||This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (October 2014)|
Map of Thailand highlighting Krabi Province
|• Governor||Prasit Osathanon (since October 2009)|
|• Total||4,709 km2 (1,818 sq mi)|
|Area rank||Ranked 46th|
|• Rank||Ranked 64th|
|• Density||93/km2 (240/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||Ranked 62nd|
|• HDI (2009)||0.805 (high) (12th)|
|Time zone||Thailand Standard Time (UTC+7)|
|ISO 3166 code||TH-81|
Krabi (Thai: กระบี่) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand, on the shore of the Andaman Sea. Neighbouring provinces are (from north clockwise) Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, and Trang. Phuket Province lies to the west across Phang Nga Bay. The capital of the region is the city of Krabi.
Circa 1200 CE, Krabi was tributary to the Kingdom of Ligor, a city on the Kra Peninsula's east coast, better known today as Nakhon Si Thammarat. In modern times, Krabi was administered from Nakhon Si Thammarat, even after 1872 when King Chulalongkorn granted Krabi town status. In 1875 it was made a direct subordinate of Bangkok, becoming what is now a province. In 1900 the governor moved the seat of the province from Ban Talad Kao to its present location at the mouth of the Krabi River.
It is believed the town may have taken its name from the word "krabi", which means "sword". This may stem from a legend that an ancient sword was unearthed prior to the city's founding.
The province is on the Andaman Sea and is noted for its outstanding natural beauty. There are solitary limestone peaks, both on land and in the sea. Rock climbers from all over travel to Ton Sai Beach and Railay Beach. The beaches form part of Krabi's Phra Nang Peninsula. Of the 154 islands in the province, Ko Phi Phi Leh is the most famous, since it was used in the movie The Beach. The coast was badly damaged by the tsunami on 26 December 2004.
The limestone hills contain many caves, most having beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. Tham Chao Le and Tham Phi Hua To, both in Ao Luek district, contain prehistoric rock-painting depicting humans, animals, and geometrical shapes. In Lang Rong Rien cave in 1986 archaeologists found 40,000-year-old human artifacts: stone tools, pottery, and bones. It is one of the oldest traces of human occupation in Southeast Asia. Krabi's caves are one of the main sources of nests of the edible-nest swiftlet, used in the making of bird's nest soup.
The seal of the province shows two ancient crossed swords ("krabi" is the word for an ancient Siamese sword) in front of the Indian Ocean and Khao Phanom Bencha mountain which, at 1,397 metres (4,580 ft) above sea level, is the highest mountain of the province. The provincial tree is the thung-fa (Thai: ทุ้งฟ้า) or Alstonia macrophylla.
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Train Trains from Bangkok and the north, and Malaysia and the south, stop at Surat Thani, where a transfer by road is required.
Bus There are both non air-conditioned and air-conditioned buses to Bangkok and other provinces. There are also non air-conditioned inter-provincial buses.
Roads There are five major highways linking Krabi's districts and neighbouring provinces.
Ferries There are frequent passenger ferries to Ko Phi Phi, Ko Jum, and Ko Lanta from November to April. These depart from the Krabi Passenger Pier on Tharua Road. There is a car ferry service all year round to Ko Lanta which operates from the Hua Hin pier, about 70 km from Krabi town center.
Boat There are numerous charter companies based in Krabi town and on the surrounding islands that offer boats for day trips.
Songthaew Songthaews are very common in Krabi and are typically used for short journeys.
- Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติหาดนพรัตน์ธารา – หมู่เกาะพีพี) Covering the areas of Tambon Nong Thale, Tambon Sai Thai, Tambon Ao Nang, and Tambon Pak Nam, Amphoe Mueang, Hat Noppharat Thara–Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park has an area of 242,437 rai (38,790 ha) of which 200,849 rai (32,136 ha) is sea. There are 3 distinctive kinds of forest here: moist evergreen forests, mangrove forests, and peat swamp forests.
