Welcome to Krabi!
The administrative capital of Thailand’s namesake region, Krabi Town is a small city just inland from the coast. It is often overlooked by tourists who flock to the nearby hotspots of Ao Nang or Had Yao. This insider’s guide will show you why Krabi isn’t a place to miss.
While it may lack the stunning beaches of the nearby resorts, this peaceful town offers an excellent place to get an authentic taste of Thailand, away from the crowds. A worldwide local will relish the chance to drop off the tourist radar for a day or two, and will be rewarded with excellent value for money destination!
Where to Begin
Whether you’ve arrived on the Bangkok to Krabi train or just touched down at Krabi Airport, you’ll certainly be ready to explore this fascinating city. Get an early start to explore the Maharaj Morning Market at the heart of the city. This thriving market is at the heart of the local community, where the national anthem is played every morning. Earn kudos amongst the locals and traders by pausing respectfully while this is played! Those feeling fit can then hop in a songthaew jeep for the short ride to the trailhead, which leads to the spectacular Tiger Temple. Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those tourist attractions featuring highly-drugged tigers, but rather a magnificent mountain-side temple offering incredible views across the region. The stairs, all 1,237 of them, are steep, so try to avoid the midday heat.
Worldwide Local Tip: Closer to the city center, although without the spectacular views that Tiger Temple offers, Wat Kaew is a relatively new working temple at the heart of Krabi. In daily use by the largely Buddhist local population, the temple is a great spot for worldwide locals to connect with the local way of life. This is an opportunity that is often lost in the tourist resorts.
Getting Around Town
This city is easily walkable, with few of the main sights more than a 10-15-minute walk from each other--something to keep in mind when you’re deciding where to stay in Krabi. Those planning to explore further afield have the option of booking a taxi through the excellent Grab app, or simply flagging down a passing Songthaew. Essentially a pickup truck with bench seating in the back, this is how local Thais travel, and journeys typically cost just 10-50 Baht. They tend to run on set routes, but they can be flagged down anywhere. Feel free to wave one down and ask if they’re going in your direction, or just stick to walking if you want to make the most out of the lovely Krabi weather.
Worldwide Local Tip: While plenty of Songthaews run from Krabi to Tiger Temple, getting back can be a little trickier. If no trucks are waiting at the end of the trailhead, try walking 1-2 km back towards the main road, where you will find many more Songtheaws running back to Krabi. The ride should cost around 50 Baht each way.
Visit an Incredible Local Landmark
Considered the symbol of Krabi, the twin limestone rocks of Khao Kanab Nam are not only spectacular from the outside but also boast amazing caves within. Simply ask around at the pier for the next boat heading up-stream toward the caves. The ride is approximately 15 minutes and an excellent experience, alone.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you visit over the weekend, check out Krabi’s Walking Street, which opens at 5:30 pm Friday through Sunday. Tasty street food, good value shopping, and a buzzing atmosphere make this a much more authentic version of similar night markets found in the tourist towns.
Eat Like a Local
It’s the prices at the bars and restaurants that will make you truly appreciate how much cheaper Krabi is than the nearby resorts. Similar to other Thailand locations, some of the best food is found on the streets, and the riverfront night market is a great place to start. Grab a cold beer from the 7-11 and enjoy an evening snack on your way along the river. Dishes typically begin at 50 Baht, with most stalls offering menus in English. For those looking to let their hair down, this town is home to several bars aimed towards visitors, expats, and locals alike, many of which offer live music on the weekends.
Worldwide Local Tip: Those seeking a caffeine fix won’t be disappointed with Relax Coffee, near the pier in the center of town. Relax also serves excellent western and Thai style breakfasts, making this a favorite morning hangout for locals and visitors.
Enjoy Your Stay!
While Krabi may lack the stunning beaches of the nearby resorts, it has also escaped the mass tourism and the problems that can go along with it. A worldwide local seeking a taste of the real Thailand--within striking distance of the beaches--will not be disappointed!