Scuba diving at Aonang
We would like to present another on beach called Aonang in Krabi Krabi province.
Ao Nang located in southern Thailand Andamun gulf where is the busiest beach destination in Thailand's Krabi Province. When you hear Krabi I think you know how is famous.
Many activities attractive on Ao Nang Beach like
Formally Ao Phra Nang ("Princess Bay") although everybody uses the short form, Ao Nang is the most 'Westernized' beach in Krabi, originally a backpacker hotspot but now moving slowly upmarket as the airport brings in higher flyers. While not quite as scenic as Rai Leh, there is a good range of cheap accommodation, many good restaurants, easy transport and travel/tour agencies ready to cater to your every whim, making it a good base for exploring Krabi.
Orienting yourself in Ao Nang is easy: almost everything is located either along the beach, which runs west-east, or along the Airport Road (Highway 4203) which goes up north from the east end of the beach. Long-tails arrive on the beach near the junction of the two roads.
You can get Aonang by plane, buses and also boat
Krabi International Airport is about 40 minutes away by car. As of 2005, the local airport limo monopoly charges a fairly steep 600 baht for a transfer (up to 4 people). Many hotels will arrange a pickup at similar prices on request. Travel time is about half an hour.
Local shuttle buses โ really just converted pickup trucks (songthaew) โ run from Ao Nang to Krabi (40 baht) and from Krabi to the airport (50 baht). The total trip between Ao Nang and the airport takes little less than 2 hours. To get to Ao Nang from Krabi town you should look for a white songthaew outside the 7-Eleven store.
As of late 2007 there is now a big bus service from the airport to Ao Nang, via Krabi Town, the Krabi ferry terminal and Noppharat Thara beach.
Rai Leh West and Ton Sai are only 10 minutes away while the less developed Had Yao (Long Beach) is 25 minutes away by long-tail. Boats leave constantly from the east end of the beach and charge a flat 80 baht/person during the day, 100 baht/person at night. There is no pier so expect to get at least your feet wet, probably more.
There are also public ferry services to Ko Phi Phi and Ko Lanta (usually twice daily), for which any travel agent will be happy to sell you tickets at around 200 baht/person.
Boats from Koh Lanta now arrive at the new jetty, from there take a taxi (350 baht), or local bus to Krabi (50 baht) and then on to Ao Nang (40 baht).
You can traveling around by Songthaew and Tuk tuk
There is a Songthaew(shared pick-up truck / taxi) service to Ao Nang from Krabi town, which runs throughout daylight hours in low season and up to 10pm in high season. The fare is 50 baht and they can be expected every 15-20 minutes. Songthaews are colour coded according to destination so make sure if you are coming to Ao Nang from Krabi you get on a white one.
Tuk-tuks in Ao Nang charge a flat 20 baht/person for trips around town. Songthaews also run all across Ao Nang onto the Shell Beach (See) and some all the way to Krabi town, fares from 10 baht up depending on distance.
There is one another interesting to visit like
* Fossil Shell Beach (Thai Su-san Hoi, literally "Seashell Graveyard"). Some 7 km west of Ao Nang, this mildly traplike tourist attraction has slates of compressed 40 million year old shellfish, which bear not a small resemblance to concrete. There's also a small grubby museum and a huge slew of gift shops. Entry is a steep 200 baht for foreigners - but only 20 baht for Thais.
* Nopparat Thara Beach. Picturesque beach at the western tip of Ao Nang, zoned as a national park. During low tide you can walk up to some of the nearby craggy limestone islands.
And not finish for activities with
There is little to do immediately around Ao Nang, but Rai Leh and Ko Phi Phi are just around the corner and there are many tour operators offering activities such as sea kayaking and elephant treks.
* Andaman Camp and Cruise, tel: +66 87 885 1125. - day trips and camping trips to many islands.
