If your idea of a great holiday involves warm weather, gorgeous sunsets and plenty of outdoor adventures, the question becomes “Why not?” With its close proximity to a number of prime beaches, breathtaking cliffs, amazing islands and direct flights from a host of international destinations, Krabi Airport is your best bet to get you on the sand with a fresh, cold coconut, enjoying the views as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Krabi Airport has gone through some changes over the years, despite its short history. Due to the high potential for Krabi tourism, public and private sectors foresaw the advantage of flight service into Krabi province. First opening in 1986 at around 11 kilometres from Krabi Town, the airport only serviced one flight, on an 18-seat craft. But with such a small capacity, and the outstanding beauty of this province, the need for expansion was obvious. In 1993, plans for massive construction began, and the new airport opened for commercial flights on July 10, 1999, opening up a whole new avenue for Krabi tourism. Finally, in 2006, further expansion allowed the airport to accommodate international travelers, setting the stage for visitors from around the world to enjoy all that this spectacular province has to offer.
Since then, Krabi Airport has become a main hub for beach-going travelers from international destinations, boasting an arrival hall with 30 different stores, restaurants, lounges, prayer room and airport information services. The airport hosts a number of international airlines, with popular flights coming and going from places such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Shanghai. Krabi Airport also services domestic flights, with travel possible to and from Bangkok, Chang Mai and Koh Samui.
Travelers from European destinations can enjoy direct chartered flights from origins such as London-Gatwick and Copenhagen, with the exception of commercial, seasonal flights between Krabi and Helsinki, hosted by Finnair.
Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Ko Samui
China Eastern Airlines
Guangzhou, Hefei, Shenzhen, Ürümqi, Xi’an
New Gen Airways
Guiyang, Hohhot, Jinan, Nanjing, Tianjin, Wuhan
Charter: Baotou, Fuzhou, Hefei, Qingdao
Seasonal charter: Krasnoyarsk–Yemelyanovo, Vladivostok
Bangkok–Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Singapore
Thai Lion Air
Seasonal charter: Changsha, Hefei
Thai Vietjet Air
Travel Service Polska
Seasonal charter: Warsaw
Seasonal charter: Copenhagen, London Gatwick, Helsinki
So now that you’ve booked your flight, where to next? Krabi Airport is your main jump-off point for many desirable beach destinations such as Ao Nang, Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi. Let’s take a look at some of the options.
As the capital of Krabi province and host to the airport, Krabi Town is by far the easiest to get to from the airport. If you’ve had a long flight and are in need of some down time, consider booking accommodation here before heading to your next destination. But don’t stop there – Krabi Town has its own attractions to offer. Experience the best of Krabi with a visit to Khao Khanab Nam, including a longtail boat ride through the mangrove forests. If you happen to be in Krabi town on a weekend, you’re in luck, as the Krabi Night Market is one of the most famous around, complete with live entertainment, cheap and tasty food, and perhaps the opportunity to try something that you haven’t before – like durian or BBQ scorpion.
How to get to and from the airport:
- Use the airport’s authorized transfer shuttle (100 THB). They will be waiting for you as soon as you exit customs, and drop you off at or near your hotel, as soon as there are enough passengers to fill the vehicle.
- Prearrange pickup using your hotel’s airport transfer service. Price varies with hotel, but are generally on par with taxi prices.
- Private taxi. Depending on where in Krabi Town you are going, this will cost around 350-600 THB. To take a private taxi, you’ll need to buy a voucher inside and then present it to one of the drivers outside. On the way back, you should be able to flag a taxi from the street, or have your hotel call one for you.
- Car rental service. Krabi airport hosts kiosks of several well-known car rental agencies. Pre-book online for better rates, and all you’ll need is an English language or International driving license.
- Song Thaew. The shared song thaew is a modified truck, with passengers sitting in the back. You’ll need to ask your hotel where you can find the nearest one, and they can’t drive directly to the airport doors, so be prepared to walk from the road.
Like Krabi Town, Ao Nang is close to the airport and easy to reach. This prime destination boasts a plethora of hotel and resort options – all within walking distance to a west-facing, white sand beach with warm turquoise waters. With its towering cliffs overlooking the ocean, Ao Nang is not only a favourite for beach-goers, but is a haven for rock-climbers and outdoor enthusiasts as well. The main strip runs along the beach, meaning that you don’t have to stroll very far to enjoy it all – warm seas, soft sand, glorious sunsets, and a host of dining, shopping and night life options. When it comes to Ao Nang accommodation and activities, the possibilities are endless.
Due to Ao Nang’s close proximity to Krabi Town, the transportation options will be similar:
- Use the airport’s authorized transfer shuttle (150 THB). The shuttle will drop you off at or near your hotel. This option can also be used for your journey back to the airport. Save your ticket and call the number on the back, or have your hotel do it for you.
