Introducing Krabi Province
When travellers talk about the amazing Andaman, they are probably talking about Krabi, with its trademark karst formations curving along the coast like a giant limestone fortress. Rock climbers will find their nirvana in Railay, while castaway wannabes should head to Ko Lanta, Ko Phi-Phi or any of the other 150 islands swimming off the bleach-blonde shores.
Ko Phi-Phi Leh
Rugged Phi-Phi Leh is the smaller of the two islands and is protected on all sides by soaring cliffs. Coral reefs crawling with marine life lie beneath the crystal-clear waters and are hugely popular with day-tripping snorkellers. Two gorgeous lagoons await in the island’s interior – Pilah on the eastern coast and Ao Maya on the western coast.
Once the domain of backpackers and sea gypsies, Lanta hasn't just gentrified, it's morphed almost completely from a luscious southern Thai backwater into a midrange getaway for French, German and Swedish package tourists who come for her divine beaches (though the northern coast is alarmingly eroded) and nearby dive spots, Hin Daeng, Hin Muang and Ko Ha.
Ko Phi-Phi Don
Oh, how beauty can be a burden. Like Marilyn Monroe, Phi-Phi Don’s stunning looks have become its own demise. Everyone wants a piece of her. Though not exactly Hollywood, this is Thailand’s Shangri-La: a hedonistic paradise where tourists cavort in azure seas and snap pictures of long-tails puttering between craggy cliffs.
Krabi’s fairytale limestone crags come to a dramatic climax at Railay (also spelled Rai Leh), the ultimate jungle gym for rock-climbing fanatics. This quiet slice of paradise fills in the sandy gaps between each craggy flourish, and although it’s just around the bend from chaotic tourist hustle in Ao Nang, the atmosphere here is nothing short of laid-back, Thai-Rasta heaven.
Ko Jum & Ko Si Boya
Just north of Ko Lanta, Ko Jum and its neighbour Ko Si Boya have surprisingly little development; what’s there is tucked away in the trees, making the islands look and feel nearly deserted. Although technically one island, the locals consider only the flatter southern part of Ko Jum to be Ko Jum; the northern hilly bit is called Ko Pu.