Beach holiday hotspot
Packed along a lacklustre beach with a pretty outlook to limestone headlands and islands, Ao Nang marks the centre of tourism in Krabi province. From tailor shops to boat tours to bars and all-in-one Indian/Italian/Thai restaurants, all sorts of conveniences are at your fingertips here. If Ao Nang’s trashy side doesn’t sit well, head to any of several nearby beaches to find peace and quiet.
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The town’s official name, Ao Phra Nang, pays homage to a local goddess who collects piles of wooden penises in her cave shrine on the nearby Railay peninsula. It’s fitting that the honorific phra was dropped; today Ao Nang is more of a tribute to beer and bikinis than anything sacred. Pushy touts, noisy bars and souvenir stalls define the main drag. While this is not a sexpat enclave, things do get seedy down some of the side lanes.
That the majority Muslim community puts up with the sometimes drunken and usually scantily clad tourists is one of Ao Nang’s perplexing features. We’d guess that money answers this riddle: a giant modern mosque like the one that now looms over the main drag requires a lot of it. Ao Nang is a place of ironies and oddities to go with the ups and downs.
For such a popular beach destination, Ao Nang beach leaves a lot to be desired. The rough tan sand practically disappears at high tide. All day long, a fleet of longtail boats stirs up brownish-green water that’s no more than waste-deep for the first 200 metres offshore at low tide. If your travel agent insists that this is a white-sand paradise, you need to find a new ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,400 words.)
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