a very reasonable price which will be served with an ice bucket and a mat.

Railay (Rai Leh)

The wonderful strands of Railay are lying in the picturesque bay, completely surrounded by steep solid rocks. The attractive landscape is only reachable by boat; there are no streets on this peninsula. The in our opinion best beach is the Phra Nang Beach with a cave directly at the sea and impressive dropping stalactites. Here and on Phi Phi Islands are unique limestone cliffs that draw climbers from all parts of the world into this province. The Railay peninsula lies not far from the Ao Nang beach (15 minutes by boat) and Krabi town (50 minutes by boat) in the Andaman Sea. Railay and its beaches are only accessible by boat.

Koh Poda & Chicken Island
Chicken Island and Koh Poda are small offshore islands that can be reached a few Bath with a long tail boat from Railey or Ao Nang within only 20 minutes. The beaches appeal great and also snorkelling is possible. The sand banks around the islands are spectacular and ideal to relax and laze.

Klong Muang & Tub Kaek
For those who are looking for a secluded and quiet beach there are two options available: Klong Muang is a little bit more developed and offers already for some time a few accommodations and smaller restaurants. Tab Kaek is still a new travel destination and here holiday makers have to rely on the hotel restaurant. Both beaches are about 45 – 60 minutes away of Krabi town, from Ao Nang it takes less than 20 minutes.
 
Activities & sight-seeing
In and around the region is a wide choice of activities available as for example kayaking through mangrove forests, with a sailing boat through the Andaman Sea, snorkelling in front of the coasts, island hopping to Koh Lanta and Phi Phi Islands, sight- seeing around Krabi town and climbing up the steep rocks of Railay.

Phang Nga Bay
The Phang Nga Bay is especially famous due to the many karst stone formations rising up from the turquoise coloured waters. The James Bond Island, famous due to the movie, lies also in this bay. Tour packages can be booked in nearly all travel agencies in Krabi town. These packages include some nice sections of the Phang Nga Bay and there will be some stops at secluded beaches and bays for picnic and snorkelling.

Koh Hong
Koh Hong lies north from Krabi and means translated from the Thai language „Room Island“. The island got its name by reason of the small lake in the middle of the island. The lake is accessible from the sea through a small pass. Around the lake are high limestone formations shooting up into the sky with many caves to be find. The access to the lake is only possible by high tide, during low tides the lake is separated from the sea. The island has a beach called Pelay Beach and has white sand to offer surrounded by amazing scenery. The remoteness of the island gives it a special flair. There are no accommodations on Koh Hong, given that there is a general forbiddance for overnight stays. The voyage from Ao Nang will take with a long tail boat about an hour.

Islands
The about 150 islands in the province of Krabi are mostly only accessible via boat. Besides the familiar and quite big islands of Phi Phi (45 minutes with the speed boat) and Koh Lanta (Noi & Yai) are some smaller islands like Tup, Hicken or Poda Island worth a visit. Apart from sun bathing and swimming along the beaches is exploring the inland and underwater world considered as an attractive alternative.

Klong Thom Spring & Emerald Pool Our Tip
70 kilometres south of Krabi is the hot spring named Klong Tom near the Khao Phra Bang Khram nature reservation. The spring water is coming from deep under the earth and has a temperature of about 35-40 degrees on the surface. The nature has formed its own basins which are ideal for taking a mineral bath. The minerals of the spring promises to have healing effects on joints and skin troubles. Not far away from the spring is the Emerald Pool consisting out of pure spring water. The colour of the water has an uncommon turquois green note. Swimming is possible, although the water temperature might be a little bit low.

Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Suea)
About 3 kilometres north of Krabi is the Tiger Cave Temple built into the Ao Luk Thanu limestone mountain. The place is often visited by locals that form their sorrows and wishes into prayers. Around 300 monks are living in this amazing temple and taking care of the complex. To get to the temple vistors have to walk many steps before reaching the compound. The view from up there is breath-taking and forgives for the long way up. Then there are even more limestone caves around the temple, some of the with old rock paintings which can be marvelled.

Kayaking
During a kayak tour through the province of Krabi is a lot waiting to be discovered. There are several places of interest as for example the Krabi River, the nearby mangrove forests, stalactite caves or the many offshore islands and bays.

Rock climbing
Krabi is famous for its challenging and interesting mountain scenery. Particular the area around Railay and Thong Sai are noted for they good climbing spots. There are sections both for beginners and advanced athletes available and the security equipment is in good condition. Due to the fact that the beaches are only approachable from the water, the landscape is still in its natural beauty.

Markets & Shopping opportunities
In Krabi are two night markets, one near the pier and the other one in the city centre. The many vendors along the markets are selling their traditional Thai dishes and various candies with strange and sometimes strong aroma and colours. During the dry season westerners will find also some specialities like the durian fruit, which cannot convince everyone with its smell. There are also exceptional smells on the morning market that is closing already around 8 a.m. For those who can get up early will see a hustle and bustle and much to discover and try. Another place set up for western needs is Ao Nang. Here are many restaurants serving western meals, the prices are accordingly higher in general. In all the many little shops and vendors along the seafront chances are high that vacationers will find a small present for the loved ones at home.
 
Getting there & getting around
The fastest way to get from Bangkok to Krabi is with a direct flight. This is also the most expensive way. For those who are short with time, should choose a flight. Also a flight to Koh Samui and Phuket is possible. An alternative is the train journey from Bangkok to Surat Thani and further with a Bus to Krabi. These joint transfers will take about 15 hours. There also are VIP vans heading from the popular places in Bangkok to Krabi. The journey will take about 12 hours.

For those who are already in south Thaialnd can reach Krabi within a couple of hours. From Phuket or Khao Lak the private transfer will take about 2 to 3 hours and will lead through the spectacular sandstone mountains of the Phang Nga province.

In the city and surrounding beaches are the well-known Songthaews the best mode of transportation. For those who want to be flexible can lend a motorbike for about 300 Baht per day.
 
Climate
The best time to visit the island is between November and May with nearly no rainfall and not to hot temperatures. The weather is often good and stable till the end of July with some sporadic rain showers during the afternoon and evenings. From August onwards till the end of October the rainfall increases and it can be rainy for some days in a row. The advantages of the low season (Mai – end of October) are the cheaper costs for hotels and package tours. In addition the region is getting quieter with less tourists and therefore less long tail boats in this area.

A real tip are the months from Mai till June with low season prices but good weather conditions and nearly no rain.
 
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updated: 04.06.2011
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