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Krabi or Phuket - better base?

Posted by Arundhati_S on 18/7/2013 at 01:52

Our family will be in Thailand this December and in Krabi /Phuket the week before Christmas. I do understand this is an awfully touristy time and avoiding crowds is not really an option. But we have about three days there (and thankfully weekdays) - and were wondering what would be a better base - Krabi or Phuket? If that really makes a difference, that is. We will be backpacking, so cost will be a factor.

Also - and this might be a really ignorant question - but are there certain beaches where the sunrises/sunsets are particularly dramatic? We all love photography and are hoping we are at the right place for the limited few sunrises/sunsets that we do have :)

#1 Arundhati_S has been a member since 18/7/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by DLuek on 18/7/2013 at 04:34 TF writer

If you're not looking to stay on the beach, Krabi town might be a good fit for you as a base. It has many cheap (but quality) guesthouses, cafes and great local food. It's also a good base as you can easily day trip from there to Railay, Ao Nang and Haad Nopphara Thara. Boats also depart from town to Ko Phi Phi, Ko Lanta and Ko Jum, and you can book all sorts of tours (4 islands tour, Phang Nga Bay, kayaking in Than Bok Khorani national park, etc.). Pretty much anything that can be booked from Phuket can also be booked from Krabi town. You could also base yourself in Ao Nang, which has the benefit of being right on a beach, though it's not the greatest beach in the world and prices for food and accommodation are a fair bit higher than in Krabi town.

As for sunrise/sunset, you'll be on the west coast so obviously you'll see more sunsets unless you get to the east coast of an island, but Andaman Sea sunsets are pretty magnificent wherever you are. With that said, Railay West is a particularly great sunset spot. I recall watching the sun rise from a longtail boat while touring Phang Nga Bay and that was a wonderful experience. If you can manage the 1,237 steps to the chedi atop the mountain at Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave Temple) outside of Krabi town, I would also highly recommend that either in the morning or late afternoon, though not necessarily for sunset/sunrise as you wouldn't be able to get there or back without daylight. It really is an exhausting climb - I'm an avid runner, 30 years old, and it wasn't easy for me - but the views from up there are absolutely breathtaking.

I should also mention that I'm biased; while I recently covered Krabi province, I've spent a a total of just five days on Phuket. I stayed in Kata, and to be honest, I was really put-off by the scene there and in Karon/Patong (awfully pushy and disrespectful tuk tuk drivers, jaded locals, sleazy bars, endless development). However, I did drive through some of the smaller west coast beaches and they seemed a lot more inviting. I've yet to visit Phuket town, but it looks to be really interesting for the history and heritage buildings.

#2 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,305
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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 18/7/2013 at 10:18

I found Phuket Town totally boring. The only highlight was good food.

Krabi easily but 3 days is very little. Why so short? Krabi is worth a week or more.

Krabi Town has good Thai good and is cheaper than the beaches.

#3 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
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