Things to Do in Ao Nang, Thailand: What to See and What to Skip

Authored by:
Ruth P.

Ruth P.

Ao Nang, Thailand is a popular tourist destination in Southern Thailand. Located about 30 minutes from the Krabi airport, this beach destination has endless sights and activities. Lined with white sand beaches, crystal blue waters, and lush jungle, it’s easy to see why this destination is very sought out. 

My partner and I recently stopped here while on holiday. Having lived in Thailand for nearly three months now, I was stunned by how different this area was compared to other parts of the country. With so many things to do in Ao Nang, every day brought a new adventure. In this blog, I am going to provide some recommendations for what to do, and also what you can cut out of your itinerary. 

5 Things to Do in Ao Nang

  1. Go snorkeling! 

Snorkeling in Koh Tup 
  1. Snorkeling is by far one of the best activities to do in Ao Nang. We opted to buy our own snorkel gear so that we wouldn't be constrained by having to rent gear (a good option if you plan on snorkeling more than once).

  2. We took our masks to all the beaches we went to, but we preferred snorkeling in the cove of Koh Tup the most (one of the islands that we visited on our long-tail boat tour). 

  3. Take a tour of the local islands

  1. Hire a long-tail boat to explore four of the local islands - Koh Poda, Koh Gai, Koh Tub, Koh Mor. We opted to hire a private boat to get away from the crowds, as it can get quite busy during the high-season.

  2. You can hire a boat at any of the tourist information booths. 

  1. This tour cost about $60 USD ($30 each) for 4.5 hours. 

  2. If you are looking for a more budget friendly option, you can go with a group to reduce cost. 

  3. Go climbing (and stay to explore) Railay Beach 

  1. To get to Railay Beach from Ao Nang, you need to hire a boat. Luckily, the climbing trip we booked with King Climbers included the boat trip from Ao Nang to Railay. 

  2. Both my partner and I have climbing experience - both indoor and our - but climbing these massive limestone rocks over the beach has to be one of the coolest things I’ve done in Thailand yet. Most climbing trips range from $30-50/person. We paid $30 each.

  3. Our climbing trip had two boats back to Ao Nang - one right after climbing and a second later in the evening. We opted to take the 2nd boat back to give ourselves some time to explore Railay Beach. In my opinion, the east side of the beach was a little dirty and there wasn’t anywhere to lounge. However, if you make your way to the west side, the beach is much cleaner! There are lots of places around Railay Beach for a bite to eat.

  4. Go on a hike 

  1. I recommend hiking Khao Hang Nak Nature Trail. It’s a fairly strenuous hike (about 4.5 miles and 1.8K elevation), but it’s well worth it. The views overlooking Ao Nang and the ocean are outstanding. 

  2. Go shopping

  3. Like many towns in Thailand, Ao Nang has a great shopping strip and a night market. 

  4. Prices in Southern Thailand are generally higher, so this is a great place to practice your bargaining skills! We got our nice snorkel masks reduced from $20 to $15. 

What to skip 

  • On our last day we booked a snorkeling trip around Kho Phi Phi island. This was a guided tour that made stops at Bamboo Island, Viking Cave, Monkey Island, Pi Leh Lagoon, Maya Bay (this is where they shot the movie The Beach), and Ko Phi Phi.

  • This tour took half a day and while the sights were pretty, the tour was not worth the money. Of the six stops we made, we were only let off the boat at four. Our tour also started an hour and a half late due to mechanical failure on the boat.  

Pileh Lagoon
Pi Leh Lagoon 
  • Maya Bay is considered to be a main attraction in Southern Thailand and having been, it’s not worth the trek. It took us 20 minutes to get off and on the boat, due to the que of people, which left us with 10 minutes at the beach. The bay was packed full of tourists, and when we got to the beach, we were very disappointed because we weren't even allowed to go swimming. The waters at Maya Bay are currently closed for swimming due to rehabilitation efforts. 

  • Sadly, Kho Phi Phi was also a huge let down. Again, there were way too many people and we were not given enough time on the island. 

  • The scenery was of course still beautiful, but If you are looking for a snorkeling tour, ensure that you will actually be snorkeling. Otherwise, you can save your money and spend it elsewhere. 

As you can see, there are so many incredible things to do in Ao Nang. From snorkeling to climbing, and everything in between, you’ll be sure to have the best vacation yet!

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