20 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN AO NANG, KRABI – THAILAND
I spent 8 days in Ao Nang in Krabi and had an absolute blast. Ao Nang is a unique spot as it has quite a lot of adventure activities but also some luxurious resorts. From rock-climbing to island-hopping to luxury spas there is a great mixture of activities in Ao Nang. I prefer the adventurous activities and I put together this blog post of my favorite things to do in Ao Nang, Krabi.
20 THINGS TO DO IN AO NANG, KRABI
West Railay Beach
West Railay Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the area with so many other cool things to do within close proximity. West Railay shares a bay with Ton Sai Beach around the corner and is great for kayaking, sunbathing and enjoying the stunning backdrop of cliffs. 10-20 small cafes and bars are situated right next to the beach so you are covered for lunch and drinks. West Railay Beach is a great spot to base yourself for the day as many of the adventures on this list are in the same area. It is also to home to a few of the best viewpoints in Ao Nang.
Koh Hong Day Tour from Krabi by Speed Boat or Long Tail Boat
This tour is an awesome way to see a lot of the best places in just one tour. The snorkeling on this trip is just next level with some of the clearest water in Thailand. The day tour includes the following:
- See the best of Krabi in less than 7 hours with a fun tour of 4 iconic islands
- Visit the famous Koh Gai – the Chicken Island and see where it got its nickname for yourself
- Explore the lesser know tiny islands of Koh Tub and Koh Mor
- Discover the magnificent Phra Nang Cave beach on the Railway Peninsula
Book your tour: Koh Hong Day tour from Krabi
Ao Nang Beach
This beach is a very long stretch of sand with cliffs at either end meaning access is limited to people staying in Ao Nang or requires transport by boats. While it isn’t the most picturesque beach in the region there are a number of reasons why it is a beautiful spot and great for photographers. The sun sets on the horizon, which is great news for sunset lovers. The other factor that makes the sunset beautiful on Ao Nang Beach is the low tide. As the water recedes away from the shore, it leaves behind a glistening layer of sand. Every night I could, I tried to catch the sunset at Ao Nang Beach hoping for some beautiful colors and one night I got lucky with soft pastel tones allowing me to get creative with my surroundings.
Similan Islands Day Tour from Krabi
The Similian Islands are some of the most pristine in all of Thailand. The Similan Islands day tour takes your to multiple locations that will blow your mind away with clear waters and beautifl beaches. The itinerary for the Similan Islands day tour is as follows:
- Snorkel at Stonehenge, named after the towering rocks that rise from depths of 25 meters
- Explore the lovely island of Koh Miang to enjoy the pristine beach with a delicious Thai lunch
- Discover the pristine beach at Honeymoon Bay
- Stroll on the beach and explore the island of Koh Payu
- Swim at Christmas Point and get a chance to see dolphins in the Andaman Sea
Book your tour: Similan Islands Day Tour from Krabi
Phra Nang Cave
A short kayak around the corner from Ao Nang Bech or a 15-minute walk across Railay you will find Phra Nang Beach. A huge islet sits out in the water, which is truly a majestic sight. Paddling out in the ocean beneath this monolithic backdrop was beautiful. Further down the beach, you will find Phra Nang Cave. Inside the cave is a shrine full of…. wooden penises. This is one of the weirdest activities in Ao Nang, Krabi. Offerings from local people who repay the gods after the things they prayed for, actually happened. Why penises? The sign at the front of the cave tied the offering of penises to the worship of creation among other beliefs. An interesting little piece of culture although quite bizarre!
Railay Rock Climbing
One of the most popular things to do in Ao Nang, Krabi is to do rock climbing at Railay Beach with an instructor. One partner belays the other, as they try to scale the cliffs. This was common on Phra Nang Beach but there were several sites around the Railay region suitable for rock climbing. You can choose a half-day or full-day rock-climbing experience at Railay Beach.
Book your activity: Rock Climbing at Railay Beach
East Railay Beach
The second time I went to Railay Beach, I walked across to East Railay. This was much busier with longboats dropping off and picking up hotel guests. The beach was nice but more of a mangrove type shoreline in some areas. A very picturesque spot but I would suggest Railay West for your out and out beach chill day. Railay East is awesome for photos as there are lots of longboats and the cliffs/mangrove trees make for some beautiful scenery in your photos.
