Krabi's name could hardly be less appealing. Inevitably, it makes you think of that word that means "annoyed and irritable" (crabby).
Despite that discouraging sign, the southern Thai town-slash-state has plenty to put you in a relaxed frame of mind. Equipped with countless beaches and bays, Krabi is largely unspoiled -– lush but imposing thanks to the presence of monster megaliths: spectacular limestone 'karst' formations.
Discover the top landmarks and attractions in and around the provincial capital, which despite its remoteness, is accessible. Krabi has an international airport. So you can bypass Bangkok and reach Krabi directly from other parts of Asia, or arrange an air or road transfer from Phuket International airport.
Krabi top five attractions
1. Krabi town waterfront
Krabi town's waterfront is vast and borderline awe-inspiring because of its otherworldly sky-scraping karsts (limestone crags). Hit the promenade and you can admire the scenery in style without getting pestered the way you are in other parts of Thailand.
If you want to ride the river, you can board a longtail boat that takes you on a tour of the river's jungly inner recesses. En route, you may stop off at a fish farm that runs an eye-popping aquatic sideshow (+66 841 888 285).
2. Jurassic traffic lights
On Thanon Maharat at the intersection with Thanon Sukhon stand some of the world's most extraordinary traffic lights. The stop-and-go signals are carried like shopping bags by caveman figures: an apparent nod to local cave paintings. While you gawk, try not to walk through a red light.
3. Tiger Cave Temple
Just north of Krabi Town stands Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave Temple): a dazzling hilltop pilgrimage point. The giant Buddhist statues that occupy the hilltop shrine cast a wise eye over the land stretching from Krabi Town to the cliffs near climbing hotspot Railay. It is hard to say which makes more impact: the statues or the view: both of which are captured beautifully by Thaipulse.
Just remember to make your grueling 30- to 40-minute climb to the summit early in the morning or toward twilight. Avoid heat exhaustion.
4. Phanom Bencha National Park
On paper, Krabi's national park Phanom Bencha is a naturalist's paradise. The roll call of animals theoretically includes tiger, black panther, clouded leopard, Asiatic bear and more.
You may well witness none of the above, so why go? Well, even if poachers have killed many exotic animals, Phanom Bencha remains Krabi Province’s largest remaining area of primeval jungle. What's more, Phanom Bencha is laced with streams, waterfalls and caves. And you might just get to see eagles, hornbills, and woodpeckers.
5. Ao Nang
For a cheap and entertaining daytrip, head to the Andaman seaside resort of Ao Nang, which is a "baht bus" shuttle ride away from Krabi town. On Ao Nang beach, for a whimsical thrill you can buy and release a 100-baht lucky lantern and watch it sail off into the sunset.
Or, you can just hover in the town: an old backpacker haunt that is gradually heading upmarket and might keep you interested for a night with its beer bars and a strip called Seafood Street. If you are more of a fitness junky than a hedonist, just across the water, in the shape of a peninsula, there's that rock jock magnet, Railay.
Beyond lie several idyllic islands, not least quirky Phi Phi and Lanta.
PS Krabi is riddled with lagoons and caves great for kayak exploration.