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Ao Nang

Eat and meet

Ao Nang

Generally speaking, the further you go from the beach, the better and cheaper the food gets. But even in the "local style" restaurants, expect to pay double what you would in Krabi town.

The main strip is packed with large, open-air restaurants that offer similarly pricey menus and specialise in barbecued seafood. You should be able to score a decent whole grilled fish at any of them, but for cheaper prices and bigger portions, head east on the main drag to A-Hud restaurant just before Full Moon Guesthouse. They offer Western-style dishes like raw oysters on a half shell to go with Thai-style tom yum seafood soup and steamed razor clams.

A few options are available for those seeking a cheap Thai meal. In the same side street as Popeye Guesthouse, you'll find a cluster of hole-in-the-wall shops that sell basics like noodle soup and fried rice for 50 baht a plate. Continue up the strip and you'll see a handful of street carts set up all day and late into the night near Adam Bungalows. These mainly cater to local resort workers and offer spicy som tam (papaya salad), grilled chicken and fish with sticky rice, and noodle soup. A few footpath tables are available for eating on-site. Nearby Boat Noodle Ao Nang offers tasty bowls of, you guessed it, boat noodles along with pad Thai and stir-fries. It seems like it should be cheap, but even simple veggie dishes like stir-fried morning glory go for 100 baht, although portions are large and flavours authentic. A bit further east from here is a nameless Muslim restaurant where you can sample curries and khao man kai (chicken rice) for a little cheaper.

Further east on Ao Nang Rd, a good half-kilometre past Ao Nang Backpacker, is where you'll find the Ao Nang night market. This large and colourful affair sets up daily at 17:00 and features finger foods like moo ping (grilled pork skewers) and hoy tort (fried oysters with egg) along with curries and chilli pastes for takeaway. You'll also find an abundance of fresh fruit here. Over in Haad Nopphara Thara, a similar night market can be found on Khlong Hang Road in the heart of town.

If you have more cash to spend, Ao Nang isn't short on international food. Indian and Italian are especially popular -- we didn't get a chance to try any of the Italian restaurants but we did enjoy a very tasty, albeit pricey dinner at Taj Mahal Indian restaurant. If you're in the mood for a steak, Divers Inn boasts imported New Zealand ribeyes and filet mignon to go with wine, cocktails and great house-made desserts like creme brulee and German chocolate cake. It's not cheap, but you'll get what you pay for.

A handful of quality options are available for breakfast and lunch. The Smiling Dog Cafe, also near Adam Bungalows, sells decent crepes to go with fresh coffee and smoothies. If you're really hungry, try the American breakfast crepe, a mix of potatoes, bacon, cheese and eggs stuffed into a thin flaky pancake -- delicious. Across the street from the Smiling Dog is Je Coffee, which offers quality breakfasts with homemade whole wheat and Bavarian brown breads as well as great coffee. When it comes to sandwiches, Ao Nang's shining star is the rather nondescript Coffee Arthit in the heart of the main strip. They offer a range of excellent salads, wraps and creative sandwiches on baguette, panini or whole wheat bread. They also do filling breakfasts along with coffee, juices, smoothies and free WiFi.

When it comes to nightlife, Ao Nang is home to dozens of small bars and there's even a big ladyboy cabaret in the plaza across from the beach. Further back on the strip, Indie Cafe reminded us of a dive bar in New York's lower east side, while the Irish Rover goes more for the classic Dublin style. Other bars offer reggae-inspired atmospheres, billiards and bigscreen football, or chilled out live music. In back corners of the side streets you will find a girlie bar or two, though they're low key compared to those in Patong or Kata over on Phuket.


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