Boossabakorn Spa in Krabi
One of the most popular things to do in Ao Nang, Krabi is to pamper yourself with a massage. After all of that hard kayaking and rock-climbing your probably deserve a massage at the very least. Boossabakorn Spa has an incredible reputation in Krabi as being the best spa experience. They will even come and pick you up from your hotel and drop you back after your experience. They offer everything from Thai massage to aromatherapy to the ultimate honeymoon package. To check their services and find a package that suits your needs, you can click below.
Book a package: Boossabakorn Spa in Krabi
Phi Phi Islands by speedboat
Phi Phi Islands is one of the most popular things to do near Ao Nang but it is also one of the must-do activities in Thailand. A speedboat tour to Phi Phi Islands is an awesome day adventure for the whole family. The full-day itinerary includes hotel-pick up and drop off and this is what your day will look like:
- Take a relaxing trip to one of Krabi’s most well-known destinations — Phi Phi Islands
- Take a memorable stroll down Maya Beach — where the young Leonardo DiCaprio once played a hopeful Richard in ‘The Beach’
- Snorkel amidst colorful corals in the underwater field of Monkey Bay
- Enjoy a convenient trip with hotel pick up, speedboat ride and a delicious lunch all taken care of
Book your tour: Phi Phi Islands tour by speedboat
Railay Viewpoint East
Very close to Railay East and only a short walk from Railay West is the well-known viewpoint. I didn’t attempt this one but thought it deserved to be on the Ao Nang things to do list as I did have similar views from the other hike. It looked extremely muddy and lots of fun with views of both Railay East and West but I was short of time. There weren’t too many signs directing people to the hike but it was on the path between Phra Nang to Railay East. A large assortment of flip-flops at the base of the walk identified its beginning. The emerging and highly muddied tourists were evidence of the challenging climb. The views on this hike seemed great from photos I saw but not as good as the hike I did… by mistake! I was looking for this hike and accidentally climbed to a different viewpoint.
Railay Viewpoint West
Walk down to the southern end of Railay West, where all the longboats are moored. There are a number of paths that lead up the cliff. Pick the one you like as they all meet up. I came down a different way to how I went up without even knowing. The climb I did was only 20 minutes. The first part of the hike is just climbing and clambering over tree roots but the hike gets gradually steeper and steeper until it becomes vertical. At this point, you are rock climbing, with the aid of ropes, which is a lot of trust to put into a rope because it is a considerable fall down if you slip. There were more ropes from where I decided to stop but I am not sure if the people who go further have more equipment/harnesses etc. I like to push myself but I think I stopped at a good moment as it seemed to get a lot riskier past that point. The view from the top is amazing and you sit in this tiny little cave. I stayed there for an hour, peering down onto my kayak way down below on the beach. I wondered if anyone could see me, I felt on top of the world looking down on paradise. Going down wasn’t too much fun but was a definite adrenaline rush.
Railay Ladder viewpoint
If you don’t like the idea of the ropes to the viewpoint. Follow all the same directions as the viewpoint above but keep heading west (away from shore along the cliff) instead of climbing up. You will find a ladder that leads to a smaller viewpoint but still has panoramic views of Railay West and Ton Sai Beach. All the ropes and ladders seemed pretty sturdy but always test the steps and ropes before you put your weight on them.
Krabi Mangrove Kayak Trip
One of the best ways to see the attractions of Ao Nang, Krabi is by kayak. The Krabi Mangrove Kayak tour takes you on a guided tour to Ao Thalane Bay. It is one of the most popular activities to do in Ao Nang.
Book your tour: Krabi Mangrove Kayak Trip
Pai Plong Beach
Although Ao Nang Beach is blocked on either end by steep cliffs, if you walk all the way to the southern end of the beach you will find a wooden boardwalk. I stumbled upon it and decided to go for an adventure. The boardwalk takes you up over the cliff and down into the next bay. A luxurious and remote resort lays claim to the entire bay and you need to check in as you enter the beach with security but it is free to enjoy the ocean and its surroundings.
I did some body surfing here and then noticed another security guard with a slingshot down the far/southern end of the beach.He was shooting rocks at monkeys to keep them out of the hotel area. I watched him for a while and swam to the side of the rocks only arm’s reach away from at least 20 little monkeys. The security guard stopped shooting them with his slingshot while I was standing there and suddenly one brave monkey started running to the hotel, taking his opportunity. Buoyed by the success of their friend, the entire troop followed. Suddenly 30 monkeys were headed to the resort in a flurry. It was like a scene from Planet of the Apes. I had my camera in the wrong setting but managed to snap one photo.
