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5 Days In Ao Nang – The Best Activities To Try

Are 5 days in Ao Nang Enough?

 

5 days in Ao Nang is enough to see the most interesting things on offer, as well as spend every afternoon at the beach. I did meet a lot of people that spent longer here, for differing reasons, so it is a good spot with plenty to keep you occupied.

For the average backpacker making their way through Southeast Asia then 5 days in Ao Nang will give you a good look into the area and still give you plenty of time to relax at the beach every day. 

If you have more than 5 days in Ao Nang then you can start doing some of the more generic activities that you will find all over Thailand, like visiting elephant sanctuaries, white water rafting, cooking classes etc.

What’s Ao Nang All About?

 

For a full breakdown on Ao Nang then check out the Ao Nang travel guide I have written. The Ao Nand travel guide will discuss how to get to Ao Nang, explain where Ao Nang is and give a brief overview of the area.

To summarise it though, Ao Nang is the main beachside tourist town for the Krabi region, it is also the location that the longtail boats leave from to get to Railay beach.

 

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Things to do With 5 Days in Ao Nang

 

Watch this video to see all of the best things to do in Ao Nang!

Ao Nang is a coastal town, it is small but it is built around tourism, so there is plenty of hostels, restaurants and bars.

With 5 days in Ao Nang you will be able to head to Railay Beach, go hiking, go rock climbing, visit the nearby temples and still have time to relax at the beach every day.

If you have done all of that stuff, then there is always the other activities that you will find all over Thailand such as: elephant sanctuaries, white water rafting, cooking classes and muay thai classes.

 

Tiger Cave Temple

 

What is it?

Tiger cave temple is famous for the Buddha statue that sits 278m above the ground floor and looks out over Krabi. There are also numerous temple structures at ground level, and of course, the tiger cave.

When the site was founded by the Buddhist monks in the mid 1970’s tigers still lived in the area, and it is said that a tiger lived in the cave at the foot of the mountain until it vacated out of fear of the humans moving in to the area.

 

READ THE FULL GUIDE HERE.

 

How much does it cost?

Entrance is free, but there are donation boxes around which help supply clean drinking water to the top of the mountain where the Buddhist statue is found.

 

Opening Hours?

If we’re talking specifically about the stairs to the Buddha statue, then they are always open, this allows you to come early and be up the top for the sunrise.

If you want to explore the temples at the ground level then they won’t open until 08:00 and will remain open until 17:00.

 

What do you do here?

There are a few things to do here. Firstly, climb the 1,260 stairs to the Buddha statue.

Secondly, walk around the grounds at the bottom and admire the temples down there.

Thirdly, go inside the “tiger cave”.

 

How do you get here?

Ride your scooter, it is about 22km from Ao Nang and it took me about 30 minutes to get here.

 

How long will I spend here?

You’ll hear a lot of people say how hard the climb is, but it isn’t really. It is physical yes, it is best done in the morning as well. But I did it with a 12kg backpack with my drone and camera gear, from bottom to top it took me 25 minutes, including rest breaks.

As far as hikes go, that’s on the easy side.

All up you could easily spend 3 hours here, not including transit times. Once you are finished up the top you can explore the grounds below and check out the tiger cave, but I think after 3 hours you will have had enough.

 

When to come?

I am a sunrise kind of guy.

Like most statues of Buddha, it faces eastward. This means that the rising sun will light up Buddha in a nice glow. Besides that, there are less people at sunrise, and the climb is so much easier before the sun bathes the stairway in warmth.

As you will see in the picture below, after the sunrise everyone just gets up and leaves, which allowed me to fly my drone around without bothering anyone who was praying (I have photoshopped out the large antenna, but I haven’t removed any people from the photo).

If you are not an early morning person, then later in the afternoon the stairway will be in the shade, because the sun will be hidden on the other side of the mountain,

 

Do you recommend it?

Oh yeah!

As far as temples go, some are just “meh”, especially after you have seen a few. But the view from up here is incredible, the fact I basically got it to myself after sunrise was awesome, the climb is not too hard and there is free water at the top (less my donation).

The grounds below also house plenty of good looking temples, the cave is mildly interesting, but as a whole package, this place is definitely worth it!

Tiger Cave Temple Video

TIGER CAVE TEMPLE – BUDDHA STATUE

Learn how to register your drone to fly in Thailand.

(Shot with the DJI Mavic 2 Pro).

Wat Kaew Korawaram

 

What is it?

Wat Kaew Korawaram might not get the same ahttps://thebrownetown.com/how-to-register-your-drone-in-thailand/https://thebrownetown.com/how-to-register-your-drone-in-thailand/mount of interest as the tiger cave temple listed above, but it is definitely a beautiful temple, with much older heritage than Wat Tham Suea (Tiger Cave Temple).

