Krabi offers a varied range of evening – and day! – drinking spots, though overall the nightlife scene is fairly tame compared to other tourist destinations in Thailand. Forget go-go bars, cavernous clubs or even a dinner and show: you’re far more likely to find basic beer shacks, a pool table and a local or Filipino cover band. A few places do try and break the mould, however, and we list them below.
Drinks generally are the same price or cheaper than in the West: averaging around 80 baht for a small bottle of beer and 160 baht for a basic cocktail. This will rise steeply in certain contexts so do check the price before ordering.
Good drinking spots in Ao Nang
Ao Nang, as the most developed area on the mainland, has the most on offer in terms of nightlife for tourists here. Bars can be found dotted all along the main road, from the Nathai junction and out to the National Park HQ, but the majority are concentrated in two noisy ‘plazas’ near the beachfront: the recently revamped Center Point, which offers live music, a ladyboy cabaret, as well as a small dance floor up on the third floor; and Soi RCA, slightly further out opposite McDonald’s, with its rows of neon lit bars.
Note that both these spots have a fair proportion of girly bars, casual drug use and (sometimes unwittingly) wasted tourists. While this potent combination may sound like an ideal evening out for some, it has – very occasionally – led to violent incidents over the past few years, so do exercise normal caution if you hang out here. Most of the time, however, it is perfectly safe, and far less sleazy than the equivalent areas in Phuket or Pattaya.
There are also several stand alone bars in Ao Nang worth mentioning – like Full Moon, Roots Rock Reggae, Strawberry Moons, or Get Rad’s dive cocktail lounge – these are friendlier, not remotely “red light”, and generally better if you like to hold a conversation at normal volume. For a more sophisticated evening, visit the excellent Last Fisherman Bar, which sits right on the sand at the far end of Soi 17, or have a cocktail at The Hilltop, up behind Alis Hotel, with its spectacular views over Nopparat Thara Bay. The Grape Escape, in The Lai Thai condo building, offers a good selection of wines by the glass, as well as whisky and sake. Look out for their wine nights during high season, featuring bottles from a particular country, along with free nibbles.
Before, or after, the dinner rush, it is also possible to sit and enjoy a drink at most local restaurants. Jose or Café 8.98 are good spots to people watch, and the latter’s mojito menu is particularly good. Whisky aficionados can settle down in leather armchairs for a fine selection of single malts at Carnivore. Aning has centre seats on the beachfront road, cheap cocktails and – on weekends – live music.
Best nightlife in Krabi Town
Krabi Town offers a more local nightlife experience with endless karaoke bars and a few ‘nightclubs’ playing loud Thai pop music, often with a stage show. It’s definitely an interesting experience for the few foreigners who venture inside. Good live music pubs – playing a mix of Thai and western covers – include Kwan Fang and Factory Beer Garden.
There are also a few small bars designed more for a western clientele, mainly concentrated along the backpacker strip of Chao Fah Rd in town: check out Playground Bar for the winning formula of buckets, beer pong and pub quiz nights, the expat favourite, cowboy-themed Old West, or the original old-time rasta shack, Joy Bar.
The town also boasts a fledgling hipster scene for those fed up of “adult entertainment” and grungy reggae bars: Hobby Hops on Uttarakit Road, or the hole-in-the-wall Chu.a.pa on Preuksa Uthit, offer a wide selection of craft beers; while Deep Lounge, further out of town off Hemthanon Road, entertains with live jazz, DJs and fusion cocktails. Expect beautifully distressed urban decor and thoughtful lighting.
After dark in Railay and Tonsai
Railay and Ton Sai beaches, despite being fairly isolated, offer some of the most lively nightlife in Krabi for the young – and young at heart – crowd. Ton Sai beach hosts regular all-night beach parties for the full moon and new moon during high season and Railay is well known for its parties in the east side bars. The wildest nights, however, can be found on Phi Phi – Krabi’s only party island.
Entertainment in the form of live music is also on offer in Ao Nang at various hotels and bars during high season. Sports fans can relax: you won’t miss a single Premiership match or Grand Prix, as most bars will show them live – TJs Sportsbar & Grill is a popular gathering spot in Ao Nang.
After the closing of the ambitious Paka entertainment venue last year, there are no other dinner and show events available in Krabi – though look out for regular festivals throughout the year as these often feature stage performances of Thai dance.
Those in search of a quiet life will find it in Klong Muang (no nightlife to speak of, other than a couple of bars and a good Irish Pub), as well as in certain corners of Ao Nang and Railay, where it is still possible simply to sit on the beach and watch the stars…