For most, it is a transit point on the way to Koh Lanta or the Phi Phi Islands, or worse, is totally bypassed, but Krabi has so much to offer travelers from cheap good quality accommodation to incredible food and nature options. Whether you make it a stopover or taking a couple days, here are some things to do that are sure to please, without breaking the bank.
Snag some Good Accommodation
Krabi is the perfect place recoup. Every time I am here, I am stunned at the high quality accommodation you can get at really low prices. As travelers, it is important that we treat ourselves once in a while and what better place to do it than in Krabi where you can find air-conditioned rooms with comfortable beds, TV, and fast wifi for the same price that mosquito infested shack on the islands. For the budget minded traveler I highly recommend Baan Sabaibee Guesthouse Hotel which comes with all of the above mentioned for $15 per night, not to mention the wonderfully sweet lady who runs the hotel who is full of great tips and endless smiles. If you are looking for a little more luxury their sister hotel Baan Andaman runs approximately $30 per night. I have also stayed at Orange Tree House for about $22 a night which is great if you want to be in the action of the weekend night market featured next. All of these can be booked on agoda.com which I find to be the best booking site for Asia.
Check out the Markets
Krabi boasts some of the best markets. The main attraction is the Weekend Market, which runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from about 5pm to 10pm and is conveniently located in town. This is the biggest, and best night market in my opinion, so if you can plan to be here on one of those days definitely check it out. There is incredible seafood, noodles, grilled meats, and even cocktails served in bamboo stalks to name just a few. There is a second smaller night market which runs daily near the riverfront which is more low key and a great place to check out local life and grab some delicious cheap eats. Lastly, their is the morning market which in also located in town and is fun to check out for some yummy local breakfast. For more info on the markets with directions and more details check out krabi info.
The Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve-Emeral Pools/Crystal Pools, & Hot Springs
The Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve is approximately 60km south of Krabi town. You can join a tour ($40), rent a motorbike to get there ($6) or hire a driver, which cost about $12 per person or $30 per tuk-tuk. If you are confident on a motorbike, I highly recommend this! Also note that there are a lot of signs to lead your way so the attractions are very easy to find and any guesthouse will give you a map with directions if desired. It was so freeing and fun on the bike and is the cheapest option. Also, not being part of a organized tour allowed us to have more freedom to enjoy the attractions on our own schedule and in a more intimate setting, however note if you are not part of a tour you must pay the $6 entrance fee at the pools and $3 at the hot springs. You can experience all three in about 5-6 hours.
The Crystal/Emerald Pools are great for swimming, with pleasant temperatures and beautiful clear spring water, however, remember Krabi is a Muslim providence so wearing loose clothing for swimming and not exposing too much skin is the appropriate conduct. We saw a large man in a speedo, and women in bikinis this time, which provoked many negative looks and Thai students on a field trip to cringe and joke. (Not culturally appropriate people, have some common sense.)
A short walk up from the Crystal Pools and there is a blue pool which is a really a site to see. Fresh spring water with a unique mineral profile giving the water a strikingly neon blue appearance.
Next you can check out the hot springs which are naturally carved into smooth mineral pools, perfect for relaxing. $3 admission, worth every penny and just a couple kilometers away from Emerald Pools.
Next head to Tiger Temple, its free! If on a motorbike, its on the way back towards Krabi from the pools. You can do this as part of your itinerary with your driver or tour, or if coming from Krabi Town, you can opt to hop on one of the local buses/trucks for a about $1, just ask the locals or your hotel what color truck goes there. Check out the Monkeys who play like children on the playground at the base of the temple.
For the more athletic, take the 1,238 steps up to the top temple, or take the lower path and check out the Forest Temple and Cave. I recently just climbed the stairs and can say it felt good to get some exercise and see the view from the top, however, I could barely walk the next day I was so sore, so depending on how athletic you are, do what is right for you.
At the base of the mountain there is a trail that leads to a cave. Make sure the keep your eye out for the incredible houses of the monks which are built right into the side of the mountain using small natural caves as foundation. There is also a beautifully painted Buddha on one of the cave walls, acting as the forest temple.
Give the day the perfect ending with a short ride to Ao Nang Beach for sunset. Grab a cold beer and soak in the day.
As you can see, even with just a day in Krabi, you can experience a world of great food, amazing nature, and incredible temples. Too often I hear of travelers skipping Krabi in favor of going to straight to the islands, but I say, take a day to recoup and take in some great activities along the way. Hope you enjoy Krabi and see why it is much more than just a stopover!
Are there any places you have loved but have noticed get skipped? What would you recommend?