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’smonkeys 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.
Krabi is a province with a spectacular coastline formed by a mix of natural features including limestone cliffs, mangrove forests, beautiful beaches, and outstanding islands like Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. It has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand and now has an airport which serves international as well as national flights. The following is a list of the best places to stay in Krabi Province.
1. Ao Nang
The majority of people vacationing in Krabi Province choose to stay in Ao Nang — a small resort town dominated by restaurants, bars, and shops. Some would say dominated by unattractive tourist developments. I prefer to say that Ao Nang is a vibrant resort town with excellent accommodation and dining options. Another reason — perhaps the main one — for Ao Nang’s popularity is the easy access to the nearby islands. To do the so-called island hopping.
Well, this is actually a tip for everybody since it’s a good restaurant, serving both Thai and international dishes. Blue Mango is a Swedish owned restaurant with some Swedish specialties in the menu like meatballs, plank steak and baked potato with skagenröra. Located on the main beach road in Ao Nang, just opposite the popular Krabi Resort, the restaurant has around 35 seats outdoors and 70 inside.
Lae Lay Grill is situated on the hillside with a stunning view overlooking Nopparat Thara Beach in Ao Nang. The restaurant has a shuttle service from and to your hotel, as it’s quite a distance to walk up to the hill. But since my wife has a car in Thailand, we didn’t have to use that service.
We didn’t know anything about Lae Lay Grill, but It looked amazing from down the road which we were passing every day during our stay at Maleedee Bay Resort. So we decided to try it out, and it was a pleasant surprise!
My wife, hungry and ready to walk up the stairs. The staff was very welcoming and helpful.
Nopparat Thara Beach is a 5 km long beach split into two halves by a river a few minutes drive from Ao Nang Beach. The sand is hard-packed and very comfortable for walking and running. During low tide, it’s possible to walk all the way out to the small limestone islands, and you will see both tourists and locals walking out taking pictures. Nopparat Thara Beach is a quite beach with mostly Thais who like to come here for a picnic in the shades of the casuarina trees.
During low tide the canal dries up, leaving a long beach as you can see right on this island.
My wife at Koh Khao Sam Nuai, one of the small islands during low tide.
Sunset at Nopparat Thara Beach.
There are several restaurants on the beach, and I would like to recommend A-one where we had dinner twice. It’s a cozy little place with soft lighting when the darkness falls. The food tastes good, and they serve both Thai and international dishes.
The Separated Sea (Thale Waek) is a cool natural phenomenon. It happens when there is a low tide and a unique sand pathway connects three islands (Koh Gai, Koh Tup and Koh Mawr) that visitors can walk to. This place was voted the number one destination, in the poll ‘7 Wonders of Thailand 2015′ on the 7wondersthailand.com website.
The best time to visit Thale Waek is 5 days before and after the full moon from December to the beginning of May. The separated sea is the last stop in the amazing ‘4 islands boat trip′ that goes from Ao Nang, Krabi. Tour agents can be found everywhere along the street in Ao Nang.