Ao Nang (sometimes known as “Ao Phra Nang,” a name dreamed up by the Tourism Authority of Thailand a few years ago but never caught on) is Krabi’s “westernmost” beach. Now it’s quickly moving into the package holiday crowd as the airport brings in more charter flights each season. While not as scenic as Rai Leh, there is a good range of accommodations, plenty of good restaurants, easy transport, and travel/tourism agencies ready to cater to your every need, making it a good base for exploring Krabi. Getting around Ao Nang is easy: almost everything is along the beach, which runs west-east, or along Airport Road. (Highway 4203), which runs north from the east end of the beach. Longtail boats come to the beach near the intersection of the two highways; However, these long queues pose a problem: the noise pollution from an endless stream of undamped boat engines is considerable in high season.
As the number of visitors increases, this problem will only worsen and detract from the beauty of this beach. In addition, due to the lack of filtration, the water in the beach area is quite murky, especially in the high season for wastewater from the increasing number of hotels.
Ao Nang Beach
Ao Nang Beach is the most significant holiday destination on mainland Krabi and amazes with fantastic beaches and substantial limestone cliffs as a backdrop. The main beach is Ao Nang Beach, a 2 km stretch of sandy beach facing the sea and lined with bars, restaurants, and shops. But there are also many great bathing spots nearby. Some beaches are heavenly and are even among the most beautiful in Thailand. Soft velvety sand, turquoise blue colors of the sea, and giant palm trees. , embedded between mighty rocks, creates an unforgettable panorama! But where are the most beautiful beaches in Ao Nang?
Ao Nang Beach is right in the center of Ao Nang and is the main beach in the area. This is where most tourists stay: on the main road that runs along the coast. There are numerous shops, travel agencies, massage parlors, bars, restaurants, and supermarkets on the many side streets. Due to its central location, Ao Nang is ideal for starting trips to the island world of Krabi or exploring the nearby dream beaches. The sunsets in Ao Nang are also breathtaking and highlight every holiday.
Fossil Shell Beach
Fossil Shell Beach (Thai Su-san Hoi, literally “shell graveyard”). About 7 km west of Ao Nang is this slightly tourist-trap-like attraction, with 40-million-year-old pressed shellfish slates that bear a slight resemblance to concrete. There’s also a dingy little museum and a plethora of souvenir shops. Entry costs 200 baht for foreigners but only 20 baht for Thais. This tourist trap is not worth the 200 baht you have to pay as a tourist. Unless you are a geology student. As Krabi’s official tourism website puts it (in all honesty), “Most are engrossed or completely indifferent.”
Nopparat Thara Beach:
Picturesque beach on the western edge of Ao Nang, designated as a national park. You can hike to some of the rugged limestone islands at low tide. However, be sure to ask the locals if it’s “jellyfish season” before diving in if you’re the only one preparing to take a dip.
Rai Leh Beach:
A beautiful beach near Ao Nang that can only be reached by longtail boat or kayak. It is part of the mainland but isolated by the limestone hills. Cleaner than Ao Nang and Nopparat Thara, and there are some caves worth exploring. There are also hotels and resorts on the beach.
Out of season, it can be a drama to get there! The Longtail wants to collect 800 baht for the crossing, so they calculate the necessary number of passengers. Two companies do this, one on the far left of the beach (facing the water) and the other several hundred yards to the right. If you don’t get a return ticket, you’ll have to go back with the other company.
In the low season, starting in May, there are few tourists, and you may have to wait a long time to get the required number of passengers or pay the 800 baht yourself!