- Prearrange pickup/drop off using your hotel’s airport transfer service.
- Private taxi. Depending on where in Ao Nang you are going, this will cost around 600-1050 THB, and you’ll need to buy a taxi voucher from one of the booths inside before presenting it to a driver outside. From Krabi back to the airport, flag or call any taxi or catch a songthaew.
- Car rental service. Krabi airport hosts kiosks of several well-known car rental agencies. Pre-book online for better rates.
One of Thailand’s most beautiful islands, Koh Lanta is located just off the coast of Krabi. With nearly a dozen beaches, the relaxation options are endless on this spectacular piece of paradise. Looking for a little bit more adventure? Lanta’s got you covered with scuba diving, cooking classes, paddle boarding and snorkeling, to name just a few. Don’t forget to include a famous four island tour and a visit to the Moo Koh Lanta National Park, a mostly uninhabited area at the south end of the island, famed for its wild monkey sightings – just make sure to keep your belongings secure! Krabi Airport is definitely your best best if you’re heading to Koh Lanta.
How to get to and from the airport:
- Express transfer. This is hands-down the fastest way to get to Koh Lanta from Krabi Airport – if you’re traveling during high season (November-April). With a combination of speedboat and air-conditioned shuttles, the express transfer will get you from your flight to your hotel as quickly and painlessly as possible. The speedboat leaves at 11:00 am however, so you’ll have to catch an early flight to take advantage of this option.
- Private Minivan Transfer. This service is perfect for families, as it’s a flat rate of 3000 THB per air-conditioned van, and can accommodate up to six passengers. As there is a public ferry crossing involved, allow 2.5 – 3.5 hours for the journey, depending on ferry queues.
- Public Minivan Transfer. This option takes much the same route as the private service above, with the obvious exception that it’s a public service. The driver will wait until there are enough passengers to fill the van, then take the public car ferry before dropping passengers off at individual hotels. It’s the most economical option for direct service to Koh Lanta, but might be uncomfortable for families with children.
- Rent a car. The drive to Koh Lanta ferry is only around one hour, so if you’d like to enjoy the luxury of having your own vehicle during your stay, this is your best option. Local SIM cards can also be purchased at the airport, so you can use GPS to guide you right to your hotel. This option includes a ride on the public car ferry, so make sure to check the ferry schedule.
- Take a taxi or songthaew to Laem Kruat, and from there catch the public ferry or hire a longtail boat.
The Phi Phi islands are some of Thailand’s most famous and well-loved, so it’s no surprise that there is plenty of beauty to enjoy here, not to mention activities. Phi Phi Island hopping is popular, and tourists can explore any of the six islands that make up the chain, located about 43 km west of Krabi. Surrounded by crystal-clear waters, Koh Phi Phi is a prime scuba-diving and snorkeling destination. Visit Maya Bay, perhaps most well-known for being the shooting location of the 2000 movie The Beach. Accommodation on the Phi Phi Islands is restricted to only one island – Phi Phi Don – but there you’ll find numerous options with an array of different styles and prices. Once you’re there, you’ll likely not want to leave, because with island-hopping, caving, shark-watching, rock climbing and hiking options, you will not run out of things to do.
How to reach Phi Phi Island from the airport:
- Make your way to Klong Jilad Pier, about 30 minutes away. Options to get there include shuttle bus or private taxi. Both options can be easily arranged once exiting customs. If you choose the shuttle, you’ll be required to transfer to a minivan from a travel agency in Krabi Town. You can buy your ticket to the Phi Phi island ferry here, or wait until you get to the pier.
- Once you’ve arrived at the pier, you can book your ticket to the Phi Phi Island ferry. Make sure you check the ferry schedule so you don’t end up waiting too long, or worse, missing the last ferry. If your flight arrives late, it might be best to book accommodation in Krabi Town for the night and head out the next day.
- You can also choose to take a speedboat to the islands, a more expensive option that will reduce your time on the boat, with the added bonus of being dropped off directly at your chosen hotel or resort.
- If you choose to take the ferry, once you disembark you will either have to walk to your resort or hire a longtail boat. Check with your hotel to see if they can arrange this for you, or just chance it once you arrive, but don’t forget to bargain with the boat driver!
- To return to the airport, follow the same steps or check with your hotel about transfer service.