Climbing can be arranged through Ao Nang agencies who will arrange transfers, lunch, and as much climbing as your limbs can handle - alternatively, simply wander over to Rai Leh or Ton Sai and organize an introductory course yourself. Currently, there is a rockclimbing shop in ao nang called ao nang climbers who will give you all the informations and courses from beginners to expirienced climbers, childrens are very welcome. www.aonangclimbers.com
Most of the dive shops offer a very similar price for the dive courses and dive trips. You may get a slight discount if you are a group of 4 but not much more than 10%. Sites visited daily include the local islands in Ao Nang bay, Phi Phi Marine National Park, the King Cruiser Wreck site and Shark Point Marine sanctuary. It's now also possible to do a one day safari by speedboat to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang for the chance to see whale sharks and manta rays, or to do some spectacular cavern diving at the 5 islands of Ko Ha Yai. However speed boats are not the most comfortable way to travel unless the sea is very calm and there can be problems finding shade. Some of the more popular dive sites can become very crowded in the high season
* Aqua Vision Dive Centre, 76 /12 Moo 2. English and German run PADI and SSI dive center, most European languages available including Russian. Located just above McDonalds, with a small booking center next to Planet Ao Nang bar on the beach front and an office in the Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort. Runs day whale shark and manta ray safaris on a flybridge speedboat. edit
* Kon-Tiki Diving and Snorkeling Center, 161/1 Moo 2. 100% Scandie-run 5-star PADI dive center, most European languages also available. The only PADI/National Geographic Dive Center and Go Eco operator. Winner of Project AWARE Environmental Achievement Award 2006. edit
* Phran Nang Divers, 32/10 Moo 2. 100% English-run PADI dive center with over 15 years experience diving in Ao Nang. Courses run in English and German, most European languages also available. edit
* Raya Divers, 1/2 Moo 5 Tambol Rawai (about 2km up Airport Road), โ +66-76280074. 100% Finnish-run 5-star PADI shop; instruction also available in English. Good gear and an emphasis on safety. edit
Find shopping place like the beach front shopping district
Ao Nang has no shopping malls or supermarkets, but there are plenty of convenience stores and souvenir shops. The vast majority of shops are lined nicely along the beachfront road. There are also a few side roads that branch off into the cluster of crowded shops found elsewhere in Asia. The regular tourist fare (e.g. postcards, magnets, trinkets, etc.) are plentiful as are clothes, shoes, and pretty much anything else you'll find elsewhere in Thailand.
You can find something to eat on many rank of price like
Cheap eats, there are a few street carts scattered about, although most serve backpacker fare like banana pancakes (15 baht a pop). The fried chicken lady in front of the Tipa Resort does a pretty mean som tam (papaya salad) at 40 baht though, and also look out for the yellow-signed noodle stalls with a "4" in a bowl as their logo, which dish out a garlicky but tasty bamii muu daeng (roast pork noodles) for 25 baht.
The Pad Thai served in in a stall named "Kai Tieun Restaurant" is good and cheap. The noodle itself is not spicy and you need to add the condiments available on the table to make it spicy.
The stall in front of Adidas Store serves rice-type lunches at 20-30 baht a box. The "Kao Nam" (Similar to Nasi Briyani in Malaysia) is superb. Be careful before ordering "Keng Mu" (Minced spicy chicken meat with rice) though, be prepared to gulp in lots of water to counter the spiciness.
Generally the places along the beach are more expensive and the ones up the hill tend to be cheaper and better value. Even up past McDonald's on the right some do squid and fish at amazingly low prices.
* Tonsai Restaurant, Ao Nang Soi 15 (15 minutes from the beach up Airport Road). Popular low-key eatery offering a good spread of good Thai food. Most dishes around 50 baht.
* The Boat Cafe on Airport Road (opposite the 7-11) has no sign in English but is easily recognizable from the old long tail boat outside which they use to serve up thom yum and other Thai soups at lunchtime. Dishes cost 20-35 baht, and the best recommendation is the large number of locals coming in for an evening meal.
* One More Restaurant on Airport Road (15 minutes from the beach up Airport Road on the right side). Low-key restaurant serving a variety of Thai dishes and seafood at affordable prices. The staff here are incredibly friendly.
* Wanna's Restaurant, facing the beach in central Ao Nang, offers rather good Thai and Swiss dishes for approx. 100 baht. The home made swiss museli with yoghurt and fresh fruit is highly recommended. the pad thai here is quite good!!! Although go to burger king if you need a toilet as it is out the back!!
