Some years back, a Facebook friend posted some rather stunning photos
of his vacation in Ao Nang, Krabi, Thailand. Ever since, I've had it on
my bucket list and in February 2017 I finally got my chance to go
Ao Nang was the 11th stop in my tour of beautiful Pacific
islands, starting with Guam back in 2007.
speaking, Ao Nang is not an island nor is it in the Pacific, but as a
resort town in southern Thailand's Krabi Province and best known for Ao
Nang Beach, it serves as a busy hub for long-tail boat tours to
the beautiful nearby beaches and islands in the Andaman Sea.
These include Railay Beach, a well-known destination for rock climbers,
and Phra Nang Beach which contains a cave with a very interesting...
ahem... phallic shrine to a
princess goddess, as well as some of the most
stunning karst limestone beachside stalactites I've ever seen in my
Amazing karst limestone stalactites on Phra Nang Beach
Ao Nang, Thailand
Tours and transport to nearby islands is also a HUGE business in Ao
Nang, including half-day and all-day tours, e.g. the 4-island tour I
took, as are the industries catering to diving, snorkeling, and sea
kayaking trips. There are also high-speed ferries to & from Phuket,
only 50 km (30 miles) to the west.
On this page, I will share some of the more memorable highlights of my
5-day Ao Nang, Thailand travel adventure, including the 8-hour,
long-tail boat tour I took, my hike up Ngorn Nak Mountain, some
stunning sunsets, fire dancers, live music, and my 1st-ever chance at
nighttime snorkeling to observe bioluminescent plankton. Wow!
4-island long-tail boat tour
This 4-island boat
tour, run by Thalassa Boat Tours and which I booked online before
leaving Japan, was by far the most exciting thing I did in Ao Nang.
Lasting from 12-8 pm, we first visited West Railay Beach, a short walk
across the peninsula from East Railay Beach which is famous for rock
climbing; then Poda Island, where we enjoyed a delicious Thai lunch
buffet right on the beach; and Tup Island, which during low tide is
connected to Chicken Island at low tide by a narrow sandbank you can
walk across in less than a minute.
West Railay Beach, Ao Nang, Thailand
Back in the boat, we rode around
Chicken Island, where we could see the island’s incredible rock
formation in the shape of a chicken.
The tour also included 2 snorkeling opportunities, 1 during the day and
the 2nd at nighttime to see the incredible bioluminescent plankton.
This was a truly AMAZING experience.... the 1st time in my life...
where simply by shaking your hands or feet underwater, you could set
a swarm of what appeared to be fireflies in the water.
Too bad I couldn't capture the bioluminescent plankton on film, but the
portion of the video below I found at YouTube where the guy is running
hand through the water is very similar to what we experienced with our
own eyes on this tour. The only difference is that the color we
observed was more like a firefly shade of green rather than the bright
blue in this video.
Bioluminsecent plankton in the Maldives
(If player above is not visible, you can view video
@ YouTube here.)
The 4-island tour set me back 2500 baht (~$70), which included ground
transport to & from the boat, snorkeling equipment, buffet lunch on
the beach, club sandwich snack dinner at sunset, fresh fruit, ice cold
soda, bottled water, and beer, insurance, plus the 400 baht per person
national park fee.
My 6 video clips of this 4-island, long-tail boat tour, including the
cute monkeys I saw on Phra Nang Beach can be viewed starting at the 1:12 mark in my video below.
Ngorn Nak Mountain
While in Ao Nang, I also had the opportunity to climb the highest peak
in the area,
Ngorn Nak Mountain. It was a fairly easy, 3.7-km, 2-hour trek, gaining
500 meters in elevation.
This peak is part of a rainforest and lies in a national park, so the
scenery was very green and lush. Even though it was a tad hazy that
day, the views of the beautiful Andaman sea
and the surrounding Krabi countryside from the summit were to die for.
Summit of Ngorn Nak Mountain
Ao Nang, Krabi, Thailand
Not only was this hike very invigorating and beautiful, but another
exciting part of this back-to-nature adventure was the 30-min.,
3-wheeled tuk-tuk ride from Ao Nang Beach to the Ngorn Nak Mountain
trailhead. The nice lady who drove me there was kind enough to come
back and pick me up 4.5 hours later. You can view this tuk-tuk ride at
the 7:20 mark in my video below.
If you ever find yourself in Ao Nang and would like to climb this peak,
I found a very helpful free Ngorn Nak Mountain hiking guide prepared by
named Joy B. at seekrabi.com.
