A little while ago I was lucky enough to travel around Thailand with Sara and Carmen, and we had an amazing time exploring Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui with Flight Centre. Each of the places we visited had their own character and charm, but the area of Krabi surprised me completely – it was unspoilt in a way you rarely experience in Asia. Although you can’t really say it’s ‘completely undiscovered’ (and after seeing the end of The Beach that doesn’t upset me), compared to other offerings in Thailand it is relatively so. I admit that your first impression of the region isn’t that exciting – the town of Krabi itself is a jumble of bars, dusty streets and tour hawkers. But once you step away from the centre of town and begin to explore the outer reaches – including limestone karst peaks, waterfalls, crystal clear waters and isolated islands – it’s like stepping into another (Jurassic park inspired) world entirely.
When to go
The best time to go to Krabi is from November to April (much like Phuket) when the weather is a little more mild and dry than other times. We actually visited in July and found it fine, although the beaches were a bit rough, even though we were expecting it to be wet. Yes it rained a few times but more in the storm in the afternoon sense than in the bucketing all day sense.
To get there we drove from Phuket, which only took a few hours and cost about $50.00, well worth if it you want to see both Phuket and Krabi. If flying’s your jam, Krabi has an airport that’s super easy to fly in and out of, which we flew out of thanks to Flight Centre to Koh Samui.
After taking a little look around the town of Krabi itself, my advice would be to hop on a boat and head over to Railay Beach, a promontory with a beach on either side which is accessible only by boat due to the high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access. West Railay is the more upmarket side and East Railay the cheap and cheerful side so there are a few hotels to suit all budgets there and honestly, it’s a little slice of heaven. To get there, you can catch a fishing boat from one of the piers, including Ao Nammao which is south of Krabi town. We stayed at Rayavadee and it was absolutely magical! If you want your pennies to stretch a bit further, this hotel and also this one were located right next to Rayavadee and on the nicest section of Railay Beach so I think they would be lovely too.
- Take a hike: I love nothing better than a bit of an explore when on holidays, and so when I read about the climb up from the beach to the top of one of the Limestone Peaks, with a view over the whole area and a gorgeous eerily quiet lagoon, I couldn’t stay away. Located along the cliff facing grove between the Rayavadee Pier and Phranany Cave Beach, the steep climb is a bit daunting at first, but well worth it for the views over the area. I would recommend sturdy shoes and a reasonable level of fitness.
- Sundowners at the Grotto: One of the best things about the Rayavadee the hotel is the grotto bar, a collection of romantic little candlelit tables set in amongst the stalactites of the limestone cliffs. Perfect for a quick sundowner regardless of where you’re staying in the area.
- Go climbing: Krabi has some of the best outdoor rock climbing in Thailand with climbs for all levels, and is definitely a destination for you if you’re into overhangs and vertical walls.
- Visit the islands: You could easily lose a few days visiting the islands around Krabi, book a spot on a long tail boat and head out to Chicken Island to see amazing limestone formations or the Hong Island if you are into wildlife and snorkelling. You can usually find a tour guide to take you at one of the tour shops, or book it through your hotel for a potentially more reliable tour.
There were so many naughty monkeys around, just don’t leave your breakfast unattended
A few little things from my suitcase…
Gorgeous caves around Railay Beach.
Nothing better than laying on the sand.
The view from the top of the climb
The cute little huts at Rayavadee
Best seat in the house!
The Grotto at Rayavadee
Dedicated to the ancient fertility goddess, people come to Princess Cave at the end of the beach to pray for fertility and prosperity, hence the hundreds of phallic shaped statues and offerings.
Breakfast at Rayavadee
Feeling great after our second climb to the top in two days.
There’s something just so mellowing about the coconut palms.
Early morning walks on the beach
All you need for a great holiday – my favourite shorts.
Instaheaven… sign me up.