Ao Nang is a resort town and a sub district in Krabi located in the southern region of Thailand. It is the most westernized beach in the province making it the busiest and the most tourist-oriented beach town. This is also the vibrant center of Krabi. Ao Nang is known for its long Andaman coast beachfront and access to dive sites off the nearby islands in its bay. The main beach, Ao Nang Beach, mainly consists of a seaside strip of guesthouses, hotels, bars, and restaurants. Then beach town is also the home of the Nopparat Thara Beach. It is a national park of a long beach located at the western tip of Ao Nang. The western half of the beach is located at the vicinity of the neighboring Nong Thale sub district and the eastern half belongs to Ao Nang. It is a quieter beach offering visitors to have a nice stroll and watch a sunrise or sunset. Ao Nang offers a lot of great activities like kite boarding, scuba diving, and boat trips to the nearby islands.
Attractions & Activities
One of the most unique attractions in Ao Nang is the popular Susan Hoi or the Fossil Shell Beach Cemetery. This is a shell graveyard that was once a large freshwater swamp of snails approximately 40 million years ago and now formed a huge rock of fossilized seashell. This is a great place to visit for geology and historical artifacts enthusiasts. There are also mangrove forests and a Chinese Temple in the vicinity of the cemetery.
The Nopparat Thara’s northern end has a charming fishing village set on the banks of the Son River. Along the river, mangrove forests are the main ecosystem. The Nopparat Thara National Park Headquarter is right next to the fishing village. It provides information for the tours to the nearby mangroves by long-tail boat or by sea kayak. The Nopparat Thara Mangrove is also a good place for bird watching. Another place that is worth the visit is the Giant Catfish Farm that is located on the road from Ao Nang to Klong Muang. It was converted into a nature park because the catfish were originally reared for food but locals did not like the taste. The entrance is only 100 baht that includes a bag of food for the giant catfish. The park also has a few Thai domestic animals like pigs and ducks and wildlife like crocodiles and some species of birds.
There are a lot of activities in Ao Nang. Some of these are the island hopping, scuba diving, the Krabi Fun Park, the jungle tours, and the Thai massage and the Muay Thai. Ao Nang is also known for boat trips to the nearby islands like the islands of Koh Lanta, Koh Rok, Koh Ha, Koh Mook, Koh Ngai, and Koh Kradan. It is estimated that there are like 200 islands around the Krabi coastline. Tourists can go island hopping by renting a local long-tail boat or by joining a day trip that includes snorkeling or kayaking. Ao Nang is also known for its access to dive sites. Scuba Diving is one of the most popular activities in the southern region of the country. Many great dive sites are accessible from Ao Nang with Koh Poda, Koh Talu, and Koh Tap as the closest ones. Other dive sites are in the Phi Phi Islands, which includes the Koh Bida Nok, the Koh Bida Nai, the Shark Point, the Anemone Reef, and the King Cruiser Wreck, the Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, which has manta rays and whale sharks that are often spotted, and the Koh Haa that offer a world-class diving opportunity. The diving experience in Ao Nang is supervised by some of the best professional divers.
Near the Susan Hoi between the Krabi Town and Ao Nang is the Krabi Fun Park. It allows its guests to discover the rain forest from its canopy by sliding on zip-lines from tree to tree. There are zip-lining activities available for children that are taller than 120 cm. There are also special lines of zip-lining that offers a chance to ride a bicycle or to ride a Harry Potter-inspired broomstick. This is a great place for family visitors where children can enjoy. Another fun activity to enjoy in Ao Nang are the jungle tours. These small-scale tours offers the sight of the interior jungle, hot springs, caves, waterfalls, local lifestyle, and often include activities like kayaking or elephant trekking. The main sight is the Klai Wang Water Garden that is located at the outskirts of Ao Nang which often has activities like bamboo rafting or fishing.
The traditional Thai massage can be experienced here in Ao Nang. For the best experience, head to the shade of the massage salas on the southern end of the beach. Another emblem of the Thai community is the Muay Thai. The Ao Nang Krabi Thai Boxing Stadium, also known as the Raja Two, has the biggest Muay Thai boxing rink in the southern region of Thailand that can host up to 2,000 persons.
Some of the best areas where tourists can find needed items and products are the Ao Nang's Catalunya Walking Street, the Chock Dee Handmade Silver & Gold Jewelry, and the Nopparat Thara Plaza. The Ao Nang’s Catalunya Walking Street is an L-shaped bazaar at the southern corner of the Ao Nang Beach Road. It is a bazaar-like compact shopping complex that hosts a dozen small shops and stalls selling a wide choice of souvenirs and clothing. There are also four restaurants that offer different cuisines, an art gallery, a tailor, an optician, an ice cream shop, two bars, a bank, and a guesthouse. The Chock Dee Handmade Silver & Gold Jewelry is a long-established elegant boutique in Ao Nang. It has a wide choice of bracelets, necklaces, earrings and more. All of them are handmade in a small factory. The Nopparat Thara Plaza is one of the newest addition to the shopping scene. The plaza has 20 shops, bars, and restaurants as well as a food court. It is a contemporary-styled shopping and dining plaza that offers cool shopping options and a quiet area.
Ao Nang has a less extravagant nightlife compared to the other places in Krabi. The nightlife is not that splurge, but it offers enough options to satisfy most party goers and night owls. The major nightlife spots are the Ao Nang Center Point, the Soi RCA Entertainment, and the Soi Bamboo. The Ao Nang Center Point is the heart of nightlife entertainment in the resort town since 1999. It is a modern three storey entertainment complex that features a great choice of dining, shopping, and entertainment. It is a place at which punters can either quench their thirst as well as finding some intimate company. The Soi RCA Entertainment is located on the Ao Nang Road heading out to the Krabi Town. It is a more laid-back place hosting only 12 bars. The Soi Bamboo is located at the southern part of the resort town. It is named after its principal material used for the construction and furnishing of the venues it hosts. It also includes four Thai seafood restaurants. The Soi Bamboo host eight venues; the Coconut Bar, the Eagle bars, the Chili Bar 1 and 2, the Ting Tong Bar, the AS Bar, the Banana Bar, and the Mr. Long Bar & Restaurant. It is a perfect place to relax and chill-out with friends around a fresh local beer.
The main gateway for entering Ao Nang is through the Krabi Town. If planning to arrive by plane, Krabi International Airport caters flights from Bangkok. There are airlines that offers flights from Bangkok to Krabi and a minivan service from the airport to Ao Nang. There's also a white songthaew service that services from Krabi Town to Ao Nang that costs 50 baht - 100 baht. The songthaew can be found at the airport near 7-11 convenience store and at the Krabi Bus Station. There is also a big bus service from the airport and it approximately costs 150 baht per person with 1 hour travel time. Another option is getting in by boat. There are boat services from Rai Leh, Ton Sai, and Had Yao that cost 100 baht flat rate during daytime and 150 baht at night. There are also ferry services at the Phi Phi Islands and Ko Lanta.
There are tuk-tuks in Ao Nang that charges 30 baht per person and 60 baht for a solo ride in getting around the town. Songthaew also caters short distances until the Krabi town with a minimum fare of 10 baht depending on the distance. There are also motorbike rentals that usually cost 150 baht - 200 baht per day excluding the fuel. It is a recommended way in touring the city. There are also private vehicles that a tour service offers with a driver and a guide.