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Krabi

Krabi

Krabi (Thai: กระบี่) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand, on the shore of the Andaman Sea. Neighbouring provinces are (from north clockwise) Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, and Trang. Phuket Province lies to the west across Phang Nga Bay. Krabi town is the seat of provincial government.
Krabi Overview
Krabi is the perfect holiday destination for those looking for a relaxing area in southern Thailand. The province, located between Phang Nga and Trang, features stunning scenery both inland and at sea. With over 150 islands off its 150km-long coast line (many of them featuring fantastic white-sand beaches and turquoise waters), a jungle-covered interior, towering limestone cliffs, caves, waterfalls and exotic wildlife, Krabi a great selection of natural assets that offer its visitors a wide array of leisure activities for the whole family. Island-hopping, snorkelling, rock climbing, sea kayaking, jungle trekking and scuba diving, are among the most popular occupations that can be enjoyed while on holiday in Krabi.
 
From its most prominent destinations – Ao Nang, Railay, Phi Phi Islands and Koh Lanta – to its lesser known areas – Ao Luk, Ao Nam Mao, or Ao Thalane, to name just a few - the province of Krabi is less developed and crowded than Phuket, more laid back than Koh Samui, and just 80 minutes by air from Bangkok. With a range of accommodation from budget to deluxe, this idyllic province really is the ultimate destination. Browse your complete travel guide to Krabi, Thailand. Compiled by people who live here, it introduces hotels, tours, beaches, islands, activities, restaurants and all that you need to organise your next vacation in Krabi. 
Krabi History
A southern province on the Andaman seaboard the history of Krabi is rich. Krabi is believed to have the oldest artefacts, proving there to have been a settlement of people dating back to the prehistoric period too. Because this entire region is built up around terrific natural attractions. Limestone cliffs and staggering rock formations. According to records about the history of Krabi it was among these very cliffs where ancient paintings were created and artefacts were made. Also stone tools and beads as well as pottery have all been found in and around Krabi province. Ancient skeletal remains were also found and are now displayed in museums in the South of Thailand.
 
Many Years Ago
Some 200 years ago, Krabi was split into three different boroughs. An elephant kraal was established, supporting a regular supply of elephants. In 1872 however, these districts were merged and King Chulalongkorn elevated the districts to town status. He named the province Krabi, which actually means sword. At that time Krabi was a town dependent on Nakhon Sri Thammarat, a large province of the south. But in 1875, Krabi was raised to a fourth level town in the old system of Thai government. Administrators then reported directly to the central government in Bangkok.
 
Over time, people came to settle in Krabi from different regions, leaving it a place representing a mix of different races. It is said that each group of people represent a different page in the history of Krabi. The Chao Ley or ‘Sea Gypsies’ tended to live on the islands in Krabi’s waters. They traditionally made their living from fishing and diving for their livelihood. These small fishing communities are still visible today. However, danger of overexposure through tourism from the Western culture has forced these communities to live within a world very different from years ago.
 
Chinese Descendants
Probably in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Chinese flocked to Thailand in search of work. Many making their way to southern Thailand. In more recent times, the Chinese involvement has been high within the oil palm plantations and gypsum mining.
 
Despite the assimilation of Chinese people and their descendants with local people over time, many retain vestiges of their Chinese heritage and many can still speak Chinese. Being in close proximity to Malaysia, southern Thailand is also home to many Muslim communities, and Krabi itself has a strong Muslim presence.
 
2004 Tsunami
Finally, Krabi was badly affected by the Tsunami in December 2004. The tsunami hit Thailand’s south west coast along the Andaman Sea, causing devastating destruction. Krabi, along with Phuket and Phang Nga were the hardest hit. Many lives were lost and entire properties and areas destroyed. A credit to Thai culture is the aftermath of the tsunami, whereby the country was resilient and able to persevere damages with intention to rebuild.
 