- Mu Ko Phi Phi (หมู่เกาะพีพี) Forty-two kilometres from the provincial town of Krabi, Mu Ko Phi Phi (Phi Phi Islands) are an archipelago, formerly called Pulao Piah Pi. The surrounding sea is home to a variety of underwater anemones, coral reefs, and marine life. The area is a popular destination for snorkelling. Attractions of Mu Ko Phi Phi:
- Ko Phi Phi Don (เกาะพีพีดอน) Covers an area of 28 square km. Popular attractions are the twin bays with curving beaches of Ao Ton Sai and Ao Lo Da Lam.
- Ko Phi Phi Lee (เกาะพีพีเล) Occupying an area of only 6.6 square kilometres, Phi Phi Lee Island is surrounded by limestone mountains and sheer cliffs plunging hundreds of metres to the sea. The sea is 20 meters deep and the deepest point in the south of the island is around 34 meters. Ko Phi Phi Lee has bays such as Ao Pi Le, Ao Maya, and Ao Lo Sa Ma. In the northeast is a large cave called Tham Viking.
- Hat Noppharat Thara (หาดนพรัตน์ธารา) Seventeen kilometres from the provincial town of Krabi, Hat Noppharat Thara (Noppharat Thara Beach) is a 3-km long sandy beach lined with dense casuarinas. The beach, paved with tiny seashells, was formerly called Hat Khlong Haeng. The area is a long beach and stretches all the way to the island of Ko Khao Pak Khlong.
- Su-san Hoi (Shell Cemetery) (สุสานหอย) Once a large freshwater swamp, the habitat of diverse mollusks of about 2 cm in size, Su-san Hoi features a slab formed from a huge number of embedded mollusks which can be dated to approximately 40 million years ago. With changes on the surface of the earth, seawater flooded the freshwater swamp and the limestone elements in the seawater enveloped the submerged mollusks resulting in a homogeneous layer of fossilized shells forty centimetres thick known as Shelley Limestone. With geographical upheavals, the limestone layer is now distributed in great broken sheets of impressive magnitude on the seashore.
- Ao Nang (อ่าวนาง) Ao Nang Beach is Krabi's most developed beach. Fringed by palms, the long beach is backed by a wide range of accommodation including resorts, bungalows, and guesthouses. A large selection of bars, restaurants, and Western fast food chains can also be found here. Ao Nang is one of Krabi main areas for purchasing souvenirs and other merchandise. The area also boasts the most tourist-friendly medical clinics and pharmacies.
- Hat Railay (Railay Beach East/West) Hat Railay is bounded on two sides by towering limestone cliffs, thus isolating it from the mainland. It is only accessible by boat. Railay West has a white sand beach and is the longest of the beaches in this area. Railey East is popular backpacker hang-out and offers cheaper accommodation than the west side. Railey East's beach has extensive stands of mangroves, making it less suitable for beach activities.
- Pra Nang Beach (Princess Cave Beach) Adjacent to Railay, has a good beach and is the site of a luxury resort.
- Hat Ton Sai (TonSai Beach) Neighbouring Railay West, popular with backpackers and climbers.
- Than Bokkhorani National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติธารโบกขรณี) The park covers an area of 121 square km. The landscape is dominated by a series of limestone mountains, evergreen forests, mangrove forests, and numerous islands. The main flora is evergreen forest, peat swamp forest, strand forest, and mangrove forest, as well as, various types of marine flora. Other attractions include: Than Bokkhorani (ธารโบกขรณี) which is home to various flowing streams and numerous pools of different cascades among a shady forested area and two caves, Tham Lot and Tham Phi Hua To (ถ้ำลอดและถ้ำผีหัวโต)
- Namtok Ron Khlong Thom (น้ำตกร้อนคลองท่อม) This area is full of hot springs in a shady forest. The temperature is not too hot at 40-50 degrees Celsius. The hot springs and cool streams converge on a slope to form cascades of warm water.