Ngorn Nak Mountain trail map
The Verandah Hotel
I was very pleased with my 6-night stay at The Verandah
Hotel, which I reserved online at Expedia Japan. The
Verandah is located on the main road to Krabi Town, only a 5-min. walk
from Ao Nang Beach, and features a chic, Moroccan-style decor.
When I booked my hotel reservation, I requested a double bed and
so before I arrived, they moved my room's 2 twin beds together to make
a king-size bed! Wonderful!
My Superior Room in The Verandah Hotel
My Superior Room package included free wifi, in-room safe,
maker, free bottled water, 32-inch plasma TV with cable, and their
amazing western-style, all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet cost only 250
baht (~$7). By comparison, the Sausage & Egg McMuffin set at the
nearby Mickey D's cost 180 baht.
There's no pool there, but through a special arrangement with their
next-door sister hotel, the Peace Laguna Resort, guests staying at The
Verandah are entitled to use the 3 gorgeous pools there for free, which
I happily took advantage of on 3 separate sunny afternoons.
Finally, I'd like to especially thank from the bottom of my
heart the very cordial front desk staff Dida and Bee, who were
exceptionally kind and helpful to me during my entire stay, never
tiring of my million questions.
Front desk staff Dida at The Verandah Hotel
Ao Nang nightlife, restaurants, & shopping
Ao Nang in many
respects reminded me of my trip last February to Boracay, Philippines
with all the nightlife establishments and shops along Beach Road. A
number of the restaurants are literally set up right next to the beach,
e.g. the Mum-aroy Beach Front Restaurant where I had dinner and filmed
an awesome sunset my last night in Ao Nang.
Ao Nang souvenir shop
As was the case in Boracay, bars and restaurants have live music which
you can enjoy just by walking down Beach Road. I never saw a shopping
mall, per se, but there are souvenir shops, currency exchange shops,
tour companies, massage spas, boutiques, tailor shops, etc. virtually
non-stop, both along Beach Road and the Main Road back into Krabi Town.
My 2 favorite places for live music were Crazy Gringos Tex-Mex
Restaurant where I heard the excellent South African band Ricardo and
The Beach Bar where I heard solo artist Jimmy Patrick Roche from New
York. You can see these 2 groups in my video below at the 12:38
And as an American living in Japan, I was pleased to see a number of
familiar places like McDonald's, Burger King, 7-11s, and Family Marts.
Ronald McDonald performing the traditional Thai "wai" greeting
Ao Nang, Thailand
Oh, and I was very lucky to catch the very impressive fire dancers at
the Golden Beach Resort's Sat. night Fire Show. Those dancers were very
impressive with the twirling of their fire batons. You can see them in
mark in my video below, first a solo dancer on stage and then 3 fire
dancers on Beach Road.
I was surprised to see all of the Indian restaurants, whose
ever-present, borderline-pesky staff were always on the sidewalks
bit too hard to coax customers into their shops with "special deals."
Actually, the closest I came to eating Indian food in Ao Nang was a
wood-fire baked garlic pizza in an Indian restaurant.
There's a Tesco (the global British supermarket chain) on the left side
of the Main Road back into Krabi Town, but it's a bit too far for
walking (nearly 2 km from Ao Nang Beach), so if you want to go there,
you'll probably want to take a tuk-tuk.
A better option is the 24-hour Mother Marche grocery store on the right
side of the Main Road into Krabi Town, and which is much closer to Ao
Nang Beach, definitely within walking distance and not far past
Oh, by the way, don't miss the cute English-speaking bird in my video
below at the 22:22 mark. SO precious! He can even make a cat
My Ao Nang, Thailand Travel Photos
images in the collage below are just a small sampling of the 178 pics
in My Ao Nang,
photo album hosted at Flickr. Clicking on the collage below will open
Flickr album on a separate page. I hope you enjoy them!
Pics of my Ao Nang, Thailand travel adventure
Feb. 15-21, 2017
(You can view the entire album @ Flickr.)
My Ao Nang, Thailand Travel Video
It was a magnificent trip and I was blessed to have sampled so much of
the amazing Ao Nang, Thailand culture & beauty.... especially the
wonderful people. I hope this video helps you catch a quick glimpse of
this spectacular tropical Asian paradise.
Don't miss out on the beautiful time-lapse sunsets, the
4-island tour on a long-tail boat, my hike up Ngorn Nak Mountain,
the tallest peak in the area, the rock climbers on East Railay Beach,
fire dancers at the Golden Beach Resort, live music, and even an
English-speaking talking bird!
