I felt in love for this region when I watched for the first time “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio. I do not think I am exaggerating if I say it is one of the most beautiful areas in the word.
One thing I did not realize on my first trip was that there are many places to stay in Krabi and honestly it’s hard to suggest the best one.
Because surprisingly enough, they all offer a different lifestyle. They all offer something different, rock climbing or canoeing, island hopping or trekking, isolation or nightlife, relaxation or sunbathing, and so much more.
Table of Contents
I have tried to build this guide highlighting 8 areas of Krabi with all you can find there. In this way, you have more of a picture.
And you know the best? All updated to 2020 (no old stuff)
I would personally suggest to create an itinerary and visit a few of these places (a few options are listed below, in the itinerary section)
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 parties 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.
- Ao Nang: probably the most popular place in the Krabi area. It’s famous with youngsters 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 & Tonsai Beach: the remote area of Krabi, reachable only by boat. It’s the perfect place if you look for remoteness, adventure and activities as trekking, climbing, snorkelling and diving. The high 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 and Tupkaek: a beach town which works perfect for a romantic stay, possibly in a boutique accommodation
- Krabi Town: the commercial hub. You may end up there but not to sleep
- Phi Phi Islands: one of the most beautiful places in the world, however very popular too. It’s perfect for a romantic honeymoon but be selective with the location and the hotel. It can get noisy
- Ko Lanta: still not as popular as the rest of Krabi. It has a bit of everything although not much nightlife
- Ko Ngai: a real local experience, very quiet and miles away from everything. Another perfect location for a honeymoon stays in Krabi.
Where to stay in Krabi – the short answer
- Biggest tip: Book your place and your experiences well in advance, especially in peak season. Krabi is a popular place. In most cases, you can always cancel free of charge your accommodation anyway. Personally I book a bunch of hotels on the first stage, then in a second stage I select just my favorite one and cancel the others. It has avoided me so many disappointments.
- Where to stay in Krabi for nightlife: Ao Nang is where you will find most of the nightlife in Krabi and it’s a very easy to reach destination. Phi Phi is also another good place, but harder to get to and with more couples.
- Where to stay in Krabi for backpackers: if you are after some action, including snorkelling and diving, then Railay is a great spot to be based. If you are looking for more isolation and specifically a few days of rock climbing then Tonsai Beach is the answer. Both places are reachable only by boat, which makes it even more interesting.
- Where to stay in Krabi for family: for a quiet place, at the beach with shallow water check out Nopparat Thara. However, if you are on a budget, Klong Haeng just a bit inland may better fit your requirements.
- Where to stay in Krabi for day trips: the best spot is probably Ao Nang, however, this is also an area very well known for its nightlife. Try to book far from the action and you will have a quiet night.
- Best place stay in Krabi for couples: if you are looking for a quiet and relaxing boutique accommodation in paradise than check out the Klong Muang area. The close Tupkaek has instead more luxury resorts.
- Where to stay in Krabi on Budget: Krabi Town is definitely the least beautiful of all the areas but it comes out on top for the best-priced accommodations.
- Where to stay in Krabi for honeymoon: The Phi Phi archipelago is the most picturesque area to stay in Krabi. So amazing. Make sure to book your accommodation outside the town centre otherwise it can be noisy at night.
- Unique place to stay in Krabi: The tiny island of Ko Ngai in the Krabi province is absolute heaven, still not discovered from the mass tourism. You will feel in paradise.
- A great place with a National Park and waterfalls: Ko Lanta is not that touristy as most of Thailand, still it offers a lot, especially if you are into some trekking.
- 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.
Best place stay in Krabi for nightlife – Ao Nang
Ao Nang, also known as “Ao Phra Nang”, is the area that has been influenced the most by the western culture (read plenty of bars and pubs). It is located about 18 km away from the main town of Krabi.
The place 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 (not as bad as Kuta/Bali though)
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 (you will need it after a long night).
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.
Check availability at the Aonang Cliff
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.
Check the low price of the Cliff View
Places to eat in Ao Nang
There are plenty of options of course. These are three places that I would suggest, either for the experience or the type of food:
Jenna’s Bistro: one of the finest international dining experiences in town with live music playing in the background. Although a bit costly, the steaks and Tapas served here are an absolute treat. For a special night.
Diver’s Inn: it is a German restaurant that is known for serving a great collection of beers. Greatly cooked steaks and salad buffets. The place also offers gluten-free meals.
Jungle Kitchen: a tiny boutique local restaurant famous for serving shrimp cakes, crab curry, Thai iced green tea, jungle curry, and basil fried beef. The best place to eat when you stay at the Cliff View Resort.
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 any adventure)
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 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 minutes 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 agency.
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.