- Khao Pra–Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary (เขตรักษาพันธุ์สัตว์ป่าเขาประ–บางคราม) At Tambon Khlong Thom Nuea. Comprising lowland forest, this area features the Emerald Pool or Sa Morakot, which are 3 hot springs with a temperature of 30–50 degrees Celsius. The forest is home to varied flora and rare birds like Gurney's Pitta, Rufous-collared Kingfisher, and Black Hornbill. There is a 2.7-km nature trail known as the Tina Jollife (Thung Tiao) Trail, named after an English activist wanting to conserve this batch of rain forest.
- Mu Ko Lanta National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติหมู่เกาะลันตา) Covering a total area of 152 square kilometres, Mu Ko Lanta National Park is in Amphoe Ko Lanta and consists of many islands. Some major islands are Ko Lanta Yai, Ko Lanta Noi, Ko Taleng Beng, as well as, other surrounding islands like Mu Ko Ha, Mu Ko Rok, and Ko Ngai.
- Pa Phru Tha Pom Khlong Song Nam Pa Phru or peat swamp forest of the canal of Tha Pom features a number of water sources, which originate from the Chong Phra Kaeo pool. Tha Pom is called "khlong song nam" by locals, which in Thai literally means "two water canal". Here, clear freshwater, in which the pool's floor and the roots of Lumphi the palm (Eleiodoxa conferta) are visible, meets seawater from the mangrove forest.
Apart from its natural attractions, Krabi is a popular place for scuba diving and snorkelling, kayaking, rock climbing, and jungle treks by foot, mountain bike, or elephant. Famous spots for kayaking include Ko Hong, Ko Karot, Ko Phak Bia, Ko Ku Du, and Tha Len, while Tham Phra Nang and Hat Rai Lee are a mecca for climbers from all over the world. Abseiling has currently become another popular sport in Krabi.
Ban Tha Len, abounds with mangrove forests and ghost crabs. Tham Khangkhao or the bat cave has impressive stalactites and stalagmites. There is a panoramic view of Krabi's sea, offshore islands, and mangrove forests are visible.
- Diving & Snorkeling Diving in Krabi is one of the favorite pastimes of tourists because the waters are home to the likes of friendly leopard and whale sharks, turtles, moray eels, and dolphins.
- Rock Climbing in Krabi has grown very popular over recent years.
- Sea kayaking With a coastline composed of mangroves, limestone, small coves, caves, and islands, and an interior with rivers lined with cave systems, Krabi is popular with kayakers.
- Bird watching There are many hard-to-find birds such as: gurneys, finfoots, bigwinged brown kingfishers, egrets, bitterns, and herons.
- Sailing Krabi has plenty of anchorages, usually deserted.
- Fishing Fishers catch the likes of marlin, sailfish barracuda, and tuna.
- Trekking Krabi's forests are popular for trekking. Khao Phanom Bencha National Park and Khao Pra-Bang Khram are regarded as the two of the favorites among trekkers.
- Golf Krabi has one 18-hole golf course to the south of Krabi town with a new development currently underway.
- Spa There are plenty of spas in major hotels and resorts. The treatment normally includes both traditional remedies and modern techniques.
- Thai massage Massage parlors are ubiquitous.
Population and culture
Krabi's population includes Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Moken (sea gypsies), and Muslims. The latter account for around 42% of the population, which are a majority in rural areas. Krabi has been little affected by the Muslim militant insurgency that has plagued the southern provinces of Thailand since 2003 and its population lives in peace and harmony. Rural folk sometimes in a thick southern dialect which is difficult for even other Thais to understand.
Traditionally Krabi's inhabitants worked in agriculture, for the province is rich in rubber, palm oil, and oranges. In recent years tourism has become an important source of income.
Events and Festivals
Owing to the varied ethnic and religious backgrounds present in Krabi, locals are always celebrating some religious festival, whether part of Thai Buddhist, Thai-Chinese, or Thai-Islamic tradition. Visitors can also enjoy the annual boat-launching ceremonies of the sea gypsies and various longtail boat races.
