The provincial center of Krabi province, Muang Krabi, or as it is widely referred, Krabi Town, is no longer the quiet little town that travelers of the late 20th century once described. With a wide array of accommodations, international and local range of dining options, Krabi Town is an ideal spot for a transit stopover to the various jewels of Krabi province, or for a few days stay to experience a genuine Thai scene, you are sure to find plenty of things and places to see and do in and around Krabi Town.
Throughout the town there are plenty of budget to midrange hotels and guesthouses that are very reasonable in comparison to the higher priced beach side equivalents. For this reason, many travelers choose to stay in Krabi Town, which is a short drive and/or boat ride to many beaches and islands.
Along Khong Kha and Ut-ta-ra-kit roads, running parallel to the Krabi River are dozens of places ranging from 500 to 1000 baht for basic rooms. Located within easy access of the Jao Fah Pier, this area is ideal for travelers on transit to Phi Phi, Lanta and other Krabi sea and river destinations. As the area around (leading towards) the pier can become quite congested and lively with traffic and tourists, peace and quietness are no guarantee, though there are many nice rooms with river and/or sea view worth checking out.
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While not a haven for tourist attractions, Krabi Town is ideal for those seeking a ‘feel’ of the local lifestyle, food and culture.
Typical of all Thai towns and cities are the daily and periodic flea markets. For early birds, there’s the daily morning fresh market located on soi 9 of Maharat road. Locals wake up before dawn every morning to buy, sell and trade fruits, vegetables, raw and cooked meats, and other goods – some living in Krabi Town, others commuting from their rural homes. Make sure you wake up early, as most of the market action takes place between 6 and 8 am.
After sunset till about 9pm, every evening, the night market on soi 10 of Sukhon road offers snacks, eats, souvenirs, and clothes galore.
For a quick peace of mind, head to Thara Park, a thoughtfully designed and well maintained riverwalk. Accessible from Uttarakit road and Jao Fa pier, the park is full of trails, ponds, trees, statues, tennis courts, football field, and a playground.
There are a few attractions on the outskirts of Krabi Town worthy of mention. About 15 minutes on a long tail speed boat from Jao Fah pier is Khao Khanap Nam. Widely considered the symbol of Krabi, these two 100 meter tall limestone structures separated by the Krabi river resemble a gateway. Upon arrival, one climbs some steps up to a cave where ancient skeletal remains were discovered. Stalactites and stalagmites are abundant with cave paintings left by Krabi’s ancestors. The boat trip to Khao Khanap Nam is usually combined with a visit to local mangrove forests and Ko Klang fishing village. Such a half-day trip can be arranged at the pier for under 500 baht.
If you’re one for meditation in serene surroundings, astonishing sunset views, and fit enough for a steep climb, head to tiger cave temple. Located about 10 kilometers northeast of Krabi Town, Wat Tum Suea (Tiger Cave Temple) is a mountain temple, meditation center and a popular archeological and eco-tourism attraction. Ancient tools and other artifacts were discovered in the cave, that apparently used to be the home of a tiger. Behind the cave, are the steps leading to the main shrine at the top of 600 meter tall, Khao Panom Bencha mountain. To get the fabulous 360 degree view overlooking Krabi Town, islands scattering out in the Andaman sea, and surrounding geological wonders amidst jungles and coastline stretching into the distant horizon, one must earn his or her view by climbing over 1200 steps. The best time to make the aprox. 40 minute accent is in the evening, just before sunset. Apply caution around the monkeys, particularly with your valuables, and make sure you bring enough water.
Krabi Town is a great place to be if you’re hungry. If it’s authentic local cuisine you’re after, throughout the city you’ll find plenty of Thai stalls, eateries, and restaurants serving authentic southern Thai food, as well as Central and Isaan (northeastern) food. The night market and the area surrounding the pier are mines for tasty local and international delights. As Krabi Town has a large expat community, authentic international food is in abundance – whether Italian, German, Scandinavian, Japanese, seafood, steakhouses, and then some, your culinary expectations shall not be disappointed. And if you just couldn’t get enough of American fast food, the Pizza company, Swensons, Dairy Queen, KFC, and Dunkin Doughnuts are all in the air-conditioned Vogue shopping center.
Make no mistake, Krabi Town’s night scene is far from equaling the intensity of Phuket or Pattaya, but that should be good news. Nonetheless, many bars, pubs, and drinking-meeting spots have sprouted up to accommodate the growing number of visitors and expats. You’ll find most of these casual food and drink spots along Jao Fah road, near the pier. O’Malley’s and the Reggae bar are almost identical to their parent branches in Phuket. Aside from booze, burgers, and perhaps a few games of pool, there’s not much else for the more ambitious night owls. Downtown, there are several karaoke and live music pubs oriented for the local Thai scene. Thai style dance and drink clubs are an option if you can stand packed smoke-filled rooms and don’t mind dancing with tables.
Getting to Krabi Town
Krabi Town can be accessed via sea, land or air.
Krabi International Airport is located roughly 7 kilometers east of the Krabi Town. The airport is served by daily flights from Bangkok on Thai Airways and Nok Air, as well as international flights from Kuala Lumpur on AirAsia and Singapore on Tiger Airways. There are also a number of seasonal charter flights from Europe during the high season.
There are regular fan and air-conditioned buses from Bangkok’s (Southern Bus Terminal), Hat Yai, Satun, Krabi, Koh Lanta, and Phuket. Air-conditioned mini vans also connect Krabi Town with Hat Yai, Surat Thani, Koh Lanta, and Trang. Check www.transport.co.th for schedules.
There is no rail service to Krabi. The nearest train stations are Trang or Nakhon Sri Thammarat from where you can catch a bus to Krabi Town. See http://www.railway.co.th/ for updated schedules.
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