If you are in Krabi Province then Ao Nang is the place to head for with its wide stretch of sandy beach, limestone cliffs and mountains surrounding the bay. There is a good vibe about the town and it has a relaxed holiday atmosphere with a multitude of shops to browse around and a variety of restaurants to choose from. You can catch a longtail taxi from the beach to take you to nearby Railay and Ton Sai Beaches; popular with travellers and cliff hangers. Development on Ao Nang has been fast but well managed and the majority of the area has escaped the high-rises that can be seen in other tourist areas of Thailand.
There are lots of things to fill up your days here. If you are seeking a little adventure trek into Krabi's interior where you will discover hot springs, waterfalls and caves. If you take a tour you will get a combination of insight into local lifestyle with kayaking or elephant trekking, bamboo rafting or fishing. If you are on the look out for souvenirs or beach clothes there are plenty of trendy little shops selling colourful local products. Many people take the chance to go island hopping from Ao Nang; Ko Poda, Ko Gai and Ko Tup are all nearby. Hire one of the longtail boat taxis, a one way ticket to nearby beaches can be as cheap as 100 baht per person, if you want to hire the entire boat for a day’s exploring then expect to pay around 2,000 baht. Usually the longtail waits until it is full so you could be waiting around for a while if there are not many people wanting to go in your direction, or buying up the empty seats yourself.
To find the best Thai food keep away from the main beach road where most of the tourists hang out. Follow the road towards Noppharat Beach and you will come to a street full of restaurants on wheels, here you will taste some of the tastiest and cheapest food to be found in Ao Nang. At the southern end of the beach road towards Krabi Town you will find bamboo huts serving up delicious barbeques and traditional Issan food; barbequed chicken, fish, and pork, ate with sticky rice and papaya salad.
Nightlife in Ao Nang is nothing like Bangkok, or even Phuket, it’s much more chilled out and mellow. Imagine nights spent watching the sun go down, walking along the beach and meeting people from parts of the world you might have never heard of and you get the picture. The most happening places are opposite the beach, high season will find them full of people and playing some good tunes. You’ll find bars that show sports events, pool, Irish bars, live music, pub food, karioke and even a few beer bars with lovely ladies.