Last updated on February 9, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Thailand

Where to stay in Krabi [the 7 best places+1 gem]

I fell in love with this region in Southern Thailand when I watched for the first time “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio. So unique and amazing! One thing I did not realize on my first trip was that the area is actually vast and understanding where to stay in Krabi is not as straightforward.

In fact, the best place to stay in Krabi really depends on the trip you have in mind, this could be for couples or family, for one night or for island hopping, rock climbing or canoeing, relaxation or nightlife, etc.

That’s why I have created this guide highlighting the 7 best areas to stay in Krabi, plus a little gem, with the key points on a summary table and a handy map too.

And you will be happy to know that this guide is constantly updated with the best findings and the best hotels in the region

Maya Bay in the Phi Phi Islands
Maya Bay in the Phi Phi Islands in the late morning

Best area to stay in Krabi

The different areas of Krabi can keep you busy easily for a 2 weeks itinerary, or even more 

Some of the places are reachable by bus, others only by boat. There are party spots as well as villages catered more for families or again for adventures and action sports.

Moving around is easy and cheap. 

But let’s dig down to the best areas to stay in Krabi. The below map helps to visualize the region.

Best areas to stay in Krabi
Best areas to stay in Krabi
  • Ao Nang: probably the most popular place in the Krabi area. It’s famous with young travellers however in the last few years it has opened up to a more mature crowd with some nice resorts and restaurants. Suggested to anyone looking for nightlife or simply a few cosy drinks after dinner.
  • Railay & Ton Sai Beach: the remote area of Krabi, accessible by boat. It’s the perfect place if you are looking for remoteness, adventure and activities such as trekking, climbing, snorkelling and diving. The high limestone cliffs are just spectacular
  • Nopparat Thara & Klong Haeng: a long shallow beach, very quiet, a perfect spot for a family holiday with kids or just a peaceful stay with a few sunset walks
  • Klong Muang Beach and Tupkaek: a beach town that works perfectly for a romantic stay, in a picture-perfect Krabi beach resort
  • Krabi Town: the commercial hub. You may end up there but not to sleep, unless you are after a real budget hotel
  • Phi Phi Islands: one of the best places in the Krabi region and, honestly, one of the most beautiful places in the world, but very popular too. It’s perfect for a romantic honeymoon but be selective with the location and the hotel. It can get noisy
  • Koh Lanta: still not as popular as the rest of Krabi. It has a bit of everything, including a great beach area, although not much nightlife
  • Koh Ngai: a real local experience, very quiet and miles away from everything. Another perfect location for a honeymoon stay close to Krabi.

Where to stay in Krabi – Key Points

This part of Thailand is as beautiful as vast and that is why I decided to organise a comparative table with the type of holiday in mind. It is so much easier to read and focus on what you are looking for.

Click on the Area name to read more about it. Swipe left or right on a mobile to see the entire table.

Where to stay in Krabi forAreaProsConsAccessibilityBeachRestaurantsFamiliesNightlifeCharacter of the area
First-timersAo NangVibrant, lots of activitiesVery busyEasyExcellentExcellentGoodExcellentLively, touristy
Adventure seekersRailay & Ton Sai BeachOutdoor activities, climbing, scenicOnly accessible by boatModerateExcellentGoodGoodModerateNatural, laid-back
Best beachNopparat Thara & Klong HaengLess crowded, natural beautyFewer amenitiesModerateGoodModerateExcellentLowPeaceful, natural
CouplesKlong Muang Beach and TupkaekRomantic, less busyLimited nightlifeModerateExcellentGoodGoodLowRomantic, serene
Budget travellersKrabi TownAffordable, local vibeNo beachesEasyN/AGoodPoorModerateLocal, cultural
Young and livelyPhi Phi IslandsTrendy, beautiful beachesCan be very busyModerateExcellentExcellentModerateExcellentVibrant, scenic
FamiliesKoh LantaFamily-friendly, quietVery limited nightlifeModerateExcellentGoodExcellentLowFamily-friendly, peaceful
Solitude seekersKo NgaiSecluded, pristineLimited amenitiesDifficultExcellentModerateModerateNoneSecluded, natural

Biggest tip of this guide: Book your place and your experiences well in advance, especially in peak season. Krabi is one of the best places to stay in Thailand. In most cases, you can always cancel free of charge your accommodation anyway. Personally, I book a bunch of hotels in the first stage, then in the second stage I select just my favourite one and cancel the others. It has prevented me from so many disappointments.

