We fell in love with Ao Nang!

Published on 10 August 2023 at 22:33

Ao Nang is a charming beach town located in the province of Krabi, Southern Thailand. While a relatively small beach retreat, it is gifted with natural beauty and lots to keep you busy.

One of the reasons why we chose to visit Krabi, and specifically Ao Nang, is because our favorite You Tube influencer, Paddy Doyle , raved about this town during his travels and we wanted to experience it for ourselves.  Apart from beach activities there are many other exciting things to do in Ao Nang – from exploring jaw-dropping islands and trekking through lush rainforests to visiting spectacular temples, eating at one of the many restaurants or watching a sunset over the limestone cliffs. Yes please!

The ferry from Koh Phi Phi Don took us east for two hours to the opposite side of Phang Nga Bay and to Nopparat Thara Pier in Ao Nang, with a short stop to drop off those who were staying in Railay Bay (more on this spot later). The pier is located up a narrow estuary that must be extremely deep as the ferry not only made it through, but also did a 180 degree turn at the pier!

Upon arrival there were a few transport options, but we used the Grab App to find a reasonably priced taxi which would take us directly to our condo. In hindsight, there were several open-air buses we overtook in the taxi that were full of people from our ferry and may have been included in the price of the ferry ticket.  Ah well…we got there faster! The route took us along the Ao Nang Landmark beachfront and within that brief 10-minute afternoon drive we both had the same thought – “WOW, this looks more like us! “The beach itself looks like Karon Beach, wide with golden sand, but with the limestone mountains added for extra beauty.  On the opposite side of the road are plenty of spots to eat, drink, and shop, they all appeared to be a step up in quality from those we encountered in and around Phuket, and it all just seemed cleaner and tidier.  There were plenty of people out and about enjoying the late afternoon sunshine to give the town a social vibe, but not so busy that it felt overwhelming. 

For this leg of the trip, I booked us into The Lai Thai luxury Condominiums.  As Ao Nang is less well-known than other tourist spots around Thailand, you can get real value for money with accommodation.  Our third-floor apartment was lovely, with a separate bedroom, walk in closet, and a sizable lounge, kitchen, and balcony.  The complex has a large swimming pool in the center, and a well-equipped gym which Tony was keen to use to get back into the swing of exercise.  All for less than $70 NZD per night. 

Heading back out the entrance of the complex brings you onto the main road which is full of the amenities mentioned previously, and turning left leads directly down through town till it reaches the beach, so we set off this way to do some exploring for the evening.  Our initial impression from the taxi proved accurate, with lots of good options on our doorstep and the food and massage prices were around 25% less than we had seen in our travels to date.  We also found a local supermarket around 100 meters from our apartment, and as we had a kitchen, we went shopping to stock up the fridge and pantry.  Slow travel also means not eating out three times a day, so eggs on toast for breakfast, and ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch are back on the menu, and a shelf in the fridge was dedicated to Chang beer.  I have never drunk beer in my life, but as wine is in short supply here and rather pricey, I have adapted quickly. 

Originally, we were only staying in Ao Nang for five days, but after our first 24 hours we agreed that it is a place we would enjoy, so we made the call to reschedule our plans so that we could spend a little more time in this little beach haven that stole our hearts. An important aspect of planning a trip of this length was to be flexible without false deadlines, and having the extra time in Ao Nang meant that we could now take time to enjoy the area properly without feeling rushed.  So, we cut back on the time we were due to spend back in Patong, Phuket, to give us a full eight days here to make ourselves at home. 

The next morning, we caught a taxi to Krabi International Airport (yes, you can fly directly to this great place) to meet our next rental car, "Harris the Yaris", who will be our transportation for the next two weeks as we explore Krabi, then as we self-drive across three other provinces (stay tuned).  We also went with a car vs a motorbike for Ao Nang as it is rainy season and so you never know when the next heavy downpour will happen. If you’re on a scooter you can't see through the rain, so the safest option is to find a place to stop and take cover until it passes, but with Harris we just keep on driving with his wipers on full speed.  Tony did a grand job of driving us around the province exploring all the points of interest that we had pinned to our google map prior to coming on the trip.

We planned three main activities during our time in Krabi: a day on Railay Beach, visiting the private lagoon on Koh Hong, and climbing the Tiger Cave Temple Mountain. We’ll write short blogs about these highlights separately.

During the eight days we had three of the best massages that Tony has ever had from a tiny elderly Thai woman who could moonlight as a UFC fighter - she was that strong!  She broke down 20 years of knots in his back and neck.  A helpful bonus was that the same place washed, dried, and folded our laundry while we were being treated. Now that's service!

We ate out in street markets and tried numerous local and international restaurants up and down the strip, some of which we'll highlight in our next food blog.  We even found a local music bar where Tony was able to get on stage to borrow a guitar and sing a few songs.  We walked, swam in our pool, Tony went to the gym, and I enjoyed the odd “nana nap” every so often.  In the evening we would walk down to the beach, pop into the 7 Eleven to buy a couple of cold Changs and watch the sunset.  This is living!

We can’t recommend Ao Nang highly enough.  As it stands today, if we’re to come back to Thailand again this will be a place we will come and spend even more time.  It's an ideal starting point to then visit the provinces in the deep south and carry on through to Malaysia.

For now, it’s time to say farewell to Krabi, give Harris the Yaris a full tank of gas as we now drive north from Ao Nang, around Phang Nga Bay and west to Patong at the top end of Phuket, where we’ll spend the next few days. 

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gordon douglas
9 months ago

another amazing spot.Am "I"getting a travel bug?? reading all your adventures

8 months ago

Can you please send the UFC-massager this way?