The estuarine town of KRABI is both provincial capital and major hub for onward travel to some of the region’s most popular islands and beaches, including Ko Phi Phi, Ko Lanta, Ao Nang, Klong Muang and Laem Phra Nang (Railay). So efficient are the transport links that you don’t really need to stop here, but it also makes an appealing base, strung out along the west bank of the Krabi estuary, with mangrove-lined shorelines to the east, craggy limestone outcrops on every horizon, and plenty of guesthouses. The beaches of Ao Nang and Railay are both within 45 minutes of town, and other nearby attractions include the mangrove swamps and Ko Klang peninsula across the estuary, the dramatically sited Tiger Cave Temple at Wat Tham Seua and Khao Phanom Bencha National Park. A number of organized day-trips in the Krabi area, including snorkelling and kayaking excursions, are available (see Activities around Krabi, Ao Nang and Laem Phra Nang).

Krabi town has no unmissable sights, but is small enough for a pleasant stroll around its main landmarks. Its chief attraction is its setting, and a good way to appreciate this is to follow the paved riverside walkway down to the fishing port, about 800m south of Tha Chao Fa; several hotels capitalize on the views here, across to mangrove-ringed Ko Klang, and towards the southern end the walkway borders the municipal Thara Park.

Inland, in the centre of town, you can’t fail to notice the bizarre sculptures of hulking anthropoid apes clutching two sets of traffic lights apiece at the Thanon Maharat/Soi 10 crossroads. They are meant to represent Krabi’s most famous ancestors, the tailless Siamopithecus oceanus, whose forty-million-year-old remains were found in a lignite mine in the south of the province and are believed by scientists to be among the earliest examples worldwide of the ape-to-human evolutionary process.

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