Krabi is a southern province on Thailand’s Andaman seaboard. Covering an area of approximately 4709 sq km, Krabi province is bounded by Phang Nga and Surathani provinces from the North, Trang province and the Andaman Sea from the South, Trang and Nakorn Si Thammarat provinces from the East and Phang Nga province and the Andaman Sea from the West. Krabi’s landscape is undulating and dotted with hills and mountains, the highest of which is Khao Phanom Bencha at 1,350m.
Krabi is divided into eight districts : Amphoe Muang (Krabi Town), Khao Panom, Khlong Thom, Plai Phraya, Ko Lanta, Ao Luk, Lam Thap and Nhua Khlong.
Krabi has a tropical monsoon climate. Even if it is warm all year around, the two periods of April-May and September-October are the hottest with temperatures ranging from 27° to 36°. The best time to visit Krabi is from November until March, when it is less humid.
Locals enjoy the period from June to August, since the weather is usually fine and their favourite places remain uncrowded. Everything is a little less expensive at this time of year, as well.
The September-October period is also the wettest which encourages locals to visit abroad. One consolation for those who remain is that the beaches, outdoor restaurants and streets are less frequented by visitors.
And even at this time, you still get long intervals of sunshine between the heavy showers. During this wettest part of the summer you will still have access to the top activities that Krabi has to offer in order to discover its outstanding landscape.
Krabi Province highlights mother nature’s amazing treasures such as white sandy beaches surrounded by luxuriant vegetation, limestone cliffs and palm trees for as far as the eye can see. The province includes over 130 tropical islands well-known to adventurers who want to discover Krabi’s real wildlife and stunning beauty thanks to its virgin islands and abundance of caves.
The area is being developed with a wide range of places to stay from small bungalows to five star prestigious resorts. Most accommodations are located around the beach areas of Ao Nang, Railay and Phra Nang with some small local hotels in the provincial capital, Krabi town.
If you want to relax and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city, Krabi is the right place. You can reach some of the quiet beaches by longtail boat and enjoy a peaceful time in a flash. Top destinations are Hat Noppharat Thara, Ko Phi Phi islands, named Paradise on Earth, and its amazing Maya Bay which became famous thanks to the movie ‘the Beach’. Ao Nang and Railay are uniquely beautiful by their white sandy beaches and limestone mountains that attract rock climbers from around the world.
Lanta islands, which lies to the South of Krabi Town includes stretches of mangrove with breaks of coral rimmed beaches with rugged hills caused in exotic forest. For diving-lovers, the Ko Lanta National Park includes several coral-fringed islands, prime diving sites, and comparative solitude. This area gives the opportunity to enjoy a swim with manta rays and observe whale sharks. The largest island, Ko Lanta Yai, is the site of park headquarters, and is also home to Chao Le, or Sea Gypsies who sustain themselves largely through fishing. The islands are best visited during the non-monsoon months of October through April.
Kayaking, sailing, birdwatching, snorkelling, island hopping and sightseeing are also among the top activities that Krabi has to offer. In the interior, two predominantly mainland national parks, Khao Phanom Bencha and Than Bokk-horani, offer inland scenic attractions including waterfalls and caves, and opportunities for trekking, birdwatching and eco-tours.
One of the main feature of Krabi area is its mangrove forest that you can explore by long-tail boat through small canals. You can see different types of mangrove trees and encounter the abundant wildlife in the area including fish, monkeys, and birds. Krabi’s mangrove constitutes an important part in the bio-diversity of its eco system by providing a safe and protected environment.
According to archaeological evidence, particularly the many cliffs and caves that are marked with stone tools, ancient colored pictures, beads, pottery and skeletal remains, it is thought that the area called Krabi province is a community since prehistoric period and has been home to Homo Sapiens since 25,000–35,000 B.C.
During King Rama V’s reign (1868-1910), this land was called Pakasai sub-county under the direct jurisdiction of Nakhon Si Thammarat province. After the governor of the province, Jao Praya Nakorn (Noy), sent his vizier to ensure a regular supply of elephants for the larger town, many more people from Nakhon Si Thammarat province immigrated to settle down in the area. Krabi was divided in three different boroughs : Pakasai, Klong Pon, and Pak Lao.
Around 1872, King Rama V elevated these three sub-counties to town status and became Krabi province with the provincial administration office situated at Krabi-yai sub-county (in Muang district at present). But it was still subjected to Nakhon Si Thammarat’s control. At present, the office is located near the estuary at Pak Nam sub-district. Its first governor was Laung Thep Sena. In 1875, Rama V had an order to separate Krabi from Nakhon Si Thammarat and to have it ruled by Bangkok. Krabi’s history as a unique entity, separate from the other provinces, had begun.
There are two legends mentioning the meaning of Krabi. The first had it that villagers presented a large ancient sword (krabi in Thai) they discovered by chance to the governor. They also did the same thing when a smaller one was found later, so they were placed crossing each other in the cave named Khao Khanap Nam. This was the origin of the province’s emblem.
The second legend had it that Krabi was derived from a name of local tree, Lumphi. The Malay and Chinese merchants made its pronunciation slightly corrupted and became Ka-lu-bi or Kho-lo-bi, which finally turned to Krabi.
The people of Krabi represent a mix of different regions and races who over history came to settle. It is believed that each group of people represent a different page in the history of Krabi.
The Chao Ley, or Sea Gypsies, reside on various of the islands in Krabi’s waters, and traditionally subsist thanks to fishing and diving to make their living. Their small communities are in danger of overexposure to tourism, however some of their traditional ways are presented through a yearly festival on Koh Lanta, Koh Pu and Koh Cham.
About 200 years ago, Southern Chinese people flocked to Thailand in search of work and many made their way to the south of Thailand to work in local industry. Recently, there involvement has been high in oil palm plantations and gypsum mining. Many still retain the ability to speak Chinese, have Chinese (and Thai) names, and observe Chinese rituals and religious beliefs.
Being in close proximity to Malaysia, southern Thailand is also home to many Muslim communities, and Krabi itself has a strong Muslim presence (40%).
Thanks to many attractions and activities that Krabi has to offer, its location and its climate, one of the most important income is tourism. The area attracts more and more tourists and is the best place for those looking for a quiet pace, sun or even adrenaline. The increase of the number of tourists is attributed to the increased number of accommodations in the area, and the increase in airline flights now routed to Krabi. Krabi is now attracting tourists from Malaysia, Singapore, China, India and Indonesia, where previously Krabi tourism was largely based on visitors from Scandinavia and other European countries. As a result, the airline industry has responded to Krabi’s increased popularity by scheduling more round-trip flights to Krabi’s relatively new International Airport and various points of origin.
In addition to toursim, Krabi is also an agricultural based area, with sandy clay soil conditions, like many surrounding provinces, making it ideal for producing rubber, palm oils, oranges, coconuts, and coffee. Cultivation of rubber is the main source of earnings followed by palm oil and coconuts.
Fishing, widely carried out along the coastline and on most larger islands is also a major activity in Krabi that allows a lot of fishermen to earn money by using traditional methods. However, modern trawling techniques are threatening numbers of them as well as the local industry. Krabi’s industry is also growing through shrimp and cockle farms that has appeared since the early 1990’s.