12 Incredible Things to do in Ao Nang, Krabi
Ao Nang is a charming beach town located in Krabi, Southern Thailand. While Ao Nang is a relatively small beach retreat, it is gifted with natural beauty and lots to keep you busy for a few days’ stay.
Apart from the outstanding beach activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, and diving, there are many other exciting things to do in Ao Nang – from exploring jaw-dropping islands and trekking through lush rainforests to visiting spectacular temples. All in all, Ao Nang is the perfect add-on to your list of things to do when you visit Thailand.
In this detailed Ao Nang guide, I’ll cover all of Ao Nang’s best attractions and unpack what to do in Ao Nang, Krabi. There will be opportunities for exploring, island hopping, relaxing, and feasting on incredible Thai food. I’ve also included tons of handy tips to help you plan the perfect Ao Nang itinerary – from how to get to Ao Nang and where to stay to the best time to visit this dreamy south Thailand gem and much more.
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Ao Nang Itinerary: Pre-travel Tips
Since Thailand is a popular tourist destination on any South East Asia itinerary, planning a trip to Krabi Ao Nang is relatively easy. There are, however, a few things I recommend having in place before you jet off to Ao Nang. It’s also a good idea to read these Thailand travel tips to make the most of your trip.
- Search for the best hotel prices on Agoda. Ao Nang has an excellent selection of accommodation options. Since it’s a popular destination, it’s always a good idea to book accommodation well in advance. Expect rooms to fill up quickly and prices to rocket during peak seasons.
- Book a transfer from the airport to get you to your hotel stress-free.
- While you’ll most likely have free wifi at your hotel, having internet on the go is a great way to guarantee a stress-free Ao Nang trip. Pre-order a 4g sim card for pickup at the airport to ensure you are always connected during your Krabi adventures.
- It’s always essential to consider your safety when traveling in Thailand, especially if you are going to do outdoor activities. Make sure you and your belongings are safe abroad by grabbing travel cover with World Nomads. You can apply online, and the process is quick and easy.
- Doing proper research is an integral part of any Krabi trip. While it’s fun to discover things on your own, a good guide book can go a long way into giving you in-depth knowledge about the culture, history, religion, and much more. You can’t go wrong with this Thailand Lonely Planet.
In a rush? Pin this guide on what to do in Ao Nang to read later.
12 of the Best Things to do in Ao Nang
This first timer’s guide includes a myriad of unmissable things to do in Ao Nang, Krabi. Ready to dive right into what Ao Nang activities and adventures not to miss? Let’s go!
Kick back at the beach
Ao Nang is a great place to relax and recharge after exploring the bustling streets of Bangkok. And the best place to do just that is at the beach.
Ao Nang has some pretty incredible beaches, with Ao Nang Beach being the most popular among beach lovers and sun-seekers. During peak season, though, Ao Nang beach can be quite crowded. Still, it’s a great place to admire the Andaman sea’s tranquil waters, take a dip, and soak up the fantastic beach vibes.
If you’re looking for something more laid-back, head to Noppharat Thara Beach. Here you’ll find fewer crowds and plenty of beach bars to serve you a cold beer. Noppharat Thara Beach is a short 10-minute walk from the main beach. While most travelers flock to Ao Nang Beach, Noppharat Thara Beach is a great add–on of things to do in Ao Nang.
Take a trip to Railay Beach
No visit to Krabi would be complete without visiting the jaw-dropping beaches of Railay Bay. And, since Railay is only a 10-minute longtail boat ride away, there’s no reason not to add it to your list of Ao Nang things to do.
It’s easy to explore Railay Beach on a day trip from Ao Nang. However, it’s so much more rewarding to spend a bit more time here if your schedule allows it.
While Railay is a wonderfully laid-back place to visit, there are lots of incredible outdoor activities to keep adventure seekers busy. From kayaking and rock climbing to hiking to the secluded lookout point and swimming in a secret lagoon.
Too adventurous for you? Don’t worry; there are plenty of less adventurous things to do at Railay also! Some of the highlights have to be visiting the Princess Cave, relaxing on the beautiful white sandy beaches, taking a dip in the warm waters of the Andaman Sea, and watching the epic sunset with a boozy cocktail in hand at Tew Lay Bar.
