Ao Nang (อ่าวนาง), colloquially referred to as "Krabi", is a sub-district and a resort town of the Mueang Krabi District, in Thailand's Krabi Province, about 15 km from Krabi Town. In high season, roughly 1 November-30 April, it is the busiest and most tourist-oriented beach destination of the province and consequently one of the most expensive places in Thailand outside of Bangkok. Phuket is cheap by comparison. On 1 May, the wrecking balls come out and many existing storefronts are demolished to make way for new ones. In low-season many places shut entirely, restrict their hours, prices revert to normal and the town is relatively deserted.
Formally Ao Phra Nang ("Princess Bay") although everybody uses the short form, Ao Nang. It is the most "Westernized" beach in Krabi, originally a backpacker hotspot but now upmarket as the airport brings in higher flyers. While not quite as scenic as Rai Leh, there is some cheap accommodation, many good restaurants, easy transport and travel/tour agencies ready to cater to your every whim, making it a good base for exploring Krabi.
Orienting yourself in Ao Nang is easy: almost everything is either along Ao Nang and Nopparat Thar Beaches, which run roughly northwest-southeast, adjacent to Ao Nang Road (Rte 4203) which goes east, then north from the southeast end of the beach. Longtail boats arrive and depart from the beach at either end of Ao Nang Beach. An impassable headland and Khlong Haeng (Dry Creek) separates Ao Nang Beach from Nopparat Thara Beach. Don't swim in the vicinity of the creek as it conveys raw sewage straight to the ocean. At the bridge over Khlong Haeng, Ao Nang Road becomes Nopparat Thara Road.
One of Ao Nang's drawbacks is that Ao Nang and Nopparat Thara Beaches are crummy beaches, certainly not beaches worth flying thousands of miles to visit. The Rai Leh Peninsula has superior—but crowded—beaches, but to get there you are dependent on the local longtail boat cartel which will charge you 100 baht to get there and another 100 baht return.
Krabi International Airport is about 40 minutes away by car. The local airport limo monopoly charges a fairly steep 600+ baht for a transfer (up to 4 people). Many hotels will arrange a pickup at similar prices on request. Travel time is about half an hour.
Local shuttle buses — really just converted pickup trucks (songthaew) — run from Ao Nang to Krabi (40 baht) and from Krabi to the airport (50 baht). The trip between Ao Nang and the airport takes little less than 2 hours. To get to Ao Nang from Krabi town you should look for a white songthaew outside the 7-11.
There is a big bus service from the airport to Ao Nang beach and Nopparat Thara Beach (just after Ao Nang). There are about 4 services a day. It travels from the airport to Krabi Town, the ferry terminal, then onwards to Ao Nang and Nopparat Thara. Good for some sight-seeing. Rates are 150 baht per person and travel time to Ao Nang is 1 hour.
The buses are not new and are quite noisy. But, the best part is, the bus can drop you off at the doorstep of most hotels in Krabi Town, Ao Nang and Nopparat Thara. Just let the driver know the name of your hotel in advance. Language is not an issue, as most of them speak some English.
For the return trip, you can call the hotline 1 day before to arrange pick-up at your hotel. Or you can wait at any of the 4 bus stops in Ao Nang (one is in front of McDonald's) and Nopparat Thara. You need to be there at least 10 minutes before the bus is due to arrive. You can buy ticket on the bus or in any of the tourist information points.
The nearest inter-provincial bus station is in Krabi town.
- 1 Krabi Bus Terminal. In Krabi, buses use the bus terminal at Talad Kao, about 5 km north of town centre. It is one of Thailand's better bus stations: it's clean, has bilingual signage, a good cafe, many local transport options (motorbike taxi, songthaew, taxi, minivan), and free Wi-Fi.
Krabi is served by regularly scheduled buses from all over the kingdom. Buses from Bangkok travel to Krabi down Hwy 4, the major north-south route from Malaysia to Bangkok, stopping along the way at towns like Chumphon and Hua Hin. At any of these stops you can go onward to Krabi. From Hua Hin to Krabi, for example, a BKS (government) bus departs from the station south of town centre at 22:00 (there are certainly more buses during the day). A VIP seat costs 855 baht (Jan 2016). It arrives in Krabi at about 06:30. Important: to get the best price you must go to the bus station to buy your ticket. You will be offered a choice of seats when booking. If booking a VIP seat, DO NOT choose a seat immediately behind either of the two stairwells on the double-decker bus. If you do, you will have no legroom whatsoever and would be better off going first-class at a cheaper price. If travelling during the day, give some thought to the location of the sun morning and afternoon. If going north after noon, sit on the right side of the bus; if south, sit on the left side.
