A trip to Thailand isn’t complete without a trip to the gorgeous southern beaches. A four-day visit to Ao Nang, a town that makes up part Krabi’s Andaman coastline, proved to be a satisfying mini vacation in the sand and sun. Here’s a taste of what we found in this relaxed beach town.
Ao Nang Beach
Ao Nang Beach has a beautiful view of the nearby islands and the moored long-tail boats along the coastline. For those who want to sunbathe, there are nearby downtown shops and restaurants conveniently accessible throughout the day.
In the early evenings, the tide retreats quite far along the gently sloping coastline. As the tourists head back to their hotels to rinse off the sand and sunscreen, the local seafood vendors take this opportunity to hunt for clams in the exposed shoreline. It is a beautiful sight to take in.
There haven’t been too many moments that we have enjoyed more than the evenings we have sat down for a pizza and beer across the street from Ao Nang Beach and watched the Andaman sunset. It is in these moments that we truly realize how fulfilled we are in the lifestyle we have chosen.
Downtown Ao Nang
Although touristy, this town is still relatively small, clean, and has a good choice of things to do beyond getting some sun. The main strip runs about a half kilometer along the Ao Nang Beach. Ao Nang’s downtown area is full of lively beach shops, restaurants, bars, massage parlors, and travel agencies.
We were happy to see that the beach shops provided almost anything we might need. They sell bathing suits, bathing suit cover-ups, summer wear, beach towels, sun glasses, flip-flops, snorkel gear, hats, tanning lotion, bottle openers, and beach mats. This is perfect for those who’ve found themselves in Ao Nang but haven’t packed accordingly. We noticed, though, that the stores sold neither coolers nor beach umbrellas.
Restaurants offer a decent selection of cuisine, ranging from seafood to pizza to Indian, and of course, Thai. There are several low-key bars, and we even spotted a Burger King and an Häagen-Dazs ice cream shop. As with any touristy town in Thailand, there is no shortage of Thai massage parlors.
There are also plenty of excursions available while visiting Ao Nang. These can be booked through the small travel agencies that are dotted along the strip. Some local activities include rock climbing, shooting, and snorkeling, in addition to visiting other nearby beaches and islands. Try to book a day in advance since many of these tours leave early in the morning.
How to Get Around Ao Nang
We recommend using public transportation if you are staying in downtown Ao Nang. Tuk-tuks are available for a flat rate of 30 baht per person. Unless you’ve snagged a resort near the main strip, you’ll have to walk up a hill to get back for the evening. After a long day at the beach, a tuk-tuk is a welcomed alternative to some serious inclined walking.
As an alternative, hail a songthaews. Although we didn’t get a chance to check on the price, they are generally cheaper than tuk-tuks.
The Best Time to Visit Ao Nang, Thailand
In our experience, the best time to visit this small tourist-friendly beach town is in October, just before the high season. During this time the beaches and islands aren’t overly crowded, it’s not too hot, and the clear blue skies are filled with puffy clouds. You will also pay half price on most hotel and resort stays if you book outside of high season.
Map Ao Nang and Points of Interest
Ao Nang is easily accessible by public bus (150 baht per person), private taxi (600 baht) or private shuttle van (800 to 1,200 baht) from the Krabi International Airport. Tickets can be purchased at counters before exiting the airport.
View Ao Nang, Thailand in a larger map
Hotels in Ao Nang
One of our favorite hotels in Ao Nang in called Phu Pha Ao Nang Resort & Spa. Nestled near the cliffs in a rain forest setting, it has a huge pool, free breakfast, and bungalow style rooms that are really one of a kind.