Thailand may not seem like the most accessible of places for wheelchair users: in this culture, disabled people are not encouraged to leave their homes and so public spaces are not usually adapted for their needs. However, this means that whenever Thai people do see people in wheelchairs out and about, they are utterly amazed and falling over themselves to help!
You’ll find a ‘can-do’ attitude here that will let you overcome the small obstacles (steps, transfers to boats etc.) that stand between you and a taste of paradise. Things are also changing here in Krabi. A few, clued-up hotels are now able to offer fully accessible accommodation, so that you can enjoy a hassle-free, comfortable stay. We list them below (note: we have taken into consideration all areas of the resort in these listings; many properties advertised as “wheelchair accessible” do not have accessible bathrooms, or swimming pools, for example).
Transport in Krabi is relatively simple: a car with driver can be hired for around 2500 – 3000 baht a day, depending on where you are going. If you are happy about being lifted, it is also possible to use the local longtail boats to visit the islands. And even the weakest of swimmers can try out snorkeling with a life jacket. Several tour companies and diving schools are also able to cater for disabled travellers and accessible – and good! – restaurants and bars are relatively easy to find.
Paradise is for everyone
Justin Frishberg, a British Paralympian and tetraplegic wheelchair user, recently spent a fortnight in Krabi. Read his account of his holiday here.
Wheelchair accessible hotels in Krabi
Our picks of mid-range (3 – 4 star) accessible hotels can be found below. Please contact the individual hotels if you require specific details about bathroom fittings, door frame size etc.
Aonang Villa Resort
This beachfront resort has an excellent central location and offers “handicapped” [sic] rooms on its ground floor, overlooking the pool and garden (though with no direct access to it). Ramps throughout the resort grounds mean that most of the property is accessible.
Deevana Plaza Krabi (Ao Nang)
Another resort with a few fully accessible rooms, including properly equipped bathrooms. This is a modern property, with contemporary decor and easily accessible pool area.
Krabi Tipa Resort (Ao Nang)
Ground floor deluxe rooms and bathrooms have wheelchair access and a plastic chair can be provided for the shower – though there are no grab rails. Note also that the swimming pool is up a steepish slope so access may be restricted.
Srisuksant Resort (Ao Nang / Nopparat Thara Beach)
The pool access rooms on the ground floor are great for people with reduced mobility – you can enter the water directly from the balcony. Plastic chairs are provided for the bathroom, and the door frames will fit a standard 76cm wide wheelchair. There are a couple of steps around the hotel, notably to get into the restaurant, but staff are available to assist. The beach in front of the resort is good for wheelchair users as there is a wide footpath along its whole length.
Nadivana Serviced Apartments (Klong Haeng village)
If self-catering will be more convenient, Nadivana offers studios and apartments on the ground floor – with direct pool access – that have basic kitchen facilities. Rooms are spacious, though bathrooms may not fit wider wheelchairs (contact them with your measurements to find out). Nadivana is located a way out from the beach; there is not much within the immediate vicinity.
In addition, you will find that most of the hotel chains who have properties in Krabi have complied to international standards of accessibility in their planning and building. As these tend to be four and five star, you will also find staff and equipment on hand to assist with any special requests, as well as plenty of dining choices on site.
Take a look at Dusit Thani Krabi Beach Resort (originally a Sheraton hotel) or the excellent, step-free Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra in Klong Muang; in Ao Nang, Holiday Inn is a good choice on Nopparat Thara Beach.