Want to know more? Find out what to do in Railay in my detailed Railay Beach first-timer’s guide.
Join a Krabi 4 Islands Tour
Thailand is blessed with some of the most stunning islands in Asia. And Krabi Province is no different. With more than 80 islands dotted around Krabi’s coastline, it is not surprising that island hopping is a firm favorite among sun-seekers and beachgoers.
If you’re looking for a fun day out exploring Krabi’s most spectacular islands, joining a Krabi 4 Island tour is one of the easiest ways to do that. The tour covers four gorgeous islands, Koh Tup, Koh Mor, Chicken Island, and Poda Island. It’s a fun day trip to take as you’ll get to experience Thai island vibes at its very best, swim in crystal clear waters, and take incredible pictures.
The Krabi 4 Island tour is one of the most popular things to do in Ao Nang. While it’s pretty easy to book a trip anywhere in town, on the beach or even through your hotel, booking a tour online in advance is highly encouraged. This way, you can save a few bucks and easily plan the rest of your Krabi itinerary.
Go on a Hong Island Tour
Hong Island is yet another spectacular island that you cannot miss while visiting Krabi Ao Nang. Situated in the Than Bok Khorani National Park, Koh Hong is home to several smaller islets and a gorgeous turquoise lagoon. The main island flaunts soft powdery beaches lined with coconut trees, towering limestone cliffs, and near glass-colored waters full of colorful fish.
There are many different tours to Koh Hong, but I highly recommend booking this Hong Island tour. Unlike other tours in Krabi, this one won’t feel rushed. We had so much time to snorkel, swim, and soak up the terrific island vibes. The staff were all smiles and went out of their way to make the trip a memorable one. Our guide, Ban, also shared invaluable insights into the island and surrounding area, ultimately making it one of my favorite things to do in Ao Nang.
If you want to explore Hong Island at your own pace, rent a private long-tail boat at Ao Nang beach. But just a tip, remember to bring 300 Baht along to pay the National Park fee.
Visit the Emerald Pool
To enjoy a different slice of nature, taking a day trip to Emerald Pool is a fun way to experience Krabi’s lush interior and tropical rainforests. Situated in the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park, the Emerald Pool is a firm favorite among hikers, explorers, hot spring bathers, and wildlife enthusiasts. What really makes this freshwater pool so unique is its inviting turquoise-colored waters. It’s safe to swim in the pool, and since the water is surprisingly warm, one could easily spend hours relaxing here.
Most tours to the Emerald Pool include a few more unique points of interest. There are many different packages, but joining one that stops by the impressive Tiger Cave Temple is a must. The temple is nestled atop a beautiful limestone mountain, and while you’ll need to climb an odd 1200 steps to the summit, the breathtaking views are more than enough reward. Within the temple, you can get a closer look at various buddha statues, shrines, and ornaments while taking in the absolute tranquility of this sacred site.
Further afield, dropping by the Wareerak Hot Spring Spa is another must-do. It’s a great place to relax in a peaceful jungle setting.
Snack Your way Through the Night Market
One of the best and cheapest places to relish delicious Thai food is at the Ao Nang night market. It’s not a huge place, but it’s got a lively atmosphere and tons of great street food options.
There is a variety of vendors serving all kinds of Thai classics, such as sticky mango rice, pad Thai, coconut smoothies, and more. If you’re looking for great food, an ice-cold beer, and a bustling atmosphere, don’t miss adding the night market to your Ao nang to-do list.
If you want to venture out a bit further, this Private Krabi Night Market Trip is a great alternative. It’s a fun night out, and you’ll have a chance to shop for souvenirs, try different food, and hopefully catch a live performance!
Join a cooking class
Beyond Thailand’s gorgeous temples, lush jungles, beautiful islands, and powdery white beaches, there is yet another reason why this country is such a tourist hot spot — and that’s the food!
If you have a few hours to spare on your Ao Nang activities list, joining a cooking class is a great way to fill the time. Not only will it allow sampling of lots of different Thai dishes, but you’ll also master a new skill.
There are several schools in Ao Nang ready to teach you the ins and outs of Thai cuisine. However, joining a session at Ya’s Thai Cookery School is highly encouraged. During this 3-hour class, you’ll have the opportunity to cook several Thai dishes. Throughout the course, you’ll also learn handy tips and tricks to bring back home.
