Krabi is southern Thailand's most beautiful province with a well preserved natural environment of white sandy beaches, numerous offshore islands for exploration and swimming, national parks, mangrove forests, limestone karsts popular with climbers, excellent dive sites, and an easy-going lifestyle.
Krabi is a southern province on Thailand's Andaman seaboard with perhaps the country's oldest history of continued settlement. After dating stone tools, ancient colored pictures, beads, pottery and skeletal remains found in the province's many cliffs and caves, it is thought that Krabi has been home to homo sapiens since the period 25,000 - 35,000 B.C. In recorded times it was called the 'Ban Thai Samor', and was one of twelve towns that used, before people were widely literate, the monkey for their standard. At that time, c. 1200 A.D., Krabi was tributary to the Kingdom of Ligor, a city on the Kra Peninsula's east coast better known today as Nakhon Si Thammarat.
At the start of the Rattanakosin period, about 200 years ago, when the capital was finally settled at Bangkok, an elephant kraal was established in Krabi by order of Chao Phraya Nakorn (Noi), the governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat, which was by then a part of the Thai Kingdom. He sent his vizier, the Phra Palad, to oversee this task, which was to ensure a regular supply of elephants for the larger town. So followers many emigrated in the steps of the Phra Palad that soon Krabi had a large community in three different boroughs : Pakasai, Khlong Pon, and Pak Lao. In 1872, King Chulalongkorn graciously elevated these to town status, called Krabi, a word that preserves in its meaning the monkey symbolism of the old standard. The town's first governor was Luang Thep Sena, though it continued a while as a dependency of Nakhon Si Thammarat. This was changed in 1875, when 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, and Krabi's history as a unique entity separated from the other provinces, had begun.
During the present reign, the corps of civil servants, the merchants, and the population generally of Krabi and nearby provinces have together organized construction of a royal residence at Laem Hang Nak Cape for presentation to His Majesty the King. This lies thirty kilometers to the west of Krabi Town on the Andaman coast.
Krabi's most popular beach buzzes with activity, especially at night. The beach road is lined with hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars, shops, massage centres, tour operators and dive centres. Catch boats from here to the islands, to Railay peninsula and to Phi Phi.
Nopparat Thara Beach
Adjacent to Ao Nang, this 3km long beach is part of a national park that includes many offshore islands. It's a quiet place for walks, picnics and enjoying sunsets away from the crowds.
Walk around this pleasant provincial town next to the Krabi river for a flavour of the Thai way of life, with lots of shops, markets, restaurants (Thai & international) and roadside food stalls (try the delicious pancakes - roti). Longtail boats from Chao Fa pier provide tours of the mangrove forests opposite the town.
Railay & Climbing
Only approachable by boat (from Ao Nang), Railay Peninsula is made up of soaring limestone mountains, beautiful sandy beaches, and the mysterious Princess Cave. A number of climbing schools offer courses for beginners up to advanced on the numerous cliff faces, providing tuition, guides and equipment.
This coastal area is famed for peaceful kayak adventures through its mangrove forests, caves, and limestone canyons, full of animal and birdlife.
For a must-do experience, take a boat from Ao Nang to the nearby islands of Chicken, Poda and Tub to enjoy white sandy beaches and sparkling clear waters. They provide great opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and lazing in the sun.
One of the jewels of Krabi, Hong island is a fascinating place to explore by sea kayak, with many caves and a hidden lagoon inside the island. Its outstanding sheltered beach is a quiet spot for swimming and snorkeling.
Phanom Bencha National Park
A lush forest surrounds the Phanom Bencha mountain, comprising waterfalls, caves, and a wide variety of flora, birds and wildlife. The five-tiered Huay Toh Waterfall is a popular place to visit.
The Emerald Pool, also called the Crystal Pool, is beautiful swimming area within the Khao Nor Chuchi forest. Its water, fed by natural springs, is said to have healing powers. Nearby are the hot springs at Klong Thom, whose thermally heated waters are a bather's delight.
Wat Tham Seua
The Tiger Cave Temple is a renowned meditation retreat, where monks live and study in small caves. A steep staircase of 1,237 steps up the cliff face offers a tiring challenge, but the view from the top is spectacular.