Ao Nang is one of the most popular destinations in Thailand. Find out what to do and what to see in this nice place.
Ao Nang is one of the most popular places in the province of Krabi in Thailand. Some years ago it was very popular among backpackers but now is quite crowded with tourists from all over the world, mainly thanks to charter flights.
This doesn’t mean that it’s not worth spending a few days in this corner of Thailand. It should also be remembered that Ao Nang is one of the starting points to visit the even more crowded and beautiful Koh Phi Phi Don (here is the travel guide to Phi Phi).
How to get to Ao Nang and how to get around
Getting to Ao Nang is quite simple. From the airport, which is located in Krabi and about 40 minutes away, there are several taxis and minivans that can take you directly to your hotel. The cheapest solution is shared minivans. You can look for some cheap flights to Krabi using Momondo.
Once you arrive in Ao Nang you can easily walk around the main road and enjoy the Thai food or take one of the long tail boats to reach the nearby islands. Getting around is very simple: shops and restaurants are all along the main street.
Where to stay in Ao Nang
Being a very popular destination, there is no shortage of hotels and guest houses suitable for all budgets. During my trip to Ao Nang, I chose the Deevana Krabi Resort a beautiful 4 stars resort with more than affordable prices. It has two swimming pools and the entire resort is new. The apartments are very well cared for and the impression that you have when walking inside the resort is of a very well maintained structure.
The resort is located about 5-minute from Ao Nang beach and it’s a very quiet area. You won’t hear the noise of long-tail boats or cars.
Breakfast is abundant and the staff is very kind. In addition, each room has a beach kit with towels and flip-flops. If I will return to Ao Nang I would certainly stay again at the Deevana Krabi Resort.
Things to do in Ao Nang
Thailand is famous for its beautiful beaches and numerous islands (about 1400) with crystal clear water. The main beach of Ao Nang is honestly not amazing, as often happens in places where mass tourism has taken over. But it is still the ideal starting point for excursions to the nearby islands.
Joining a half-day cruise with Krabi Sunset Cruises
After visiting several places where you can join an island hopping tour, such as El Nido in the Philippines, I realized that if you really want to enjoy the experience it’s better to avoid the cheapest tours. This allows you to avoid the crowd, the boat service is definitely better and the experience, in general, is completely different.
For the excursion to the islands around Ao Nang, I booked a tour with Krabi Sunset Cruises, a company run by a couple of nice Australian guys.
You can choose to join the morning tour or the afternoon tour. I recommend the afternoon tour because in the evening, on your way back, you can swim with the bio-luminescent plankton, really a unique experience, that unfortunately is not possible to photograph…
The tour includes a visit to 4 islands (Poda, Chicken, Si, and Ta Ming) and you can use their Kayak or Paddle Board for free. In addition, non-alcoholic drinks are free of charge. The tour is not exactly low cost but I highly recommend it!
A visit to Railay Beach
Since Rai Leh (Railay) is a peninsula surrounded by the sea, it’s not possible to get there from Ao Nang on foot. Instead, you’ll have to take a long tail boat. The price depends mainly on the time of the day and the number of people. Each boat can accommodate up to 8 people and if it is full the price per person is a bit lower.
In the evening and early morning prices are much higher. Railay is a very nice beach and this means that can be very crowded during the day. I recommend visiting places very popular like Railay early in the morning, just as I did in Phi Phi Island: I woke up at 5 am to get there before anybody else. Tiring but it was worth it.
Eating a lot of Thai food
Those who know me well know that I’m always ready to try local food. But even those who are pickier can not remain indifferent to Thai cuisine. It’s always difficult to say which is the best cuisine in the world and maybe there is no answer but personally Thai is in my top 3 together with Jordan and Italy. Many dishes are spicy and it is good to specify if you don’t want it spicy.
Another aspect of Thai cuisine is that it’s very cheap and even in very tourist places you can find Pad Thai and Papaya Salad for about 2 or 3 euros.
Getting a Thai massage
What better place to get a Thai massage than Thailand! Right? Well, shame on me because even though I’ve been in Thailand twice I have not yet managed to get a massage! Every time I promise to myself to get a massage at the end of the trip, only to realize that it’s the last day of the holiday and I don’t have time or money left. Next time I’ll visit Thailand, it will be the first thing I will do. Promised. Don’t be like me: get a Thai massage in Thailand!
Thailand is the ideal place to go shopping since everything is pretty cheap. Thailand is also very popular among western expats living in Asia as a medical travel destination, especially in Bangkok.
Finally don’t forget to do what you came up to Asia for: total relaxation!