views of large limestone cliffs from the sea on a clear sunny day in Krabi / where to stay in Krabi

Where to Stay in Krabi first time: 7 Best Areas

Are you planning a trip to Krabi and can’t decide where to stay in Krabif for the first time? This guide covers the seven best areas to stay in Krabi, with three hotel recommendations for each area by budget!

Krabi is a large tropical province in Thailand, and deciding where to stay can confuse first-time visitors. Many think Krabi is a specific destination when it’s not; I myself was confused before my first visit.

There are many amazing places to visit in Krabi. depending on how long you visit Krabi and what you’d prefer to see within that time should help you determine which places are best for you. Make sure to consider the atmosphere you most desire!

The best way to get around Krabi is by MiniBus vans and ferries; you can book all transport options within Krabi on 12GO. For short distances, you can use the local taxis or Grab.

Below is a quick overview of the best areas to stay in Krabi for first-time visitors. This will give you a glimpse of what each place is like!

Where to Stay in KrabiWhich Area is Best for You?
Railay BeachStunning tropical destination in Krabi, famous for its limestone cliffs, clear turquoise waters, and rock climbing opportunities.
Ao NangPopular beach town featuring a lively atmosphere, nice beaches, and a wide range of water activities, it’s ideal for island-hopping in Krabi.
Koh LantaA tranquil island known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, unique landscape and laid-back atmosphere.
Koh Phi Phi Famous for its breathtaking cliffs, turquoise waters, and vibrant nightlife scene. It’s a very tropical/remote island, but also quite touristy.
TubaekA serene and secluded beach area along Krabi’s Western side offers a peaceful laidback area amongst tropical beauty.
Khlong MuangTranquil and picturesque coastal area in Krabi, known for its pristine beaches, is well located near Ao Nang.
Krabi TownCharming and vibrant main town area for Krabi, known for its markets and local culture, and popular amongst backpackers.
Where to Stay in Krabi / Best Areas to Stay in Krabi

Railay Beach

several tourists walking by the long tail boat taxis in Railay Beach / Is Krabi Expensive to Visit?

Best Area For: First time visitors to Krabi looking to experience the region’s natural beauty to the fullest; known for its limestones, beaches, caves, and remote atmosphere, Railay is a must-visit.

Atmosphere: Railay offers a laidback, remote-like experience. It’s the perfect place to disconnect. There are no cars in Railay, and shops and restaurants are locally owned. Due to its stunning natural beauty, Railay is popular amongst all tourist types.

Things to Do: There’s plenty to do in Railay, including exploring breathtaking caves, rock climbing, relaxing on the many stunning beaches here, and much more!

Food: The area mostly consists of locally owned Thai restaurants, but there are also a few different international restaurants, such as Italian and Indian. Walking around the area, you’ll see many restaurants grilling up fresh fish and meats served with rice.

Nightlife: Like any laidback place, the nightlife in Railay is laidback, mainly consisting of bars on the main roads and a few reggae bars that also offer smoking. Many locals and tourists gather at Railay Beach in the evening to watch the sunset amongst the towering limestones.

Accessibility: Railay is part of mainland Krabi but not accessible by boat. It’s important to know that boats/ferries stop coming or leaving Railay after 5 to 6:00 PM because the tide gets low. Around Railay, you’ll have to walk everywhere, and there’s no other way to get around.

Railay is considered one of the best places to stay in Krabi due to its surreal natural beauty. However, if you’re visiting Krabi and looking to see as much as possible of it, understand that you’ll need to take longtail boats back to Railay when you return.

Tip to Know: Railay Beach is a specific beach in Railay, but Railay is an area in Krabi

Best Hotels in Railay Beach

Rayavadee — Luxury

Avatar Railay Resort — Mid Range

Blanco Hideout — Budget

Ao Nang

a few tourist relaxing along Ao Nang Beach in Krabi, Thailand

Best Area For: Ao Nang has a significant advantage, it’s the most centrally located place in Krabi. This is where to stay in Krabi for island hopping; Ao Nang has two piers with trips to many islands, like Koh Phi Phi, Hong Islands, and the Krabi 4 Island Tour.