Best place to stay in Krabi for couples – Klong Muang, Tupkaek and Phi Phi Island

Klong Muang and Tupkaek are two great destinations for couples that want to have a bit of time off, in a romantic way, without much of a nightlife (except if you stay in an organised resort).

They are both around 45-60minutes from the Krabi International Airport.

In this section, I have added also Phi Phi Island, one of the best places in Krabi to book your hotel for your honeymoon time, with the most scenic beach and vibrant nightlife.

Klong Muang Beach – Great for a boutique stay

  • Pros: Romantic atmosphere, high-end resorts, less crowded.
  • Cons: Limited nightlife, and fewer activities compared to other destinations in Krabi.

Klong Muang is a tiny coastal town located about 45 minutes away from Krabi.

The main road divides the town into two sections. The beachside with some of the best resorts in Krabi and the inland with restaurants and bars.

The main beach is about 2 kilometres long and it is surrounded by casuarina trees and coconuts all along, a great chilled-out environment, great for couples looking for a romantic getaway, possibly in a boutique resort.

What sets Klong Muang apart is its tranquil atmosphere, far removed from the hustle and bustle of more touristy spots. The sunsets here are particularly breathtaking, with golden colours and flat water, such a lovely way to close the day.

It’s not unusual to spot also local fishermen at dusk, adding that authentic touch to this charming, lesser-known gem.

In Klong Muang, you can find a variety of accommodations, mostly in the luxury/boutique style, however, a few bargains are also available.

The Bliss is a lovely boutique resort with beach access that is perfect for a romantic stay. The rooms are modern and a few have a beach view. The location is fantastic, close to some popular restaurants

Bliss Resort
Bliss Resort

Another 2 great resorts in Klong Muang I suggest are

Talking of food, one of the finest places to dine is the Kitchen Restaurant with its amazing sunset location right at the beach serving mostly Western cuisine.

The Irish Embassy is just perfect if you miss an Irish beer with some pub food such as Shepherd’s pie and Guinness beef stew.

Tubkaek – The Luxury Destination

  • Pros: Luxurious resorts, stunning views, less crowded.
  • Cons: Limited dining options outside resorts, not much in the way of activities.

Tubkaek is a tiny beach town, just north of Klong Muang, mostly catered for the luxury market.

The beach features clear waters, fine sands and an exquisite view of the islands. A variety of grandeur hotels, as well as private resorts, are found across the shoreline.

The north part of this area is reserved by the Khao-Ngon Nak National Park, a fantastic place for a walk, some trekking and a unique view of Krabi.

For foodies, the area doesn’t disappoint either; you’ll find a range of upscale restaurants serving both Thai and international cuisine. Whether it’s a beachfront seafood grill or a rooftop bar, Tubkaek offers a culinary experience as luxurious as its accommodations.

Actually, you may have already seen Tubkaek in a famous movie, “Hangover 2”, filmed in the luxurious Ritz Carlton complex.

This is one of the best hotels in the Krabi area with a top breakfast and dining experience. It’s a true oasis where you can relax, have a massage, enjoy the pool or have a swim at the beach

Ritz Krabi
Ritz Krabi

Another 2 great resorts in Klong Muang I suggest are

Phi Phi Islands – The best stay in Krabi for honeymoon

  • Pros: Beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, excellent dining options.
  • Cons: Can get very busy, more expensive than mainland Krabi.

The Phi-Phi Islands are one of the most renowned places in south-eastern Asia, and for a good reason, they are absolutely spectacular.

The Phi-Phi archipelago is divided into two main islands Phi Phi Leh (only day stay) and Phi Phi Don, as well as 6 more small islands. 

Both the main islands are a part of Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu ko National Park.

Phi Phi Leh island boasts the popular Maya Bay where the famous movie “The Beach” with a young Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed. This island is accessible only by day.

It is as beautiful as it can be, unfortunately, it’s also very popular, which means you will share it with LOTS of people.

My suggestion here is to rent a private boat and make it there by 7:30 am. You will have the beach almost for yourself till 9 am, when most of the morning tours arrive.

Phi Phi Don island is packed with a variety of guesthouses, luxury hotels, tailors, restaurants, tattoo shops, banks, mini-malls, clothing markets, and jewellery shops.

It’s an amazing island, it can be very busy in high season, however, you can always find a boutique place to stay far from the hustle and bustle, if you book well in advance.

It’s one of the most expensive islands to stay on (for Thai standards), however, it is really a must-visit, especially if you are on a honeymoon.

The Zeavola is the most amazing Krabi resort on the island in my opinion, a secluded destination, far from the crowd, with a lovely private beach and a great dining experience.

