Krabi has become a byword for the beauty of the Andaman region. Wedged into a wide estuary on the eastern edge of Phang Nga Bay, the town of Krabi itself is a bustling, gritty port with night bazaars and loads of ferry connections out to nearby islands. You can stay there to get a feel for the buzz of a lived-in coast town, but most travelers will have their eyes set on one of the nearby beaches. They come in the form of Ao Nang, Railay, and the backpacker-favourite of Tonsai, which are all spots imbued with those iconic spires of jungle-clad rock, white-sand beaches, and glimmering seas.
Airbnb in Krabi has become a major option for holidaymakers. It offers a real hodgepodge of accommodation types, ranging from private rooms in honeymoon-ready hotels to budget traveler dorms close to the ports of Krabi Town. This guide runs through all the top areas where you should be looking when it comes to scoring an Airbnb in this much-loved corner of the Land of Smiles.
A recent court case ruled against two condo owners in Thailand after they used Airbnb to rent out their places on a short-term basis. Everyone started wondering if that meant that the platform was no longer in action in the Land of Smiles. The truth is that Airbnb continues to operate all over the country, including in Krabi, virtually as normal. There are some new restrictions about what you can do with flats as a private owner, but there’s been little effect for travelers in practice.
Airbnb as tool for finding accommodation is 100% fine. It lists countless properties of all shapes and sizes across Krabi, and there’s considered little risk to visitors, even with that new court precedent against landlords. That said, it’s probably a good idea to check that your stay is totally above board with any prospective host before you book, just to be safe.
Where should I stay in Krabi Airbnb?
Krabi Town (1) is the anchor to a whole region of stunning Thai beaches and bays. A short 25-minute drive from the markets there and you can be setting foot beneath the scented casuarina trees of Ao Nang (2), one of the area’s most happening resorts. Harder-to-get-to Railay (3) and Tonsai (4) require a trip on a traditional long-tail boat, but offer something a little more secluded and chilled between the famous Andaman cliffs. A dash further north is Nopparat Thara (5). That’s considered to be one of the more burgeoning tourist areas, with bargain hotels and rustic bungalows right by the shore.
Authentic and energetic place
Lots of ferry and bus connections to great islands and beaches
Tends to be cheaper than the nearby resorts
It’s a little ugly
Very busy with travelers in the high season months
There’s grit and energy in Krabi Town. This is the main transport hub and commercial centre of the whole Krabi region. Its where countless ferries arrive after linking up with famous islands like the Phi Phis and Koh Lanta, which means a huge amount of through-flow travelers and backpackers. That, in turn, feeds buzzy night markets with sizzling noodle and fish stalls, some lively bars, and a good selection of cheap accommodation. This is a great spot if you’re watching the baht and want to feel the vibes of a working Thai port.
Easy access to the beach from pretty much anywhere
Loads of dining and drinking establishments
This is one of the busiest spots in Thailand!
It’s not Thailand’s – or Krabi’s – best beach
If you’ve seen a postcard of Krabi’s famous beaches, the chances are you’ve seen a postcard of Ao Nang. Sat over the headland to the west of Krabi Town, this is the most famous and built-up resort in the region. It’s known for the rugged walls and club-like towers of rock that loom all around, but also boasts a nice beachfront that’s shaded by ironwoods and dotted with massage parlours. Loads of hotels mingle behind the shore, along with night markets toting Chang vests, and all sorts of eateries, from Indian to Thai to English pub grub.
You have to hop on a boat to reach the small enclave of gold-tinged sand and soaring cliffs that is Railay Beach. It’s a stunner – there’s no doubt about that. Over the last few decades, its popularity has steadily risen, taking it from hippy escape to chic wedding and honeymoon destination. Cue the luxurious resorts and clusters of bungalows found on the main beach today. West Railay is the place to go for R&R. East Railay is mainly a longboat dock in the middle of mangroves.
Tonsai really hit the headlines when climbers discovered the uber-challenging routes up the limestone rocks that lurch skywards all around it. They still come today – just glare upwards to see people dangling from the high cliffs pretty much every day of the week. Back on solid ground, you can look forward to a fun-filled backpacker favourite that’s brimming with rustic jungle bungalows and beach shacks, reggae bars and Thai cookhouses. The beach is lovely but has quite a big tide difference. Long-tail boats or an adventurous jungle/cliff trek are the only ways in.
Although it’s super-close to the bustling resort of Ao Nang, Nopparat Thara is a whole different beast. Here, you’ll trade bucket cocktail hawkers and ladyboys for rustic fishing boats and a quaint pier. The volume is noticeably lower, as the sound of lapping waves and swaying palms can be heard as you chill in a hammock on the deck of your bungalow. Talking of bungalows…the Airbnb options in Nopparat Thara tend to be more low-key, basic, but characterful.
There’s arguably no better panorama on offer in Krabi than the one from the large terrace at the Hilltop Sky Loft. It encompasses the rolling palm jungles and rising mountains that come of the coast around Ao Nang to make for some seriously jaw-dropping viewing all day long. The flat itself is a modern penthouse with big windows, a fitted kitchen, and luxurious bathroom with freestanding tub.
Get your own home away from home with this lived-in pad in the residential areas back from quiet Nopparat Thara Beach. Spacious and comfy, it boasts a big living room and large outdoor garden that’s anchored on a family-sized pool. Other pros? Bicycles come free, air conditioning is throughout, and there’s a flat-screen TV with cable.
The curiously named Pool villa of love puts you roughly midway between Krabi Town and the buzzing beach strips of Ao Nang. That means swimming spots and night markets are both within reach. But you might not even want to leave the Airbnb, because it flaunts a gorgeous outdoor pool and quirky interiors with communal dining and lounging spaces.
Despite only having three separate bedrooms, this all-new Airbnb has space enough for up to 14 guests. The living room is the gathering spot, with its duo of L-shaped sofas and large flat-screen TV. There’s also a big galley kitchen and dining space, which spills into a lovely garden and pool area set to a backdrop of the craggy karst mountains in the distance. The location is around 3km from the nearest beach at Ao Nang.
That all depends on what you want! There’s a good chance that a large group or family villa booked via Airbnb will be better value for money than a resort hotel down on the beachfront of Ao Nang. You’ll be able to divide up the cost of the rental between your whole group, seek out places further back from the sands, and enjoy the platform’s generous weekly and monthly discounts.
Just remember that Airbnbs and hotels aren’t the same thing. The latter come with extra frills and services, while the former are more about private space and seclusion. To pamper yourself and get all the bells and whistles of a resort stay, you might be better off booking somewhere like the Centra by Centara Phu Pano Resort. Daily room cleaning, managed pool areas, a fitness centre and breakfast offerings all come part and parcel there!
Airbnb in Krabi can whisk you out to the stunning sands of Railay Beach, or put you in the thick of the action down in Ao Nang. It’s a ticket to one of Thailand’s best-loved regions, where formidable karst mountains crash into a crystal-clear sea.