To travel to Ao Nang from the Krabi bus station (or anywhere along the route they travel), look for a white, well-marked ("Krabi-Ao Nang") songthaew. From the bus station to Ao Nang, it will cost 60 baht on arrival at your desired stop.
Rai Leh West and Ton Sai are only 10 minutes away while the less developed Had Yao (Long Beach) is 25 minutes away by longtail boat. Boats leave constantly from the east end of the beach and charge a flat 80 baht/person during the day, 100 baht/person at night (after 18:00). There is no pier so expect to get at least your feet wet, probably more. A longtail boat from Ao Nang is available all seasons, but subject to the weather. In the monsoon season (May–October), getting to Rai Leh from Ao Nammao is recommended.
There are also public ferry services to Ko Phi Phi and Ko Lanta (usually twice daily), for which any travel agent will be happy to sell you tickets at around 200 baht/person. During the monsoon season, the ferry runs once day.
Boats from Ko Lanta now arrive at the new jetty, from there take a taxi (350 baht), or local bus to Krabi (50 baht) and then on to Ao Nang (40 baht).
There is a songthaew (shared pick-up truck/taxi) service to Ao Nang from the Krabi Bus Station and Krabi town, which runs during daylight hours in low season and up to 22:00 in high season. The fare from Krabi to Ao Nang is 60 baht. Songthaews can be expected every 15–20 minutes. Songthaews are colour coded according to destination. From Krabi Bus Station and Krabi town, get on a white songthaew. To find one of these white ones in Krabi, go to the 7-Eleven at the corner of Soi 8 and Maharaj Rd (the main road). Songthaews from bus station en route to Ao Nang stop there for 10 minutes.
Tuk-tuks in Ao Nang charge a flat 20 baht/person for trips around town. Songthaews also run all across Ao Nang to Shell Beach and some all the way to Krabi Town, fares from 10 baht up depending on distance.
If you are going to or from the bus station in Krabi, a songthaew costs 60 baht. The Krabi-Ao Nang songthaews are white, with destinations clearly indicated in English. If you don't see one at the side of the bus station, wait a while and one will come by. In Ao Nang along the beach road, catch a songthaew to the bus station by standing on the beach side, not the inland side, of the road. This is counter-intuitive as Krabi is in the opposite direction.
Renting a motorbike is a great way to explore some of the sites outside of Ao Nang. There are shops up and down the major strips and you can get a reliable bike for 24 hours for 150-200 baht.
- Fossil Shell Beach (Su-san Hoi, literally "Seashell Graveyard") (7 km west of Ao Nang). This overblown tourist attraction has slates of compressed 40 million year old shellfish, which resemble concrete. There's also a small grubby museum and a huge slew of gift shops. This tourist trap is simply not worth the money unless you're a geology student. As the official Krabi tourism website (rather honestly) puts it, "Most are either engrossed to [sic] this or totally indifferent...". 200 baht for foreigners, 20 baht for Thais.
Rai Leh and Ko Phi Phi are just around the corner and there are many tour operators offering activities such as sea kayaking and elephant treks. Rock climbing can be arranged through Ao Nang agencies who will arrange transfers, lunch, and as much climbing as your limbs can handle. Alternatively, simply sail over to Rai Leh or Ton Sai and organize an introductory course yourself.
- 1 Ao Nang Beach. Ao Nang Beach, lined with shops and restaurants, is more like a base for exploring Krabi than an important destination in itself. The west side of the beach is no great beauty, being heavily littered and ruined by the massive number of boats ready to take tourists to other beaches and to the islands. Most tourists spend the day on the east side of the beach, which is more scenic, swimmer-friendly, and contains some friendly monkeys interacting with visitors, although litter is a problem and the area is crossed by a putrid stream. At the eastern edge, a 10-15 minute trail leads to Pai Plong Beach. This is the most scenic and peaceful beach one can walk to, but has no infrastructure other than the Centara Resort. The trail itself is not particularly difficult, but still best avoided by the elderly, disabled, and small children.
- 2 Nopparat Thara Beach. Long beach at the western edge of Ao Nang, zoned as a national park. Nopparat Thara beach is effectively divided in two parts, separated by a river that hosts the Hat Nopparat Thara Pier, where longtail boats and speedboats depart to Phuket and other islands.
The western half is located in the neighboring Nong Thale sub-district. It is mostly surrounded by forest and a few resorts, and hence extremely quiet.