An unmissable experience for a honeymoon.

Zeavola Resort
Zeavola Resort

A more affordable accommodation, actually a great value if you consider the amazing view and location, is the Dee Dee Sea Front, facing the Loh Dalum beach. The only drawback is that this hotel is not too far from the bar area and you can hear some noise at night.

Dee Dee Sea Front
Dee Dee Sea Front

The Phi Phi islands are easily reachable with private and tour boats from both Krabi and Ao Nang.

Phi Phi Island from the popular viewpoint

Here below the top experiences you should not miss in Krabi:

  • Sea Kayaking in Ao Thalane and Hong Island: probably the best tour, the one that will take you to closer contact with Mother Nature. 
  • Phang Nga Bay – Early Bird James Bond tour: Krabi is a popular destination and you will be very likely to share your experience with many groups arriving at the same time. My suggestion is to start your day trip as early in the morning as you can. With this early bird tour, you will most likely share the place with your group only.
  • Phi Phi Islands Full-Day Speedboat: yeah, Phi Phi is a very popular place to visit, so amazing. It’s a must-see, but you will not be alone. 
  • Islands Snorkeling: a great way to spend the day exploring Phra Nang Cave Beach, Tup Island, Chicken Island, and Poda Island.

Where to stay in Krabi for families – Nopparat Thara, Klong Haeng and Koh Lanta

Nopparat Thara – Amazing long beach

  • Pros: Less crowded than Ao Nang, close to nature, family-friendly.
  • Cons: Limited dining and nightlife options, fewer activities.

Nopparat Thara is a beach town located about 18 km from Krabi town and next to Ao Nang. It has a 3km long shoreline which is surrounded by hills in the east and a National Park in the west.

It is a great place for long walks, a swim and some time off. The promenade is the centre for the bars, restaurants, and shops.

It’s a quiet area but the town is expanding, although at a low pace

Nopparat Thara is a great place if you want to stay in Krabi with your family, especially if looking for a quiet shallow beach to play with the kids. It tends to be also cheaper than other areas. 

The Holiday Beach Resort is a fantastic resort with plenty of activities for kids. Its location is also perfect, at the beginning of the long Nopparat beach and a stone away from Ao Nang, ideal if you want a bit of both, quiet one day, busy the next. Such a lovely breakfast too.

Holiday Beach Resort

Klong Haeng – The inland affordable location for families

  • Pros: Peaceful atmosphere, less touristy, good for relaxation.
  • Cons: Fewer amenities, limited dining options, not much nightlife.

Klong Haeng is located 1.5-2 km north of Nopparat Thara, more inland. It is known for the Al Aam mosque and the market running on Saturdays.

This is the area of Krabi with the most affordable accommodations. Great if you are on a budget, however, you will be around 5 minutes by tuk-tuk from the beach (a tuk-tuk is usually cheap).

In Klong Haeng you will find more of a local town experience (typical in the province of Krabi) and less of a holiday feeling by the sea.

The Baan Asree is a great value accommodation with a small pool too, great for kids. Restaurants are easily reachable by a short walk, however, you will need a tuk-tuk for the beach.

Koh Lanta – A quiet National Park with waterfalls

  • Pros: Family-friendly, less crowded, beautiful beaches.
  • Cons: Limited nightlife, less vibrant compared to Ao Nang or Phi Phi.

Ko Lanta is quite a big island located south of Krabi, famous for its vast beaches, mangrove forests, a protected national park and waterfalls.

While the west coast of Ko Lanta is popular with tourists all around the year, the east coast is mostly populated by the Urak Lawoi, aboriginal Malay people, and the Chinese-Malay Muslim communities.

I still remember like yesterday my day spent exploring with a scooter the inland and the east coast. Definitely a different experience from the typical Thai world.

The Khlong Chak is probably the most popular waterfall in Ko Lanta, reachable with a nice hike from the Eco-Tourism Recreation Center.

Ko Lanta also has an ancient lighthouse located at the southernmost point of the island. Every local tends to suggest a visit there, which I did, but honestly nothing spectacular.

The Lanta Sand Resort & Spa is one of the top choices for families on the island. First off, you will be in the best location of Koh Lanta, right by a beautiful beach and with the possibility to have a plunge pool in your accommodation, great if you are travelling with little ones.

Ko Lanta Beach

Ao Nang – Best place stay in Krabi for nightlife and first-timer

  • Pros: First-time visit, vibrant atmosphere, a wide range of activities, excellent for dining and nightlife, family-friendly, perfect for a short stay
  • Cons: Can get very busy, and slightly touristy.

