Ao Nang (Krabi) for Dummies
One thing you’ll bound to notice at Ao Nang beach in the Krabi province of Thailand is the amount of Caucasian tourists; it’s possible to walk the entire stretch on Ao Nang without bumping into a single Asian tourist.
The entire place seems to cater to the Western tourist, especially when it comes to food (it’s expensive), but don’t let this deter you as Ao Nang is the perfect jumping off point to picturesque locations in the turqouise coloured waters of the Andaman Sea.
Here’s a rough guide of the place, having just came back from my 4 days 3 nights vacation there:
- If you are staying in Ao Nang, take a longtail boat ride down to Railay Beach. It’s located on the mainland, adjudant to Ao Nang but blocked off by sheer limestone hills (which explains the need to take the long tail boat ride. Railay is home to Railay West and Phra Nang, both excellent white sand beaches, and is also the hive of rock climbing activity in the region.
- Take a tour of the islands, peak season prices average around 1200 to 1400 baht per person. This usually covers snorkelling at several areas, sightseeing and lunch. Be liberal with the sun tan lotion as it can be really hot out there.
- Go kayaking near the limestone hills.
- Get a Thai massage, at 200 to 300 baht for an hour long session, it’s a bargain.
- Grab a bunch of friends and hop on to one of those cute little taxi lorries for a ride to Krabi town. It cost 800 baht (remember to bargain) for a two way trip and the driver WILL wait for you in town while you get your shopping done (especially if you didn’t pay him yet). Note: lingerie is cheap in Thailand.
- Get a buffet dinner at Bernie’s Place, located somewhere near the same stretch of road as McDonalds, towards Ao Nang beach. 250 baht will buy you a buffet dinner with grilled items and some Thai dishes, and plenty of ice cream.
- Do patronise the 7-11 outlets, home toa plethora of drinks ranging from the exotic such as coconut nectar (sweet sap) to cheap but strong flavoured Thai beer and Red Bull.
- Order a really spicy bowl of tom yam at Wanna’s Place Restaurant. This is the real deal and hotter than any tom yam I’ve tried in the Klang Valley (trust me, I had my fair share) by a mile (or ten…it will burn you).
- Try out the pancakes and other forms of street food at one of the road side stalls nearby the only McDonalds outlet in Ao Nang. The pancake is actually a fried version of Indian “roti”, it comes with different kinds of fillings (e.g. bananas) and condensed milk is usually poured on liberally.
- Use insect repellant, there are plenty of bloodsuckers (vampires…I mean mosquitoes) out at night. You’ll heed this advice if you want an itch free dinner.
- Do take note of the new tsunami signs on the roadside describing how far in-land you should go in the unfortunate event of a tsunami.
- Try out the pad thai at a makeshift stall by the side of the road opposite the Ao Nang police station. The stall is next to a roadside bar whose owner keeps his drinks chilled at the back of his truck and goes: “Happy hour…alcohol!” from time to time.
- Ao Nang’s restaurants can be tourist traps if you are not careful. The seafood restaurants by the sea are of particular note. The price of a pathetic mid-sized fish can be around 360 baht, definately not worth the money.
- Muay Thai boxing tourneys are held every Friday and Monday night. Sure there are free transfers but arena tickets will set you back 800 each and a place at the ring side, 1200 baht.
- Shopping for souvenirs at the stretch facing the beach can be an expensive affair, compared to buying stuff from the stretch of shops leading to Ao Nang beach (from McDonalds). There are several exceptions though, particularly the stores nearby Wanna’s Place.
- Don’t eat in at the Hagen Daz outlet, there will be a 10 % service tax imposed on your bill if you do.
- Don’t go around looking for a decent newspaper on the beach stretch. I can’t find The Bangkok Post but you won’t have a problem looking for tabloid rags like The Sun.
- Don’t bother buying video games from the two video games outlet on the beach stretch. They stock everything from NDS to PC games but it’s all pirated stuff.
- Those good luck lanterns you see selling near the beach for 80 baht, well, they are going for 60 baht in town.
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