Ao Nang is an excellent area for those visiting with families due to its walkability, wide variety of food, and many kid-friendly resorts.

Atmosphere: Unlike most places in Krabi, Ao Nang feels more like a city because of its large hotels and many restaurants. In the daytime, it’s lively, with many beachgoers at the main beach and many markets/shops nearby to check out.

Things to Do: Besides its main Ao Nang Beach, there are many things to do in Ao Nang, including island hopping day tours to many of the Islands near Ao Nang, elephant sanctuary visits, and keep in mind, Railay Beach neighbors Ao Nang, you can take a longtail boat for 10 minutes to get to Railay.

Food: One of the best aspects of Ao Nang is the wide variety of food options it offers, including several Thai restaurants, street stalls, Mexican, Indian, and English restaurants, and even big-chain fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Subway. No area in Krabi offers a larger variety of food.

Nightlife: Ao Nang has fun nightlife with a few beach bars and cocktail or reggae bars. Some establishments offer live music some nights, but that’s about the extent of the nightlife in Ao Nang. If you’re looking to really party in Krabi, Koh Phi Phi is the place to be.

Accessibility: Getting around Ao Nang is easy; the area is mostly walkable, but you can always use local taxis or Grab. To get anywhere in Krabi from Ao Nang is quite convenient because of the two main ferry ports; Railay is nearby, and Krabi Airport is only 40 minutes away.

Those visiting with families, look no further for those wondering where to stay in Krabi. Ao Nang is the most suitable area for families. Also, anyone visiting Krabi for the first time with limited time will appreciate how easy it is to visit many of Krabi’s islands from Ao Nang.

Best Hotels in Ao Nang

Holiday Ao Nang — Luxury

COSI Ao Nang — Mid Range

K Bunk — Budget

Koh Lanta

vibrant colourful sunset from a beautiful hotel in Koh Lanta, Thailand

Best Area For: Those looking for a laidback destination with surreal natural beauty featuring many stunning beaches, national parks, rich coral reefs ideal for diving/snorkeling, and nearby islands.

Atmosphere: Koh Lanta has the ideal laidback island vibe. Along the western part of the island, you’ll find small pockets of little beach towns amongst many pristine beach shorelines. Koh Lanta is the most relaxing/peaceful island in Krabi.

Things to Do: The island offers plenty to explore/do; besides its stunning beaches, Koh Lanta has many national parks with amazing viewpoints to explore, several snorkeling/diving tours, hot springs to visit, and the Lanta Old Town on the eastern side is worth exploring too!

Food: Koh Lanta is primarily known for its many excellent Thai Seafood restaurants; besides seafood, the island offers many Mediterranean, Italian, and vegetarian options. Throughout the island, many small night markets are open on various days of the week.

Nightlife: The nightlife in Koh Lanta is relaxed and easygoing. Visitors can experience the tranquility of beach bars tucked away in secluded spots and vibrant street-side bars. Moreover, several restaurants provide evening entertainment options such as fire shows along the beach and games.

Accessibility: Koh Lanta is a fairly sized island, so you will need a way to get around the island unless you plan on staying in a beach area with walkable restaurants/shops nearby. To get around Koh Lanta, you can either use Songthaew (shared pickup truck taxis) or rent a scooter, and longtail boat taxis offer quick access to parts of the island.

Koh Lanta is one of the best places to stay in Krabi. The island offers an authentic tropical, laid-back atmosphere, plenty to do, and far less touristy than most other places in Krabi. Unlike the other popular island in Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta is better suited for longer stays.

Best Hotels in Koh Lanta

Pimalai Resort & Spa — Luxury

Long Beach Chalet — Mid Range

Blanco Hostel Lanta — Budget

Koh Phi Phi

views of the entire Phi Phi Don island showing both bay's connection to the island, clear skies, and green mountains from Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint 2

Best Area For: Koh Phi Phi is one of the most visited places in Thailand. The tiny island in the Andaman Sea is home to some of the most amazing nature in Krabi, known for its towering limestones, viewpoints, and beaches full of marine life.