Phuket is the largest island in Thailand, and with a population of about a quarter of a million people, there’s not much that you can’t do here. The island is roughly the size of Singapore, and with a range of activities spanning rich, city night-life to glorious beaches or fascinating history, there is truly something for everyone on this island-province. Choose from a selection of beaches like Kata Noi Beach to get your relaxation fix, or hike to the Kata viewpoint for spectacular views of the bay, and then experience a taste of city life in the evening, with a visit to the Phuket Town Weekend Night Market or the party central of Bangla Road. Experience cabaret shows and cutting-edge museums, all while within sight of some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes. There are plenty of ways to get to Phuket from Krabi, so don’t hesitate to put it on your itinerary.
Getting to and from Krabi Airport:
- Ferry. Take an airport shuttle or taxi to the Klong Jilad Pier, and from there you’ll take the ferry to the Phi Phi islands. Once at Koh Phi Phi, which is halfway between Krabi and Phuket, you’ll catch the next ferry to Phuket. Make sure to check the ferry schedules, as boats from Krabi generally leave in the morning, and boats from Phi Phi depart for Rasada Pier in Phuket in the afternoon. This is a great option if you’d like to explore the Phi Phi Islands on the way to Phuket.
- Private speedboat. Since the speedboats are privately chartered, they don’t operate on a schedule and can therefore take you across Phang Nga bay on your own timetable.
- Public bus. Buses leave Krabi Town at 11:00, and range in price from 450 to 650 THB, depending on where in Phuket you’re headed. Buses are air-conditioned and take around 3 hours.
- Private minivans can accommodate up to 9 people and will cost 2700-3500 THB, the same price as a taxi for one person! This is a good option for families or large groups.
Koh Jum is a small island located between Koh Lanta and Krabi Town. Though most visitors here come to relax and recharge on the beach, there are still a number of things to do. The island is separated into northern and southern halves, with the north side featuring Koh Phu mountain – a great idea for a hike if you’re feeling adventurous. Lazy beach days and beautiful sunsets dominate here, with a few good places for snorkeling and swimming, and scuba diving, though it can be challenging when the tide is low. You can always charter a longtail boat to take you on a tour around the island to enjoy the beauty from the water. There are motorbikes for hire here, and exploring the island this way is a fun and relaxing way to enjoy your day. If your reason for travel is to get away from it all and unwind, then Koh Jum is the place for you. You’ll find a selection of accommodation here, ranging from small wooden bungalows to all the comforts of a resort.
Getting to and from Krabi Airport:
Because Koh Jum is so small, the travel options vary during high and low seasons, and because of its location, the options are similar to those of Koh Lanta.
- The express transfer service will take up to six people in an air-conditioned minivan to the pier in Krabi Town, where you will depart on the 11:00 am speedboat to Koh Lanta, meaning that you’ll need to catch an earlier filght. The speedboat will stop at Koh Jum’s north and south piers before heading to Koh Lanta, so it’s best to have your accommodation booked before arriving so you know where to get off. This option is only available between November – May.
- Private Minivan Transfer. This service is perfect for families, as it’s a flat rate of 3000 THB per air-conditioned van, and can accommodate up to six passengers. As there is a public ferry crossing involved, allow 2.5 – 3.5 hours for the journey, depending on ferry queues. The ferry will stop at three places on Koh Jum, so communicate with your hotel about where to get off, and arrange for a longtail taxi from the hotel, otherwise you’ll have to charter one.
- Public Minivan Transfer. This option takes much the same route as the private service above, with the obvious exception that it’s a public service. The driver will wait until there are enough passengers to fill the van, then take the public car ferry before dropping passengers off at individual hotels. It’s the most economical option for direct service to the Koh Lanta ferry, but might be uncomfortable for families with children.
- Take a taxi or songthaew to Laem Kruat, and from there catch the public ferry or hire a longtail boat. This is your only option during the low season, as the Koh Lanta ferry does not run from May – November.
- It is possible to hire a private longtail boat from Chao Fah Pier in Krabi Town directly to Koh Jum. Expect the journey to cost around 2500 THB.
Klong Muang and Tubkaek beaches are right next door to eachother, with Klong Muang being the first stop on the way from the Krabi Airport. Klong Muang manages to be quieter than its bigger neighbours, Krabi Town or Ao Nangwhile still hosting an impressive selection of hotels and restaurants. Klong Muang beach features a long stretch of bars and restaurants situated right on the sand – perfect for enjoying the sunset with your dinner. The beach is long here, and perfect for swimming during high tide, and you can also enjoy long walks down the entire length. Tubkaek beach is dominated by larger resorts, but it’s still possible to enjoy the beach if you’re not staying at one. It’s also on the route to the popular Hang Nak Nature Trail hike. Excursions to other popular destinations are also possible from both places, such as Hong Island or the four island tour.
Getting there from Krabi Airport:
- Book an airport transfer with your hotel. This is an excellent option because the fees will be similar to a taxi, and the driver will be waiting for you when your flight arrives.
