Krabi and the Phi Phi Islands
by Jack Corbett

View of island from Ao Nang Beach

 

Krabi with its 90 degree karsts jutting out of the ocean is the most stunning, sensational area I've experienced in Thailand --Jack Corbett



Krabi, hundreds of miles to the South of Bangkok deep in Muslim territory on the Indian Ocean side of Thailand, has to be one of the most scenic, laid back, and inexpensive of the major Thai beach resorts. Our destination, the Somkiet Buri Resort at Ao Nang Beach in Krabi would prove to be the most stunning hotel or resort I've seen since moving to Thailand--and it only costs 1350 baht per night during low season.  But although it rained everyday for the entire week of our stay, we still managed to take a speedboat tour of four neighboring islands, road test two new motorbike offerings from Honda, take the ferry out to Phi Phi, and snorkel in the same lagoon near Phi Phi where many of the scenes from "The Beach" were filmed.

Compared to the hectic pace of city traffic in Pattaya, the main road through Ao Nang Beach is quite easily managed whether on foot, car or motorbike.  And although it doesn't come close to Pattaya as an all around resort, particularly if one is thinking of moving here there are still a few beer bars where bar girls can be found and there is a fair selection of restaurants including a McDonalds and even a Seven Eleven or two.   But unlike tourist beach resorts such as Phuket and Ko Samui, prices are cheap at Krabi's Ao Nang Beach--at least in the low season when we were here.  For instance, we were able to rent a fully automatic Honda Click motorbike for just 150 baht for the day and Honda's latest and greatest, the Honda Air Blade for 250 baht, but I think the big difference in price was because there was probably just one Air Blade in the entire town.  Better yet, was the price we paid for our meals, which was similar to what we had been paying in modestly to inexpensively priced restaurants in Pattaya and nowhere near what one pays in Phuket and Ko Samui. 

It cost us just 6300 baht round trip for two to fly to Krabi's airport from Bangkok.  The airport's in Krabi Town, which is just twenty minutes away from Ao Nang Beach by cab.  We noticed just a few minutes before landing that Krabi is very visually stimulating with its abundant green foliage and high steep cliffed hills along with its jagged coastline, numerous nearby islands, and nearly hidden lagoons.

Right off I noticed that most Western men and women are much more physically fit here at Ao Nang Beach than in Pattaya.  The reason is the area is so picturesque and rugged that it attracts doers instead of bystanders.  There are rock climbing schools here galore, and the snorkeling and diving is first rate off any of a number of islands easily reached by dive boat, long tail, ferry or speedboat.   The beauty of the area in general just stretches on and on which has made Krabi a backpacker's paradise. 

The pictures below are from Ao Nang Beach itself, so you don't really have to go anywhere for spectacular views.  But even though it rained at least once a day, we managed to take a speedboat tour of four islands which included a half hour of snorkeling, an afternoon's outing to the main island at Phi Phi by ferry, and a full diving excursion by dive boat to two gorgeous locations close to Phi Phi where we snorkeled.  But all of this plus our fabulous week long stay at the Somkiet Buri Resort will be covered on the following pages.

       Click here to view movie of Krabi's nearby islands, the Somkiet Buri Resort and Phi-Phi

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