Krabi is a wonderful area in Southern Thailand, not far from Bangkok, and with speedy links to some spectacular beaches for the island-hoppers among you.
I’ll be running through the best places to stay in Krabi, whether you’re after a friendly hostel, dinky B&B or a luxe hotel. This is a great destination for every traveller, as there are areas to suit all personalities and travel styles; from the hustle and bustle of Krabi Town to the deserted beaches on nearby islands, this part of Thailand has something for all.
Krabi is technically a province, home to a collection of stunning beaches, teeny islands and mangrove forests. It’s a very easy area to get around making it super tourist-friendly.
If you hop on a bus (expect what is essentially an open-air cart attached to a car!) you can enjoy the breezy ride to nearby Railay Beach. For something quieter, Ao Nang is a lovely little place to head for a day or two, especially if you’re on a solo adventure. Krabi is also just a short boat trip away from several nearby islands too, so makes a great base for those on longer trips – there’s nothing like an island-hopping weekend to polish off the week!
First up is Krabi Town. Krabi Town is packed with cool food markets, quirky stalls and one of the best night markets around. If you’re a foodie, get yourself down to the centre and feast on all the Thai goodies you can handle!
The town centre is nicely compact, so you won’t find yourself having to walk too far to the 7-Eleven, the glorious array of restaurants and even the karaoke bars. The town is very laid back – you’re likely to see lots of other tourists wandering around, but it’s a calmer vibe down this part of Thailand. Unlike some of the busier areas like Bangkok and Phuket, there’s no haggling or hustling in the streets. Locals tend to be very friendly without the usual flurry of salesmen with bags of bracelets and sarongs! This makes Krabi town the perfect spot to enjoy some downtime and stock up on the essentials before heading off to a nearby island for some R&R.
While you’re in Krabi town, head to the night market by the river. It’s home to rows of stalls, each boasting steaming pans of goodness of classic Thai eats. Meet other travellers here and bond over Chang beer or a fruit shake.
If you’d rather visit a restaurant, make it Coconuts – this cafe and bar offers amazing Thai cuisine, as well as European delights. It’s well-priced and very friendly. May & Mark‘s is another fantastic find, right in the centre of Krabi Town. This is a popular choice among tourists, thanks to its comfy seats, aircon and free wifi. The fact that their brunch menu is mouth-wateringly good is a positive, too!
For the Backpacker
Wondering where to stay in Krabi Town?
Chanchalay Hip Hostel is one of the best places to stay in Krabi for a budding backpacker, thanks to its cheap rooms and friendly vibes. Those travelling alone will have no trouble finding new buddies here. You can choose what size room you’d like, or just book yourself a budget private room. Free wifi is available to all guests, as are comfy beds and clean bathrooms. This hostel is in a great location for those wanting to unwind in the city area – it’s not too noisy but still within walking distance of the most popular attractions. Highly recommended for those wanting a pleasant place while still trying to save a few dollars. Best rates here!
For the Budget Traveller
Travelling on a budget doesn’t have to mean grotty beds and dingy hallways! Dee Andaman Hotel proves that you can enjoy a slice of luxury without splashing out too much.
You’ll fall in love with the pool here, especially during the hot, sticky days. You can even grab a massage during your stay, or just make the most of relaxing in the sun in the stunning garden area. Rooms are cheap, with various options available, all of which include WiFi. Despite housing a large number of rooms, Dee Andaman offers a quiet break from it all. Ideal for budget traveller couples or those who aren’t too keen on the hostel life. Best rates here.
For the High Roller
Family Tree Hotel might just take the top spot on the best places to stay in Krabi. Choose from a private balcony, garden view or huge ‘Deluxe Suite’ and get settled into a life of luxury. The rooms are all spacious and airy, with quirky additions in their common areas, such as hanging plants, stylish graffiti and light features. The great thing about Thailand is you can experience luxury without going bankrupt, and the Family Tree is no exception. This hotel is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy the finer things in life while still embracing Krabi’s traditions and energy. Get the best rates here.
Quirky little Ao Nang is a must-see place when visiting Krabi. Yep, it’s touristy and, yep, it doesn’t initially seem like a Thai paradise, but just give it time. This hub of activity will quickly grow on you, with fun bars and restaurants dotted around. The beach might be studded with tourists but don’t let that put you off, the waters here are great for a dip and you’re bound to make new friends while sipping on a Chang (or a coconut!)
While you’re in Ao Nang, why not get adventurous with a day of rock climbing? Choose from a half- or full-day of climbing over the cliffs of Railay. There are different sessions dependent on your abilities, with the options of climbing and belaying. This is a great way to take in the incredible views of Krabi while trying something new – or an amazing new place to build on your existing experience. Just remember to take plenty of water and sunscreen as it gets very hot! This is really popular and one of the must-do’s if you’re down this part of the country.
Ao Nang is also a great place to hop on a cruise. There are companies that take you on a sightseeing trip, complete with snorkelling masks, stand-up paddleboards and kayaks. What better way to explore?
