Once you’ve explored Phuket, it’s a good idea to hire a car and make the two-hour drive to Krabi province. The roads are safe and there are many places to stop along the way, including the stunning Pha Nga bay. You can also take the two-hour ferry ride. Krabi also has an international airport, with convenient flights to and from Bangkok. It attracts plenty of tourist with some of Asia’s most stunning coastal scenery at Ao Nang Beach resort and the more exclusive Railay Beach.
Krabi is much more relaxed than Phuket and offers a good family atmosphere. The town itself is not particularly interesting, but the beaches and islands are popular. The province also has some of the most spectacular scenery in southern Thailand, due to its high limestone cliffs up against white-sand beaches.
Most of the tourism on Krabi is concentrated along Ao Nang. This strip offers a charming boardwalk and good choice of restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. The beach here is also clean and appealing and boasts a stunning back-drop of sheer karst cliffs.
If you visit Krabi, you can’t miss going to Railay beach, which is only accessible by boat (10 minute ride). There are a few resorts sandwiched on this small peninsula which is punctuted at either end by massive blocks of karst limestone. Phra Nang beach is especially gorgeous, with its white sands, turqouise waters and towering rock. Railay and the less swimmable Ton Sai beach nearby, are best known for its superb rock climbing.
North of Ao Nang, Nopparat Thara is a long sandy stretch of beach popular with Thais due to the shade provided by pine trees. It’s a tidal beach and usually empty. Immediately offshore from here are several uninhabited islands, such as Hong Island with its unspoilt beaches and unique lagoon, which are in a designated national park and certainly worth the day trip.
The Phi Phi islands, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh, are part of Krabi province. Most visitors will spend at least a day in Phi Phi and enjoy the spectacular scuba diving and snorkelling. Although hit hard by the 2004 tsunami, Phi Phi has is recovering remarkably fast. You can stay on the main island – which gets crowded – or take a day trip which includes the stunning Maya Bay on Phi Phi lay, as featured in the movie The Beach. Phi Phi can be reached directly by boat from Phuket, with several sailings a day.
Inland, Krabi is typified by coconut plantations among the karst rocks, and here you’ll find the lovely Than Bokkorrani National Park with its fairy tale like ponds and cascades, and the famous Tam Suea (tiger cave) which is south of the town and draws Buddhists and tourists from far.
Another beach option in Krabi province is Koh Lanta, which is a nice getaway with plenty of family-friendly resorts along its lengthy east coast beaches. The scenery isn’t quite as stunning but the beaches, water and vegetation all have that ‘tropical paradise’ appeal. The island can be reached by a three hour ferry ride.