- Private taxi service. You will need to buy a voucher from the booth inside the airport and present it to one of the designated drivers waiting outside. This is the most expensive option, costing 700-1100 THB to Klong Muang and 800-1200 THB to Tubkaek. Alternatively, you can walk to the main entrance of the airport and flag a taxi who might charge less.
- Minivan transfer service. This is a good choice for families, as minivans are air-conditioned and can seat 7-13 passengers depending on which vehicle you book. You can pre-book or book on arrival.
- For those looking for the cheapest option possible, you can try catching a songthaew from the airport gates, or taking the airport bus into Krabi Town and trying to find another songthaew to Klong Muang from there, but it likely will not be possible except during high season.
- Rent a car from one of the many agencies at the airport, and get on the road! Klong Muang is about 40 minutes from Krabi Airport, Tubkaek about 45.
Railay Beach is one of the most popular destinations in the area, and with good reason. The clear waters are perfect for swimming, and the towering cliffs all around it make you feel like you’re on a secluded island, even though it’s technically part of the mainland. Rock climbing is a huge draw for visitors to Railay, and its vendors offer packages for beginners all the way up to seasoned climbers. Many other activities are available, such as kayaking, snorkeling or trekking. The Railay peninsula consists of three beaches – Railay West, Railay East and Phranang Beach. You can walk from beach to beach once you’re on the peninsula, and the stroll from Railay West or East to Phranang Beach is a wondrous one, as you’ll pass through caves under the high cliffs, and probably spot some monkeys! Most of the accommodation can be found on Railay East, and both west and east host all the shops, restaurants and services you could ever desire. A vacation in Krabi is just not complete without a trip to Railay Beach.
Getting there from the airport:
Because the Railay peninsula is surrounded by towering limestone karsts, the only way in is by boat! There are a number of transportation options, and they will differ based on where in Railay you are staying.
- As always, use your hotel’s airport transfer service. Your route will be different based on which area of Railay you are staying, and this will eliminate the guesswork. Pre-booking your hotel in Railay is definitely recommended, as rooms fill up fast in the high season.
- To get to Railay West : Take the an airport bus, taxi, minivan, or songthaew to Ao Nang. Alight at the Ao Nang pier, right on the main beach road, and purchase a ticket to Railay Beach for 100 THB (one way). Be prepared to carry your luggage through knee high water to get to and from the longtail boat, which will take about 15 minutes to reach Railay West. This is the most popular option, but if you’re staying in Railay East, you’ll have to walk from there with your luggage. Don’t worry though, because it’s a pleasant 10 or 15 minute walk, depending on where you’re staying, and there are plenty of maps along the way.
- To get to Railay East : Take an airport bus, taxi, minivan or songthaew to Krabi Town’s Khong Kha pier. The boat ride here will be longer, about 40 minutes, but you’ll be dropped off directly on the east side, closer to your hotel. Both of these options will require you to wait for eight people before the boat leaves, but that shouldn’t be very long during high season. Also, be aware that during low tide, you may have to walk up to 100 metres to shore. Some hotels on this side of the bay offer a tractor with trailer to pick up the guests and drive them and their luggage to shore.
- It is possible to pay extra to leave before eight people are present, or to charter a private boat. Simply ask the ticket counter or approach a boat driver directly.
Haad Yao is one of the last untouched beaches in this area. Its sandy shores lack the towering cliffs of some of the more well-known beaches, leaving a smooth stretch of beach to walk and play on for seven kilometres. Travelers here are able to take advantage of its unspoiled beauty, and can enjoy sunsets with views of islands such as Koh Jum or Koh Phi Phi. There are a handful of dining and accommodation options, but the main draw is the beach, and because it’s relatively non-developed, there won’t be much happening here during low season. During high season, lazy days, beach strolls or a small selection of water activities such as fishing and kayaking are most of what’s happening at Haad Yao, and most of us probably won’t mind the escape. If you’re looking for a calm, peaceful vacation away from the tourist traps and surrounded by locals, this is the place to be.
How to get there from Krabi Airport:
- Arrange an airport pickup with your hotel. Most of the hotels in this area are mid-range and commonly offer this service.
- Rent a car. You might want some wheels if you’re staying so far away from the main strip. You can rent a car from Krabi Airport, but since the way is not well-signed, make sure to buy a local SIM card so you can use GPS to find your way to Haad Yao.
- Take a taxi. You’ll receive the least value for your money with this option.
- For the adventurous, there is a songthaew that goes from Krabi Town to nearby Laem Hin three times a day on weekdays – you’ll have to get to Krabi Town first and then walk to your hotel from Laem Hin if you choose this option.