Watch the sunset
Since Ao Nang is lined with beautiful beaches finding the perfect sunset viewing spot is not hard. While you’ll see many locals and tourists sitting on the steps in front of Ao Nang Beach to admire this phenomenon, watching the sunset from Noppharat Thara beach is just as impressive. Don’t forget to grab a freshly cracked coconut to enjoy while sitting on the beach!
If you prefer to admire the sunset from the water, taking a sunset cruise is an excellent choice. It’s a great way to get a closer look at Krabi’s rich biodiversity. And, you’ll pass by several of Krabi’s most prized gems such as Poda Island and Phra Nang Cave. Besides the incredible views over the water, you’ll also be able to grab a snorkel and admire the diverse marine life below.
Enjoy Ao Nang’s Vibrant Nightlife
Ao nang town has a great nightlife scene geared to all kinds of travelers. There are plenty of bars, cafes, and nightclubs to party the night away and soak up the lively atmosphere. Of course, watching a cabaret show is much fun too. It’s also one of the best things to do in Ao Nang!
If you’re looking for something a bit more laidback away from partygoers and backpacker crowd, head to Noppharat Thara beach. You’ll find several excellent beachfront restaurants and bars eager to serve you an ice-cold beer and a tasty meal. The best part, though — the stunning ocean views!
Shop for souvenirs
Ao nang town is a shoppers paradise, and it’s the perfect place to practice your haggling skills. The main road is lined with dozens of cute shops. Here you can find everything from handbags and beachwear, to souvenirs and tasty snacks to bring back home.
However, you should know that prices at some stores, especially those in the center of Ao nang, are wildly inflated. It’s a good idea to browse several stores first before making a purchase. Haggling is standard practice in Thailand, but it’s always a good idea to use good common sense when bargaining.
In general, though, the prices drop considerably the further away you move from the main tourist strip. The little market opposite Krabi Resort is an excellent starting point if you’re not in the mood for bargaining.
Get a Thai Massage
After a fun day out exploring Ao Nang’s many attractions, a Thai massage is just the answer to loosen up any tense muscles.
There are many massage salons scattered around town where you can get a traditional Thai massage for as little as 200 Baht an hour. Alternatively, head to the beach where you’ll find several open-sided huts ready to loosen up all those knots. If you’ve never had a Thai massage before, it’s probably a good idea to know that a Thai massage isn’t necessarily the most relaxing experience as it involves much pulling and twisting.
If that sounds a bit too intense, enjoying a pamper session at Radarom Spa is another great thing to do in Ao Nang. The spa oozes with tranquility and offers everything from massages and body scrubs to herbal steams and much more.
Get your hair braided
Hair braiding has become quite a trendy thing to do in Ao Nang. If you feel like rocking a different look or simply want to enjoy island life without the headache of blowing out your hair every day, this might just be right up your alley. There are tons of salons in town, and prices are reasonable.
How to get from Krabi Airport to Ao Nang
Krabi Airport is the main gateway to Krabi Province. And, it’s also here where you’re likely to start your Ao Nang adventures.
There are a few ways to get from Krabi Airport to Ao Nang with the easiest being private transfer. A private transfer to Ao Nang costs 600 Baht, and you’ll find several booths offering this service within the arrivals hall. Alternatively, book a discounted private transfer online.
If you’re visiting Ao Nang on a budget, consider booking a shared transfer or taking the airport bus instead. Bus tickets go for 150 Baht but expect a longer journey.
How to get around Ao Nang
Since Ao Nang is not very big, it is easy to get around on foot. However, there are also plenty of tuk-tuks and songthaews ready to transport you to all corners in town. Of course, if you prefer, it’s easy to hire a private charter too.
More independent travelers may also consider renting a scooter. There are many rental shops scattered around town, and it’s an easy way to explore the area at your leisure. Rentals are usually per day, and prices differ from shop to shop. If you are planning on renting a scooter in Ao Nang, remember to bring your international driver’s license along. Also, make sure you have decent travel insurance. While the chances are low that you’ll be pulled over by police to check whether you have one or not, you will face some pretty harsh fines should you be involved in an accident.
