Ao Nang is a shortened form of the official and previous name for the area of 'Ao Phra Nang' translated as "Princess Bay" and now is more commonly known as just Ao Nang.
Located about 800 km south of Bangkok in the province of Krabi bordering the Andaman Sea, Ao Nang has evolved from a small fishing village visited by a few backpackers in the eighties and nineties to Krabi's major tourist destination in southern Thailand.
Ao Nang is 40 minutes from the airport located near Krabi town and although the town is busy especially in the high season it has not lost that laid back, friendly small-town feel.
Ao Nang town is approached by a road running north to south towards the beach and lined with the usual tour operators, tailor shops, fast food eateries and tourist shopping on either side with the backdrop of a limestone karst to the east.
Ao Nang beach at the foot of the town is also the main long tail boat hub transporting visitors who wish to island hop to the paradise beaches of the neighbouring islands including Railay, Ko Hong, Ko Poda and Ko Gai.
The best part of this beach is towards the east end away from the longtail boats should you still wish to be close to the town and not be disturbed by the noisy boats.
The road coninues east west with a promenade on the beachside and another row of restaurants and shops on the opposite side.
The better beaches of Ao Nang are a 2km walk or a tuk tuk ride and continue from Ao Nang beach further and are much quieter having whiter softer sand and are ideal for families with children or those who just want to chill out and relax and enjoy the scenery in relative peace. The beaches of Haad Noppharat Thara and Khlong Muang are perfect for this and are popular with the locals for weekend picnicing
Apart from the beaches, watersports and stunning scenerythere are a host of other things to do and see in and around Ao Nang as listed in the 'Activities' section below.
Spa and Wellness
As with many of the tourist areas of Thailand, Krabi has it's fair share of spa and well being centres and in Ao Nang you are spoiled for choice from high end spa centres in the luxury hotels to beauty shops and massage parlours to offer you that little bit of pampering to recharge the batteries. The majority of our krabi villas also offer in-house spa and beauty services.
The location on the eastern coast of Phang Nga bay puts Ao Nang within easy reach of all the fishing, diving and kayaking sites in the bay. There are many operators in and around Ao Nang that offer tours. Aside from this there are also many family friendly activities including a visit to the natural springs and on weekend nights visiting the 'walking street' market in Krabi town.
Suggestions of activities and attractions local to Ao Nang are as follows
Island Hopping, snorkelling and kayaking trips
There are many tour operators in and around Ao Nang offering these trips departing nearby.
Private Sailing trips
Sailing boat charters are available at some of the local tour operators.
Climbing ATV riding and white water rafting
For the more adventurous, these more extreme sports are also offered.
Krabi Town Market
Although Ao Nang also has markets it is well worth a visit to the weekend "walking street" market in Krabi Town. It is only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and for fun and variety it is well worth a visit, with a stage show of local talent provided.
Hot Springs and Emerald Pool
These attractions are 2km apart but always treated as a pair of attractions to be seen at the same time. They are a great attraction for children, for whom unusual swimming experiences are a sure hit, and also with older people, who will particularly enjoy the hot springs. The nearby crystal pool is a lovely place to swim and it has a natural water-slide that is lots of fun for the young.
Huay To in Phanom Bencha NP is the best place to go elephant trekking in Krabi province where the elephants are better treated than anywhere else and you can bathe and swim with the elephant as well. The trek will take you into the rain forest at the foot of the beautiful "karst" mountains, with the sheer cliffs special to this area.
The Tiger Cave Temple
Aptly named because of the rock outgrowth nearby, which resembles a tiger's claw. It is considered by the Krabi Buddhists to be one of the most sacred sites in the province and well worth a visit. Some 250 monks and nuns live in the temple compounds at the moment. The staircases up to the temple are rather challenging, however the view from the top, combined with the lovely Buddha statuary, makes the summit of the hill an unforgettably beautiful place.
There are no shopping malls or supermarkets here, but there are plenty of convenience stores and souvenir shops as well as clothes shops selling anything and everything. These are lined together along the main beachfront road and some smaller roads off the main road.
Thai food is abundant in Ao Nang and Haad Nopphara Thara and is available 24 hours a day. Visit a traditional Thai restaurant, eat at a local market or try one of the many street vendors, who are based on every street corner.
For those people who need a break from Thai food, a whole host of Western options are available. These include traditional English food, Indian Food, Scandinavian food, steaks, pizza and pasta (there are 6 Italian restaurants).
The majority of the restaurants line the beach road opposite the beach, however Ao Nang's Seafood Street is a different matter.
"Seafood Street" comprises of 6 seafood restaurants and is one of the most frequented dining places due to it's location overlooking the northern end of the beach ,which means it is a superb sundowner. All serve similar fare, so walk along and see which 'catch of the day' takes your fancy. The locally owned Ban Lay Thai Kitchen is a favourite or, for a fancier setting, try The Longtail Boat. As the restaurants are located over the water, tables fill up early at around sunset. They remain very busy until around 9.30pm, so you may have to wait for a table.
At the southern end of the beach road is The Last Fisherman, set right on Ao Nang Beach. This thatched roof bar and restaurant made of recovered materials offers its punters a chill-out place at which they can dine mostly in the open air, with their toes in the sand under the shade of a coconut tree.
Whilst it lacks wild nightlife and young party travellers will bore quickly, it does have a few relaxed bars including irish pubs and two nightclubs.