Ao Nang, also known as “Ao Phra Nang”, is the area that has been influenced the most by the tourism industry (read plenty of bars and pubs).

Ao Nang is located about 18 km away from the main town of Krabi and it is well known for its beautiful shoreline, the evergreen flora and fauna, and the great nightlife. It’s also the perfect starting point for an island hopping experience.

From Ao Nang, you can easily visit most of the famous locations in and around Krabi, as Fossil Shell beach, Khao Ngon Nak National Park, Nopparat Thara Beach, Maya Bay, Railay Bay, and the Phi Phi islands.

The town layout is pretty simple. There is one main street with the beach on one side and the restaurants, clubs and shops on the other side. And unfortunately, the traffic is part of the Ao Nang experience.

Apart from the beaches, in Ao Nang, you can also book day trips for rock climbing (more on this later), snorkelling and jungle zip-lining. Of course, spa-massages are everywhere.

Ao Nang is most definitely a great place to stay in Krabi for nightlife and some beach time too. You can find any kind of hotel, catering for any age and budget.

The Aonang Cliff Beach Resort is one of the best accommodations, especially for couples (check out the infinity pool). Right in the middle of the action however very quiet once inside, and just steps away from the beach. The service and breakfast are amazing.

Ao Nang Cliff Beach Resort

The Cliff View Resort is one of the best budget accommodations in Ao Nang. It’s not as close to the beach however its location is fantastic, you will feel in the middle of a peaceful jungle, at the base of a huge cliff. They provide complimentary lifts to the beach. 

Cliff View Resort

There are plenty of restaurant options in Ao Nang, of course. I usually tend to eat in local restaurants, however, in this case I want to suggest checking out Diver’s Inn, a German restaurant that is known for serving a great collection of beers, amazing steaks and salad buffets, besides some gluten-free meals.

Poda Island, a short day trip from Ao Nang Beach
Poda Island, a short day trip from Ao Nang Beach

Where to stay in Krabi for backpackers – Railay & Tonsai Beach

If you are looking for an adventure holiday than Railay and Tonsai Beach are the places to be. 

The best is that both Railay and Tonsai can only be reached by boat and ferries, which means you will forget about any kind of traffic and you will find yourself in a small heaven.

Railay Beach – For The Adventure Traveller

  • Pros: Stunning natural beauty, great for outdoor activities like rock climbing, less busy.
  • Cons: Only accessible by boat, limited nightlife.

Railay Beach, also commonly known as Rai Leh, has one of the most beautiful sceneries of the Andaman coast of Thailand. The place is surrounded by high limestone cliffs and amazing white beaches.

Railay is well known for places as:

  • Phra Nang Caves, a beautiful set of caves with a fantastic beach. Phra Nang is also accessible with a day trip from Ao Nang and for this reason, it’s an area that can be quite busy.
  • Princess Lagoon, a unique place around 1 hour from Railay Beach. It’s not easy trekking, however not super challenging as well. Wear shoes otherwise, you will be in trouble with flip-flops only.
  • The Viewpoint, it’s a 20-minute climb from the beach. It can be done also in a loop with the Princess Lagoon.

All of the above can be visited and experienced on your own or with the help of a local tour operator.

Railay is the perfect place to stay in Krabi for people looking for an adventure holiday (diving, snorkelling, hiking, kayaking and trekking).

The Avatar Railay Resort is one of the best value places in all of Krabi. Right at the beach with a private pool that you can access directly from your bedroom. It’s a bit of a boutique, a bit of a designed accommodation at a great value price.

Avatar Railay Resort
Avatar Railay Resort

Tonsai – For A Rock Climbing Holiday

Tonsai is a beach village located between Ao Nang and Railay, also reachable only by boat.

The beaches around here are surrounded by high cliffs and have rough sands. Rock climbing is the main to-do activity in Tonsai. Go to the Rock Shop to organise a day trip, you will remember it for a long while.

The walls along the footpath in Tonsai have been beautifully graffitied by the local travellers giving that nice hippie feeling to an otherwise brownish landscape.

Keep in mind that Tonsai is well isolated and travelling here means adapting to a more rural stay, including limited electricity, usually running from the late afternoon to the early morning.

If you are looking for a boutique or lux stay then Tonsai is probably not your place. You can, however, visit it on a day trip.

The Dream Valley Resort is one of the best options in the village offering even a pool that comes very handy in those hot days. It’s located around 5-10 minutes from the beach.

Pool at the Dream Valley Resort
Pool at the Dream Valley Resort

But ultimately the main reason to go to Tonsai is really Rock Climbing, and it will be fun. The limestone cliffs here offer a range of climbing routes, suitable for both beginners and seasoned climbers.

