Ao Nang Beach, Krabi Province
Ao Nang is a very popular beach located in Krabi province, not far from Krabi town, (approx. 20 min.). Next to Ao Nang beach you will find a small town by the same name.
There are 2 beaches in Ao Nang town – Ao Nang beach and Napparat Thara beach. The two beaches are very close and they can both be reached by car. In addition, there are other beaches which can only be reached by boat – the famous Railay beach, Ton Sai beach and Phra Nang beach.
Ao Nang is the central beach with most activities and this article will mainly concentrate on it. The place full name is Ao Phra Nang, which
means the princess bay, but it is better known as Ao Nang. In the beginning, there were many backpackers there however, the beach had been improved with time so that many more tourists thought of it favorably, especially after its airport has become an international one.
What creates a special view is the royal mountain, Phu Khao – which is forbidden for climbing or walking.
In my opinion, Ao Nang beach is not so great and there are prettier beaches in the area – but it looks great in pictures, especially at sunset, (wonderful pictures taken by my friend Dr. Uri Haelyon can be seen in the video at the bottom of this article).
Orientation: Ao Nang is a small town located on the beach which makes orientation pretty easy. Almost everything is found on one road along the beach going from east to west or along a road leading to the airport, (road number 4203), going north towards the mainland.
On the road next to the beach you can find plenty of restaurants, some of them are bad Italian restaurants, (from personal experience), and lots of tailors, travel agencies, souvenir shops, banks, massages, etc.
Moving around the town is mainly by Samlor which is the local version of a Tok-Tok as you can see from the picture. You can find the boats cruising to Railay beach in the area where the road next to the beach crosses the road to the airport.
Hotels and resorts: in the special review of hotels and resorts in Ao Nang I conducted, I was somewhat disappointed from the quality of the resorts located on the water line – these were pretty mediocre run-down resorts and they were relatively expensive if you consider their appearance. In Khao Lak, for example, the quality of the hotels and resorts is better and there is a much bigger variety to choose from.
In addition, there are resorts located on private beaches such as Grand Centara Beach Resort or Soffitel hotel and Tubkaak, which are great but a bit isolated and their cost is sky rocketing.
** do not confuse the hotel above with Grand Centara Anda Dhevi which is not located on the beach.
It so happens that a little further down from the coast you can find pretty good resorts at reasonable prices – the distances are short and in most cases there are comfortable travel arrangements to the beach and the lively street next to it.
Restaurants and Nightlife: the street going along the beach is full of shops, restaurants, travel agencies, etc. the place looks crowded with tourists during the season but the overall quality is not too high.
As far as nightlife goes – Ao Nang is not the right place for anyone who is looking for full moon parties and exciting entertainment, however, there are quite a number of pubs and two disco clubs located in 3 areas: Centerpoint, The Soi and Bamboo Soi.
The restaurants at Ao Nang were mediocre and some of them were really disappointing. I have been warned not to go to the Italian restaurant but decided to try it as I was hungry – this was the first time in my life that I took one bite of a pizza and left the rest of it on my plate, paid and left the place. Even a better looking restaurant called Lae Lay, (in the picture) did not make a special impression on me.
Krabi’s amazing view is breathtaking however the crowds of tourists, boats and intense building create a different atmosphere.
Ao Nang beach is somewhere in between – on the one hand it doesn’t have the quality of other holiday locations such as Khao Lak or even Hua Hin, however on the other hand, it does not fall into the low quality beaches category, such as Patong in Phuket or Pataya Beach.
Therefore, if the choice is between Patong Beach in Phuket or Chaweng Beach at Ko Sumoi, or Ao Nang Beach at Krabi – Ao Nang is much better, especially for families. This is why I recommend to end the ultimate Thailand experience, our Coast to Coast tour in Krabi and not in Phuket or Ko Sumoi as it still gives you the great experience of its amazing natural beauty.
Summary: I certainly recommend Ao Nang area to anyone who wants to stay there and use it as a base for cruises to the pretty islands surrounding it – Ko Hong, our famous Four Islands tour, Ko PhiPhi (located in Krabi), and other tours in the mainland such as The Emerald Pool and Hot Springs. Of course you won’t forget to go to the wonderful beaches in the area, such as Railay beach and Phra Nang beach with their special sport activities such as rock climbing – you can read more about it on my other articles.
Special Note: I’d like to thank my good friend, Dr. Uri Haelyon, a great guy and photographer who contributed some of the amazing pictures of Ao Nang which you can watch on the video below.
Please note: Ao Nang Beach is included in our quality Family Adventure Private tours of south Thailand and in the ultimate Thailand Family Adventure experience, our Coast to Coast Private tour.
As always, here is a video for you showing Ao Nang Beach – Enjoy!!!
Dr. David – Thailand Travel Guide
Thailand Expert : Family Adventure Private Tour in Thailand