The eastern half, located in Ao Nang, is lined with hotels, restaurants and shops, although not as much as Ao Nang beach. In the section of the beach closer to the pier, there are more businesses catering to Thai, rather to Western visitors, making it a good place to look for budget food. Nopparat Thara is a quieter alternative to Ao Nang and excellent for a morning stroll or watching the sunset, but the beach gets rather narrow at high tide, and it is a good idea to ask the locals if it is jellyfish season before plunging in if no one else is in the water. Near the river, during low tide you can walk up to some of the nearby craggy limestone islands like Kao Pak Klong.
- 3 Pai Plong Beach (Centara Resort) (From Ao Nang Beach looking out to sea, turn left and follow the beach to the end. Behind The Last Cafe, you will see an elevated wooden walkway. Follow it for 10-15 min (steep in places) to Pai Plong Beach. If driving, turn onto Soi 15 off Ao Nang Rd. Nearing the sea, bear left and you will see a shaded parking area. Park there and find the walkway to your left.). Centara Resort occupies a scenic little cove just around the headland from Ao Nang Beach. The resort is doing its best to give the impression that it owns the beach frontage. But beaches in Thailand are all public and the public cannot be denied their use. Security guards abound and you will be asked to sign in and out. The beach itself is small, with only about five metres of sand at high tide. But it's a cute, relatively secluded beach that is hands down better that Ao Nang or Nopparat Thara. Use this beach so it stays in the public domain. The resort is quite happy to have you sit at the beachfront bar and eat and drink. Great place to watch the sunset. The wooden walkway is lighted at night, so should be no problem negotiating it after dark.
- Andaman Camp and Cruise, ☎ . Private, customised day trips and camping trips to many islands. They can also help plan individual itineraries, accommodation and transfers. Fast, helpful, English speaking service with emails answered within 24 hours. Highly recommended.
- Ao Nang Thai Cookery School, Ao Nammao, ☎ . Daily, 09:00-20:30. Khun Sow is the head honcha. Cooking classes are 3 hr. Fruit carving is an all day class and the most expensive course. 1,000-2,500 baht.
- 4 Krabi Fruit Carving, 326 Moo 1, Soi Nopparat Thara 3 (Soi 3 is off Hwy 4202 near the village of Ban Chong Phli). Thai fruit and vegetable carving is an art form. Basic courses are 3 hr long and the full-day course is 7 hours. 1,400-2,800 baht.
Most of the dive shops offer a very similar price for the dive courses and dive trips. However, take a good look around as there some good seasonal bargains to be found. Sites visited daily include the local islands in Ao Nang, Phi Phi Marine National Park, the King Cruiser wreck site and Shark Point Marine Sanctuary. It's now also possible to do a one day safari by speedboat to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang for a chance to see whale sharks and manta rays, or to do some spectacular cavern diving at the five islands of Ko Ha Yai. Some of the more popular dive sites can become crowded in the peak of high season late-December to early-January
- 5 Aqua Vision Dive Centre, 76/12 Moo 2 (On Ao Nang Rd 2 min up from McDonalds), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily, 08:00-18:30. Experienced PADI 5-Star IDC dive centre. English, German, Swedish, French, Spanish, Russian, and Thai language dive guides. Dive trips by speedboat to Phi Phi and local islands. Weekly trips to Shark Point, Anemone Reef, King Cruiser wreck, trips also available to Hin Daeng, Ko Ha Yai, Racha Islands.
- Kon-Tiki Diving and Snorkeling Center, 137 Moo 2 (In front of Krabi Resort), ☎ . PADI 5-Star IDC dive centre . Their boats runs daily diving and snorkelling tours to Phi Phi Islands with weekly trips to Shark Point, King Cruiser wreck, Hin Daeng/Hin Muang. The dive centre is recognized as one of Thailand's leading eco-dive centres with several awards for teaching environmental awareness.
- KrabiDivers.com, Sea of Love Plaza, opposite McDonalds, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Provides dive courses, trips, liveaboards, dive equipment sales and also helps customers with hotel bookings and other arrangements.
- Phran Nang Divers, 32/10 Moo 2. English-run PADI dive centre with over 15 years experience diving in Ao Nang. Courses run in English and German, most European languages also available.
- Poseidon Dive Center, 69/9 Soi Tu Rian (On the main road, 70 m from Ao Nang Beach, opposite Ao Nang Villa and Ao Nang Orchid Resort), ☎ . Daily, 09:00-21:00. Friendly and individual dive centre that offers trips to Ko Phi Phi as well as to famous local dive sites, such as Ko Sii, Ko Haa, Ko Talu and others. They offer a big range of courses from beginners up to professional, fun dives, free-diving and specialties in different languages.