Check the great offer at the Avatar
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.
Check availability at Dream Valley
But ultimately the main reason to go to Tonsai is really Rock Climbing, and it will be fun.
Where to stay in Krabi for family – Nopparat Thara & Klong Haeng
Nopparat Thara is a beach town located about 18kms 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 to stay in Krabi for families, especially if looking for a quiet shallow beach to play with the kids. It tends to be also cheaper than in other areas too.
The Holiday Inn 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.
Check availability at the Holiday Inn
Klong Haeng is located north of Nopparat Thara, more inland. It is known for the Al Aam mosque and the market running on Thursdays.
This is the area of Krabi with the most affordable accommodations. Great if you are on a budget, however you will be far from the beach (a tuk-tuk to Ao Nang is anyway so cheap).
Best place stay in Krabi for couples – Klong Muang and Tupkaek
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 airport and once arrived you will think you have reached a parallel peaceful world 🙂
Klong Muang (for a boutique stay)
Klong Muang is a tiny coastal town located about 45 minutes away from Krabi.
Also in this case, the main road divides the town into two sections. The beachside with resorts and the inland side with restaurants and bars.
Klong Muang is another quiet area, great for couples looking for a romantic getaway, possibly in a boutique resort.
The main beach is about 2 kilometres long and it is surrounded by casuarina trees and coconuts all along, a real peaceful environment.
In Klong Muang, you can find a variety of accommodations, from luxury style to cheap bungalows.
The Bliss is a lovely boutique resort which is perfect for a romantic stay, with a few rooms that have a beach view. I still can’t believe it is so inexpensive, I wonder for how long.
Check the price at the Bliss Resort
A more economical option is the White Sand House, right on the beach with a lovely swimming pool. The rooms are super spacious and most with sea views. Great breakfast and the beach is just literally meters away.
Tubkaek (for some luxury)
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.
Actually, you may have already seen Tubkaek in a famous movie, “Hangover 2”, filmed in the luxurious Ritz Carlton complex.
Check availability at the Ritz Carlton
Places to eat Klong Muang
Some of the finest places to dine here are:
- BaanThai Seafood: a unique seafood restaurant which mixes the local expertise with the international cuisine. It is famous for the red snappers with garlic and pepper
- The Kitchen Restaurant: the best location for a beautiful sunset right at the beach. It provides mostly western cuisine.
- Irish Embassy: perfect if you miss an Irish beer with some pub food as Shepherd’s pie and Guinness beef stew.
Where to stay in Krabi on Budget – Krabi Town
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 in Krabi town with cheaper accommodations, malls and department stores.
Krabi Town is probably not the most beautiful destination in the area, however, if you are on a budget then you will find here the cheapest accommodations.
The Sleep Easy Krabi is a great place in the center 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.
There are few local art galleries around that sell the own pieces of art. Worth having a check. You may find the same work at your beach village at 4 times the price.
Where to stay in Krabi for honeymoon – Phi Phi Islands
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.
The 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 looks in the video, 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 7:30am. You will have the beach almost for yourself till 9am, 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 overcrowded 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.
For its beauty, I recommend it for a honeymoon stay, even for just a few days.
The Zeavola is the most amazing resort on the island, a secluded destination, far from the crowd, with a lovely private beach and a great dining experience. An unmissable experience for a honeymoon.
Check availability at the Zeavola
A more affordable accommodation, actually a great value if you consider the amazing view, is the Papaya Resort, facing the Loh Dalum beach. It’s a bit of a climb to arrive there, however, again, the view is the best reward.
Check availability at the Papaya
The Phi Phi islands are easily reachable with private and tour boats from both Krabi and Ao Nang.
A great place with a National Park and waterfalls – Ko Lanta
Ko Lanta is quite a big island located south of Krabi, famous for its vast beaches, mangrove forests, a protected national park and the 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 in the southern-most point of the island. Every local tends to suggest a visit there, which I did, but honestly nothing spectacular.
Unique place to stay in Krabi – Ko Ngai
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.
Ko Ngai is reachable by boat from Ko Lanta or ask your accommodation to organise a private transfer
How to arrive in Krabi
You can now fly directly to the Krabi Airport with either domestic or international flights.
The airport is located about 15 km from the Krabi town. 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 in 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 then you have two options, by boat or by bus. Both direct and inexpensive.
Moving in 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 the popular tourist spots like beaches and national parks.
- boats and ferries, they are the most common way of travelling, quickly and beautifully, by the shoreline waterways. 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 in staying in Ao Nang where you will be likely to be stuck in traffic.
2 thoughts on “Best places to stay in Krabi 2020 [the 8 coolest areas]”
How can i hire a private boat to go to that particulary beach?
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!!