Krabi airport welcomes us with rain. The world is wet and so are our backpacks. We’re getting on a bus to the seaside and after 1 hour of being squeezed with knees right under the jaw, we’re in Ao Nang. And it’s not raining anymore. Ao Nang is a typical tourist destination by the sea. It has everything you need in a place like this:
- Boulevard by the sea? Checked.
- Stalls selling everything you can imagine? Checked
- Hotels, hotels and more hotels? Checked
- Lots of food, from street food to posh restaurants? Checked
- Stalls selling trips every 2 meters? Checked
It’s a little bit tacky, the beach is not the prettiest one and tides are keeping sand wet all the time, but super touristy places like this have one significant advantage: it’s perfect starting point for trips around the area. For almost a week we’re discovering what Krabi has to show, we’re walking along the beaches and making trips around Ao Nang. So what you can do in Ao Nang? You can look for picturesque beaches.
We’re walking all the way to the end of Nopparat Thara. We want to check if you can really walk to the huge rocks peaking from the sea. And you can! There’s a narrow piece of beach leading there. You have sea on the left and sea on the right and sun is burning severely. The sea is shallow there, you can walk and walk and walk and it’s still till your knees. So we’re continuing our search for the ideal beach. The one with soft, white sand (beaches in Ao Nang are full of tiny shells) and turquoise water which is deep enough to swim.
In the search of ideal beach, I’m analyzing a map. Ao Nang ends with a cliff, and behind it, there’s a little harbour with a beach and hotel. Internet says that the beach is public.. I’m zooming in and I’m finding a path leading through a cliff. Let’s go! We’re passing by bars and all of the sudden Ao Nang ends. There’s just forest. Where’s this path? Found it. It starts with a wooden footbridge with forest on the left and sea on the right. Nice. Boards in the footbridge are not so close together anymore. Not so nice. At the end of it there are wooden stairs. Steep stairs with very narrow steps. My fear of heights wakes up. I’m almost glued to bamboo handrail and slowly walking higher and higher. There’s sea, beautiful tropical forest and it would be amazing, but these stupid stairs… The path leads through a monkey sanctuary, but we don’t see even one. Maybe that’s better this way. Few heart attacks later we’re finally reaching Pai Plong Beach. It’s beautiful, with high cliffs and a hotel with no access from the land. After only 1 hour dark clouds are forcing us to go back to Ao Nang. We’re almost running, because we don’t want to walk through wooden stairs in the rain. That was a good idea. Heavy rain catches us in Ao Nang. Together with few other people we’re hiding in a restaurant. It was raining 4 times that day.
On our way back to the hotel, we’re stopping on the bend between Ao Nang and Nopparat Tara to grab something to eat from one of the food carts there. The one with a green menu is our favourite one. Ladies there are world class masters of pad thai, sweet and sour chicken and few other thai dishes for 50 THB. We’re ordering a takeaway and going back to Ao Nang to eat on the beach. Lunch with a view for 50 THB. Perfection. And I’ll continue search for an ideal beach outside of Ao Nang in next episodes.
How to get to Ao Nang? I chose Air Asia flight to Krabi. Take a bus from the airport for 150 THB to Ao Nang. Way back to the airport was more stressful. In Ao Nang there are many places offering van to the airport (also 150 THB) based on flights schedule: each van leaves 2 hours before plane departure. It takes 1 hour to get to Krabi without traffic, so it leaves you 1 hour before flights. I recommend going earlier, because van will pick you up later, will get stuck in a traffic and you’ll end up counting if you have 10 minutes or 12 to leave your checked-in luggage.
Where to sleep in Ao Nang? There are plenty of hostels and hotels, so probably you can start looking for you accommodation after arrival, but I saw people going from one hotel to another, looking for a free room and it’s not for me. I booked a room on booking.com in a place called Ploenlay and I recommend it. Good quality for a great price, although lack of shelves/hangers in economy room was a bit annoying, as we spent a week there
Where to eat? In food carts located on a bend between Ao Nang and Nopparat Tara. Order takeaway and eat on a beach.
For how long? Ao Nang is a perfect starting point to discover Krabi. You can spend 4 days there or a week and do different things every day.