Introductions to Krabi

The distinguishing feature of both Krabi and neighbouring Phang Nga is the massive limestone karsts, rising vertiginously out of the flat rice paddies on land, and as islands from the sea.

While less commercialized than neighbouring Phuket, Krabi Province cannot be described as undiscovered, it receives two million visitors a year, and the major tourist areas cater extensively for foreigners.

The main town of Krabi is at the mouth of the Krabi river where it opens into Phangnga Bay. The population of the town is almost 25,000.

From archaeological discoveries, it is believed that Krabi was one of the oldest communities in Thailand dating back to the prehistoric period. It is believed that this town may have taken its name after the meaning of Krabi, which is ‘sword’. This may have stemmed from a legend that an ancient sword was unearthed prior to the city’s founding.

At the start of the Rattanakosin or Bangkok period in the late eighteenth century, when the capital was finally settled at Bangkok, an elephant kraal was established in Krabi by order of Chao Phraya Nakorn, the governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat, which was by then a part of the Thai Kingdom. He sent his vizier to oversee this task, which was to ensure a regular supply of elephants for the larger town. So many followers emigrated in the steps of the vizier that soon Krabi had a large community in three different boroughs: Pakasai, Khlong Pon, and Pak Lao. In 1872, King Chulalongkorn elevated these to town status.

Krabi Province was badly hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. Now, signs of the damage are now hard to find in many places, but in the worst hit areas (especially Koh Phi Phi and Khao Lak) reconstruction is still ongoing.

The best time to visit Krabi is between November and April, when the area’s climate is less hot than usual. During this period the island gets a lot of dry North Easterly winds, so giving dry blue skies and starry nights. Then, down on the beaches one can enjoy nice sea breezes. From June to November the area gets a lot of rainfall, more on average than the rest of the country. During this period the island gets a lot of moist South Westerly winds, so giving a mixture of dry days and wet ones. The sea stays at a warm 29?C all year round. If you don’t mind the rain, it’s cheaper to visit through this season.

Getting to Krabi can be an adventure in itself. You can fly in direct to the internal airport but there’s no railway station so many travellers arrive in Krabi by bus from Surat Thnai. If you plan a journey that includes Phuket and Krabi, it’s the opportunity to experience Thailand’s only seaplane service.

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