One of the main questions we get here is from tourists who are trying to decide which place should they stay in Krabi. Krabi Town or Ao Nang Beach area?
This is not an easy question to answer so we will give you a lot of information below, and you can make your own decision for your circumstances.
Krabi Town is a Thai town and though it has some infrastructure for tourists, it’s really just set up as a Thai town that has transportation to Ao Nang Beach so you can stay there or reach the islands around Krabi like Ko Phi Phi, Ko Yao Yai and Noi, Ko Lanta, Ko Jum, and Phuket islands.
Staying in town is going to be much cheaper than it would be staying at the beach or at one of the islands, but there are no beaches in town. There is a small park with some sand, but you really can’t consider that a beach.
The only people who stay in town tend to be backpackers that arrive late or, who want to see some of the attractions that are more easily reached from town like the Emerald Pool, Tiger Cave Temple, Hot Springs, Dragon’s Crest mountain hike, or Huay Toh Waterfall.
It is also easier to go from Town to Ko Lanta, Surat, Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, Ko Tao, Ko Jum, Phang Nga, and Phuket than it is from Ao Nang Beach where you must take a boat if you’re going somewhere.
Below we created a table with many criteria to help tourists decide whether Krabi Town or Ao Nang Beach is the better place to stay while visiting Krabi.
Side-by-Side – Ao Nang Beach vs Krabi Town
|Ao Nang Beach Area
|Krabi Town Area
|Proximity to the Beach
|Very close, within walking distance for most areas
|Farther away, requires transport (17 km/10 mi – 25 mins)
|Wide range of hotels, resorts, bungalows on islands
|Hotels, no nice resorts
|Local seafood, international cuisine
|Fewer options, mainly local eateries “Bistro Monacos!”
|Some nightlife scene, but weak compared to Phuket
|Very limited nightlife – bars, Thai dance clubs
|Plenty of small shops and boutiques. Makro.
|Limited shopping options – Makro, Lotus’s, Big C
|Beautiful beaches, island hopping
|Cultural sites, temples, hot spring, waterfall, Hiking
|Water Sports Activities
|Diving, snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding
|Boats to islands or Railay Beach
|Tuk-tuks, taxis, and songthaews
|Motorbikes, tuk-tuks, taxis, and songthaews
|Stunning beach and limestone cliffs
|Lush greenery, river views, some forest
|Suitable for families with children
|Limited family-friendly options but closer to many more things to do
|Variety of budget accommodations.
|All budget hotels.
|Well-connected to nearby islands
|Central location, easy to access dozens of attractions
|Touristy, with a mix of international visitors
|More local and authentic experience
|English more widely spoken
|Limited English proficiency
|Generally safe, exercise normal precautions
|Generally safer, exercise normal precautions
|Health and Medical Facilities
|Clinics and pharmacies available, International Clinic
|Clinics and pharmacies available, and international hospital (Nakharin)
|Peak Tourist Season
|May to November
|May to November
|Longtail boats for island hopping, motorbikes
|Longtail boats for river tours, motorbikes, songthaew
|Lower, and affordable
|One main road never too busy
|Rush hours can back up traffic for 20 mins.
If there are any other criteria you’d like to see listed in this table, let us know and we may add it to help more people come to the right decision about where to stay for vacation in Krabi. Don’t forget, you can stay both places if you have some time!
[Featured image at top ©KrabiNature.com]