- Raya Divers (Near Noppharat Thara National Park, 500 m from beach on the Nopparat Thara Rd), ☎ . Daily, 09:00-19:00. Finnish-run 5-star PADI shop; instruction also available in English. Good gear and an emphasis on safety.
- Scuba Addicts, 245/5 Moo 2 (On Ao Nang Rd opposite the marlin statue and tsunami warning tower), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 07:00-21:00. PADI and SSI training facility. Scuba Addicts offers diving and snorkeling adventures for all ages and abilities, tailored to suit your individual or group needs.
- PUSH Fitness Center (Inland side of road, next to Jenna's Restaurant), ☎ . Daily, 07:00-22:00. Good, centrally located, albeit expensive, gym. From 300 baht per visit to 22,000 baht yearly.
- 6 Tab Kak Hang Nak Nature Trail. The Tab Kak Hang Nak Nature Trail is northwest of Ao Nang close to beaches/resorts, a couple of kilometres north of Klong Muang Beach. It will take you through the jungle and up to a peak with a fantastic view over Ao Nang and more. A sign claims the hike to be 3.7 km but it feels like more. That's because the trail is almost all up. Thai trailblazers don't do switchbacks. No mosquitoes. There is a small ladder that needs to be climbed, but the trail is an easy one if you have decent shoes. Don't try this in flip-flops as the trail is rocky. with exposed roots and where it is not, it is certainly a mudslide when the ground is wet. At the trailhead they ask you to sign in with departure and return times.
- 1 Bangkok Bank (Near McDonalds on Ao Nang Rd). Daily, 10:00-18:00. Full-service banking plus two ATMs, deposit machine, bank book update machine outside.
Unless you're in the market for souvenirs or liquor, shopping in Ao Nang is dismal. It has no shopping malls and aside from Tesco and Makro, no stores of significance. Buying a Western-language newspaper is out of the question. But there are plenty of convenience stores and souvenir shops. The vast majority of shops are lined nicely along Ao Nang Rd (beachfront). The regular tourist tchotchkes (e.g., postcards, magnets, trinkets) are plentiful as are tee shirts, flip-flops, and pretty much anything else you'll find elsewhere in Thailand. There are also tailors who will sell you a three-piece bespoke suit for 4,500-6,000 baht depending on the quality of the wool. Tailor-made shirts are 850-1,000 baht. Most of the tailors can get the suit done within a day. Don't ask how.
Three curious things about Ao Nang shopping: 1. there is only one "water machine" (in Ban Chong Phli) that are so common elsewhere in Thailand. These are the refrigerator-sized vending machines where one can fill up a 6 L (or less or more) bottle with purified water for about one baht per litre. A big down-side for the environment as more plastic bottles are the result. One suspects a water mafia that makes money delivering water is behind this. 2. Ao Nang has a dearth of gasoline stations. There are only three, all off-brand and inconspicuous, selling gasohol. Instead you will see free-standing gas pumps on every road outside of central Ao Nang. These self-service machines sell petrol for 39-42 baht per litre (Jan 2016). The nearest chain gas station on the way to Krabi (PPT) sells it for 23 baht per liter and an attendant pumps it for you. Someone is making a killing. 3. Most places in Thailand that host many Western tourists have supermarkets such as Rimping (Chiang Mai), or Tops (throughout Thailand), or even a backwater like Khao Lak, where one can buy Western breads, cheeses, salad dressings, sausages, or steaks. Not so in Ao Nang. You can't buy a hunk of Cheddar cheese or a can of pork and beans or Campbell's tomato soup in the Ao Nang Tesco. Best bet is Makro.
- 2 Ao Nang Whisky (อ่าวนางวิสกี้) (One restaurant down from Tesco-Lotus on the same side of Ao Nang Rd), ☎ . Alcohol is expensive in Thailand. Nonetheless, best selection of spirits, wines, and beers in Ao Nang. Probably the cheapest too. Jack Daniels, 700 ml, 1,450 baht.
- 3 Makro. Bulk foods and household, restaurant supplies. Best selection of meats, pasta, rice, charcuterie, some Western foods, including cheeses. This is a small Makro. They do not sell pet food, for example, or much in the way of toiletries, or cookware. (The larger Makro in Krabi does.) Besides that, don't bother unless you want to buy beer by the case, or a gallon of mayonnaise. Membership card is not required.
- 4 Mama Mache Supermarket (Near Nopparat Thara Soi 8). Daily, 24 hr. Sort of a locally owned 7-Eleven chain, but bigger and slightly better. Not a lot in the way of fresh foods, meat, fruit, and veg, but good for wine. Do not seem overly concerned about selling alcohol outside of the permitted hours of 11:00-14:00 and 17:00-24:00. Besides the store in Ao Nang, they have several other shops in the province. One of them in Krabi town is called "Mothers".