For the Backpacker
Looking for a backpacker friendly spot in Ao Nang? Look no further than Balcony Party Hostel. Three little words we all love to hear when backpacking.
This hostel is a total gem, set in the perfect location for a night on the town. The dorms are all really well priced and come with a plug socket and light by every bed. There’s a free BBQ-hour every day, so those travelling alone will have plenty of opportunities to meet other people. The balcony itself is, of course, the ideal spot to enjoy views of the Krabi ocean.
For the Budget Traveller
One of the best places to stay in Krabi, Ao Nang Cliff View Resort is home to spacious rooms, a luxurious pool and peaceful surroundings. In the daytime, Ao Nang is full of boozy tourists and it can be hard to see the town for the friendly, traditional Thai gem it is. The classic Thai buildings at this resort will help you immerse yourself in the ways of Thailand, so embrace it all at one of the best Krabi beach hotels. There’s a fantastic restaurant on-site if you don’t fancy leaving the resort (and I wouldn’t blame you for that!) You’ll be living in the jungle during your stay here, so make the most of the peace and quiet while topping up your tan.
For the High Roller
Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas is undoubtedly one of the best places to stay in Krabi. Choose from an ocean-facing room and take in the views or enjoy some privacy in the luscious gardens. Whichever room you pick, you’re guaranteed an incredible stay here. This is one of the best resorts in Krabi, thanks to its stunning surroundings and total calm. The best bit? The resort is located in its own private bay, giving you access to the best beach in Krabi! You’ll also be free to make the most of the resort’s facilities, be it their spa, fitness centre or hot tub. Luxury.
Crystal clear waters, cragged limestone peaks shooting up from the azure waves and a hub of marine life. Railay Beach is the water-lover’s dream come true. Move a little further away from the main drop-off point and bag a spot of white sand to relax on. You can take a boat here from Ao Nang for the day, or stay a couple of nights in some of the best resorts in Krabi. There aren’t really backpacker options on this island, sadly – this place is pristine and many tourists are willing to pay a lot of money to spend time here.
While you’re at this little paradise hub, head up to the viewpoint! This cliff-top area offers stunning views of the little island, as well as further out back towards Ao Nang and Krabi Town. It’s not the easiest walk to do in flip flops, unfortunately, so watch your step and power on up. While on the island, why not rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak? There are lots of little stalls along the beach where you can rent watersports kit.
Those feeling brave should take a trip to the lagoon. While notoriously tricky to reach, Railay Lagoon is well worth the climb if you’re feeling bold. This trail isn’t suitable for young children, due to slipepry slopes and shaky bamboo ladders. If you feel like giving it a go, you’ll be rewarded with scenes out of a utopic movie – expect lush greenery, murky emerald waters and craggy rocks. You can take a dip here or simply admire the Jurrasic Park-style scenery…
For the Budget Traveller
Avatar Railay Resort offers up class and luxury without the huge price tag. Choose from a room or villa, with the option of a pool-side bedroom! The rooms themselves are relatively basic, with WiFI available and TVs in some of them (check when booking!). But the real treasure here are the outdoor areas. Enjoy rainforest surroundings, a huge pool and peace and quiet. This island might be bustling with day-trippers, but early mornings and evenings when the boats have left are the best times to wander around. This has to be one of the absolute best Krabi beach hotels out there, so book a few nights and be prepared for a pampering.
For the High Roller
For those who are happy to splash the cash, do so at Railay Village Resort. This stunning resort is home to a range of rooms, from those with a private jacuzzi to those with direct access to the huge pool area. Rent a whole villa, if you feel like it! This resort is mainly aimed at those on romantic getaways, so you can look forward to impeccable customer service, breathtaking surroundings and beauty at every turn. If you can handle the heat, hop in the steam room and make the most of the resort’s amazing facilities.
General Tips for Krabi
Book your accommodation before you go! Krabi is very popular with travellers and tourists, so can get really busy during high season (Oct – Mar). Check online for the best deals and book in advance. Of all the booking sites, I’ve always found Agoda gives you the best rates throughout Thailand (of course feel free to shop around). While part of the thrill of travelling can be turning up with nothing booked and only a bag on your back, in Krabi it certainly pays to plan ahead.
Another thing – keep small change on you. Krabi is full of quirky little market stalls, so it’s a good idea to keep small change on you – nobody wants to be paying for a mango with a wad of cash. Lots of little trinkets will probably catch your eye during the day so it’s nice to be prepared. Keep small notes on you for viewpoints, too, as there are often people with donation or collection buckets on the trails.
Lastly, be open-minded. Parts of Krabi can feel very Westernised at first sight, and it’s easy to be a bit put off. Give yourself time to settle in and fall into the Thai way of life – there’s a lot more authenticity to Krabi than the flat whites, 7-Elevens and late-night bars suggest. Search a little deeper and don’t be afraid to really get stuck in.
Other than that, be safe and enjoy. Krabi is a magical place 😉