The temple has a beautiful white marble exterior with blue rooftops and has a large staircase with two large golden snakes for decorations all the way along the staircase. Unfortunately when I was visiting there was construction works ongoing.

 

How much does it cost?

Entry is free.

 

Opening Hours?

08:00 – 17:00.

That is what they say, but I arrived just after 07:00 and was free to walk around the temples, even the interior of the main temple was already open and I was invited in to look.

 

What do you do here?

It is a religious place, most tourists come for the architecture, both on the interior and the exterior. It is mostly peaceful, besides the stray dogs running around.

 

How do you get here?

Ride your scooter, it is an 18km ride from Ao Nang to Krabi town where the temple is located.

The ride took me 22 minutes.

 

How long will I spend here?

I assume less than an hour, it is a very nice place to come and see, but after the photos and videos there isn’t really a whole lot to it.

 

When to come?

Any time is good, I came early and then made my way into Krabi Town for a nice breakfast. If you are coming for photos then sunrise and sunset will produce the best light.

 

Do you recommend it?

Yes, especially if you are coming through Krabi Town. There are only two temples in Ao Nang that I would recommend and that is this one and Tiger Cave Temple.

WAT KAEW KORAWARAM TEMPLE

(Shot with the Sony A7R III using the Sony FE 16-35mm f/4).

Dragon Crest Mountain

 

What is it?

For the full guide click here!

The highest peak in the Krabi region, and one of the most rewarding view points you will get in all of Southeast Asia.

Also called Khao Ngon Nak and Nong Thale Peak.

It is a semi-serious hike, challenging (especially with 12kg of camera gear), it is definitely not for those who are not in good shape, the jungle can get extremely hot and humid during the first part of the climb.

With that in mind though, this is only 3.7 kilometres each way, but you will be ascending 500 metres, with the majority of that being right at the start of the hike. So it isn’t as difficult as some of the hikes in Khao Sok National Park.

 

How much does it cost?

Entry is free, but there is a tip box at the ranger station if you feel like contributing.

 

Opening Hours?

08:00 – 16:00

You can come earlier, and I recommend doing so, it just means you won’t be signed into the logbook and nobody will know if something happens to you.

 

What do you do here?

Hike 3.7km to get to one of the best view points in all of Southeast Asia.

 

How do you get here?

Ride your scooter the car park just near the rangers hut. It is a 20km ride from Ao Nang and it took me half an hour to do.

 

How long will I spend here?

This depends on your climb time and the amount of time you spend up at the top of the mountain. It took me 1 hour and 40 minutes to get to the top, but I did take an unintended detour (walking by headlamp), and I was carrying 12kg worth of stuff, which most people will not have with them.

So you can do it in just over an hour if you are fit and carry only water. On the way down it took me one hour, which included stopping to talk to people who wanted to know how much further etc.

As a rough guide: 1.5 hours to the top, 1 hour at the top, 1 hour to the bottom. That’s a 3.5 hour round trip at a good pace.

 

When to come?

Although the park isn’t technically open until 08:00, I got to the car park at 05:40 and started my walk in complete darkness with my headlamp. Yes it is a little bit creepy being in the jungle in the darkness, and you really need to watch your footing, but it helps to avoid the heat.

I got to the sun after sunrise, but it was a bit hazy and there was no cloud cover anyway so I didn’t miss much. When I got to the top just after 07:00, the light was incredible, it was still cool, and there were only 3 other people up there before me.

 

Do you recommend it?

For sure, get it in ya.

One of the best hikes I did in Thailand. When the payoff is as good as these views are at the peak then all the sweat on the way up feels like nothing.

DRAGON’S CREST / NONG THALE PEAK

(Shot with the Sony A7R III using the Sony FE 16-35mm f/4).

Railay Beach

 

What is it?

Railay Beach, for the purpose of this guide is referring to all 4 beaches that make up the Railay area. See this dedicated Railay Beach travel guide for an indepth look into the area and all of the activities you can do for free!

This is the beach that you see in instagram photos and magazines, if they still exist. It is much prettier than the neighbouring Ao Nang, with massive limestone cliffs, clean yellow coloured sand, and nice light blue coloured water.

 

How much does it cost?

To get to Railay beach from Ao Nang you will need a ticket for a longtail boat. It will cost you ฿100 each way.

 

Opening Hours?

The boats ticketing office doesn’t open until 08:00, with the last boats leave Railay between 17:30-18:30, depending on the season (whether it is peak season).