Also, for those looking to party in Krabi, Koh Phi Phi is famous for its many beach parties that go into the early morning hours. The main island is full of all types of bars!

Atmosphere: There is a lively and vibrant atmosphere in Koh Phi Phi, with bustling nightlife, stunning beaches, water sports, and many street markets. The island also offers a unique remote-island atmosphere, due to it’s unique location, it’s 90 minutes by ferry from any mainland.

Things to Do: Koh Phi Phi offers many fun tours, including the famous Phi Phi Islands tour, which visits Maya Bay Beach, the Pi Leh Lagoon, Monkey Beach, and more. There are also many watersports experiences and viewpoint hikes here.

Food: Despite being such a remote island, Koh Phi Phi offers a wide variety of cuisine for visitors; on the island, you can find plenty of Thai food, as expected, but also Italian, Arabic, Chinese, and many vegan/vegetarian restaurants. There are also a few nice cafes on the island, ideal for afternoon drinks.

Nightlife: Koh Phi Phi is famous for its lively beach parties along Loh Dalum Beach. Around the island, there are also many laidback bars to check out. Many of the hostels on the island host their own parties, too.

If you’re looking for a more relaxing evening, you can visit one of the night markets on the island or sit back and watch the sunset with other tourists at Loh Dalum Beach!

Accessibility: Koh Phi Phi is a tiny island with no form of transportation here; you must walk everywhere. Only a few remote beaches on the island are accessible by long-tail boat. Location-wise, Koh Phi Phi is in the middle of the Andaman Sea and is 90 minutes to 2 hours from other main places in Thailand, like Phuket or Ao Nang.

Due to its unique setting, mesmerizing nature, and popularity, Koh Phi Phi is a must-visit; even if you only do a day tour of it, it’s worth it!

However, Koh Phi Phi can get quite crowded, the party atmosphere can get old fast, if you’re not there to party. Also, much of the island’s surroundings can be experienced in two or three days, and the island isn’t suitable for longer stays.

Two to four nights is more than enough time in Koh Phi Phi. If you’d like to stay on an island in Krabi for longer, consider Koh Lanta instead.

Best Hotels in Koh Phi Phi

Zeavola Resort — Luxury

Phi Phi Coco Resort — Mid Range

The Pier 519 — Budget

Tubkaek

a vibrant orange and yellow sunset at the beach in Tubaek Krabi

Best Area For: Not commonly mentioned when discussing where to stay in Krabi, but Tubkaek Beach is one of the best areas in Krabi. Not only is the area home to a stunning beach, but it’s far less touristy than most places in Krabi, with plenty of nature to discover.

Atmosphere: Tubkaek is a hidden gem in Krabi with its beautiful nature. It offers a peaceful ambiance, crystal-clear waters, and majestic limestone cliffs. The atmosphere in the area is best described as tranquil and laidback.

Things to Do: You’ll find plenty of options when it comes to things to do in Tubkaek Beach. The beach is perfect for relaxation and sunbathing or water sports, such as kayaking, snorkeling, or jet skiing. Nature lovers will love Tubkaek due to its popular attractions like Silanto Beach Krabi and Dragon Crest Mountain.

Food: Due to its smaller population, Tubkaek doesn’t offer a wide food selection compared to other places in Krabi. However, it still has many delicious local restaurants serving Thai food.

Also, at the main Tubkaek Beach, many street food stalls serve food in the afternoon.

Nightlife: While Tubkaek Beach may not have a vibrant nightlife scene like some other areas in Krabi, it offers relaxing evenings along the beach with many beachfront bars to enjoy.

Accessibility: The best thing to do in Tubkaek is to try to stay near the main beach; some resorts offer their own private shuttle transportation for guests. Tubkaek is only 25 minutes from Ao Nang by car and around 45 minutes from Krabi Airport.

