Krabi Province in Thailand has long been a favourite destination for HK travellers wishing to get away from the crowds in Phuket and Koh Samui. In fact, Krabi has everything that these destinations offer, including stunning beaches, gorgeous resorts and fantastic outdoor activities, just delivered in a more discreet manner.
I recently spent a week exploring Krabi and its surrounding islands, and I was surprised to find what this place has to offer. Here’s our guide to where to stay and what to do (plus a few insider tips) once you’re there!
WHEN TO GO
Krabi’s climate is tropical and therefore warm throughout the year. Bear in mind though that Krabi is also affected by the monsoon winds that bring about seasonal changes. November to March is the most popular time to visit the area.
Unfortunately, there are no direct flights from HK to Krabi; the best connection is via Bangkok with Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways or even Emirates. However, this can actually add value to your holiday for those wishing to break up the journey back home for a quick overnight shopping splurge or night out in Bangkok – every cloud has a silver lining and all!
WHAT TO DO
Krabi’s coasts have a double whammy in that they are lined with impressive limestone outcrops ideal for rock climbing, whilst the sea is a beautiful turquoise green, unique to this area. Ao Nang beach area (central Krabi) is party central and home to many hotels and a vibrant nightlife scene; however, if you venture a little further afield to Klong Muang beach or Railay Beach, you’ll discover a truly amazing beach experience.
As an athlete, I always look for outdoor activities when I’m on vacation. Krabi is a very hands-on destination, full of adventure activities from caving, rock-climbing and mountain trekking to diving in Thailand’s most pristine reefs… perfect for someone like me! Unlike Phuket or Koh Samui, Krabi dispenses with commercial and tacky touristy activities, instead replacing them with a natural playground for you to explore or just kick back with a cocktail and admire. If you are into rock climbing, I highly recommend taking a day trip to Railay Beach – and make sure you stay there for the beautiful sunset!
SASSY TIP: Once you arrive at Railay Beach, take the hike/climb up to the hidden lagoon that is known as ‘Princess Lagoon’. No rock climbing experience or equipment is required, but it is a pretty physical scramble up and over to the inside of this rocky mountain! Once you arrive, the secluded lagoon is an oasis away from the rest of the world (well, apart from a few curious monkeys!) and an ideal spot for a refreshing swim.
WHERE TO STAY
Phulay-Bay by Ritz Carlton (Klong Muang beach area)
Home to The Hangover II’s wedding scene, this resort with only 50 private villa/suites takes luxury to the next level. You could easily spend your entire holiday within the resort’s grounds and be completely satisfied. The opulent villas are stylishly decorated, combining Thai and North African architecture and decors. I thought I was in the Middle East!
SASSY TIP: The resort’s own baby elephant (yes… you read right… baby elephant!) greets guests each night at the sunset-bar, which looks out over a stunning private beach. The bar staff have even come up with their own Mango-Mojito and they have a Mojito happy hour every day from 5-7pm. It’s the perfect way to end the day sipping on one of these, looking out at the archipelago of islands on your doorstep.
Rayavadee (Railay Beach area)
Rayavadee’s setting at the heart of a stunning peninsula on the edge of Krabi National Marine Park blends lush foliage, limestone cliffs, three beaches and the emerald waters of the Andaman Sea. It can only be accessed via the resort’s private motor-boat and this property screams location, location, location – which explains the abundance of day trippers! But you do have the beaches to yourself in the early morning and late afternoon.
SASSY TIP: Enjoy dinner or lunch at the ‘Grotto’, the resort’s private restaurant in its very own beachside cave. The cave even has Wifi so you can catch up on some work or brag to the outside world via Facebook… a true 21st century caveman!
SPECIAL FLIGHT CENTRE DEAL TO KRABI: Stay in Krabi for $7,499 (excluding taxes and fuel surcharge), including return economy airfare to Krabi with Thai Airways and 3 nights’ accommodation at the Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton reserve with daily breakfast and return airport transfers. Valid until October 25 2013, depending on availability; call Flight Centre on 2830 2866 for more info.
Troy is Flight Centre’s Sports Travel Manager and an ex-professional athlete with the Australian National Team; unsurprisingly, he likes to mix his beach breaks with action-packed activities!
For assistance on your travels, visit www.flightcentre.com.hk. Flight Centre’s team of travel consultants can help you book everything travel-related, as well as make excellent recommendations.