Krabi Town is the provincial capital of Krabi. Located at the mouth of the river, it is a small, typically Thai, bustling market town. The river and sea used to provide Krabi with its main industry, fishing, but now commerce and services play a larger role.
As the seat of government, banks and the province’s only centrally located supermarkets and department store, the town is busy throughout the day; night-time sees a young, local crowd out and about at the many cheap pavement eateries, karaoke bars and live music clubs.
The original population of Krabi Town is the Thai-Chinese community; however, there is a sizeable Thai-Buddhist presence, as well as the old Muslim village of Klong Hin, which is now part of the town itself. The community is a true melting pot – now including a small group of westerners, mainly teachers and retirees – and remains one of the friendliest towns in the South.
While it is possible to visit Krabi on a day-trip from Ao Nang or Klong Muang, some people do choose to stay here one or two nights before moving on to the coast or the islands. If you are after an ‘authentic’ Thai experience, this is where you’ll find it. There is a large range of accommodation in Krabi, from the five-star Maritime Park and Spa to the most basic 200 baht a night backpacker dorm rooms.
Across the board, prices are much cheaper than the equivalent on offer near the beach areas. Tourist information, dive and tour programmes are widely available. There are also a small number of restaurants and bars catering to foreigners, mainly clustered along Chao Fah Road, as well as a plethora of cafes, catering to hipsters of any nationality.
You should note that Krabi Town has no beaches of its own; however, it is very well connected to Ao Nang and Klong Muang by local bus, as well as having daily connections to the islands of Jum, Lanta (high season only) and Phi Phi (year round) from two different piers. The main inter-provincial bus station is in town, as well as the international airport, only 9km outside of the centre.
Krabi has its own attractions on the river: just on the opposite bank lies Koh Klang, an island of traditional farmers and fishermen; while the estuary is home to a network of mangrove forest and RAMSAR-protected wetlands. Kayaking in the mangrove and visiting these local fishing communities in the backwaters are popular options. The caves in Krabi’s most famous landmark, Khao Kanab Nam – the two ‘dog-ear’-shaped rocks, visible from Utarakit Road – are also worth a visit. Longtail boats can be chartered from along the river bank for around 500 baht / hour which will take you here, and for a cruise through some of the protected mangrove forest.
The recently completed Wat Kaew Govararam temple is another attraction – it is one of the few Thai temples designed in the modern style, with a plain white exterior. The grounds have an interesting garden with kitsch animal sculptures and, as a working temple, novice monks are often seen at work here. Access is from Maharat (via steps) or Issara Road.
Shopping can be better in town than in the beach areas, offering a wider range of goods, often at lower prices. The weekend “Walking Street” night market, with its handicrafts, clothing and souvenir stalls, as well as a great selection of street food, is a popular evening out for both tourists and locals, while fresh fruit can be bought at both the morning and night markets, on Maharat Soi 5 and Soi 10 respectively.
Festivals are regularly held throughout the year at Thai holidays, with travelling markets setting up along the riverside at the Black Crab statue, or further up the road at City Hall.
More guides to Krabi Town
More Krabi destination guides
► Aonang Beach
The main tourist centre
► Nopparat Thara and Klong Haeng
Ao Nang’s up and coming neighbour
► Railay Beach
Hippy-chic, with an island feel
► Ton Sai Beach, Krabi
Backpackers’ and climbers’ hangout
► Klong Muang and Tubkaek
Upmarket escape from the crowds
► Koh Jum, Krabi
The last get-away-from-it-all
► Ko Ngai (a.k.a. Ko Hai)
One of Krabi’s most pristine spots
► Ko Phi Phi (external site)
The ultimate crazy / beautiful destination
► Ko Lanta (external site)
For laidback lounging