An Ao Nang Travel Guide – A Quick Version
Welcome to the Ao Nang travel guide.
The aim of this Ao Nang travel guide is to basically break down some of the information into little sections, so you can find the piece of info that you need sooner rather than later.
So, the best way to use the Ao Nang travel guide is with the table of contents above, or just keep scrolling through if you want to check out all there is to know about Ao Nang.
I hope to share any tips and hints with you as we go, but I also aim to keep the travel guide reasonably to the point.
As always, if you notice something missing or information that is incorrect in the Ao Nang travel guide, reach out in the comments and let me know.
Let’s go / Allons-y / Vamonos / Yallah etc ..
Ao Nang Video
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Ao Nang Travel Guide Part 1 – Things To Know Before You Go
What is an Ao Nang?
There isn’t a whole lot to be said about the area, it is essentially a resort town that exists mostly to support the tourists who come through. People use Ao Nang as a base to explore the nearby islands and neighbouring beaches that don’t have the same infrastructure.
Here you will find the boats that go to the more scenic Railay Beach as well as other neighbouring beaches and bays. Ao Nang is concentrated along the beach front and then along the main road to the beach.
That is where you will find all the hostels, bars, restaurants and lots of western shops.
Where is Ao Nang?
Ao Nang is in the south of Thailand. It is located 45km east of Phuket, and 31km north of The Phi Phi Islands. From the south end of Ao Nang bay it is only 2km to Railay Beach West but due to the giant limestone cliffs in between the two, the only way to access Railay Beach is by the longtail boat.
For a better idea of the layout of the land here is a zoomed in version of the map showing its location within Thailand. As you can see, Phuket and The Phi Phi Islands are not too far at all.
You should try swimming between them to save money on ferries.
What’s The Weather Like in Ao Nang?
Although the weather is warm and tropical, like the rest of Southeast Asia, I did not find it to ever be too hot. I guess when you’re near the beach and can go for a swim it doesn’t effect you as much ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The dry season is from December – March.
For a rough guide of all the months combined;
Average Rainy Days:
February averages the least with 5 rainy days.
October averages the most with 22 rainy days.
Average Water Temp:
How Long Should I Stay in Ao Nang?
I personally love the beach, so for me this is a good spot to unwind, with a good balance of relaxation and still heaps of activities to do. I recommend a minimum of 4 days, but preferably even 6 days here.
Remember that this includes your day trips to Railay beach, you can even do day trips into Krabi town.
For those who are coming here to rock climb, then you will want to stay longer to do all the climbs you want as well as everything else on offer.
Of course, this recommendation is in reference to the average person travelling through, trying to see the highlights. There are those that stay for weeks on end.
How Do I Get To Ao Nang?
Good news is that if you’re in a hurry you can fly to Krabi airport, this is just over 30 minutes away from Ao Nang. You can fly from any number of places, obviously there will be connecting flights involved if you’re coming from outside of Thailand, with the exception of Kuala Lumpur.
Seeing as how Ao Nang is coastal, there are many routes here from the nearby islands, however some of the ferries will drop you off at the ferry terminal in Krabi Town, which will still leave you with a Grab or taxi ride to Ao Nang. Wherever possible try get a ferry to Ao Nang pier (Nopparat Thara Pier).
KOH PHI PHI – AO NANG;
($13 US, $19 AUD, £10, €12).*
This will depend on the operator of the ferry, the ferry will drop off at Railay Beach first before heading to Nopparat Thara Pier, where a bus driver will take you to your hostel.
The best way to organise these is via travel agents, or going to the ferry terminal to buy it yourself in Koh Phi Phi, but you won’t get it any cheaper. There is The Ao Nang Princess Ferry and also Phuket Ferries who have routes to Ao Nang, and probably more.
PHUKET – AO NANG;
($28 US, $41 AUD, £21.50, €25).*
This route is very rare because the majority of the ferries will depart Phuket to Koh Phi Phi and then from there they will head for Ao Nang, but the two routes above supposedly go direct.
KOH LANTA – AO NANG;
($23 US, $33.50 AUD, £17.50, €21).*
As with the above suggestions, organise this on the ground in Koh Lanta to get the most clear instructions, including when and where they pick you up and drop you off.