- 5 PK Minimart (At the corner of Ao Nang and Klong Hang Roads). No posted hours. Another 7-Eleven-type store on steroids. Sells snacks, beach gear, cosmetics, souvenirs, luncheon meats, cheese, cigars, and lots of booze. One unusual souvenir item seen nowhere else: commemorative Thai coins and postage stamps.
- Sawatdee Stationery and Copy Centre, ☎ . , Daily, 07:00-20:30. Sells an eclectic mix of stationery supplies, art supplies, greeting cards, and assorted gee gaws. Have industrial copy machines on premises. Will send/receive faxes, but not to overseas numbers, which sort of makes the service worthless.
- 6 S Mart (Smart) (Just past the headland that separates Ao Nang Beach from Nopparathara Beach on the Nopparathara side. Next to Holiday Inn Resort on the right when facing inland.). Daily, no posted hours, but early to late. The shop is like an adult 7-Eleven, with a great selection of liquor and wine. Best selection of European beers and ciders in Ao Nang. Limited supply of cigars. An unbelievable amount of merchandise is crammed into this relatively tiny shop. The sell everything from beach balls to cutlery to snacks to tee shirts to flip flops to refrigerator magnets to sunglasses to snacks.
- 7 Tesco-Lotus (On the inland side of the main road at the south end of town). Daily, 06:00-22:00. Standard Thai supermarket, but small, that must rank among the worst in Thailand. Sells beer, wine, and spirits. Very limited Western foods available unless you count packs of individually wrapped processed cheese slices.
Ao Nang restaurants are, in general, outrageously expensive. You will pay double or triple the price in Krabi town to eat here—main courses are about 150 baht—and seafood very much more (starts at 250 baht). If you are after cheap food, look for the street stalls or restaurants at either end of Ao Nang.
- 1 Burger King, Ao Nang Rd. Daily, 24/7 in high season; 11:00-04:00 low season.
- 2 McDonalds, Ao Nang Rd. Daily, 24/7.
If you are the kind of person who rises early and enjoys breakfast with a cup of coffee and a newspaper, Ao Nang is not for you. As most of the larger hotels provide free breakfast, decent breakfast places are hard to find. Decent, cheap breakfast places are impossible to find. Daily newspapers? Forget about it. Even if some are supplied by the posher hotels, it will not be until the afternoon.
For cheap food, there are a few street carts scattered about, although most serve backpacker fare such as banana pancakes at 15 baht each. A lady serving fried chicken lady in front of the Tipa Resort also does good som tam (papaya salad) at 40 baht. Also look out for the yellow-signed noodle stalls with a "4" in a bowl as their logo, which serves a garlic-flavoured and tasty bamii muu daeng (roast pork noodles) for 25 baht.
The pad Thai served in a stall named "Kai Tieun Restaurant" is good and cheap. The noodle itself is not spicy although spice-rich condiments are available.
Generally the places along the beach are more expensive and the ones up the hill or down towards Nopparat Thara tend to be cheaper and better value. Even up past McDonald's on the right, some offer squid and fish at amazingly low prices.
- The Boat Cafe (On Airport Rd, opposite the 7-Eleven). No sign in English, but is easily recognisable by the old longtail boat outside where they serve up tom yum and other Thai soups at lunchtime. Popular with locals in the evening. 20-35 baht.
- 3 Isan Food & Cooking Inter (Central Ao Nang, road side opposite McDonalds, a few steps from Soi RCA, between currency exchange and Chanaya's Restaurant). Evenings. Weird name for a restaurant, but it doesn't matter as there is only one sign on the back wall of the restaurant's interior. Run by a lady (Noi?) from Issan. One of the cheapest restaurants in central Ao Nang. Simple Issan cooking. Large fish (tilapia?) seem to be the most popular fare here. Good and cheap.
- One More Restaurant (On Airport Rd 15 min from the beach up Airport Rd on the right side). Low-key restaurant serving a variety of Thai dishes and seafood. The staff here are incredibly friendly.
- Tonsai Restaurant, Ao Nang Soi 15 (15 minutes from the beach up Airport Rd). Popular low-key restaurant offering Thai food.