However, people have been successful in getting tickets earlier than the ticket booth opens by dealing directly with the operators of the longtail boats who are also ferrying the people who work at the resorts to and from Ao Nang.

When I appeared early to try and get to Railay early, I did not see any boats running though, but I was perhaps not early enough, or even too early ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In the afternoons in the peak season, if there are enough customers then the boats will still run at the discretion of the boat operators, which is more likely in the peak seasons. This isn’t something you should plan for though, because you could be left there with no way back.

 

What do you do here?

There is a lot to do in Railay, which I have explained further in the Railay travel guide. To summarise, the main attractions are: Railay Beach West, Phra Nang Beach, Princess Cave, Railay Lookout, Princess Lagoon and Rock Climbing.

The majority of people are here for the beach, to lie around, admire the stunning landscape, swim in the warm waters and try to get a tan.

 

How do you get here?

Longtail boat, you buy tickets for ฿100 each way, there are ticket booths in both Ao Nang and then also on Railay.

The ride is short, it will only take about 10 minutes once the boat starts moving, but you will need to wait until a boat has at least 7 or 8 people before they decide to take off, so in non peak season it may take longer to get a ride home.

 

How long will I spend here?

All day, it’s properly amazing. The prices are shit for food but you can put up with it for one day.

 

When to come?

I think first thing in the morning, there will be less people on Railay when you get there, and you can do everything you want to do straight off the bat and then have freedom to leave whenever you want.

 

Do you recommend it?

Yeah, it’s actually really cool despite the overcrowding. It could be cooler if it weren’t packed with morons.

RAILAY BEACH WEST

Learn how to register your drone to fly in Thailand.

(Shot with the DJI Mavic 2 Pro).

Ao Nang Beach

 

What is it?

The ugly cousin of the above beach, but it has one thing going for it: convenience.

 

How much does it cost?

Free.

 

Opening Hours?

All day, but I wouldn’t hang out here unless the sun was up, then it would be best to move to the bars and restaurants.

 

What do you do here?

This is a good way to kill the afternoon without going all the way to Railay beach. Lie down, in the sand, towards the south end of the beach away from all the boats. Go for a swim, get a tan, read a book, whatever floats your longtail boat.

 

How do you get here?

From the majority of the hostels you can just walk, but you should have a scooter anyway if you’re located further away. Like I said, the only selling point is proximity and convenience.

 

How long will I spend here?

Kill the afternoon here after a morning spent hiking, relax tired legs and float around in the ocean.

 

When to come?

In the afternoons the sun will set over Ao Nang beach. Do all of the activities you want to do nice and early, then spend the afternoon in the air-conditioning, or down at the beach.

 

Do you recommend it?

Yes, it’s not super pretty, there aren’t any fun waves to surf, but it is just easier than going to Railay, and it is way less crowded as well.

AO NANG BEACH

(Shot with the Sony A7R III using the Sony FE 16-35mm f/4).

Summary

 

So there’s the highlights for 5 days in Ao Nang, and none of those activities are “filler” activities, I genuinely enjoyed them all. Of course, these are what I consider the better activities on offer, but there are other things you can do with 5 days in Ao Nang.

 

Other Activities to do With 5 Days in Ao Nang

 

There are some other activities that you can do that haven’t been covered here such as;

 

Possible Itinerary For 5 Days in Ao Nang

 

 Day 1 – Visit Tiger Cave temple, then head to Emerald Pool.

 Day 2 – Hike to Dragon Crest summit in the morning, spend the day relaxing at the beach or on the beachfront afterwards.

 Day 3 – Full day at Railay Beach.

 Day 4 – Go see Wat Kaew Korawaram and then explore Krabi Town.

 Day 5 – Go back to Railay beach, try find something new. You could even go do a half day of rock climbing.

The 1 Activity I Regret Not Doing

 

Although the Emerald pools look really nice, I ended up not doing them due to the fact they are so far away from town. It is 1 hour and 20 minutes to get there, then you need to come all the way back. So I don’t regret skipping that one.

I do regret not doing the half, or full day rock climbing course with Real Rocks Climbing because I had heard really good things about the company. So if I ever get back to Railay, then that is what I will do.

A Map Showing The Activities Locations

 

The above will give you a rough idea of where all the activities are, with the Emerald Pools being quite a distance away. I have shown that just for a sense of scale. I personally didn’t go there, but if you do I doubt you will be disappointed,

So there you have it, hopefully this gives you a good idea on what is on offer in Ao Nang, and why it makes a good place to base yourself rather than staying on Railay Beach and not being able to access the other attractions.

I will have a separate post detailing more on what is available on the Railay Beach Peninsular which will be available soon.

 

Yours exotically,

The Browne Town.

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