Krabi town offers a more relaxed and less in-your-face tourist scene than nearby Ao Nang, Railay and the islands off the coast, but there’s still plenty to see: temples and national parks are both within easy reach, and the town is blessed by a fantastic array of delicious street food. But where to stay? Here are some reliable picks.
RELATED: 4 reasons not to skip Krabi town
RELATED: Eating your way around Krabi
Chan Cha Lay Guesthouse – 250+ baht
With its whitewashed wood and tasteful hues of coastal blue, Chan Cha Lay has a distinctive seaside feel – even though in Krabi town you’re some way from the ocean. A short walk from the town market and all its fantastic food, and equally close by to the drop-off point for the bus from the airport, the guesthouse offers dirt-cheap rooms in both high and low season.
The cheapest rooms on the ground and first floor of the main building, which come with fan or air-con and share immaculate bathrooms, are basic but comfortable – and in the cool season we’d go so far as to say you’re best off plumping for a fan room and taking advantage of the breeze from the close by river. Far and away the stars of the operation, though, are the private rooms at the back of the property, led to by a winding trail through a small garden. These have pleasant terraces out front, boast plenty of natural light, and fantastic open-air bathrooms at the back that really make them some of the best rooms in Krabi. Note, however, that even the private rooms have only cold-water showers.
The guesthouse as a whole is fronted by a cute reception area which doubles up as a café and is where breakfast is served. In addition, there are plenty of nooks and crannies to hide away and get some time with a book – a particular favourite is the wicker swing seat just behind reception. Quaint touches to the place include canvas prints with travel-related quotes, and small jars with sand collected from different islands around southern Thailand: the owners are clearly travellers themselves.
Fan-cooled rooms with shared bathrooms start from 250 baht, up to 650 baht for private rooms.
U Residence – 1,000+ baht
One of the latest additions to Krabi town’s accommodation offering is seriously shaking things up. This classy, colonial style boutique hotel is in its own league compared to many others in Krabi, and the plush rooms offer design, comfort and attention to detail that are way out of this price bracket. A short walk from the town market, Krabi river and transport options and just a few doors along from our other favourite Chan Cha Lay Guesthouse, the ground floor of the hotel is fronted by a beautiful café area that screams vintage: ornate tiled flooring, restored retro furniture, the whole place done out in regal shade of teal.
To the rear, a glorious winding staircase leads to the rooms above, while even the toilets at the back have not escaped the touch of absolute grandeur given to everything here: the doors are latched with chunky wooden manual locks and inside the elaborate design theme continues. Rooms are beautifully designed, spacious and well-appointed; the best have fantastic views over the lush countryside that fringes the streets of Krabi town, or of the river to the front of the property. Verandas and terraces abound and are the perfect spot for a slice of seclusion and the chance to soak up the sun if relaxing on the four-poster all gets a bit too much. Service here is gentle and reserved, and for luxury on a budget there really is very little like this in Krabi.
Walk-in rates start at 1,000 baht for a single room, up to around 3,000 baht for a suite, and include breakfast.
Pak-Up Hostel – 600+ baht
One of the trendier of Krabi town’s accommodation options and a hostel in the truest sense of the word, Pak-Up is tall and recognisable from the street, and boasts a popular café area at ground level with stairs that lead up to clean, key-card protected dorms. The regular dorms have 8-10 beds, while smaller four-bed dorms are also available, as are two private double rooms (with shared bathrooms), though the hostel does not accept advanced bookings for the latter.
The whole place has a young, fun and relaxed vibe to it, complemented by its two bars – the rooftop Top-Up bar has great nighttime views across town and the Krabi river, while tucked behind the reception area on the ground floor is the Playground bar, where the focus is on cheap drinks and a party atmosphere. Be aware that on our most recent low-season visit, Playground was closed while Top-Up was very quiet. The hostel also offers motorbike rental and sells tickets for the airport bus, which picks up here.
8-10 bed dorms start from around 700 baht per night at walk-in rates.
Hometel – 550+ baht
Within spitting distance of Krabi town’s golden gem of a fresh market with its curries galore, Hometel is the product of the stylish renovation of old shophouse. The industrial-style design now features polished concrete walls and floors throughout; while these are prettified with colourful canvas paintings to produce an overall pleasant decor, our only gripe is that the distinct lack of windows makes for a generally very dark interior. Even the air-conditioned rooms themselves lack windows, opting instead for two doors opening onto small but decent balconies with views over the street below. Bathrooms, meanwhile, are enormous and well-appointed with hot showers.
Downstairs is a café area that serves up cold drinks and cocktails as well as a menu of Thai staples; the friendly and relaxed ambience here, and the proximity to the town market that’s worth a double mention, win Hometel definite brownie points.
Walk-in rates start at 550 baht for a double room, up to around 1,000 baht for a triple.
Islanda Village Resort – 2,500+ baht
This place is a real shock – for a small, remote-feeling, mangrove-lined island like Koh Klang, the very most you would expect would be decent enough, standard issue bungalows or hotel rooms. The Islanda Village Resort is the island’s only accommodation option, located a quick 20-baht longtail boat ride from Krabi town’s pier, and yet it offers incredibly spacious, luxurious bungalows and a large, sea-facing swimming pool — with impressive sunrises and sunsets promised by the very, very friendly staff. We were met with a warm welcome when we arrived by motorbike from the pier, and shown around the eco-design complex with its amazingly relaxing feel.
The large bungalows boast an entrance area with hand washing sink, which leads in one direction to a generously sized outdoor toilet and shower. In the other direction is a handsome air-con cooled bedroom with TV, fridge, in-room safe and even a bathtub on the expansive balcony — the sea views from the bungalow we saw first are amazing. Swimming in the sea is not possible from here, though kayaking is. The resort has a tastefully decorated restaurant and bar with pool table and, as they were experiencing problems with swimming pool water discolouration at the time of our visit in January 2013, they were offering free boat transfers to Railay beach to swim there instead. They also offer free transfers to Krabi’s Thara Park pier as a matter of course.
The one sting here is their open policy of charging foreigners more than Thais – despite the resort’s unbelievable appeal, this would stop us staying here if followed through. Either way, the resort was still in a pre-opening phase at the time of our visit – once it is open and getting the attention its design deserves, we expect rates to quickly rocket to the tune of 5,000-10,000 baht per night.
Walk-in rates for bungalows start at around 2,500 baht, up to around 3,000 baht with a sea view.
Where is your favourite place to stay in Krabi town? Rave about it in the comments!