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.
Pai Plong Beach is a small beach hidden in a bay between Ao Nang Beach and Ton Sai Beach (Railay) which can be reached only by boat or via a 10-minute trail over the mountain from Ao Nang Beach’s south end. The trail is called “Monkey Trail” because of the macaque’s monkeys living around the trail.
The beach is beautiful with lovely greenish water surrounded by limestone mountains and lush greenery. The five-star Centara Grand Beach Resort is located directly on the beach with security guards asking you to sign your name in a book before entering the beach zone and signing out when leaving.
Aonang Cliff Beach Resort is built on the hillside in the heart of Ao Nang and boasts an infinity pool with stunning ocean view. This pool with views was the reason we chose to stay here when visiting Ao Nang two nights in late February. Yep, I’m a sucker when it comes to views. I imagined a fairly standard hotel, but the resort was huge, and I got a good feeling right after we arrived and the friendly staff welcomed us. I just knew it would be a good stay.
Last week I wrote about Ao Nang Beach, and if you were not impressed by that area, there’s one more place just around the corner that for sure will make you go WOW! I’m talking about Railay; a small peninsula with two bays, known as West Railay and East Railay.
Surrounded by incredible limestone cliffs, Railay (or Rai Leh) can only be reached by boat, giving it an island feel. The high cliffs attract rock climbers from all over the world, and the beautiful beaches can be packed with longtail boats and trippers from Ao Nang. Although it is a paradise, Railay is good for a day trip or a few nights — unless you are a rock climber, then you might want to stay longer.
Ao Nang Beach is not the typical white sandy beach with crystal clear water, and during high tide, the sand practically disappears. But the scenery with its limestone cliffs, palm trees and longtail boats moored along the shore is pretty stunning. Ao Nang Beach acts more like a jumping-off point for island hopping between the beautiful islands in Krabi archipelago.
Now with that said, it doesn’t mean you can’t tanning and swimming — because you can, but it’s not the ideal beach. The beach is lit at night, and people like to walk along it or just sit and drink a beer while listening to the waves and feel the warm sea breeze. Others prefer to enjoy a banana pancake from a vendor across the street.
You’ll find lots of sidewalk vendors, and within easy walking distance, you have the main road that is dominated by restaurants and bars. I like it here, and we always stay a couple of nights or a week in Ao Nang. But I wouldn’t spend my entire vacation here.