It is generally better to book a hotel in Krabi through an agent because, in the vast majority of resorts, English is not spoken well. Even in 5 star hotels, only the senior members of staff will have a good command of the language. This can make booking tricky, though communication during your stay is still possible with the right attitude. In case of any problems, it is always better to have a local agent (rather than one based in Bangkok or abroad), so that any issues can be handled directly and in a timely fashion.
The exception to this rule is when you wish to book with one of the international hotel groups with large resorts here – such as the Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Mercure, Sofitel, Ritz-Carlton and the Thai chain Central that owns Centara Grand Beach Resort and Centara Anda Dhevi. More are apparently on the way in 2013 and 2014 (Radisson, Ibis). For reservations here it is best to go directly to each hotel’s website as large chains like these have professional booking engines and flexible pricing systems, which agents cannot compete with (even if they say they can!).
Some truly budget accommodation in Krabi cannot be booked at all: these type of places deal only with walk-in guests. You can find such guesthouses and bungalows in all the major tourist areas and it is usually safe to turn up and look for a room except perhaps during peak times (see below).
With the bookable mid range hotels there are two main categories. First are the new “modern Thai” resorts that have sprung up rapidly since 2007. These are usually owned by Thai people from the central or north regions and are comfortable and good value but can be anonymous in their architecture and decor. These newer hotels also tend to be slightly further out, with a lot of rooms packed into a small space, and little to no garden area.
The older mid-range hotels are usually locally owned and, because they were built early on in Krabi’s development, they also offer much more open space and often nice views in a central location. Many have been refurbished or renovated over the years to reflect a more contemporary style and facilities – though very few offer the popular pool access rooms of the “modern Thai” resorts.
The high tourist season in Krabi runs from November to April inclusive and this is the time when the prices are highest and the resorts are busiest. Christmas and New Year is considered to be the ‘peak season’ and many hotels and resorts charge a supplement to their normal high season prices during this time, as well as extortionate compulsory ‘Gala Dinner’ fees for guests staying over Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Despite this, the more popular and value-for-money hotels fill up very quickly (sometimes as early as June), so it is advisable to book as early as possible if you wish to come at this time.
February is an equally popular month: perfect weather and the regional holiday of Chinese New Year mean hotels get booked up fast at this time.
In addition, the recent trend of package holiday agents block booking popular hotels means that there is an ever decreasing amount of choice for independent travellers to Krabi. We would therefore urge you to book especially early if you plan on visiting between December and February, as this is when rooms are in the shortest supply.
Out of season, during the monsoon months of May to October, prices can fall by as much as 50%, quite a large saving, if you’re prepared to risk the rain – see the Krabi weather page and our guide to the low season in Krabi for further information.
If you are planning on staying in Ao Nang, note that proximity to the beach is far less of an issue than in, say, Railay, as it is so easy to get around. Knowing this, a lot of people actually prefer to stay out of the centre as, at peak times, it can get very crowded.
Want to stay in Ko Lanta? Visit our dedicated Lanta Guide for Koh Lanta hotel reviews.
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Last updated: June 14, 2013