- 4 U & P Bakery House, 401/4 Moo 2 (At Ao Nang's one traffic light, go straight, out of town. About 2 km on your right.), ☎ . M-Sa, 06:30-17:00; closed Su. Nice little bakery/restaurant. One of the few places besides McDonalds to get an early-morning breakfast. Coffees. Excellent breads by Thai standards. They sell breads, nan, brownies, cakes, and a limited supply of Cheddar cheese retail (expensive; vintage Cheddar, 240 baht here and 170 baht at Makro). Pass on their 150 baht breakfast: two eggs, two strips of bacon, one barely edible 7-Eleven-style hot dog/sausage, and two slices of nondescript white bread. Instead order one of their breakfast sandwiches: real brown bread, generous filling, and cheaper price. Beware of sandwich number eight. Billed as ham and cheese, it is two 7-Eleven hot dogs and processed cheese. Free Wi-Fi. Egg/bacon sandwich, 100 baht.
- 5 A. One Restaurant (Nopparat Thara Beach Rd), ☎ . 09:00-22:00. Very good restaurant for lunch and dinner with a romantic ambience and attentive service. Full bar, Western and Thai menu. Skip the breakfasts: the Engilish breakfast is a whopping 290 baht. The American breakfast, at 210 baht, is two eggs, two slices of toast, bacon (three slices) or sausage, orange juice, coffee. Free Wi-Fi. Large ribeye steak, 450 baht; Hamburger, 190 baht; Greek salad, 190 baht.
- 6 Khow Soy Restaurant (Outside of town opposite the U&P Bakery. In front of Rick's Bar). M-Sa, noon-22:00. The name is a playful, farang riff on "khao soi" or "khao soy", the popular northern Thai/Burmese noodle dish. Lovely restaurant with attentive service. Full bar service as it is adjacent to Rick's Bar, also worth a visit.
- 7 Wanna's Restaurant (Central Ao Nang). Offers rather good Thai and Swiss dishes for approximately 100 baht. The home made Swiss muesli with yoghurt and fresh fruit is highly recommended. The pad Thai here is quite good! Go to Burger King if you need a toilet as it is out the back!
- 8 Carnivore, 127 Moo 3, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily, 15:00-23:00; kitchen open 16:00-22:00. Known for delicious steaks, beef or lamb. Chicken, pork, and duck as well, all prepared to high European standards. Luckily, you can order the steak in a size to suit your appetite or your budget: 200-400 grams. Nice ambience. The boss, Gidi, is a friendly Dutch national who runs a tight ship to high standards. Huge wine and European beer lists.
- 9 The Hilltop, 99 Moo 3, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 11:00-24:00. Lovely views at sunset. They will arrange transport if you reserve a table. Cocktails, 220 baht; main dishes, 200-400 baht.
The cheapest place to have a drink in Ao Nang is down Soi 17 off Ao Nang Rd (where Ao Nang Rd meets the beach and makes a sharp right turn). About 100 m down the soi are two kiosks that serve cocktails for 100 baht and beers (Leo, Chang, et al.) for 40 baht (May 2016).
Bars close in Ao Nang at 02:00, possibly a bit later if doing bang-up business, in which case the music and lights will be turned down, and the shutters lowered.
- 1 Rick's Bar, Moo 2, 4201 Rd (Across from U&P Bakery, behind Khow Soy Restaurant, about 3km from central Ao Nang), ☎ . Daily, 17:00-last man standing. At most bars in Ao Nang and elsewhere, you're served by a disinterested employee and lucky if you get a smile. At Rick's Bar you're served by two persons with skin in the game, the husband and wife team who run the place. A bit out of central Ao Nang, but worth the trip. Run by a courtly, knowledgeable, and affable Louisianan and his Thai wife, Rick's Bar is a comfortable place to drink. Nice ambiance, good music, no pressure. Prides itself on the coldest beer in Ao Nang. Sells pickled eggs, for chrissakes! Good selection of top shelf liquors. Pool table. Darts tournament every W night. Free Wi-Fi.
- 2 Soi RCA (Just down from McDonalds towards the beach on the opposite side of Ao Nang Rd.). Ao Nang has some fairly well-hidden beer bars. The largest concentration is just off the main road on a soi with a big archway announcing "RCA" over the entrance. It has about 15 bars. A good place to go if you fancy a game of pool but have no partner. A bar hostess will be happy to serve as opposition (it is good manners to buy her a drink for doing so). No one seems to know what "RCA" stands for. It may be named after Bangkok's Royal City Avenue—more commonly known as RCA—the center of that city's club scene.
- 3 Sweet Bar (South end of Nopparat Thara Beach). 17:00-02:00. If you fancy a chilled out drink and few games of pool in a friendly location, go for a drink adjacent to Nopparat Thara Beach. There used to be several bars here. Now it's down to Sweet Bar. Excellent fireworks can be seen here at new year. Free Wi-Fi.
