If it’s the archetypal gap-year Thai mayhem you’re looking for then Krabi is probably not the place for you. Replace fullmoon parties with quiet sundowners and early nights. Replace renting motorbikes, and the subsequent horrific road accidents, with cultural excursions and pristine reefs for diving. Also replace any preconceived notions of Thailand being a waveless country, because surfing in Krabi is possible.
Facing west out towards the Andaman Sea Krabi’s beaches face the brunt of the storm churned waters of the summer Monsoon. However Krabi surfing is underdeveloped to say the least. In fact it would be a tall order to expect to find somewhere in the area to rent a board – the dive shops would be your best bet.
Phuket Island, by dangling southwards between Krabi and the Andaman sea, takes a good stab at blocking off Krabi’s swell – but doesn’t quite succeed. Determined southerly swells find their way through and supply Krabi with reasonably reliable surf – waves max out at around chest-head high though, so aspiring Laird Hamiltons should probably look elsewhere.
The beauty of a Krabi surfing trip is that it’s such a calm place. While tourism makes up a large part of the area’s economy it doesn’t manifest itself in the in-your-face way that is so sad to see in much of Thailand. This lower level of tourism doesn’t reflect any deficiency of natural beauty though, it has more than its share of limestone formations rising out of lush rainforest.
Surfing Krabi is a fantastic experience, though what every traveller wielding a surfboard must bear in mind is that surfing here has to be approached as an extra treat as basing a holiday around it is a bit of a stretch.