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Ao Nang is a holiday town in Krabi, Thailand. It’s a popular place to visit in Thailand because it’s fully set up for tourism with plenty of hotels, hostels, resorts, restaurants, bars and shops. Plus there’s a lot of things to do near Ao Nang and lots of activities on offer!
Although Ao Nang Beach is nice, in my opinion, it’s not the nicest area of Thailand. It is in a good location though so it makes it the perfect place to stay in Krabi in Southern Thailand and use as a base to other beaches and to do day trips from.
Let’s quickly touch on how to get to Ao Nang. Ao Nang is pretty easy to get to, the easiest place to reach Ao Nang from is Krabi Town which has its own airport. Krabi Town to Ao Nang is a 30-minute drive. There are plenty of minibuses on offer in Krabi Town to take you there, or you can book a bus from Krabi Town to Ao Nang in advance.
Phuket is a 3-hour drive from Ao Nang, but the best way to get from Phuket to Ao Nang is by boat which takes just 2 hours. This can be booked in advance or in Phuket.
It will take a full travel day but you can get from one of the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Tao or Koh Phangan to Ao Nang via a boat and a few buses.
Finally, if you’re flying into Bangkok and you want to go straight to Ao Nang or to Railay you can get on a 16 hour bus direct. (Although be warned this is Thailand and it might take a bit longer!)
One of the best day trips from Ao Nang is to nearby Railay Beach because it’s close by, cheap to get to and the beaches of Railay are beautiful!
Although Railay Beach is part of the mainland of Thailand it can only be accessed via boat so you might find yourself asking ‘is Railay Beach an island?!’
There’s a ticket stand for longtail boats along Ao Nang Beach at the corner where the road leads from the beach into the town, it’s just over the road from The Coffee Club. Here’s the location on Google Maps!
A one-way boat ticket to Railay Beach from Ao Nang is 100baht during the day and 150baht after 6:30 pm, it’s the same on the way back too. You can buy a return ticket for 200baht at the stand but you can also buy the ticket back once you are on Railay with the boat driver, you don’t save any money by buying a return ticket here.
After you have purchased your ticket listen out for the boatmen calling ‘Railay, Railay!’, head that way, hand your ticket to the collection guys and they’ll tell you when to head to the boat.. easy! This how you get from Ao Nang to Railay Beach.
The boats that take you from Ao Nang Beach to Railay Beach are the traditional Thai longtail boats. Be warned that you will need to get into the ocean to climb up the little ladder onto the boat and when they drop you off you’ll have to jump into the ocean again too. So be sure to keep your bag as high as you can so a wave doesn’t crash into it and wear appropriate footwear and clothing.
The boat ride from Ao Nang to Railay is just 10 minutes, you may also get a bit wet from the splash of the ocean depending on where you sit in the boat.
You’ll get dropped off at Railay West Beach which is a really nice beach. It does get busy as this is the main Railay drop off point and those staying overnight in Hotels on Railay Beach get dropped with their bags here too.
The best thing about Railay is that there are actually quite a few things to do in Railay, including visiting 3 more beautiful beaches – Railay East, Phra Nang and Tonsai.
Both Railay East and Phra Nang are the easiest to get to as there is a paved path from Railay West and it’s flat. Once there, the beaches can be very busy as they are often part of the island-hopping day trips so a lot of people come and go, but they are both gorgeous with amazing water! Phra Nang is fairly remote or at least quite far to walk to a shop from but that’s ok because there are snack boats which line part of the beach selling all sorts of food and drink! Such a good idea!
Tonsai Beach is much quieter and has more of a chilled out, backpacker vibe compared to the high-end resort hotels in Railay. It’s possible to get from Railay Beach to Tonsai by foot but you’ll need to climb the side of the cliff that splits the two (you’ll see what I mean when you get there) or go the back way and do the jungle hike which is quite hard work!
Tonsai Beach is worth it because you’ll see a totally different side of this area but if you only have an hour or so to spend, I’d say the walk isn’t worth it as it is hard work in the heat.
Alternatively, you can get one of the longtail boats from Railay to Tonsai in 5 minutes if you’re happy to pay for the journey.
Whilst you’re in Railay you can also head up to some viewpoints (although be warned you have to climb!) and find some caves to explore!
There are lots of maps on the walkways around Railay to help show you where you can find them!
Like the nearby beach of Tonsai, Rock Climbing in Railay is great too! You can book Rock Climbing Lessons in Krabi like this in advance, but if you get to Railay Beach early you may be able to get a lesson the day!
Snorkelling gear can be hired as can Kayaks and Stand Up Paddleboards. Going out on the water at sunset is amazing and I saw a sunset kayak tour leaving Railay West Beach which would be good to join and you can book once you’re there.
If you don’t fancy being out on the water at sunset, be sure to stay on Railay West for it because the sun sets right in front of you!
There are lots of places to eat near Railay Beach for all budgets. There’s quick takeout food which is the cheapest option, cafes and restaurants. There’s also the snack boats I mentioned, and there are a few supermarkets to get drinks and snacks from.
For a day time drink or a sunset drink, you’ll find good bars in Railay too and I think the nightlife in Railay beach is pretty good too, chilled but plenty going on.
There’s also lots of shops selling the usual Thailand items, massage parlours and tattoo shops to help pass your day or help you get out of the sun if it gets too hot!
If you want to stay on Railay Beach, you can. Railay is a place with a fair bit of accommodation, although most resorts and fancier hotels making it more expensive to stay than Ao Nang.
Visiting Railay Beach whilst in Krabi and Ao Nang is a must because the beaches are so beautiful, and it works out as a really nice day trip from Ao Nang!
Accommodation in Ao Nang
If you still need to book accommodation in Ao Nang. I stayed at Pop In Hostel which I really recommend if you want a good, budget-friendly hostel in Ao Nang.
Centara Grand Beach Resort will be perfect for you if you fancy somewhere really nice!
Search for more hostels, hotels and resorts in Ao Nang on Booking.com here!
Accommodation in Railay
If you’re thinking about staying in Railay overnight too, all of the accommodation is online and you can check availability and rates on Booking.com here.
More Day Trip Idea’s from Ao Nang
Like I said, Ao Nang is a great base for day trips and there are also so many other day trips from Ao Nang including island hopping tours including a tour to Phi Phi Island, Zip Lining, Quad Biking, Hiking and much more. Here are some tours you can look into and book online:
For more of my Thailand posts see:
I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010. In the Summer of 2018 I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time! Yes, I’m living that dream!
NOV-DEC: PROBABLY INDONESIA
If you want to join or read more about the details of the group tour.