- 4 Ting Tong Bar (Ting Tong Bar, Part 2) (Near the Ao Nang Post Office on the main road). 18:00-02:00. Spacious, clean bar with good music at a level that permits conversation, and a good pool table. Run by the amiable At and her husband, Patrick. Free Wi-Fi.
Ao Nang is one of the more expensive places to stay in Thailand. Accommodation that costs 600 baht in low-season (May-November) will cost you 1,600 baht in high-season.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Budget||less than 500 baht|
|Splurge||over 1,500 baht|
- Blue Bayou, 79 Moo 3 (Nopparat Thara Beach, north end of Ao Nang), ☎ . , Bungalows with private bathroom fan/air-con, 20 m from the beach. Owner is very helpful and friendly, speaks very good English. Has a super little restaurant. 300-600 baht low-season.
- The Krabi Forest Homestay, 68 Moo 3 (1 min walking distance to Nopparat Thara Beach and 5 min walking distance to Ao Nang Beach), ☎ . , , Owner and the staff are very helpful and friendly. They can speak fluent English and can provide you with excellent tourist information. The bungalows have private baths. You can pick between the bungalows that have one king size bed, 2 twin size beds or 3 twin size beds. All of the bungalows/rooms come with private terrace, standard toilet/bathroom, and standard shower with hot water, air conditioning, multi-channel cable TV, coffee/tea pot and small refrigerator. 2 free bottles of water daily. Massage, spa, beauty salon, tour office service, bar, transportation services, tailor service, Thai restaurant, Indian restaurant, laundry/dry cleaning service, free Wi-Fi, motorcycle rental, car rental, bicycle rental, and private parking. 600-1,000 baht in low season and 800-1,500 baht in high season depending on room type.
- Seaworld, 247/10-11 Ao Nang Rd (Near PK Mansion), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Clean, good value. 300-600 baht low season fan/air-con.
- Ao Nang Palace Hotel (A couple of hundred metres from the beach on the road up the hill). Can be expensive in high season as they all are, but normal off-season price is 940 baht. Breakfast is included, and there is a reasonable buffet choice. Hotel has a swimming pool, a travel agent is co-located, as are Internet computers. No lift.
- AoNang Paradise Home, ☎ . , Private bathroom, pool. 650 baht fan/air-con.
- Aonang Smile Hotel, 23/4 Moo 2, Ao Nang (Next to J Hotel, N of the McDonalds on the same side of the street), ☎ . Check-out: 11:00. Great hotel. Spacious rooms. Good Wi-Fi and a desk to work from. No amenities such as restaurant or laundry or coffee, but perfect other than that. For those who watch TV, TV is not perfect, at least in Room 103. Clean, accommodating, great location next to three or four 24/7 convenience stores. A low-season room is 700 baht, 1,700 in high-season.
- Chatchada Guesthouse, 596/6 Moo 2 Ao Nang Rd, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. All new Thai/Australian-run guesthouse with good service. Rooms have air-con and showers. Food both European and Thai is available all day, with an excellent English breakfasts. Free Wi-Fi and all the normal stuff in the room. 900 baht.
- 1 J Hotel, 23/3 Moo 2 (Up a small soi on the inland side of the road just south of the Irish Rover Pub sign), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. This small hotel beats PK Mansion hands down. Chinese-Thai-run hotel. Impeccably clean. Big rooms, big baths. Rooms in back have balcony that face a wall, thus are much cheaper than those in front which overlook a parking area. Free, strong Wi-Fi. Nearby is its sister hotel, J Mansion. 800+ baht.
- P.K. Mansion, 247/12-15 Moo 2, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Run by a coven of wily little old ladies who don't miss an opportunity for a baht. Internet prices top out at 1,200 baht, but you may be asked for more. Centrally located accommodation, on a quiet street close to the beach. The large rooms have en suite bath, with TV, fridge, and balcony. The in-room Wi-Fi is poor with decent access an additional 50 baht. 1,300 baht.
- Ananta Burin Resort, 166 Moo 3 Ao Nang Soi 8, ☎ . All rooms equipped with king-size or twin bed, air-conditioner, 32-inch LCD TV, Wi-Fi, and coffee/tea maker. Swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and massage service, car rental, and laundry/dry cleaning service. 3,000-12,000 baht.
- Ao Nang All Seasons Beach Resort, 162 Moo 3, ☎ . Well equipped with air conditioning, cable TV and Wi-Fi. Swimming pool, car rental and parking. Their website appears to be exclusively in Japanese, so perhaps they don't care so much about your business. From 1,827 baht.