By bus, it is normally referring to minivans in the south of Thailand. You can actually get the minivan from Ao Nang to Koh Lanta, door to door service, but a ferry would be faster.
SURAT THANI – AO NANG;
($14.50 US, $21.50 AUD, £11.50, €13.50).*
4 hours 30 minutes.
KOH LANTA – AO NANG;
($11.50 US, $17 AUD, £9, €10.50).
I have done this trip twice via minibus, one was 5 and a half hours long, the other 3 hours. I’d recommend going first thing in the morning, because the minivan boards a ferry to cross a 1km channel of water.
That 1km channel of water is a bottleneck that can leave you at a standstill for 2 hours in the minivan, which seemed to be less of an issue in the morning. Or take the ferry.
KHAO SOK – AO NANG;
($14.50 US, $21.50 AUD, £11.50, €13.50).*
The drive from Khao Sok is quick and easy as there is very little traffic along the way.
They will drive you into the outskirts of Krabi, from there the minibuses will split people up depending on whether they stay in Ao Nang, Krabi town, or Railay Beach.
PHUKET – AO NANG;
($8 US, $12 AUD, £6.50, €7.50).*
2 hours 30 minutes.
This is the cost for the minivan option, which will be a door to door service, however there is also the public bus from Phuket Town to Krabi Town.
The bad thing about the public bus, is that there will be additional costs at both ends, one to get to the bus stop, the other to go from the bus stop at the end to your accommodation. With that in mind the minivan is usually the best option.
If you do want to take the public bus, go to Phuket Bus Terminal 2, you can buy your tickets at the counters there and then wait.
*Price and conversions are done at the time of publishing and are subject to change.
BOOK YOUR TICKET TO AO NANG HERE
How Expensive is Ao Nang?
Ao Nang is no more expensive than other areas of southern Thailand, as long as you avoid Mcdonald’s like the plague. I walked past the McDonald’s and was shocked to see that it was more expensive than Mcdonald’s in Australia, The USA and The UK.
Yet people were still in there.
You can get hostels from $5 US/night, but these are generally party hostels or hostels with less comfort.
For a nice hostel you might look at about $9/night instead.
The reason I wrote this blog post about Ao Nang is because if you want to stay on Railay Beach, the cheapest hostel will cost you $15 US/night. On top of that, the food on Railay Beach is an absolute ripoff, which is why it is better to only visit Railay for day trips.
What Is The Currency?
As a part of Thailand, Khao Sok uses the Thai Baht, which is stylised as: ฿
At the time of writing the conversion rates are;
- $0.03 US
- $0.05 AUD
Or alternatively, 1 of each of the above currencies respectively will give you;
Ao Nang Travel Guide Part 2 – Things To Know Once You Arrive
How to Get Around in Ao Nang?
Very few people will start their journey through Thailand in Krabi / Ao Nang, so I will assume you already have a SIM card, if not, get one. You will also need the ride sharing app Grab, one of the essential travel apps for those in Southeast Asia.
If you arrive at the airport in Krabi, a Grab will be ฿600 to Ao Nang Beach.
There are better options though, you can buy a ticket to a shared minivan for only ฿150. The minivan will leave when it is full, and it will drop you to the door of your hostel.
If you come in by minivan you will be dropped at your hostel, as long as it is in the general touristy area.
If you arrive by ferry then you will be dropped off at one of two places;
– Klong Jilad Pier (Krabi Town)
– Nopparat Thara Pier (Ao Nang)
If you are dropped in Krabi town, a Grab to Ao Nang will cost ฿470, but a Grab from the pier in Ao Nang would only cost ฿230. If you have a ferry ticket that drops you off in Ao Nang, there is normally a minivan that will pick you up and take you to the hotel, as a part of the package.
Check with your ticket provider for all the details.
Once you are all set up in your hostel then I personally recommend getting a scooter, this will be necessary for those who want to do a handful of activities around Krabi Town.
If you are staying near the beach in Ao Nang and have no plans on going anywhere except Railay Beach and Ao Nang, then you can simply walk everywhere.
Scooter rental in Ao Nang is ฿200/day for a smaller engine, then ฿250/day for a 125cc model scooter. Organise through your hostel and they can have it delivered and picked up at the hostel.
