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From Bangkok to Krabi: 4 Best Ways to Get There

Written by Diana Bocco
Updated Oct 21, 2021

Located on the west coast of southern Thailand, the province of Krabi is best known as the gateway to some of the most stunning islands in the country. Ko Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, and Railay Beach–all famous for their turquoise waters and stunning snorkeling–can be reached from Krabi.

There are over 150 islands in Krabi, offering a mix of stunning coastline, thick trekking jungles, and plenty of exotic wildlife. For those searching for excitement, it's hard to beat Krabi – but Krabi also offers plenty of relaxing getaways. Less developed than Phuket, Krabi is also about 10 times bigger, so it's easier to find a quiet corner of paradise while there.

There are many ways to travel from Bangkok to Krabi–get on a plane for the quickest option or choose water or land to get peeks of the beautiful Thai countryside on your way to a tropical paradise. If you're thinking of attempting this trip by land, be prepared for a long day – there are 785 kilometers between the two cities.

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1. From Bangkok to Krabi by Plane

Aerial view of Railay Beach, Krabi
Aerial view of Railay Beach, Krabi

Flights to Krabi town leave from Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport and take under 90 minutes to reach their destination. A number of airlines make this connection.

During peak season (December to April) prices start at double the low season rate and can go into the hundreds of dollars if you don't book well in advance. There are many flights between Bangkok and Krabi Town every day, so it's worth checking and comparing prices–flights at inconvenient times (very early mornings or late in the evenings) are often cheaper.

Most budget airlines (including AirAsia and Thai Lion Air) only offer carry-on luggage as part of the ticket price, so you'll have to pay extra for checked luggage.

Once you arrive at Krabi International Airport, you'll have to figure out transportation, as the airport lies 15 kilometers outside town. Air-conditioned shuttle buses, songthaew (shared pick-up taxis), and standard taxis are always waiting outside the airport. Always negotiate a flat fare before you start the ride to avoid being overcharged.

2. From Bangkok to Krabi by Train and Bus

Train in the countryside of southern Thailand
Train in the countryside of southern Thailand

If your heart is set on train travel, the bad news is that you can't travel from Bangkok to Krabi that way, as Krabi doesn't have a train station – but you can take a train to Surat Thani and then use a bus for the rest of the journey. This would allow you to do the overnight bit of the trip on a comfortable sleeper train, then travel just a few hours by bus to reach Krabi.

All trains to Surat Thani leave from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong station. Although there are daytime options available, sleeper trains provide a much nicer way to travel. For example, if you take the 6:30pm or 7:30pm train, you'll arrive in Surat Thani at 6:25am and 7:10am, respectively. This gives you a chance to grab some quick breakfast before you hop on the bus to continue on your way.

The cheapest trains are 2nd Class Sleepers Fan (meaning no AC is available on the train), followed by 2nd Class AC seats only (no beds). You won't find a lot of foreigners in these trains, and the trip can be extremely uncomfortable when temperatures hit 40 degrees Celsius.

For true comfort, your best choices are 2nd Class Sleepers with AC and 1st Class Sleepers with AC. First-class offers the choice of private cabins for just two people, while in second class trains, the berths are in an open carriage with many other passengers. If you want a guaranteed spot in a cabin, you'll need to book your ticket in advance. Otherwise, you can usually just show up at the train station and buy your ticket – but if you choose this option, make sure you give yourself plenty of extra time, as the station handles tens of thousands of passengers a day, and lines to buy tickets can be very long and slow.

Once you arrive in Surat Thani, you can catch a small local bus, which takes about three hours to reach Krabi. You can reserve bus and train tickets separately through an online travel portal or buy both as a combined trip directly at the train station. Otherwise, just buy the train ticket and then get a bus seat once you arrive in Surat Thani.

3. From Bangkok to Krabi and the Islands by Ferry

Long-tail boats at the Phi Phi Islands
Long-tail boats at the Phi Phi Islands

If your final destination in the Krabi province is one of the islands, a ferry will eventually come into play–basically, once you arrive in Krabi Town via bus or plane, you can then hop on a ferry to get you to the islands. A large number of travelers arriving in Krabi are heading to Railay West Beach or the Koh Phi Phi islands–both of which require a water transfer at the end of your journey.

Boats leave from a number of piers in Krabi and offer different levels of service and comfort. Ferries take about two hours to reach the Phi Phi islands. The ferries are comfortable and offer air-conditioned travel, as well as a sundeck for those who prefer open views of the sea, plus a stall to buy food and drinks. High-speed catamarans take around 90 minutes for the same trip–and while saving some time is nice, you have fewer chances to walk around and enjoy the trip, since high speeds mean more bouncing on the water and the need to sit down.

While it's possible to arrive in Krabi and get a ferry ticket there, you can also buy a combination ticket that includes a bus to Krabi and a ferry to the islands. During high season, ferries to popular islands like Koh Phi Phi get very crowded, and you might have to wait for a while to find available space in one. To avoid delays, it might be better to make a reservation online in advance.

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