Ao Nang is a central point of the coastal province of Krabi, Thailand. The main street is dominated by restaurants, pubs, shops and other commerce aimed at tourists. Ao Nang Beach is used by sunbathers to a certain extent, but there are a large number of long tail boats which offer access to other beaches on the mainland and on nearby islands. Getting to Ao Nang is fairly easy as well. You can fly to Krabi International Airport or you can take the bus, private/shared minivan or ferry. Booking transportation in Thailand is super easy on 12Go.Asia. In this guide to Ao Nang, you’ll find some insight into our lodging, things to do in Ao Nang, restaurant recommendations and volunteer opportunities.
In Ao Nang, we stayed at Arcadian Resort for five nights and we paid 2,450BHT/$77 USD, which was perfect for our backpackers budget. The host was extremely friendly and always helpful. She made our stay so wonderful. You can check out the pictures of our perfect little house below. The guesthouse was located away from the main strip near the beach but easily accessible from our motorbike (about 5-10 minutes from the main street) which we also rented from the guesthouse. It was definitely a great spot and we would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a budget stay.
Here are some things to do during your time in Ao Nang:
1. Ao Nang Beach– This is the main beach in Ao Nang. All the restaurants, bars and shops are located along the beach and there’s plenty of palm trees to cover you from the sun. Similar to Phuket, you’ll see different types of vendors trying to sell you things. Most importantly, make sure to watch the sunset from here!
2. Railay Beach – This is a great day trip from Ao Nang. From either pier, it’s only a 10 minute longtail boat (100BHT each way) to this beautiful island. You can go as early as you want and stay as long as you want. Make sure to check out Phra Nang Cave/Beach where you’ll find some picturesque views and a cool beach to hang at. If you’re into rock climbing, you can do so all over the island. If you go into the water, make sure someone’s keeping an eye for your things. The local monkeys like to take anything and everything! We highly recommend checking out Railay and spending some time here and if you get thirsty, the Railay “Main Street” has a bunch of cool reggae bars, just be prepared for a trip to the moon if you order a “special shake”.
3. Tiger Cave Temple – This is a Buddhist temple with tall Buddha statues and tiger paw prints in the nearby caves. It takes a lot of steps to get to the top! Once you reach the top, there’s a great view of the surrounding area and it’s free to enter. We personally didn’t make it to the temple due to rainy days, but we’ve heard its worth the trek!
4. Noppharat Thara Beach – This is a pretty secluded beach area north of Ao Nang in Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park and only a quick 10 minute motorbike ride from the main Ao Nang beach area. We took a nice, long walk on the beach. If you walk all the way to the end, you’ll most likely have the entire beach to yourselves!
5. Get a Thai massage – Ao Nang is filled with massage parlors and little Thai ladies handing out fliers with massage deals. A Thai massage is definitely a unique experience because you get a good stretch after all that relaxing! It’s a little painful, but it will definitely get all of those knots out. We both got a great deal for a 90-minute Thai oil massage for 400 Baht/$12.50.
If you’re traveling anywhere in Southeast Asia, TripAdvisor is without a doubt the best place to check out the reviews. Dan’s TripAdvisor page has all of our reviews and pictures of our meals. These are the spots we checked out and our two cents:
Kodam Kitchen – This place is a must visit if you are in Ao Nang – we absolutely loved it! We ate dinner here three times and it’s very good food for expected prices. We loved the pad thai in an egg’s nest (must try!). The owner and everyone who worked there were so friendly, always accommodating and just amazingly nice!
Johnny’s Pizzeria – After a week of eating Thai food for every meal, we decided to switch it up. This spot has very good pizza for reasonable prices!
Thanya Kitchen – We had lunch here twice because it was a convenient location near the beach and main strip. Good Thai dishes for normal prices.
Lion and Shark – This was a cool little spot where you can sit on the floor on pillows with nice views in the background. It has a modern vibe and great WiFi if you wanted to do some work or catch up on emails. We came here twice for lunch because we enjoyed the atmosphere. It is slightly expensive, but we loved their delicious smoothie bowls.
May & Zin Restaurant– This was good Thai lunch spot right near the beach. It’s more of a food court and not your typical restaurant vibe, but we still enjoyed it!
Local Thai Food – Located in Railay, we had lunch here before we headed back to Ao Nang. Good Thai dishes and normal prices.
If you’re looking to help the environment definitely check out Trash Hero Ao Nang. At the time of writing this blog post, the Ao Nang chapter is active and holding weekly beach cleanups. You’ll collect any trash from a local beach and ensure that Ao Nang stays beautiful and trash free! Check out their Facebook page (specifically the events section) to sign up and become a Trash Hero!