Krabi is a town (thesaban mueang) on the west coast of southern Thailand at the mouth of the Krabi River where it empties in Phangnga Bay. As of 2005 the town has a population of 24,986. The town is the capital of Krabi Province and Krabi district. Tourism is an important industry.
The town covers the tambon Paknam and Krabi Yai of Krabi district, and is subdivided into 10 communities (chumchon).
Krabi is a southern province on Thailand's Andaman seaboard with perhaps the country's oldest history of continued settlement. After dating stone tools, ancient colored pictures, beads, pottery and skeletal remains found in the province's many cliffs and caves, it is thought that Krabi has been home to Homo Sapiens since the period 25,000 - 35,000 B.C. In recorded times it was called the 'Ban Thai Samor', and was one of twelve towns that used, before people were widely literate, the monkey for their standard. At that time, c. 1200 A.D., Krabi was tributary to the Kingdom of Ligor, a city on the Kra Peninsula's east coast better known today as Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Much of the province has been the seat of several national parks. The topmost destinations are Hat Noppharat Thara, Ao Nang, Railay, Ko Phi Phi National Park. Yet over 80 smaller islands such as Lanta islands, or Koh Lanta, Phi Phi islands - made famous as the ideal location for adventurers, yachtsmen, scuba-divers, snorkelers and day-trippers from Phuket.
Krabi is growing fast, in the last few years Tesco, HomePro, Big C have all opened and a new International hospital is in the final stages of construction. Krabi has a reputation of being a true Thai countryside location and with the now enlarged Krabi International airport is seen as the ideal balance between convenience and lifestyle. People are being drawn to Krabi in search of the idyllic beach life that Phuket and Koh Samui offered a decade ago but are in danger of losing as they get bigger. International residents are catered for, although on a smaller scale than Phuket, with regard to immigration services and English speaking staff in local government offices. Entertainment options are on the increase as are true International standard Hotels and attractions. To cater for the inward surge of potential residents, many real estate companies have emerged building high quality villas and homes specifically for foreigners.
The Ko Lanta National Park, also in Krabi province, includes several coral-fringed islands with well-known diving sites. The largest island, Ko Lanta Yai, is the site of park headquarters, and is also home to Chao Le, or sea gypsies who sustain themselves largely through fishing. The islands are best visited during the non-monsoon months of October through April.
Kayaking, sailing, birdwatching, snorkeling are also among top activities. In the interior, two predominantly mainland national parks, Khao Phanom Bencha and Than Bokk-horani, offer inland scenic attractions including waterfalls and caves, and opportunities for trekking, birdwatching and eco-tours.
The rock faces at Railay Beach near Aonang have attracted climbers from all over the world and each year are the venue for the Rock and Fire Festival. There are several Rock Climbing schools at Railay beach.