* Loft Restaurant, Nopparatthara Beach. Less than 3 minutes from Ao Nang Beach area and with a cheap 20 baht/person motortaxi (tuk-tuk) ride, it's a great place to go for food and to get away from the tourist crowds at Ao Nang Beach. Friendly service and a great owner/host Jeff who opened the restaurant and bar (named 'Bad Habit') with his wife Oil. Alfresco dining on the roof, beautiful sunsets. Food prices are a good range, with really good fusion western Thai and traditional Thai food.
* Taj Palace, across from McDonalds in Ao Nang, offers Thai dishes at about 100 baht and Indian dishes at about 150 baht. The food was better than most in Ao Nang, with exceptionally succulent shrimp.
* Absolut, opposite McDonalds (5 minutes up Airport Road). Swedish fare like meatballs and mashed potatoes from 200 baht and up, and not just Absolut Vodka but Aalborgs Akvavit as well. They also do a very good authentic Christmas spread (790 baht), reservation one day before required.
Romantic Drink like
There is no shortage of places for a drink, and not very many Patong-style girlie beer bars or go-go joints. On the Ao Nang beach front there is now only one bar - Planet Ao Nang, paz (frizzy hair) and the gang down there are awesome, great fun!!!! although a little further down towards the Railay end of the beach is Last Fishermans Bar. Both are good for watching the sun go down over the ocean.
For accomodation we recommend "The Cliff Ao Nang Resort"
And upon budget like
* Beach Resort (just beside Ao Nang Villa). Clean and decent rooms; those without a balcony have a view of the limestone cliffs behind the hotel. 650 baht, 200 baht for extra bed. edit
* Laughing Gecko (on the road to the Thai boxing stadium). Very good food (buffet with Thai dishes, always at least one vegetarian, for dinner. Nui and Patricia are really nice fellows. Huts are basic, like in the good old backpacking days.
* P.A.N. BEACH, at Noppharat Thara beach (across the river where the ferry leaves), โ 098664373. New, comfortable bungalows with private bathroom. 400 baht (high season).
* Yellow Sun Guesthouse. Clean and basic doubles with private bathroom and window. from 300 baht.
* Na-Thai Resort (149 Moo 1, Baan Na-Thai - Centrally located. Phone for free pick-up), โ +66 (0) 7563 7752. Clean and basic doubles with private bathrooms. Choice of standard/Superior Bungalows, long term villas from 500 baht.
The Emerald Bungalow located on Laem Son beach, around 2000b, Fodor's star hotel very nice, but price went higher than before (1000b). Noparat-Thara Beach Moo. 4, Tambol Ao-Nang, Krabi 81000 Thailand, Tel : (66)2196-2055 Fax :(66)2196-2065
* Ao Nang Villa, 113 Ao Nang Beach (30m from the beach), โ ''+66''-75637270-4. The rooms are new, clean, and very spacious. Includes a buffet breakfast of both Asian and Western foods. Hotel has several pools in nice, natural settings.
* The Cliff Ao Nang Resort, 85/2 Moo 2, โ ''+66''-75638117 /8. One of the swankiest small resorts in Krabi, opened 2003. Location is quiet, with precipitous cliffs as the backdrop, but just off the main road and only 10-20 minutes on foot from central Ao Nang and the beach. Bungalows from 3500 baht up, rather small in size but with nice Balinese-style open air bathrooms and all modern conveniences. Breakfast in bed included. No children under 14 allowed.
Get out to other place like
Phra Nang Beach at Rai Leh and Poda Island in the distance
* The cliffs and beaches of Rai Leh, just 15 minutes away by boat, make a great day trip. Phra Nang is the next beach past Rai Leh and has dramatic limestone 'karst' rock formations. Names get confusing, as Ao Nang (the developed resort) is sometimes called Ao Phra Nang. From Phra Nang you can walk across to Rai Leh East, with its mangroves, and hire kayaks to paddle round the rugged peninsula. There's also a path from Rai Leh East to Rai Leh West where the most longtails call.
* Poda Island is another good day trip - you come back with the same boat and only pay on return. There's even an area to the right of where the longtails come in to Poda that's just worth snorkeling (unspectacular coral but a fair few fish).
* Ao Nang is one of the main gateways for travel to the Phi Phi islands, about 2 hours away by long tail boat, 40-50 mins by speed boat.