Kayak Ao Nang to Railay
For $11 you can rent a kayak and paddle for about an hour to get to Railay and Phra Nang. I explored several islets along the way and had a great time paddling right under the overhang of the cliffs where the longboats cannot fit. It was my favorite adventure of my stay in Ao Nang and I made a short video and blog post about the journey if you think you want to give it a shot.
James Bond Island Speedboat tour from Krabi
This is possibly the most famous spot in Thailand. The James Bond Island is the thin island that was featured in the 007 film. On the James Bond Island tour you will explore the set of the 1974 James Bond movie ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’. Part of the Phang-Nga Bay National Park, the island is a tropical paradise and it is an awesome day adventure amidst some of the most beautiful beaches in Krabi.
Book your tour: James Bond Island speedboat tour from Krabi
I kayaked to Railay Beach once but for my second visit, I took a longboat, which takes about 15 minutes and costs $5 USD return. The last boat returns to Ao Nang in time for sunset so you can enjoy a full day at Railay for only a few dollars. There are also many longboat journeys to other islands – of which there are many – in the region.
Emerald Pool does cost $5 to get in, but substantial infrastructure in the form of an 800-meter long boardwalk is part of the cost. The water is unbelievably clear. Even where there are leaves and dirt in the water it is still crystal clear. Several different pools along the boardwalk had amazingly clear water but it was the Emerald Pool that everyone had come to see. A naturally bright green pool with a trickling waterfall was a beautiful spot to clean off the mud and relax.
We also stepped off of the track for a little bit and found a few beautiful streams that had a stunning aqua/teal color. Shlomi my Israeli friend from the hotel was kind enough to be my subject for this shot.
On the way to Railay East, we stumbled across the Diamond Caves. For only $3 USD entry we thought it might be worth a look. Wow! A boardwalk leads you inside a stunning cave, which you share with screeching bats that hang from the ceiling. Dripping water and yellow lighting create an eerie atmosphere inside this magical cave that seems like a scene from a movie.
Smoothies and Pancakes
An adventurer has gotta eat! My favorite meal in Ao Nang quickly became a fresh fruit smoothie and a banana crepe/pancake. For $2.50 USD from a cart on the side of the main street, you can’t ask for much more. One of these meals in the morning and I was good to go until lunch. It is meals like this instead of $10 breakfasts that will save you hundreds of dollars a month. They are just as good if not better than eating at a sit-down cafe. Plus I used to buy my breakfast and eat it at the beach. It’s a no brainer if you ask me. So grab yourself a pancake and a smoothie and then attack this list of Ao Nang things to do!
Where to stay in Ao Nang Krabi
Ao Nang Cliff Beach Resort – Luxury: Right on the main street, this resort has rooms all the way up the cliff with views of the entire ocean. The room once again had a bath on the balcony with sunset views! This was a really good location to base yourself no matter what you had planned for the day. Everything was right at your doorstep. Restaurants, bars, tour offices, moped/car rental, longboat tours. The infinity pool at Ao Nang Cliff Beach Resort was amazing. Looking out over Ao Nang beach, the stark and steep cliffs almost seemed a stone’s throw away. Sunrise and sunset at the infinity pool were just amazing!
Check prices and availability: Ao Nang Cliff Beach Resort
Alisea Boutique Hotel – Luxury: It is tucked away in a great location in Ao Nang only a short walk from the beach and close to a lively street brimming with street vendors, bars, and restaurants. At night I would take a walk and enjoy the laid back scene of the area while enjoying live music and local cuisine. My room had a loft with an outdoor bathtub, which I had never seen before! My favorite part of the hotel was definitely the infinity pool. On the roof of the hotel, the infinity pool overlooks the ocean and you can spot several islets. The sun sets over the ocean and I can’t think of many better spots in Ao Nang to be, as the sky lights up.
Check prices and availability: The Alisea Boutique Hotel
Ibis Styles Krabi Ao Nang – Value: This is my value pick because I am all about views. The limestone cliffs are what you come to see in Ao Nang. So if you can find a pool with views of the cliffs you are in business! The Ibis Styles Krabi Ao Nang has a pool that looks out to the limestone cliffs and it is just the perfect spot for sunset. You will find that this hotel has all of the trimmings, is 3-star but only $60 for a night. It is a real value pick and right in a good location within walking distance to the beach.
Check prices and availability: Ibis Styles Krabi Ao Nang
Link Hostel Ao Nang – Budget: For just $8 a night in a dormitory room you have a cheap, budget accommodation. However, you also have a beautiful pool and really modern facilities. This is no crusty hostel. This is hostel luxury and a real gem.
Check prices and availability: Link Hostel Ao Nang