- Aonang Terrace Hotel, 131-131/3 Moo 3, ☎ . It offers 42 rooms, all of which have an air-conditioner, cable TV, hair dryer and a refrigerator. Some of its amenities are transportation services, games room, and high speed Internet access. 1,200-3,500 baht.
- Beach Terrace Hotel, 154 Moo 2 (On Ao Nang Beach), ☎ . All rooms have air conditioning, minibar, cable TV, safe deposit box, hair dryer, DVD Player, Wi-Fi, swimming pool with water power stream jets and child pool, pool bar service, tour desk service, car and motorbike rental. 2,300-9,700 baht.
- Duang Jai Resort, 152 Moo 3, ☎ . 21 room accommodation, air conditioning, cable TV and Internet access, swimming pool, room service and restaurant, cafe, bar. 2,200+ baht.
- The Emerald Bungalow, 80 Moo 4, Nopparat Thara Beach, ☎ . Standard and family rooms, all equipped with fan, bath. Garden, gym, restaurant, and bar. From 1,500 baht.
- 2 Krabi Riviera Villas (Krabi Villas), 251/13 Moo 2, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 17 villas for rent nightly/weekly with private swimming pool on Ao Nang Beach. 5,000-19,000+ baht.
- The L Resort Krabi (formerly Wanna's Place). Views of the Krabi Mountains and the islands of Ko Talu and Ko Poda. All rooms include Wi-Fi, 40-inch LED TVs, air conditioning, mini-bar, safe, and breakfast. 3,300-15,500 baht.
- Palm Paradise Resort, 165 Moo 3, ☎ . Between Ao Nang and Nopparat Thara Beaches. Resort is 500 m from the beach. 1,000-4,490 depending on room and season.
- 2 Krabi Province Immigration. M-F, 08:30-16:30; closed for lunch, 12:00-13:00. Krabi's Immigration Office is great. It's modern, clean, comfortable, and well-staffed. The queue never seems to be more than 10 persons. Free Wi-Fi too.
- 3 Dr Somboon Polyclinic, 249/10 Moo 2 (On inland side of the main road in Ao Nang. Huge sign. Adjacent is a 7-Eleven), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nov-Apr, daily, 09:30-20:00; May-Oct, M-Sa, 16:00-20:00. General medical practice and minor surgery.
- 4 Tourist Police (Near the corner of Ao Nang Rd and Khlong Hang Rd), ☎ 1155. If you need help for anything short of assault or murder, these are your "go-to" folks.
- Ao Nang-Krabi Pharmacies. There seems to be a pharmacy every 50 metres in Ao Nang. They seem to specialise in sunscreen and skin whiteners. If you need a real drug, forget about it. Case in point: in what turned out to be a Snipe Hunt for Euthyrox, 50 mg, 19 pharmacies were visited in Ao Nang (16) and Krabi town (3). None of them had what can be found easily in Phuket, Khao Lak, Chiang Mai, or Udon Thani. If you require a specific medication, bring it. You may not find it here.
- 5 Thailand Post (ไปรษณีย์ไทย), Ao Nang Rd (About 200 metres down the road from Tesco-Lotus (on the same side of the road)). M-F, 08:30-16:30; Sa, Su, holidays, 09:00-12:00. The main post office sells, in addition to the usual stamps, cardboard boxes and packing supplies. In fact, they will help you pack your box. There is a post office annex across the street that handles poste restante and all incoming mail. You may pick up mail there. The coordinates are not exact, but will get you in the vicinity.
- The cliffs and beaches of Rai Leh, just 15 minutes away by boat, make a great day trip. Phra Nang is the next beach past Rai Leh and has dramatic limestone karst rock formations. Names get confusing, as Ao Nang (the developed resort) is sometimes called Ao Phra Nang. From Phra Nang you can walk across to Rai Leh East, with its mangroves, and hire kayaks to paddle round the rugged peninsula. There's also a path from Rai Leh East to Rai Leh West where most longtails call.
- Ko Poda is another good day trip. You come back with the same boat and only pay on return. There's even an area to the right of where the longtails come in to Poda that's just worth snorkelling (unspectacular coral but a few fish).
- Ao Nang is one of the main gateways for travel to the Phi Phi islands, about 2 hours away by longtail boat, 40-50 min by speed boat. Many tour operators in Ao Nang offer day trips to Phi Phi. Included in the price (900-1,500 baht) is most often lunch, hotel transfer, and insurance.
- You can travel from Ao Nang to Ko Lanta easily. A ferry runs daily at 10:30, Aonang Princess. Book it at your hotel, price should be about 400 baht, and you will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the departure point, as well as met on the other side and taken to your hotel there.