Ao Nang Beach Overview
Ao Nang Beach is a resort town on Thailand’s Andaman coast that’s become a popular place to stay in Krabi province. The town is bustling with a good variety of hotels, shops, markets, bars, and restaurants, especially along its beach road and the main Ao Nang Road (Route 4203) leading inland.
Ao Nang Beach may not rank among the prettiest beaches in Thailand, but it offers a lovely seaside and mountain landscape setting and an array of things to do. Ao Nang is a great base for exploring the spectacular Krabi coastal area, with easy access to nearby islands, white-sand beaches, and diving sites.
Ao Nang Beach is about a half-hour drive (24km) from Krabi International Airport, and 20 minutes (13km) away from Krabi Town. The popular Railay Beach is a 15-minute ride away by longtail boat from Ao Nang Beach.
Things to Do in Ao Nang Beach
Ao Nang activities are mostly about getting out and enjoying the beautiful outdoors, whether it’s a boat trip to nearby islands, exploring the area’s nature trails and beaches, or a kayak paddle. But Ao Nang is a large enough town to offer alternative things to do on a rainy day or if you need a break from the tropical sun. Here are some of our favourite things to do in Ao Nang:
- Take a short longtail ride to the famous Railay Beach where the Phra Nang Cave Beach is.
- Climb aboard a longtail boat to explore islands like Koh Poda, Chicken Island, Koh Tub, and Koh Mor.
- Experience snorkelling and scuba diving at such places as Anemone Reef, Shark Point, King Cruiser Wreck, Phi Phi Islands, and Koh Haa Yai. For experienced divers, Hin Daeng and Hin Muang offer a chance to spot manta rays and whale sharks.
- Enjoy kayaking adventures through mangroves or to nearby islands and beaches; opt for a guided tour or rent kayaks at Ao Nang Beach for self-paddle.
- Venture inland to visit sights such as the Emerald Cave and Tiger Temple, hike the Tab Kak Hang Nak Hill Nature Trail, or soak in hot springs.
- Try your hand at ATV riding or go-karting.
- Experience the thrill of ziplining.
- Watch some action-packed Muay Thai boxing fights at Ao Nang Landmark Boxing Stadium on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings.
- Try rock climbing at the beautiful cliffs of Railay and Tonsai beaches.
- Relax with a Thai massage or spa treatment.
- Explore neighbouring beaches, including Hat Noppharat Thara Beach, Fossil Shell Beach (Suu San Hoi), Ao Nammao, Long Beach (Haad Yao), Khlong Muang Beach, and Tup Kaek Beach.
Hotels in Ao Nang Beach range from cheap hostels to 5-star resorts in the town and nearby beaches and scenic areas inland. More accommodation in Ao Nang is available at private villas and room rentals in and around the town. Ao Nang is a small town, so many hotels are within walking distance of the beach and all the local dining, entertainment, and shopping choices. Those staying in a hotel away from the centre of town could catch a tuk-tuk or songthaew (local bus) to get around.
Many of Ao Nang’s 4- and 5-star resorts have superb sea or mountain views and offer a luxurious tropical holiday complete with swimming pools, spas, leisure and fitness facilities, and upscale dining. Among Ao Nang’s beachfront luxury resorts are Holiday Ao Nang Beach Resort and Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas, while some within walking distance of the beach include Aonang Villa Resort, Panan Krabi Resort, and Avani Ao Nang Cliff Krabi Resort.
Where to Eat in Ao Nang Beach
Dining in Ao Nang Beach is not as diverse as the lively gastro scenes of Phuket or Bangkok, but there’s a decent range of restaurants, cafes, and markets to choose from. Along the main roads, you’ll find Thai and international restaurants as well as street vendors selling tasty snacks and takeaway foods. Here are a few ideas for dining in Ao Nang:
- Wander along the beach road and Ao Nang Road (Route 4203) to discover street vendors offering local favourites like roti banana pancakes and restaurants serving seafood, Thai, Italian, Indian, and more.
- Delve into the local food market scene at Ao Nang Landmark Night Market, located within walking distance from Ao Nang on Noppharat Thara Beach.
- Savour a seaside meal at spots like The Last Fisherman Bar on Ao Nang Beach and Krua Thara Seafood Restaurant, a short tuk-tuk ride away from Ao Nang.
- For a little more upscale dining with wine and beer selections, try A-One Restaurant, Bussaba Restaurant, Diver’s Inn Steak House, or Carnivore Steak & Grill.
- Relish seafood at sunset at Lae Lay Grill or The Hilltop Aonang, both perched high on a hill with panoramic sea views.
Nightlife in Ao Nang
For such a small town, Ao Nang has a lively nightlife scene with quite a variety of bars and pubs ranging from seedy to (almost) sophisticated. With many places within walking distance, evening wanderers can find a range of bars along Ao Nang’s main streets, as well as down the little side streets off the road leading away from the beach.
There’s a cluster of entertainment places at Ao Nang Center Point on the beach road, a three-story plaza with several bars and restaurants. Soi RCA is a short street lined with open-air beer bars featuring young lady hostesses – if you’re envisioning a trendy entertainment zone like Bangkok’s RCA … think again. Ao Nang also has some fun live music bars including Boogie Bar and Yesterday Bar & Café.
A must-do evening activity for Ao Nang visitors is to take the boat over to Railay Beach West to enjoy the colourful sunset views while sipping cocktails and relaxing on the soft white sand.
Shopping in Ao Nang Beach
Shopping in Ao Nang Beach is still mostly about exploring shops along the town’s streets and local markets since it doesn’t (yet!) have a big shopping centre like Central or Robinsons. Most of the shopping activity around Ao Nang is in the evening hours when it’s cooler to walk around.
The Beach Road and Ao Nang Walking Street have a range of shops selling tourist-oriented items like souvenirs, beachwear, clothing, handbags, and jewellery. Check out Ao Nang Landmark Night Market for more of the same plus a great selection of local crafts and foods. The streets are lined with many tailor shops, too, if you need a new suit or dress.
Ao Nag Neach map