Where to stay in Ao Nang
Since there are many excellent accommodation options in Ao Nang, choosing where to stay can be a tricky task. Ultimately this will depend on what kind of traveler you are and your needs. I’ve included a few of my favorite places to stay in Ao Nang below, but make sure also to read my in-depth guide on the best places to stay in Ao Nang for more options.
- Budget: Pop In Hostel
- Mid-Range: Alisea Boutique Hotel
- Affordable Luxury: Centara Ao Nang Beach Resort & Spa
- Full Out Luxury: Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas
Need more help finding a place to stay in Ao Nang? Find more options on Agoda where you can read reviews and compare prices.
What to pack for Ao Nang: Krabi Packing List
Now that you know what to do in Ao Nang, you’re probably wondering what to pack for your Thailand adventure.
Apart from the usual things you’ll pack for a beach holiday, like swimwear and cool, breathable clothes, there are a few more items that can go a long way into making your first visit to Ao Nang a success.
Here’s a list of things I highly recommend bringing along when visiting Ao Nang, Krabi.
- Since most of Ao Nang’s attractions involve water, it’s best to protect your phone while snorkeling, scuba diving, or kayaking. This waterproof phone case is a lifesaver and just what you need to keep your phone from getting wet.
- It’s also a good idea to invest in a decent dry bag. That way, you won’t need to worry about your camera and other essentials from getting wet while boating or kayaking.
- If you’re looking for a good beach towel that won’t weigh you down and dries quickly, you can’t go wrong with a Dock and Bay microfiber towel.
- You won’t have trouble finding sunscreen in Ao Nang, but as most of the sunscreens contain a whitening agent and often aren’t eco-friendly, it’s a good idea to always travel with reef-safe sunscreen.
- While Thailand has lovely tropical weather year-round, it also means mosquitoes are the norm. So don’t forget to bring eco-friendly mosquito repellant with you on your trip.
- You’ll probably need a travel adapter when visiting Thailand. The standard voltage in Thailand is 220V with a frequency of 50Hz, and the most common plug types are A, B, and C.
- I never travel without my camera, and neither should you. Of course, a lightweight waterproof GoPro is an excellent alternative if you don’t want to get weighed down by a bulky DSLR.
- Make sure to pack hand sanitizer and wet wipes as you’re unlikely to find any hand soap in public bathrooms.
- Remember to grab travel insurance with World Nomads to ensure you and your belongings are covered abroad. It’s also a good idea to get adventure travel cover if you’re going to do any adventure activities while in Ao Nang.
Best time to visit Ao Nang Krabi
Thailand has a subtropical climate with two very distinct seasons – a dry season and a rainy season.
The best time to visit Ao Nang and the rest of southern Thailand is during the dry season (Nov – March). Expect perfect beach weather with sunny skies and pleasant temperatures ranging between the mid-twenties and upper thirties. While temperatures rarely drop below 20°C at night, you may want to pack a light sweater to keep warm from the cool ocean breeze.
The low season runs from April through October, and it’s a great time to pick up excellent hotel deals at dirt cheap prices. However, this is Southern Thailand’s monsoon season, and frequent downpours aren’t uncommon. While it’s not impossible to experience perfect weather during the off-season, it will probably be a bit of a gamble.
April and May are the hottest months in Krabi Ao Nang, with average daily temperatures of 36°C. Besides the heat, the humidity is quite intense, so I wouldn’t recommend visiting during this time unless used to hot and humid weather.
Other periods to avoid visiting Krabi and the south of Thailand is during September and October. These two months are the wettest and see some pretty heavy rainfall. It’s not uncommon to see up to 325mm rainfall during the month of October, and since you’re likely to be stuck indoors, it’s probably not a good idea to plan a beach getaway during this period.
Things to do in Ao Nang Conclusion
Ao Nang is the perfect base from which to explore Krabi, Thailand. While these are just a few of the incredible things to do in Ao Nang, I hope this guide will come in handy when planning your first visit to Ao Nang.
That wraps up this Ao Nang guide. Have you visited Ao Nang, Krabi yet? What tips or tricks do you have for fellow travelers planning an Ao Nang itinerary? Let me know in the comments below if you have any other suggestions on things to do at Ao Nang.
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