Where To Stay in Ao Nang?
In the greater Krabi region are 3 main locations for tourists;
- Ao Nang
- Railay Beach
- Krabi Town
I personally recommend staying in Ao Nang. Not only does it allow you access to the roads, so you can visit all the best tourist attractions other than Railay beach, but it has a lot more competition, more bars, more restaurants, more hostels and therefore prices are much cheaper.
Railay beach is overpriced, it is lovely don’t get me wrong, but you can spend all day there because it is cheap to get back and forth.
Krabi town has the advantage of even more accommodation, restaurants and bars and would be ever so slightly cheaper than Ao Nang but not by much at all from what I saw. The disadvantage is that you will be far from all of the beaches.
If you fly in or out of Krabi, then you could always spend a few nights there before or after your flight, but it is best visited on a scooter in my opinion people should look to stay in Ao Nang.
I can highly recommend Surf Hostel in Ao Nang, it is further away from the beach, so you get a good night’s sleep. The distance from the beach is not an issue with a scooter. It is arguably the best hostel I have ever stayed in.
Where to Eat in Ao Nang?
There is only one place that I would recommend, the rest I think it is best to just find somewhere close to your accommodation.
If you don’t want to get ripped off, but you still want a great meal then check out Steak Lung Kom by Chef Nikom. They have a 4.9 rating on Google reviews with over 65 reviews. A pretty good strike rate.
You can eat “Thai Fast Food” for as little as ฿60, but the menu serves European food as well. I ate here about 6 times and never had a bad meal, Thai or otherwise.
I Love Coffee More Than Life Itself! Where Should I go!?
If you followed my recommendation and stayed at Surf Hostel then you’re in luck, these guys are also a cafe that has delicious coffee for only ฿50.
The other place I stopped in at a few times was on the main road to the beach, Fiore Coffee. It is part of a large resort, but the actual cafe is right on the main road, only ฿50 for a coffee and very nice tasting.
Where to do Laundry in Ao Nang?
Although I can’t seem to find my notes on where I did my laundry in Ao Nang, I am 99% sure that I went to Laundry Across From Pop In Hostel.
They cost ฿40/kg which is a very good price in Thailand.
I Need to Lift Weights, Any Good Gyms?
Yes as a matter of fact there is, one of the better gyms I visited in my travels. Not because it is world class, it’s just the fact that it is super clean, the air con is pumping, it was mostly just me and perhaps 2 other people in there, and the owner was a really good bloke.
The gym is called Luke’s Gym.
฿200 for a day pass but they will let you do ฿500 for 3 days. Like I said, not world class, but definitely in the top handful of gyms I saw while travelling and with lots of floorspace, I never felt cramped.
I will have a more in depth review of the gym’s of Southeast Asia in the near future.
Things to do in Ao Nang
In the interest of keeping this Ao Nang travel guide short and to the point (sort of), I have a separate post describing all the activities you can do in Ao Nang, as well as another about what you can do with 1 day on Railay Beach.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most popular tourist attractions in the Ao Nang area;
- Railay Beach.
- Climb Dragon’s Crest / Nong Thale peak / Khao Ngon Nak.
- Tiger cave temple (and the climb to the Buddha statue).
- Wat Kaew Korawaram temple.
- Rock climbing.
Besides this there are always the generic Thai activities such as: ATV adventures, cooking classes, Muay Thai lessons, elephant sanctuaries and jungle treks that you can go on as well.
Things to do in Ao Nang Video
- If you are climbing either of Dragon Crest, or The Buddha statue, then ignore “opening hours” that you might see online. Go early, with a headlamp if necessary and try get to the top for the sunrise.
- If you’re super adventurous and it is the dry season, then you might want to check out Princess lagoon on your trip to Railay beach. It is a pretty steep climb though, so you’ll need to be in reasonable shape, and willing to get covered in dirt.
- If you want to go to Railay beach before the ticketing counter opens (8am), then you can supposedly talk to the guys running the boats and they will take cash direct, but only when they are taking the locals around to start work at the resorts. I say supposedly because when I went early I didn’t see many people, but maybe I was too early, it also was not peak season when I was there due to COVID-19.
That is the end of this Ao Nang travel guide, all questions are welcome.