Krabi, cliffs, caves and islands
Krabi, a resort town near the Andaman coast
Located approximately 814 kilometers from Bangkok is Krabi Province, one of most attractive destinations in southern Thailand. Encompassing an area of 4,708 square kilometers, the western border of Krabi is the Andaman Sea, the northern borders are Surat Thani and Phang-nga Provinces, the southern borders are Trang Province and the Andaman Sea and the eastern borders are Nakhon Si Thammarat and Trang Provinces. Krabi is an ideal getaway destination teeming with natural attractions including white sandy beaches, fascinating coral reefs, numerous large and small islands and verdant forests with caves and waterfalls.
Krabi is a top destination for beach and islands lovers
Krabi’s topography is mostly mountains and highlands separated by plains in some parts. Flowing through Krabi City to the Andaman Sea at Pak Nam Sub-district is Maenam Krabi which is 5 kilometers in length. In addition, there are several canals originating from the province’s highest mountain range, Khao Phanom Bencha including Khlong Pakasai, Khlong Krabi Yai and Khlong Krabi Noi. Lush mangrove forests line the canals and the banks of Maenam Krabi particularly before it empties into the Andaman Sea. The provinces sandy soil conditions are suitable for growing various agricultural products, particularly rubber trees, palms, coconuts, cashew nuts and coffee.
Due to the influence of the tropical monsoon, there are only two seasons in Krabi; the hot season from January to April and the rainy season from May to December. Temperatures range between 17 C and 37 C.
Krabi is administratively divided into 8 Amphoes (Districts): Amphoe Mueang, Khao Phanom, Khlong Thom, Plai Phraya, Ko Lanta, Ao Luek, Lam Thap, and Nuea Khlong. The provinces jurisdiction covers not only in-land districts and sub-districts, but also extends to more than 130 large and small islands including the world famous Phi Phi Islands.
In addition, Krabi is the location of two world class beaches Ao Nang and Hat Rai Le which offer numerous diving trips, restaurants, shops etc. Additional attractions in the province are stunning limestone cliffs and rock formations which make it a heaven for rock climbers and a National Park located approximately 40 kilometers outside of town with lakes, caves and spectacular natural scenery.
History of Krabi
Some archeologists claim that Krabi City is one of the older settlements in the country as there is archaeological evidence indicating that this area had been home to homosapiens during the prehistoric times or between 25,000 – 35,000 B. C. The assumption has been strongly supported by the discovery of stone tools, ancient colored pictures, beads, pottery and skeletal remains in the provinces cliffs and caves.
In 1200 A.D., the area was known as Ban Thai Samo, one of 12 royal cities that had a monkey as the town symbol. During this period of time, Krabi was under the rule of the Kingdom of Ligor, a city better known today as Nakhon Si Thammarat.
During the reign of King Rama V (1868-1910), the community was known as Pakasai Sub-county and remained under the direct jurisdiction of Nakhon Si Thammarat province.
Around 1872, King Rama V elevated Pakasai Sub-county to Krabi Province with the provincial administration office situated at Krabi-yai Sub-county (currently, the office is located near the estuary at Pak Nam Sub-district) and in 1875, ordered the separation of Krabi Province from Nakhon Si Thammarat Province.
During the present reign, the corps of civil servants, merchants, and the people of Krabi and nearby provinces have collectively organized the construction of a royal residence at Laem Hang Nak Cape which is thirty kilometers west of Krabi Town on the Andaman coast to be presented to His Majesty the King.
Origin of the name Krabi
There are two legends concerning the origin of the name “Krabi”. The first is that villagers presented a large ancient sword (or krabi) that was discovered by chance to the governor. Later when a smaller, on discovering a smaller one, it was also presented to the governor. Regarded as sacred and auspicious, the governor decided to keep them in the province. As the process for the establishment of the province was still in progress, the swords were placed crossing each other in Khao Khanap Nam cave. Since then, the crossed swords have remained a part of the provincial seal.
The second legend is that “Krabi” was derived from the name of a local tree known as “Lumphi”. The Malay and Chinese merchants mispronunciation of the name to “Ka-lu-bi” or “Kho-lo-bi” finally resulted in “Krabi” (or sword).
Direct connections are by air, road and sea from other parts of Thailand.
Krabi International Airport (KBV) is about 10 km from the city limits, 15km from city centre. It is 40km from Ao Nang and 23km from Had Yao.
- Thai Airways www.thaiairways.com, Air Asia www.airasia.com operate daily direct flights to/from Bangkok.
To/from Ko Samui
- Bangkok Airways www.bangkokair.com, operate flights to Koh Samui.