The craggy formations provide not just a physical challenge but also breathtaking views of the Andaman Sea as you ascend. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking to combine adventure with stunning natural scenery.

Rock climbing at the beach
Rock climbing at the beach

Krabi Town – best place to stay in Krabi on Budget

  • Pros: Affordable, rich local culture, good for shopping.
  • Cons: No beaches, less touristy atmosphere might not be for everyone.

The Krabi town is more of a commercial hub than a tourist area. There are a few attractions like the Wat Kaew, the Khao Khanab Nam Caves and the Weekend Night Market, however, they can all be visited with a simple trip from Ao Nang or any other town.

It has to be said that prices are more local-friendly with cheaper accommodations, malls and department stores. Sure, there is no beach in Krabi Town, and for me, it’s a big drawback, but you can always visit it on a day trip.

The Sleep Easy Krabi is a great place in the centre of the town, simple and clean. You also have free internet which is a great bonus. It all comes at a bargain price. They also offer cheap dormitory accommodations.

Sleep Easy Krabi
Sleep Easy Krabi

There are few local art galleries around that sell their own pieces of art. Worth having a check. You may find the same work at your beach village at 4 times the price.

Town market
Krabi Town Market

Koh Ngai – The secret gem to stay in Krabi

  • Pros: Secluded, pristine beaches, great for relaxation.
  • Cons: Limited amenities, not ideal for those looking for nightlife or activities.

Ko Ngai is one of the small islands located in the middle of the Andaman Sea. It is a perfect getaway for young couples looking for romantic destinations. It is well known for its golden sandy beaches.

Ko Ngai, also known as Hai, is a part of the Mu Ko National Marine Park. It is famous for several recreational activities like snorkelling and open sea diving.

This island is a world apart from everything, it’s a small paradise. Very easy to unplug, relax and enjoy the day as it comes. 

It’s really a unique place to stay in Krabi province, in fact, I hardly heard anyone mentioning it in any popular magazine. Visit it till it’s a “secret”

There are a few tiny hotels/resorts made of small bungalows on the beach. The CoCo Cottage is one of the best on the island, very spacious, with a great open-air shower and they even have aircon (a rare thing). The restaurant is probably the best on the island.

CoCo Cottages
CoCo Cottages

Ko Ngai is reachable by boat from Ko Lanta or ask your accommodation to organise a private transfer.

How To Arrive To Krabi

You can now fly directly to the Krabi Airport with either domestic or international flights.

The airport is close to Krabi Town, about 15. Upon landing, you can easily take a taxi or save some money and jump on a songathews (the typical shared vehicle you find in Thailand) from the airport into the city.

If you are in Bangkok, you can also take a direct bus to Krabi Town from the Southern Bus Terminal. It’s an easy, although long, trip (budget 10 hours or more)

There are no direct trains to Krabi. You would need to go to Surat Thani and from there either a 2-hour taxi ride (expensive option) or a bus.

I have personally not tried the train. The main reason is the length (you should budget for almost a day, considering that the bus may not leave when you arrive at Surat Thani).

My suggestion here is to either take a direct flight, inexpensive if you book well in advance, or a bus, a greener solution.

If you are in Phuket and you are still debating if Phuket and Krabi are both worth a visit, then you will be happy to know that the definitive answer is yes, visit both, and even happier to know there are quick boats and buses that connect each other, so easy going.

Getting Around Krabi

You have a few options:

  • share a songthaew, the cheapest and easiest transportation in the area of Krabi. It can also be used to reach popular tourist spots like beaches and national parks. 
  • boats and ferries are the most common way of travelling. Longtail boats run from almost all beaches throughout the day and they offer a convenient way of transportation, at an affordable price.
  • rent a scooter, if you are in Krabi for a few days then renting a scooter will allow you to move around quickly and at your own pace. The drawback is that you can’t use it to reach the islands and of course Railay and Tonsai Beach.

I would not consider renting a car, especially if staying in Ao Nang where you will be likely to be stuck in traffic.

Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

2 thoughts on “Where to stay in Krabi [the 8 coolest areas]”

    • Hi Lenia,
      in Krabi it’s very easy, just ask your hotel and they will provide the service for you. Alternatively, just ask at the beach.

      What is the difference?
      Usually, the hotels do some safety checks on the boat (unfortunately not every time) but the service will be more expensive.
      If you go direct, you will save some money however it’s up to you to check the boat.

      Have a great trip!!
      Cheers

      Reply

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