Sure, Ao Nang is touristy — it is a resort town — and there are things I don’t like here. But this part of Krabi boasts some incredible features that you simply can’t miss when traveling in southern Thailand — and you don’t necessarily need to stay in the middle of the hustle and bustle. Here are ten reasons for you to visit Ao Nang.
1. This rooftop bar view
My wife enjoying a drink with the stunning town backdrop.
Standing on the rooftop bar at Aonang Cliff Beach Resort with a drink in your hand while enjoying the sunset is the ideal start to a fun night in town. Bar open 17:00 – 19:00.
2. The beautiful karst scenery
West Railay Beach.
Ao Nang is full of karst formations with Railay Peninsula as the number one must-see place. This slice of paradise attracts rock climbers from all over the world, and if you’ve never climbed before, Phra Nang Beach is one of the best places to try it out. The half-day courses cost just 1,000 baht (around $30).
3. Restaurants like Lae Lay Grill
Brilliant food at Lae Lay Grill.
Why walk the main street where restaurant employees call out to passersby to eat in their restaurant? (One of the things I don’t like about Ao Nang.) Instead, go to Lae Lay Grill with a beautiful hilltop view, serving the best seafood in town. Come here just before the sunset.
4. Easy access to nearby islands
Longtail boats moored at the beach of Poda Island.
Island hopping is popular when staying in Ao Nang, and Poda Island is one of the most postcard-perfect islands. Here you can walk on soft white sand, picnic in the shade of the trees, snorkel in the clear water and snapping pictures of tropical fishes. Come early, and don’t stay where the boats are mooring — take a walk and find a quiet spot.
5. Having the best massage experience
A Thai massage sala in Ao Nang. Photo: TripAdvisor.
Massage Corner is a real gem, hidden at the end of a side street on Klong Haeng Road 300 meters from Lae Lay Grill. Surrounded by tropical trees and plants, you will experience the best massage in Ao Nang and perhaps all of Thailand!
6. Klong Haeng Walking Street Market
An authentic market in Ao Nang.
Klong Haeng Walking Street Market (16:00 – 20:00 on Wednesdays) outside the hustle and bustle of the town, is a lovely place to sample some of the fantastic street food in Ao Nang. Unlike the famous market in Krabi Town, you will not see many tourists at Klong Haeng Walking Street; you know the food here is prepared for Thais who want the real thing.
7. Monkey Trail and Pai Plong Beach
Two Swedish girls soaking up the sun at Pai Plong Beach.
Ao Nang Beach is not a reason to visit Ao Nang, but Pai Plong Beach could be. There is a small mountain separating the two beaches, and a 15-minute trail called Monkey Trail takes you from one beach to another.
8. Nopparat Thara Beach
Low tide at Nopparat Thara Beach.
Nopparat Thara Beach is not the ideal sandy beach, but it’s a lovely quiet place, and Thais love to come here to picnic and barbeque in the shade of the casuarina trees. During low tide, you can walk on the seashell covered sand all the way out to the small islands. You’ll also find some excellent sidewalk restaurants and Nopparat Thara Plaza with small boutiques and diners — especially nice at night.
9. This park for children called Heaven-7
Heaven-7 in Ao Nang.
If you’re traveling with younger children, bring them to Heaven-7 — a park located on a hillside with a panoramic sea view with small attractions like the water play area. Your kids are going to love the water slides and the rubber swan boats!
10. The sunsets
Sunset over Nopparat Thara Beach.
There is no sunset like a sunset in Ao Nang. OK, I made that up because it sounded good — a sunset looks pretty much the same from anywhere in the world. Anyway, Ao Nang’s beaches are facing the west, meaning you can enjoy beautiful sunsets. And that is a pretty good reason to visit Ao Nang.
Recommendation: Krabi La Playa Resort, recently renovated, is located in a good area 400 meters from the beach and a 5-minute walk from both Massage Corner and Lae Lay Grill.