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Choosing where to base yourself is one of the most important decisions you will make when you move to Krabi. Although the road network is well-developed, and getting around is quite easy if you have your own transport, proximity to the nearest point of 'civilisation' will strongly influence your day-to-day lifestyleTHERE are not really any distinct neighbourhood markers in Krabi. Most areas are fairly mixed, income-wise, and there is little control over who your neighbours are, or will be in the future if the land is sold. Land is also being bought and developed at a furious rate, so if you prize the open green space currently surrounding the property, the only way to guarantee it will still be there in a few years is to buy it yourself!
A major 'location' consideration should be how close to other foreigners your new home will be. Some people prefer to stay in areas where there are a lot of westerners, like Ao Nang or Ko Lanta, while others positively seek out areas far from tourism and other expats. As Krabi can be considered very safe in terms of personal security, the only thing driving this choice is your personal taste.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have when they decide to move to Krabi is that they will be able to live on the beach. In fact, as beachfront property comes at such a premium, almost all is used for commercial purposes. Even the beaches that have not yet been developed have already been bought up by investors now looking to sell big plots of 50 rai and upwards.
For those who insist on being close to the sand, the only (as yet) undeveloped stretches of beach left in Krabi are in Ao Nam Mao, close to Ao Nang, and Long Beach (Had Yao) in Neua Klong District; there are several luxury residential projects (Amatapura; Baan Ivory Palm, Krabi Sunset / Lekiri) underway in these areas for interested buyers.
There is no shortage of beautiful locations in Krabi, however, and inland in the lush, green surroundings is where youíll find most private housing. Property in these quieter areas (still with good road access to a beach) tends to be a good investment, with a healthy resale value. If a sea view is important to you, try looking in Ko Lanta, where most developments are up on the hillsides along the west coast, affording panoramic sunset vistas across to the Phi Phi islands. The access roads up to these hillsides can be tricky, however, even in a 4WD vehicle. It may be worthwhile to remember, you will be here every day, so a view of the sea will not seem so important after a while!
The second thing in deciding where to live is to choose whether you wish to build your own house on a piece of land, or buy an existing, or soon-to-be-built property.
For a simple holiday home, it is definitely more advisable to buy into one of the new residential estates being constructed in the region, even if choice is still very limited compared with Phuket. While you will now find the odd contemporary Balinese-style villa, for the most part Krabiís housing developments and land subdivision projects usually follow a fairly standard floorplan, but developers do often allow you to customise or upgrade your home design, from their particular range of criteria.
These types of homes are often designed as a gated community, with security and communal facilities such as swimming pools and gyms. While many people donít like the idea of living behind walls, security is certainly something to consider if your property will be empty for several months of the year. Some estates will also offer a sub-letting service so you can generate rental income while you are away. You can view some of these projects, including floorplans, on the Krabi property listings page.
Lot choice (if you have one) within a development is also important. While foreigners tend to put an emphasis on peace and quiet, many Thai buyers prefer to be near a road. Land next to a main artery is always worth more - up to ten times as much - as the same sized plot further back.
More choice in the market (individual houses, more creative designs) is on the horizon, but it will not happen until the infrastructure is here. While Krabi may win hands down in a natural beauty contest, it has yet to offer the kind of hospitals, international schools and transport links that most ex-pats favour - although these things are a short (2-hour) drive away in Phuket. For more information on the ex-pat life here, see our Krabi expat guide, as well as the news forum on Your Krabi for the latest updates on infrastructure in the province.
Above: Railay Beach (west) - although most property in Krabi is not on the beach, places like this are never far away
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