I’m sure you have heard the buzz around the Thailand beaches, but if you mosey down a little South of Thailand, you’ll find a rustic tropical paradise known as Krabi. The islands and beaches in this region of Southeast Asia have long lured adventurers and nomadic types to stay a anywhere from a week or a year, with many of them looking for jobs where you can travel just to stay in Krabi a little longer. You don’t need a travel advisor for this one… go ahead and do the travel math: you will soon learn why these beaches are some of the most popular in the world.
Ao Nang, the primary beach area and most developed touristy part of Krabi, has a charming and laid-back vibe. The town is built by the foothills of stunning limestone formations which have made Krabi famous around the world. But unlike many of Thailand’s other coastal destinations where the nightlife is as much of an attraction as the Thailand beaches, Ao Nang is more relaxing and quiet. It’s also the perfect jump-off point for exploring the breathtaking Andaman Islands. You’ll find no shortage of tour companies where you and your companions can enjoy competitive bidding for travel prices. Travel advisor need not apply.
Traveling to Ao Nang in Krabi is also very affordable no matter which country you come from. There is an abundance of guesthouses, inexpensive yet tasty Thai food everywhere, and dozens of pristine islands and beaches to explore.
Because it’s located right above the equator, Ao Nang enjoys a tropical climate throughout the year. There are only two seasons in the region: hot (dry), and cool (wet). If you are doing some travel math and want to calculate how much of the year will be rainy, you’re in luck: Krabi has an average temperature of around 27 degrees Celsius.
The high season in Ao Nang runs from November to April, while the off season is from May to October. If you will be visiting for a trip or for a working holiday, it is highly recommended to visit during the high season so that you can enjoy warmer and drier temperatures. Prices for accommodation and tours will be slightly higher even if a tour company does bidding for travel for you. But if you are staying for a longer period of time thanks to jobs where you can travel, an travel advisor or agency may be able to help you negotiate for better rates.
However, do keep in mind that rains are unpredictable in Ao Nang; this means that even if you visit during the hot months, rains can still come and go. Also keep in mind that humidity is high throughout the year, so those sensitive to humidity are recommended to avoid going to national parks or jungles where the humidity will be worse.
Ao Nang is a well-developed tourist destination that receives millions of English-speaking tourists each year. Most tour operators, travel agents, and staff in various establishments throughout the area can communicate using basic English. Almost all the signs, menus, and traveler information throughout Krabi use the English language so communication while traveling to Ao Nang should not be a problem.
There are many kinds of different hotels and accommodation options available throughout Ao Nang. Thailand, in general, is extremely popular with backpackers; the demand for inexpensive accommodations led to an increase in guesthouses, hostels, and inns where travelers can stay for as low as $20 a night. Those who prefer self-catering accommodations, especially if you are traveling to Krabi because of jobs where you can travel will be happy to know that there are several apartments that can also be rented at affordable rates, some as low as $250 per month. Any travel advisor can give you a litany of options, so choose what’s best for your budget.
Mid-Range and Luxury:
Ao Nang town is relatively small; most places can easily be reached by foot. If you have to travel further distances the best way to get around is by taking a tuk-tuk. If you want to take the scenic route there is also the option to rent motorbikes or bicycles.
Attractions and Things To Do
Almost every travel advisor will tell you that Railay Beach makes for a great day trip out of Ao Nang. Here you can spend the day lounging right by the shore. If you’re looking for more adventure and action, Railay Beach also offers rock climbing, snorkeling, and diving. The island is just a few minutes away from Ao Nang and is easily accessible by hiring a long tail boat. The entire island of Railay can only be explored by foot since there are no tuk-tuks or motorbikes for hire. Railay Beach is also small; travelers can sightsee throughout the peninsula just by walking.
Don’t leave Krabi without experiencing their day trips to spectacular Andaman Islands. There are 3 main day tours to choose from: Phi Phi Islands, which is the most famous of all; Hong Island, and the 4 Island Tour. The Phi Phi Islands tour is highly recommended especially for Maya Bay, Phi Phi Islands, and several nearby beaches which have made Thailand famous. The tours are affordable even if you don’t do any bidding for travel. If you also feel like splurging and treating yourself to more upscale tours, there are also private tour options available. If you refer to a travel advisor, ask about snorkel rentals. You’ll also get to snorkel and see colorful marine life while relaxing in the refreshing waters of the Andaman seas.
Some tour operators you may want to contact for your trip:
Just a half hour away from Ao Nang town is the Songprak River where tourists go for an adrenaline-pumping white water rafting experience. There are different levels of difficulty for the rafting tours as it’s expected that not everyone may have had previous experience with the activity. However, to enjoy and participate in the white water rafting activity, you don’t need to have previous experience since the licensed tour guides will provide you with all the information and safety equipment that you need beforehand. The activity itself lasts just an hour but the tour will usually take up an entire day including travel to and from Ao Nang town. Ask your tour advisor for the travel math quotes because some may already include other activities in a package for white water rafting, such as elephant trekking, ATV, or a safari camp.
The beautiful area of Krabi encompasses around 100 miles of spectacular coastlines, which means that diving and snorkeling are must-do activities. There are dozens of snorkeling and diving spots to choose from when you visit Krabi; some of the best dive sites nearby include Koh Tap, Koh Talu, and Koh Poda. They are so beautiful that even if you end up staying for several months because of jobs where you can travel, it’s highly likely that you will come back for more. Most dive spots are shallow enough, and it’s also a great place to go for your PADI certification or for your first dive. Even professional and advanced divers continue exploring the beautiful marine life that Krabi has to offer. Thai dive instructors are friendly, knowledgeable, and will tell you everything you need for your dive or snorkeling excursions.