While the south suffered significant damage, it was able to rebuild quickly compared to neighbouring countries. Within two years virtually all the damage had been removed and many of the affected areas had been rebuilt. A significant amount of safety improvements have been added to the area, which includes tsunami alarms.
Krabi Climate and best time to see
The best time to visit Krabi is between November and March, which is also the peak tourist season. June to October Krabi experiences heavy rainfall and is therefore not frequented by too many tourists. Here's a seasonal break-up for every month so you can plan your trip better: November to mid-March: This is the coolest season in Krabi after the rains are over. With the best weather, naturally, this is also the busiest time with most tourists planning their trips around this period. This is the perfect time to spend the day relaxing on one of the gorgeous beaches in Krabi and enjoying water sports in the calm sea.
 
mid-March to May: These are considered as the hottest months in Krabi just before monsoon hits Thailand. The temperatures vary in the mid-thirties, with humidity levels steadily on the rise. One of the reasons why you should plan a trip in April is to witness the Songkran Festival, the Thai New Year, when people sprinkle water on each other!
 
June to October: Monsoon season in Phuket lasts from May to October. While the weather is humid, the prices are at an all-time low, making this one of the cheapest seasons to plan a trip. Apart from being cost effective, it’s also a peaceful time to visit because it’s not as crowded as the high season. The wettest months are May, September and October, but continuous days of heavy rainfall are rare.
Krabi Transportation
The town of Krabi exists on the coast of Thailand where the Krab River flows out into the Phang Nga Bay. Its biggest industry is tourism, thanks to the city being one of the travel hubs in the country. There is a seemingly endless amount of guest accommodations in the city that sits on Thailand’s mangrove-dotted coast. If you are visiting, there are a few ways to access the city and get around. Here are a few tips on transportation in the area.
 
Getting From the Airport to Krabi Town
There is a bus system that will take you from the airport to Krabi Town. It will also go to a couple of beaches in the area, Ao Nang, and Noppharat Thara Beach. This is the easiest way to access the city from the airport. The bus can also take you from where you are staying back to the airport when it is time to leave. The trip is usually around 45 minutes long and picks you up right in your hotel lobby. It leaves twice a day in the morning.
 
Rent a Motorbike
For a quick and convenient way to get around in Krabi, rent a motorcycle. They are automatic scooters are can be rented for a nominal price to cruise around the beach town. It is the best way to see the countryside in the surrounding province. It is also a good feeling to feel the breeze, just be sure to wear a helmet. The bikes are more appropriate in the country because there are a lot of streets in the town and you will probably be walking everywhere you go. The motorbike rental places are located just off the beach on the road that heads inland.
Things to do and see in Krabi
Railay Beaches & Caves
Railay beach is potentially the most attractive beach in Thailand, accessible only by boat due to the large cliffs on each side cutting it off from the mainland. Here you will find stunning white sand, breath taking views and fantastic limestone cliffs. When you arrive at Railay you will not find any roads or cars because of its cut off location, just a few long tail boats and a couple of bars to spend your evenings in. If you want to really feel away from the world this might just be as good as it gets.
 
Krabi Boat
There are roughly 200 islands sitting just off the Krabi coastline, some are small rocks jutting out of the sea, some are quite a lot larger but still remain uninhabited and some are large islands with many inhabitants living a normal life. You can rent a boat from Krabi town or Ao Nang and explore the islands on your own if you are a keen sailor. Alternatively you can rent a boat that comes with a guide so that you can relax whilst everything is taken care of. The best time of year to go is between November and April to avoid any unpredictable weather.
 
Thung Teao Forest Natural Park
Home to many spectacular plants and animals The Natural Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty, one part that is particularly inspiring is the Crystal Lagoon. Also known as the Emerald Pool, the water is naturally warm and completely clear, you can go for a swim and escape to another world whilst admiring the waterfall. Keep your eye out for the Pita Gurney bird, once thought to be extinct but some have been spotted within the park.
 
