A guide to visiting Ao Nang, Krabi’s laid-back beach town

Flanked by huge limestone cliffs with easy access to some of the most beautiful Thai islands such as Koh Poda or Koh Hong, Ao Nang is the perfect place to visit for a beach vacation. With an abundance of things to do such as island hopping, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, snorkeling and diving, it’s no doubt a great addition to any Thailand itinerary. Here’s your go-to guide to visiting Ao Nang including tips on how to get there and the best things to do.

How to get to Ao Nang?

There are several ways to get from Krabi to Ao Nang beach. From the airport, you can take a private taxi or bus and the journey should take around 45 minutes to 1 hour. The price for a bus ticket is around US $5 while a private taxi or minivan starts from US $16. If you’re coming from the islands in Krabi or the Gulf of Thailand, you can check out the table below for a list of the most popular routes: 

RoutesTransportation methodsStarting price
Phuket to Ao NangFlight, ferry, minivan, private carUS $16
Koh Phi Phi to Ao NangFerry, minivan, private carUS $12
Koh Lanta to Ao NangFerry, minivan, private carUS $10
Koh Samui to Ao NangBus+ferryUS $17
Koh Phangan to Ao NangBus+ferryUS $25

Best things to do in Ao Nang

Head to the beach

One of the main reasons why people visit Krabi is for its white-sand beaches and although the Ao Nang beaches might not be the best, they still offer spectacular sunsets. The main beaches include Ao Nang, Nopparat Thara and Pai Plong but you can also take a boat to the Railay Peninsula which is home to even more beautiful beaches such as Railay West and Phra Nang

Day trip to Railay Beach

If you want to soak in all the island vibes without actually leaving the mainland, I highly recommend a visit to Railay. This little slice of paradise features soaring karst mountains, white-sand beaches, turquoise water and heaps of adventurous activities. 

Some of the best things to do here include rock climbing, kayaking, hiking or simply beach bumming. Head to Railay West or Phra Nang beach if you want to go for a swim. Railay East is popular for rock climbing or you can hike up to the viewpoint and Princess Lagoon. Tonsai beach is more chilled and another great spot for rock climbing. 

Getting from Ao Nang to Railay Beach requires a 15-minute boat ride which costs 100 baht (US $2.99) only. The boat will only leave once there are at least 8 people but it usually fills up pretty fast so you won’t have to wait for too long.

Experience the nightlife

Ao Nang nightlife scene is mostly concentrated along the walking street where you’ll find a wide range of restaurants and bars. It’s more laid back compared to the party islands of Koh Phangan or Phuket, so don’t expect anything too crazy. Some of the most popular places to experience the nightlife include Ao Nang Center Point, The Last Fisherman and Roots Rock Reggae Bar.

You can also visit Ao Nang night market which is located near Nopparat Thara beach, although the one in Krabi Town is much bigger and livelier with more food stalls and at times live music.

Island hopping tour

One of the top things to do in Ao Nang is to go on an island hopping tour which can be booked pretty much anywhere in Ao Nang. These tours cost on average 800-1,000 baht (US $24-29.99) and include a visit to Koh Poda, Chicken Island, Koh Tup, Koh Mor and Phra Nang beach. Since these islands are part of the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi national park, you need to pay a park fee of 400 baht (US $11.98) before entering. You also have the option of renting a private longtail boat if you want to avoid the crowds. 

Hike up the Dragon Crest Mountain

Another great thing to do in Ao Nang is hiking the Dragon Crest Mountain, also referred to as the Tab Kak Hang Nak Hill nature trail. This is where you’ll find the famous “hanging rock”. It’s located slightly outside of town so you’ll need to hire a taxi to get there (it costs on average 2,000 baht/US $59.99 for a return trip). The 2-hour hike is very steep and quite challenging, so it’s definitely not for everyone.

There are also a few tiny waterfalls along the trail that you can visit but the main attraction is the panoramic view over the Andaman sea and limestone mountains. The trail is open daily from 8 a.m to 4 p.m and is free to visit. 

Take in the view from the Tiger Cave Temple

The Tiger Cave Temple is located about a 30-minute drive from Ao Nang and one of the most popular places to visit in Krabi. Also known as Wat Tham Suea, this beautiful temple is set atop a limestone mountain and provides 360-degree views over the entire Krabi region. You can even see as far as the neighboring Thai islands on a clear day.

This isn’t for the faint-hearted though as you’ll need to climb up 1,237 steps to reach the main temple but the view at the end is so worth it! Plan your visit early in the morning to avoid the heat and crowds. There are also a few other temples at the foot of the mountain that you can visit. Entrance is free and remember that you need to dress conservatively before entering the site.

Swim in the Emerald Pool

Need to cool off after your hike to the Tiger Cave Temple? Make sure to visit the Emerald Pool. Since it’s part of the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park, this natural pool of turquoise water is completely surrounded by the Krabi jungle. You can also visit the Blue Pool while you’re there but you’re not allowed to swim in this one.

There are several walking trails that lead to the pool ranging from 800 meters to 1.4 km. The entrance fee is 200 baht (US $6) for tourists. 

Relax in the Krabi Hot Springs

Although the heat might make you want to skip this attraction, the Krabi Hot Springs are claimed to have natural healing properties so it might be worth checking out. The water is heated by underground thermal springs and temperatures can shoot up to 40 degrees Celsius. Entrance costs 160 baht (US $4.80) for tourists.

From the stunning beaches of Railay to the sweeping views of the Tiger Cave Temple, you’re bound to find plenty to do in Ao Nang no matter how many days you plan on spending there.

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