by Olha Romaniuk,
Krabi Town is a sleepy little settlement, approximately forty minutes away from the Krabi International Airport, tucked far away from the hungry throngs of partying expats who avoid Krabi all together, instead, setting their sights on the usual suspects, like as Patong Beach in Phuket and Phi Phi Island. While there is seemingly not a lot to do in Krabi, a more discerning look will quickly reveal a vibrant town filled with locals ready to share their knowledge of the nearby attractions and expats ready to make new friends and chill-out partners.
Krabi Town is an excellent place to explore on a conservative budget and boasts a vast selection of charming little hostels, some that look better than pricy hotels at Patong Beach at less than half of the price. Almost every hostel features at least one bar on its premises, so a dearth of drinking establishments is never a problem, even though the night life overall may fail to impress the discerning party-goers. Hotel rooms are also much cheaper than at the nearby tourist-infested towns and can provide much-needed reprieve time to couples or families.
For cheap drinks, a medley of delicious local food and a lively atmosphere, it is worth checking out the night market, located in the heart of Krabi Town. From mango salads, to freshly squeezed juice drinks, to pad thai, tom yum and even kebab dishes made on the spot by the many street vendors, the food never fails to impress with its quality and variety. On the central stage, amidst all of the food stalls and tents, local talents provide entertainment with singing and dancing well into the wee hours of the night. The nearby bars are friendly and open to new visitors, even though the vast majority of patronage comes from the shockingly young locals who frequent the bars several nights a week.
While Krabi is not known for its beaches with pristine white sand (actually, there are none of such in the nearby vicinity of Krabi Town), it has plenty of small Thai town charm suitable for a relaxing vacation with a loved one. With plenty of cheap Thai massage establishments (where an hour-long full body massage will cost approximately $20 USD) to quaint food joints where food prices range from $5 to $10 USD per dish, Krabi’s little luxuries are completely affordable and can fill in one’s lazy day with pampering and dining. During rainy seasons, when it is much too dreary to take a taxi or bus ride to the nearest beach, it is common for the locals and expats alike to lounge around all day at one of the many little roadside cafes and eat and drink all day for very little damage to their wallets.
If, however, Krabi visitors desire to switch up the locations and go visit the neighboring towns and explore the world-famous Thai beaches, the journey is short and cheap. For a couple of dollars each way, tourists can hop onto one of the many taxi buses that can take up to approximately twelve visitors per trip and take a ride to Au Nang beach for drinking and swimming underneath the Thailand sun.
Those seeking an additional thrill from their ride should be happy to know that they can ride a taxi bus al fresco, by standing in the back on a hanging bus step and holding on to the handle bars attached to the outside of the taxi bus. An adrenaline rush from small bumps on the road does not stop the taxi bus drivers from staying true to their routes, but the bus can be stopped at practically any picturesque location on the way to the main beaches by simply yelling “Stop!” to the driver.
For a steeper price, there is also an option of taking a long tail boat or even an occasional speedboat directly to Au Nang or to any of the nearby beaches. While a much faster option, it should be noted that such service is unreliable both in its time of departure and its pricing. Many local boat drivers will try to make the most money out of the unsuspecting tourists and, moreover, will not let their boats leave the docks until there are at least six passengers on board. It should also be noted that the taxis and the long tail boats stop services before midnight so careless tourists can get stuck in a random town without any means of getting back to their hotels or hostels in Krabi Town.
A fair warning to first time visitors to Thailand is that Krabi Town is an acquired taste and is not everyone’s cup of tea. Those who do their research beforehand, however, will be pleasantly surprised by the authentic small town charm, unscathed by the typical tourist attractions or noise typical of any other beach town within the confines of Thailand. Those seeking a quiet getaway from the everyday hustle and bustle of cities like Hong Kong or Singapore should look no further than Krabi for a lazy weekend getaway.