Photo: Late light on a popular beach.

Introduction

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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.

Pack a book or three. Photo taken in or around Ao Nang, Thailand by David Luekens.

Pack a book or three. Photo: David Luekens

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 (Around 1,400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ao Nang.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Ao Nang.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ao Nang.
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