Wat Tham Sua
One of Thailand’s natural wonders and certainly worth a visit is this warren of caves that sit within the jungle and house many monks that live and worship here, legend has it that a tiger once lived in the cave which is where the name of the temple originated. The caves can be explored and you will find many icons and relics to take a look at. When you are at the caves you need to make sure you visit the ‘footprint of the Buddha’ it is a climb up 1,237 steps which is no small task but when you get to the top you are rewarded with 360 degree views on the Andaman Sea and the beautiful islands that fall within it.
 
Phi Phi Island
After being used as the film location for the movie ‘The Beach’ The Phi Phi islands shot to fame and the tourists have never stopped coming, you can get there by speedboat which takes about forty five minutes from Krabi mainland. There are two islands, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh, Phi Phi Don is inhabited and is the one where all the tourists flock. Known for its turquoise water and stunning beaches the island really is a tropical paradise. If you are planning on taking a trip leave early in the morning to beat the crowds as it gets very busy.
 
Klong Thom Hot Springs
Set inside beautiful rainforest surroundings are the Krabi Hot Springs. They have been cut into the smooth rocks and the water is provided from deep rooted thermal springs that are located inside volcanic chambers. The water get up to temperatures of forty degrees Celsius and contains natural mineral salts that have many healing properties. You will feel totally relaxed here and if you fancy a cooling swim after there is a stream that you can do this in. The springs are quite close to the Emarald Pool so it is worth combining the two.
 
Khao Khanab Nam
The Khao Khanab Nam Mountains are the most famous landmarks in Krabi, they sit either side of the river and are a real natural wonder. The two mountains sit on top of a large series of caves that have many stalagmites and Stalactites, there are also a large number of human skeletons that could have been from people stranded during a flood. One of the mountains is climbable and offers some excellent photograph opportunities from the top.
 
Koh Lanta Yai
Koh Lanta Yai is an island about two hours away from Krabi Town, it is a small island that stretches about twenty kilometers from end to end. The island is inhabited and home too many guest houses and resorts. The island itself has various beautiful beaches that are often quiet but look absolutely stunning. If you want to relax for a few days this is the place to get away and do it. The prices on the island are still quite low as tourism has not reached the levels of the Phi Phi islands yet. Koh Lanta is home to many diving schools all certified and ready to take you out to see the beautiful marine life and coral the waters have to offer. A bridge is currently being built that will link the island to Koh Lanta Noi giving you even more places to explore.
 
Krabi Town
Unlike many places that you visit on holiday Krabi Town is different, it still receives many tourists but it has not changed itself to pamper to the tourists needs. It has still managed to retain its ‘local’ feel. The river running though the town is always full of fishing boats bringing in their days catches ready for the restaurant tables. The town has a genuine feel to it with its local bars and eating spots to it is worth visiting for that authentic taste of Thailand.
 
Susan Hoi
Dating back to sometime between 25 and 40 million years and sitting on a 200 meters long stretch is a fossilized shell fish cemetery, Limestone deposits in the surrounding water covered the shell fish and fossilized them, it is one of only three cemetery’s like this discovered in the world today. If you like geology then this has to be visited whilst you are in Krabi. There is also a Chinese temple which you can visit as well as mangrove forests in the area.
Krabi Travel Tips
The Thai Baht is the official currency of Thailand. You get a lot of bang for your buck if you’re holding American Dollars, the British Pound or the Euro (which gets you around 35 Thai Baht per Euro depending on the exchange rate).
 
Although Thailand is extremely tourist friendly, it is not card friendly at all. It is best to always have cash on you as most places (including some hotels) will charge you an extra 3% fee on your bill if you pay by card. 
You can also draw cash when you’re in Thailand, but the withdrawal fees are not cheap. The withdrawal fee is 220 Thai Baht (or €6) per withdrawal. All the ATM’s charge the same withdrawal fee except AEON, which is slightly cheaper at 150 Thai Baht (or €4).
 
The only downside is that there aren’t many AEON ATM’s around. They’re normally located at a local mall outside the main town area. Draw as much as you feel comfortable carrying (put some in your hotel safe) since you pay per withdrawal and NOT per amount.

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