If you enjoy kayaking, your travel advisor will tell you that there is no better place in Thailand to do just that. Ao Nang’s limestone-dotted coastline makes the perfect backdrop for a memorable kayaking trip. There are numerous destinations where you can go for kayaking trips, and most will depart from Railay or Ao Nang town. Some of the popular scenic destinations that are ideal for kayaking include Bor Thor, Koh Hong, Ao Thalane, and around the Railay beach peninsula.
Krabi is also home to many national parks where travelers are greeted by miles and miles of lush greenery. Most of these national parks are actually rainforests although you’ll also find mangroves and low swamps. The national parks in and around Krabi are part of an important rainforest network that is connected to Java, Borneo, Sumatra, and Malaysia. These parks are fragile ecosystems where dozens of varieties of amphibians, reptiles, and mammals live. Travelers who are interested to visit these parks can simply ask tour operators for travel math and quotes. Most of the parks are accessible thanks to clear and well-established trekking trails. Khao Nor Chuchi Wildlife Sanctuary, Khao Phanom Bencha, and Tharnbok Khoranee are among the popular choices—especially by your local travel advisor.
Ao Nang Krabi Thai Boxing Stadium is a good place to visit if you want to see what authentic Muay Thai is all about. It is known to be the largest boxing rinks and can accommodate up to 2,000 people. There are fights every Monday to Friday, exciting shows that will leave you at the edge of your seat.
A massive catfish farm off Ao Nang and Nopparat Thara is home to hundreds of catfish. They were originally grown for food although the local Thais did not enjoy the taste and decided to turn it into a park instead. Visitors can feed the catfish and the entrance fee is minimal.
Wherever you go in Thailand, getting a Thai massage is always a good idea. Ao Nang is no different as there are several spas and massage parlors that employ strong Thai women will be happy to serve you. If you are expecting gentle massages, be warned as Thai massages are known for its use of pressure and strength all over the body, and those not used to it may find it painful. However, after a session you can be sure that your aches and pains will be gone – definitely worth it. Thai massages are perfect for getting rid of the pains that come with traveling long distances. If your travel advisor doesn’t mention this, you need to ask him!
Food & Drink
Just like any other place in Thailand, eating local food in Ao Nang is always a pleasure. Even travelers on a budget will be able to enjoy freshly cooked Thai food bursting with flavor for just a few dollars. The streets of Ao Nang are dotted with roadside vendors offering a variety of food which you can eat on the go, on a makeshift table, or take home with you. You can also ask your tour operator while bidding for travel which Thai restaurant they recommend but with all the fresh and tasty ingredients available and the very low prices it’s hard to go wrong with food anywhere in the country.
Recently there has also been an increase in Indian restaurants around Ao Nang province. Many Indians have decided to live and set up shop there. If you enjoy the fiery flavor of Indian cuisine, there are numerous authentic options available. Aside from Asian and Indian food, Ao Nang also has its fair share of Western and continental cuisine to suit a wide range of budget and tastes. Being a coastal town also means that you can enjoy delicious and fresh seafood all year round.
Here are some of the popular restaurants that you shouldn’t miss while in Ao Nang:
Any travel advisor will tell you that the beachfront area of Ao Nang town is the ideal place to find a restaurant or bar and watch the sunset with a cold drink in hand. The town has several bars to choose from that serve a diverse range of alcoholic drinks ranging from local beers to western cocktails. When the sun goes down, Ao Nang’s colorful bars start to get livelier and play fun music that you can dance to. Drinks are relatively affordable and inexpensive throughout Ao Nang, except if you decide to drink at a five-star hotel.
Shopping & Souvenirs
Shopping in Ao Nang may not be as exciting as it is in Bangkok, but there are definitely many shops that are worth visiting. There are several stores throughout town that sell clothing, sunglasses, hats, swimwear, footwear, bags, tanning oil, and other beach essentials that you may need on your trip. Some vendors can give you a discount if you negotiate, so don’t forget to try while you do the travel math. A good travel advisor will tell you that there are also supermarkets and other fixed-price shops around town.
Ao Nang Walking Street located in the southern part of town has a market that you shouldn’t miss. Here you can find Thai souvenirs and other goods such as art, clothing, accessories, bags, and many more. Walking Street is also a good place to go for food, drinks, and live music.
The Nopparat Thara Plaza is one of the newest shopping establishments to open in Ao Nang. The shops feature numerous unique and stylish finds, art created by talented local artists, and many souvenir shops including t-shirts with images and text with “Krabi” printed on it. Nopparat Thara Plaza also has a pharmacy, spa, ice cream, and more. The plaza is recommended during sunset and also has several restaurants, bars, and café where you can enjoy refreshments with a view.
Ao Nang has many tailor shops where travelers can go to have clothing made at low prices. Thai people are known for their craftsmanship so even if you are paying a shockingly low price for a suit you can be sure that it is top quality. Tailor-made outfits are a great souvenir to remind you of memories while in Krabi.
If you’re about to embark on a trip to Krabi, make sure you cover all the bases: beaches, beaches and even more beaches. If you do the travel math correctly, you will be hard pressed to find a beach you don’t like. The food, drink and Krabi community create an awesome atmosphere for any person visiting. It doesn’t matter if your travel advisor booked a luxury resort or a budget hostel, you are guaranteed to have a great time in Krabi!