- Krabi Boek Fa Andaman Festival (งานกระบี่เบิกฟ้าอันดามัน) This is annually held in November to inaugurate the province's tourist season. Water sport competitions and cultural shows are on the agenda.
- Laanta Lanta Festival (เทศกาลลานตา ลันตา) The festival is usually held in March every year in Lanta Old Town, which has a 100-year history. Ancient Chinese-style houses can be seen here. In this festival, tourists can see the traditional culture, previously unseen ceremonial demonstrations, local performances, folk games, water sports competitions, and taste foods provided by prestigious hotels on the island.
- Sat Duean Sip Festival or Festival of the Tenth Lunar Month (งานประเพณีสารทเดือนสิบ) This is the traditional southern merit-making occasion to honour one's ancestors. Food such as khanom la, khanom chohu, khanom phong, khanom ba, and khanom kong or khai pla, are offered up to Buddhist monks.
- Chak Phra Festival (งานประเพณีชักพระ) Traditionally, a waterborne procession, where Buddha images are put on elaborately decorated pulpits on boats pulled along the river. This has been replaced by a land procession. The festival was formerly accompanied by a performance of traditional boat songs, but the traditional waterborne songs have since disappeared.
- Loi Ruea Chao Le Festival (ประเพณีลอยเรือชาวเล) This old ritualistic tradition takes place on Ko Lanta during the full moon of the sixth and eleventh month in the lunar calendar. This is a religious rite performed by the sea gypsies of Ko Lanta and neighbouring areas, who gather on the beach near Sala Dan Village. They dance their famous "rong ngeng" round the boats of misfortune to be set adrift. Ceremonies feature singing and dancing. This festival is expected to bring prosperity and happiness to the participants.
Like Pa (ลิเกป่า) An adapted play, Like Pa follows the adventures of an Indian merchant from Calcutta who married a local girl named Yayi. The story is then followed by other plays. Like Pa is accompanied by the music of folk instruments such as various kinds of drums, cymbals, and gongs. The lyrics are a mixture of traditional Manora and Buranyawa songs. With its long history of popularity in Krabi, Like Pa performers are abundant here. It is believed that the play originated in this province.
Shadow Plays (หนังตะลุง) This is Indian influenced. There are many shadow play or nang talung companies in Krabi.
Manora (มโนราห์) The performance is native to southern Thailand.
Rong Ngeng (รองเง็ง) and Phleng Tanyong (เพลงตันหยง) A Malaysian adaptation, which is of Portuguese origin, rong ngeng is a traditional folk dance and music customarily performed in noble houses. It was later performed by locals with Thai lyrics called phleng tanyong.
Even though it is Malay in origin, the art of batik has embedded itself within the local culture.
Much of the cuisine has its origins in Malay, Indonesian, and Indian food. Favourite dishes from the south include Indian-style Muslim curry (massaman), rice noodles in fish curry sauce (khanom chin), and khao mok kai (chicken biryani).
The wing shell (หอยชักตีน) is Krabi's most well-known cuisine. In addition, stir-fried spotted Babylon (หอยหวาน) with chilies and basil is also noteworthy.
Many regard Krabi town as having one of the best food night markets in Thailand.
There are three main hospitals in Krabi: Krabi Hospital, Ko Lanta Hospital, and Ao Lak Hospital. Besides those, there are plenty of clinics and pharmacies.
Nationwide television, cable TV, local cable TV channels are available in Krabi Province, especially in tourist spots. International newspapers and magazines are available at some bookstores in downtown.
Landline telephones, satellite phones, all mobile phone systems, high-speed internet (ADSL), post offices, and parcel services are available in Krabi Province.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Krabi.|
- Krabi Province travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Provincial page from the Tourist Authority of Thailand
- Provincial Website (Thai)
- Golden Jubilee Network province guide[dead link]
- Krabi provincial map, coat of arms and postal stamp[dead link]
- NBT TV news: Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi
||Phang Nga Province||Surat Thani Province|
|Phuket Province||Nakhon Si Thammarat Province|
|Andaman Sea||Trang Province|