Video of My Ao Nang, Thailand travel adventure
Feb. 15-21, 2017
(If player above is not visible, you can view video
@ YouTube here.)
0:00 Busy traffic at Ao Nang's main intersection (Beach Road Rt. 4203
& Soi Aonang 17)
0:25 Morning panorama of Ao Nang Beach on Feb. 16
1:02 Beauty salon animated blow-up advertising doll (Come on in!!)
1:12 Aboard long-tail boat @ beginning of 4-island tour
3:07 Panorama of West Railay Beach
3:59 Lunchtime @ Poda Island
4:29 Chicken Island
4:43 Female rock climber on Phra Nang Beach
5:06 Cute monkeys on Phra Nang Beach
7:20 3-wheeled tuk-tuk ride to Ngorn Nak Mountain
7:55 Waterfalls on Ngorn Nak Mountain (see pics of this gorgeous peak
in my Flickr
9:43 Sunset timelapse from Ao Nang Beach on Feb. 17
10:00 Morning panorama of Ao Nang Beach on Feb. 18
10:32 Koi pond at Nopparat Thara Beach
11:06 Retail shops on main road to Krabi Town, including 7-11
12:02 Sunset timelapse from Ao Nang Beach on Feb. 18
12:38 South African band Ricardo @ Crazy Gringos Tex-Mex Restaurant
(grrrreat guitarist & female singer duo)
15:52 Solo fire dancer on stage @ Golden Beach Resort
18:32 1, 2, then 3 fire dancers on Beach Road in front of Golden Beach
Resort (Oh NO, one guy lost his fire baton!)
22:22 Talking bird can say "Hello" and make a cat call (CUTE!)
23:48 View of Ao Nang Mosque from a tuk-tuk
24:00 Busy long-tail boat loading area on Ao Nang Beach
25:10 Ladyboy cabaret dancers from the Blue Dragon, drumming up
business prior to one of their 3 nightly shows
25:57 Advertising truck for Thai kickboxing match @ the Aonang Krabi
26:18 New Yorker Jimmy Patrick Roche performs "Smoke on the Water" @
The Beach Bar (I really liked this guy and went to hear him 2 straight
30:12 Long-tail boat ride to West Railay Beach
31:13 Rock climbers on East Railay Beach
34:47 Panorama of East Railay Beach
35:23 Return long-tail boat ride from West Railay Beach back to Ao Nang
(nice view of the NOISY automotive engine commonly used on these boats)
35:45 Panorama of Feb. 20 sunset from Mum Aroy Beach Front
36:43 Sunset timelapse from Mum Aroy Beach Front restaurant on Feb. 20
37:06 Nighttime landing @ Tokyo Haneda Airport
Ao Nang, Thailand Google Map
If you've ever wondered exactly where Ao Nang, Thailand is located, it
lies on the west coast of Krabi Province in southern Thailand, about
650 km (400 miles) south of Bangkok, 50 km (30 miles) east of Phuket,
and less than an hour by speedboat from the Phi Phi Islands where
Leonardo Di Caprio's 2000 flick "The Beach" was filmed.
Ao Nang, Thailand is located @ approximately 8° N latitude and
99° E longitude, and is only 2 hours behind Japan (UTC +7 hrs).
To get a better feel for Ao Nang's location,
you can zoom out in the Google map below, or click open a larger Google
a separate page. Also, if you have Google Earth installed on your PC
& are skillful using GE's tilt, rotate, & zoom features, in the larger map you can check out the
& actually fly around Ao Nang as if you were in an airplane.
it or not, I bookmarked a remarkable 45 Ao Nang-related webpages prior
departure from Japan, but here are a select few of the ones I found
most useful and which may be of some help to future visitors:
What a great, exotic place Ao Nang, Thailand is! I was very
with not only the gorgeous scenery, but the very cordial &
heartfelt Thai people as well, who so graciously shared their own
slice of paradise with me.
My 5 days in Ao Nang passed by TOO quickly, and I hope
I'm blessed with another opportunity to return someday.
Before leaving, if you get a chance, in my video above you'll
definitely want to check out the 3 gorgeous
sunsets that I filmed...... time-lapse video clips made with my iPhone,
well as a number of still shots that you can see in my Flickr photo
I hope you found this page both informative & entertaining,
and that it will benefit future
this "Pacific" paradise.
It is also my hope you will find time to check back again soon to my
Ao Nang, Thailand travel adventure
page as I
it in the future with even more details.
you have any questions or comments, or perhaps have already visited
Ao Nang, Thailand, feel free to share your experience in the comment
Thanks so much for visiting and please come back again soon...
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