Overall, if you’re looking for an area that offers a peaceful atmosphere with plenty of activities, is less touristy than Krabi, and is suited for families and couples.

Best Hotels in Tubkaek

Phulay Bay by Ritz Carlton — Luxury

The Tubkaak Resort — Mid Range

Tubkaek Mansion — Budget

Khlong Muang

a Thai long tail boat anchored by the beach amongst crystal clear blue waters in Khlong Muang, Krabi

Best Area For: Khlong Muang is an excellent place to stay in Krabi for couples and families looking for a beautiful beach area near many other places to visit, such as Ao Nang and Railay Beach.

Atmosphere: Khlong Muang has a laid-back and peaceful vibe. Its pristine beach, lush greenery, stunning sunsets, and serene atmosphere make it an ideal relaxing destination.

Things to Do: Khlong Muang offers plenty of activities, from water activities such as snorkeling or diving to exploring the vibrant marine life. Additionally, you can take boat trips to nearby islands like Hong Island or Phi Phi Islands for a day trip.

Keep in mind that Ao Nang is only a 15-minute drive away, so you can always visit the beach and the many restaurants there, too, if you stay in Khlong Muang.

Food: There isn’t a wide variety of cuisine, seeing Khlong Muang is a small area in Krabi. In the area, you’ll find plenty of local food to try. For any other type of cuisine, you’ll have to go to Ao Nang, which is only 15 minutes away.

Nightlife: There’s no nightlife in Khlong Muang. The small, relaxing beach area isn’t meant for a bustling nightlife; the nightlife consists of visiting one of the beach bars in the evening.

Accessibility: Regarding accessibility, Khlong Muang is conveniently located just a short drive, 15 minutes from Ao Nang Beach and about 40 minutes from Krabi Airport by car or taxi. It’s best to rent a scooter in the Khlong Muang to get around.

Khlong Muang is an excellent choice for visitors seeking a peaceful beach area close to other destinations in Krabi, such as Ao Nang and Railay.

Best Hotels in Khlong Muang

Dusit Thani Krabi Resort — Luxury

Loy Chalet — Mid Range

Vacation House — Budget

Krabi Town

several locals and tourist walking around the famous Krabi Night Market

Best Area ForKrabi Town is known for its many street markets, lively town atmosphere, temples, and nearby hiking opportunities. You’ll find the beautiful Pak Nam River along the town’s coast.

Atmosphere: Krabi Town offers a unique atmosphere, unlike most of Krabi, where you’ll find beaches, resorts, etc. Krabi Town is where you’ll find the more local side of things. It’s a laidback town, at night it’s quite lively with many riverside bars and markets throughout the city.

Krabi Town is one of Thailand’s cheapest places to visit, so you’ll find many backpackers and hostels throughout the town.

Things to Do: Krabi Town offers many fun day trips, including visiting the Hot Stream Krabi, the famous Emerald Pool, and Tiger Temple, which offers exceptional panoramic views of Krabi.

There are plenty of markets in town to explore both day and night. Many locals relax by the river in the evening to watch the sunset.

Food: The food is excellent in Krabi, but what stands out the most is the variety of Thai street food here. There’s also a wide variety of cuisine in town besides Thai, including Indian, Italian, and more.

Nightlife: Despite being a laidback town, Krabi Town offers a decent nightlife, there are plenty of fun cozy pubs to visit, many bars offer live music and the riverside bars are also a must visit! Solo travelers love Krabi Town because of the many hostels that host evening parties.

Accessibility: Getting around Krabi Town is easy. There are many taxis, but the town is rather small, and you can walk to most places in under 15 minutes.

Krabi Town is only 25 minutes from Krabi International Airport. Getting from Krabi Town to other parts of Krabi, like Ao Nang, Railay, and others, is very easy, with many ferries, Minivan buses, and other transport options available.

