rabi, a province on southern Thailand’s Andaman coast, is an almost otherworldly region of labyrinthine archipelagos, where islands seem to erupt vertically out of the sea and secluded beaches are only accessible by colorfully adorned long tail boats. Krabi’s myriad of bays and coves have sheltered pirates, merchants, and sea gypsies for thousands of years and archaeological evidence indicates that Krabi was originally inhabited as early as 25,000 – 35,000 years ago! With attractions including hot springs, a wildlife sanctuary, sea caves, flourishing coral reefs and exotic marine life, limestone cliffs that draw rock climbing enthusiasts from around the world, and national parks that include the island paradises of Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta, one could easily spend weeks in Krabi and leave yearning for more.If that wasn’t enough, Krabi features some of the most photogenic sunsets in Thailand, often accompanied by spectacular displays of cloud to cloud lightning, that are best enjoyed from a beachside bar or restaurant. Meanwhile, with all the tourists spread out among various beaches and islands, life goes on in Krabi Town, the somewhat sleepy provincial capital. Surprisingly few tourists spend time in the charming riverside town, whose hilly streets feature a number of cozy cafes and inexpensive and authentic Thai cuisine is served at an outdoor, riverside evening market. “Town” to most visitors is Ao Nang, a seaside strip of guesthouses, hotels, bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops that continues to grow as tourist arrivals increase, now spreading north into Noppharat Thara, whose quiet, shady beach is part of the national park that includes the Phi Phi Islands. Ao Nang is the major launching point for boat trips to nearby islands and the isolated beaches of Phra Nang Cape, where the famous former hippie enclave of Railey Beach is located. Krabi Province, which lies along the coast of the Andaman sea in Southern Thailand, is a top tourist destination as a result of its plentiful natural attractions including, white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, extensive coral reefs, numerous caves and waterfalls, and over 130 islands, including Koh Lanta and the jewels of the Andaman coast, the six islands of Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park. While not the top destination in and of itself, Krabi Town is a charming provincial capital located along the banks of a river that leads to the nearby Andaman Sea. Consequently, Krabi is an important port city for both local fisherman as well as boats ferrying visitors to the nearby attractions, including Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, and Railey Beach, one of the premier rock climbing destinations in the world. ( Credit: tourismthailand.org )
8.28 million (estimated, 2010)
WHAT TO WEAR
Bangkok has a tropical climate influenced by monsoons. Rainy season is from May to October, cool (!) season begins in November and ends in February, hot season is from March to May. Occasional storms can be throughout the year. Average temperatures stay well above 30C throughout the year. DRESS CODE: light cotton clothing, comfortable shoes, sandals, hat, sunglasses. When visiting temples it is advisable to dress modestly and wear shirts with sleeves. A few temples and palaces (i.e. the Grand Palace) have a dress code: no short sleeves, short pants or skirts as well as tight fitting trousers, or see through dresses. Within the holiest part of temples shoes have to be removed (a pair of thick socks is a good alternative on wet or hot floors). Some classy venues such as restaurants and rooftop bars require a smart casual attire.
Bangkok is a real heaven for shoppers: from the local and week end markets to the gleaming shopping malls you can find virtually whatever you are looking for.
Most shopping malls open at 10 am to 10 pm.
NO SMOKING, PLEASE
In Thailand smoking is forbidden in all temples, public transport, airports (they may have designated smoking areas), train and bus stations, indoor public places including office buildings, hospitals, restaurants, shops.
Tip is discretionary and up to you, of course gratuities for a good service are appreciated.