- Destination Air Shuttle www.destinationair.com, Thailand’s only Seaplane service also routinely flies in and out of Krabi (Au Nang) from Phuket and to a numerous outer islands.
To/from outside Thailand
- Air Asia www.airasia.com has daily flights to/from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
- Tiger Airways www.tigerairways.com flies to/from Singapore 4 times a week.
The international departure tax surcharge is 700 baht but is included in most tickets now; domestic departure tax is included in the price of the flight.
National Car Rental has a branch at the airport; motorcycle taxi rides are available outside the terminal. Krabi Limousine (tel. +66-75692073) has a desk inside the terminal and provides “limousine taxi” (using large air-conditioned sedans) transport to Krabi for 500 baht; Ao Nang for 800 baht; Phuket for 2500 baht. travelkrabi.com offers taxi and minibus (minivans) for less however travellers have to make deposit payment of 200 baht online via credit card. AsiaReservations.net, a local travel agent, arrange private car transfers to Ao Nang for THB 550
Getting to/from airport: An airconditioned airport bus service links the airport with Krabi Town, Ao Nang and Noppharat Thara Beach. Fares are 90baht to Krabi and 150 baht to Ao Nang/Noppharat Thara. Buses meet all flight arrivals. For times to the airport, see Ao Nang page.
Songthaews run from Krabi Town to the airport and cost 40 baht. Going to the airport, they will drop you at the departure terminal. From the airport, you will have to walk out and catch them along the main road to Krabi, a distance of about 200m.
Krabi does not have a railway station. Most travellers head to Surat Thani and transfer onto buses to Krabi from there. See the Surat Thani page for train times and the “By Bus” section below for bus connections between Krabi and Surat Thani.
To/from Bangkok: Buses to/from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal (tel. +66-24351199) take about 12 hours and depart as follows:
- VIP bus at 07:20 (710 baht)
- First class bus at 19:00 (486 baht)
- Second class bus – 07:30, 19:00, 19:30, 21:00 – 378 baht
Please note: Prices change, this information is quite old, expect about 100-200B increase In Krabi, buses arrive/depart from the bus terminal at Taladkao, about 5km north of town.
To/from Surat Thani: Buses run from Krabi’s bus terminal at Taladkao. Buses connect Krabi with Surat Thani with connections to ferries to Ko Samui and the other islands). Choose your ticket carefully – the trip should take no more than three hours, but some travellers have endured ridiculous ten hour rides (giving thieves ample time to go through the bags underneath the bus) which included extensive “repair stops” right in front of restaurants coincidentally affiliated with the bus company… such hassles can be avoided by using state/government-run BKS buses instead of dodgy private operators.
To/from Phuket: Shuttle buses run between Krabi airport and Phuket airport several times a day. There are also regular buses that make the 2 hour run.
To/from Ao Nang: White-coloured songthaews run from Krabi Town to Ao Nang via Klong Jilard, Sai Thai, Ao Nang Junction Village and Noppharat Thara Beach. Fares 50 baht during the day until 18:00, 60 baht between 18:00 and 22:00. They run every ten minutes during the day and every 30 minutes after 18:00. In Krabi, songthaews depart from in front of the 7-Eleven on Thanon Maharat.
Krabi is located just off Highway 4. It is 946km south of Bangkok, 180km by road to Phuket, and 70km to Phang Nga.
Ferries run from/to Ko Phi Phi, Ko Jum and Ko Lanta daily. Most depart in the morning. Tickets can be purchased at the dock or from tourist offices and most local guesthouses and hotels. The normal passenger ferry does not start from the center of town anymore, but from a new passenger port about 3 km outside Krabi. Free taxi transfer to the pier should be included in the price of your ticket. If your boat starts from the old piers in the center of town (Chao Fah pier or Phi Phi pier), you are most likely on a more expensive and longer tourist boat ride. Also, make sure that when you arrive at the airport the taxi driver takes you to the correct pier. Many times they’ll take you to a travel agent near the old pier and sell you additional accommodations or services. Only ever buy the ticket you need. Prices will often get cheaper the closer you get to your next destination.
Ferry tickets to Ko Phi Phi are 450 baht when purchased from a travel agent.
The large displayed time-tables in the many travel agencies are just for show and the times are not to be taken literally. Ask. As of July 2007, there were two ferries a day from Krabi to Ko Phi Phi a day: 9am and 2:30pm. They add additional ferries during high-season.
The pier at Klong Jilad, for ferries to and from Ko Phi Phi has a taxi desk with posted prices: 150 baht to Krabi town, and 350 baht to the airport.