Known as a backpacker paradise, Krabi Town is popular with travelers looking to experience the cultural side of Krabi. The only downside is there’s no beach, so you may want to consider Ao Nang instead if you’d like to be by the beach!

Best Hotels in Krabi Town

The Brown Hotel — Luxury

Krabi SeaBass Hotel — Mid Range

Leisure Hostel — Budget

the end of Railay west beach on one side

Best Time to Visit Krabi

There are two main weather patterns in Krabi: the dry season and the rainy season. During the dry season, you can expect plenty of sunshine and hot weather but with low humidity.

Alternatively, during the rainy season, there’s rainfall, sporadic thunderstorms here and there, and humidity levels are much higher than in the dry season. It’s important to note that certain months experience more rainfall during the rainy season than others.

Dry Season: November to April

The best time to visit Krabi is during the dry season. From November through April, average temperatures range between 25°C (77°F) and 33°C (91°F)

Krabi offers visitors plenty of sunshine to relax on the beach, do water activities, and explore the many tropical islands. The driest months in Krabi are January and February.

Rainy Season: May to October

If you choose to visit Krabi during the rainy season, expect temperatures to hover around 25°C (77°F) and 32°C (90°F). It’s important to note that there are months more suitable for visiting than others.

The rainfall in Krabi is tropical, so when it happens, it tends to pass by fast, but that’s not always the case. August and September are the rainiest months in Krabi, so if there’s a time you want to avoid visiting, it’s then!

views of giant limestones and beautiful turquoise waters from a long tail boat on the way to Maya Bay Beach in Thailand

Tips for Krabi

  • If you visit Railay Beach from Ao Nang, return before 6:00 PM. – Longtail Boat Taxis stop after
  • Always have cash on you in Krabi because many businesses only take cash, especially on the islands and smaller beach towns
  • Consider buying a Dry Bag to keep all your essential belongings dry; when you arrive by boat or island hopping in Krabi, you sometimes have to go into the water and walk to the shore
  • When experiencing day tours, always do early morning tours to experience fewer crowds at popular attractions
  • Traveling Krabi on a budget? Stick to the local cuisine, it’s always the most affordable

Where to Stay in Krabi — Final Thoughts

Have you decided where to stay in Krabi yet? It can be difficult because there are so many great places to consider.

But the best way to decide is to know which attractions you’d like to experience the most in Krabi. Also, consider the atmosphere you desire and who you’re coming with, or if you’re a solo traveler, anywhere works, really.

Remember not to try to see too many places during your trip; travel time can prevent you from enjoying your trip. You can experience places like Railay and Koh Phi Phi within 1 to 2 days, but you may want to spend more time in others!

Below, I’ve shared with you a few recommendations for where to stay in Krabi by traveler type:

Where to Stay in Krabi for First Timers: Railay Beach, Ao Nang, Koh Phi Phi

Where to Stay in Krabi for Backpackers: Krabi Town, Koh Phi Phi and Railay Beach

Where to Stay in Krabi for Couples: Koh Lanta, Khlong Muang, and Tubkaek

Where to Stay in Krabi for Family: Ao Nang, Koh Lanta and Khlong Muang

several large rock limestones at Phra Nang Beach visited during the Krabi 4 Island Tour in Thailand

Which part of Krabi is best to stay?

It depends on the atmosphere you want to experience, but Ao Nang is a top choice. The town has many accommodations and a wide variety of food.

Also, for those wondering where to stay in Krabi for island hopping, Ao Nang is the best place for that!

How many days in Krabi is enough?

Plan to spend at least 3 to 6+ days in Krabi because there are many things to do and places to explore in the province.

Is Krabi nicer than Phuket?

Both are beautiful in their own ways. Krabi is slightly more tropical than Phuket, so if you’re after surreal nature, Krabi could be the better choice.

Phuket also has beautiful nature, offering a tropical environment, but alternatively, it has more conveniences than Krabi!

Where is the main strip in Krabi?

Krabi’s main strip is in Ao Nang, where many restaurants, hops, and beachfront hotels will be found.

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