Humein Krabi se mohabbat hui hai..
O jan-e-man! Do you know!?
Whatever else you may love or hate about Bollywood blockbusters, you cannot deny that their gorgeous and exotic shoot locales totally add to our #HolidayGoals! The foot-tapping romantic number “Do you know” from the movie Housefull 2 shows us the ever-so handsome hunks Akshay Kumar and John Abraham wooing the glamorous Asin and Jacqueline on the beaches of Krabi!
And trust me, even if you look past the pristine stretches of sand and emerald waters, there are enough and more things to do in Krabi that make it a great choice for a holiday with kids.
The Krabi province overall has a more laid-back and relaxed atmosphere vs. Phuket which is more touristy. Tourism has come to Krabi of course, but there is still an old world charm to places here that doesn’t make you feel as if it’s bending over backwards to become a tourist hub.
What to Do in Krabi with Kids?
It’s safe to say that Krabi is one of the most popular places to visit in Thailand with family. The reason for that is you’ll find things to do here irrespective of how old your kids are. If you’re like us, you can spend a whole week just lazing around and “doing nothing” on the coastline of Krabi which extends to more than 150kms. Most of the resorts have beautiful pools of course, but the waters of the Andaman are just so beautiful that it takes your breath away every time you look out to the sea!
The beaches of Krabi are shallow and long with the water staying mostly warm through the year. Playing in the sand is such a fun activity for young ones! Whether you build sandcastles with them, or show them how to dig up and find sea-shells to treasure, or just let them explore the textures with a bucket sand shovel!
(P.S. don’t worry about packing sand toys in your bags, you’ll find nice use-and-throw variety in local stores and markets around the beaches)
With more than a 100 islands and islets comprising Krabi, the best thing you can do here is island hopping. Even with small children, one can hire private boats or book boat tours to have wonderful day trips to either Hong Islands, or 4 Islands, or the Phi Phi Islands. These are all within an hour’s ride from the mainland and kids will enjoy the adventure of the boat ride. Grown-ups can enjoy sunbathing, snorkeling, swimming and even some adventure sports at the destination.
For older kids with slightly more adventurous bones, there are quite a few places to visit in Krabi. One can look at rock climbing at the cliffs of Railay Beach. The climbing routes are well maintained and suitable for beginners, and the experienced instructors make sure that safety is a priority.
Besides rock climbing, one can head out to the Tree Top Adventure Park for zip-lining, rope bridges and even riding a bicycle on trees! Alternatively, book a day trip to ride a boat among the mangroves and caves in Ao Luk.
While Krabi doesn’t have a specific zoo, your little ones’ quest for animal adventures will not be overlooked. The Thung Teao Forest Park has a wonderful nature trail through very beautiful (albeit mosquito infested) biodiversity. You would be better visiting this on a weekday so you can enjoy the aquamarine colored beauty of the Emerald Pool without the thronging crowds.
Apart from this, the Ao Nam Mao outdoor aquarium operated by the government is a unique experience, and exposes kids to the importance of protecting endangered species like sharks, turtles and even real life “Nemos”!
For us Indians, a pachyderm sighting may not sound so exotic, but elephant rides & treks are an integral part of the Krabi experience. Krabi in fact started as a settlement where elephants were tamed in order to put them to work in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand. And don’t worry the elephants at most of the treks are well cared for, and the tourism does provide funding which is actually needed to nurture the animals. You can also sign up for the unique elephant bathing rides that are a fun way for kids to interact up close with the gentle majestic creatures.
Where to Stay in Krabi?
Picture source : Ritz-Carlton
We visited Krabi with our 5 month old babe-in-arms, and stayed at the Phulay Bay Ritz-Carlton. One of the best resorts in Krabi, it’s a beautiful property with big rooms, a picturesque pool and great service (as expected from a Ritz hotel!) It was a slightly secluded retreat with the main Ao Nang Beach a good thirty-minute drive away. We didn’t know at the time of booking that it doesn’t have an accessible beach, but since our visit was during the monsoon it didn’t matter either way.
Travelling within Krabi province is not prohibitive (the roads are beautiful and taxi services are not so expensive), but when holidaying with kids it’s better to choose a more central area so that it is not too painful to visit our selected points of attraction.
Resorts in and around Ao Nang would be your best bet, in terms of access to all the hustle bustle of Krabi. Railay beach and Phi Phi resorts are secluded and you may be better off avoiding these for holidays with children. These parts of Krabi can of course be visited as day trips from your resort of choice.
The thing about beach resorts in Krabi is that you can chose from a wide variety in each budget. The super expensive Rayavadee, or even the luxurious Phulay Bay Ritz-Carlton, Sofitel Golf Spa and Phi Phi Island Beach Resort will of course give your money’s worth of service – which is a lot! But you can also pick from some of the most family friendly resorts in Krabi like Amari Vogue, Holiday Inn, Centara Anda Devi, Nakamada or Dusit Thani which offer great service and amenities without burning too big a hole in your pockets.
When in Krabi, Eat as the Thai do!
In terms of food, Thai cuisine is so close to the Indian palette, especially coastal/Konkan food, that one shouldn’t have too much trouble eating as the locals do. (Unless you are like my uncle who dislikes lemon grass and coconut milk…then you’re in for trouble!)
But they do have enough local cuisine that is child friendly so you can let the little one’s taste buds explore. So long as you avoid the spicy curries! Sticky rice is a staple of course, and can make a perfect meal on the go for kids with some curd.
Krabi Town has great restaurants focused on authentic Thai cuisine like the Gecko Cabane and Chalita Café. The Night Market of Krabi (also called Walking Street) runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and that’s the best way to take in street food and local culture. Do try to fit that into your itinerary for sure. In Ao Nang, you cannot miss D&E’s Jungle Kitchen which has delicious food (including some interesting vegetarian options).
Fortunately, most of the tour operators will cater to any vegetarian requirements. But don’t forget to tell them your dietary restrictions at the time of booking your day trips, else you may very well end up being served sea-food on an island with no other meal options! And if you’re really craving Indian food then you can get that too at Tandoori’s Night and Taj Palace in Ao Nang.
Irrespective of the type of cuisine, most restaurants in Krabi (and all over Thailand in fact) are child friendly and will offer smaller portions and less spicy items for the little ones. If nothing else, they will have some interesting fruit smoothies and curd based puddings to indulge in.
Our rule of thumb for restaurants in foreign lands is to avoid places that have zero customers at peak meal times. The locals will most certainly patronize the places with good quality food and service, so no need to reinvent the wheel and explore restaurants that are deserted!
Quick Travel Tips for Krabi:
- Plan your trip between November to April as those are the best months to visit Krabi.
- The only things worth buying in Krabi are handicraft items, so don’t expect this to be your typical “Thailand trip” with bags full of shopping to bring back home!
- Carry full-sleeved swim shirts and long shorts – for yourselves and the kids.. If you’re spending most of the day by the water, this will be critical to prevent sun burn. And on your snorkeling trips, it provides good protection from jelly fish, etc.
- Also, don’t forget to pack your sun block, sun hats, and sunglasses.
- Thailand has visa on arrival for Indian Passport holders, so you can plan your trip at the last minute too!
- Flights to Krabi from all major cities in India will be via Bangkok. This means you can also plan a two-day stopover at the capital before heading to unwind at the resorts of Krabi.