Tired of the water?
Published/Last edited or updated: 12th November, 2018
While the beaches and boat trips accessible from Ao Nang keep most visitors busy throughout their stays, those who tire of the water will find no shortage of land-based activities including muay Thai, cooking classes, cycling and day trips to national parks and other attractions on the mainland.
To book the tours and classes mentioned below you could contact the companies directly, or stop by any of the gazillion travel offices found all over the area. We’ve covered the basics below, but dig into the racks of brochures and you’ll find plenty more options.
Mainland day trips
Ao Nang makes a fine base for launching day trips, either by group tour or independently, to a number of mainland attractions found elsewhere in Krabi province and beyond. These include the mountaintop chedi at Wat Tham Seua; the rejuvenating water of Emerald Pool; rock climbing on Railay; and the waterfalls and caves of Khao Phanom Bencha and Than Bok Khorani national parks. For more ideas, check out the day trips listing over in our Krabi town guide.
Cycling and jogging
The area’s inland landscape is beautiful in places thanks to the many limestone massifs, rivers, mangroves, small villages and farms producing rubber, palm oil and fruit. Cycling is a great way to check it out, and Krabi Eco Cycle offers half- and full-day bicycle tours taking you as far afield as the Emerald Pool. Group tours cost 800 to 2,000 baht per person, including lunch, mountain bike, helmet and perhaps a boat or songthaew ride for part of the trip. If you want to explore on your own, the company also rents mountain bikes for 250 baht per day.
If you prefer to exercise on two feet rather than two wheels, the seafront walkway rimming Haad Noppharat Thara and the narrow, sparsely trafficked lane cutting through forest behind Long Beach are both great for jogging. Both of these beaches are also terrific for a run on the sand at low tide.
Only two kilometres inland from Haad Noppharat Thara, the village of Ban Na Tin (also spelt Baan Na Teen) is set in an agricultural area where visitors can watch locals produce sugarcane juice, sweets flavoured by coconut, batik wears and kitchen utensils made from bamboo and coconut wood. A few kilometres further north, Ban Nong Thale (pronounced ta-lay) was named after a large reservoir rimmed by cliffs, where visitors can kayak or take a longtail boat ride before enjoying southern Thai dishes such as khao yam, a healthy salad combining rice with all sorts of local herbs, fruits and vegetables.
Foreign travellers are largely unaware of these villages and you won’t find travel agents in Ao Nang promoting tours to either of them. We’ve yet to visit them ourselves, but Bangkok Post has a solid wrap on what to expect. While it’s possible to visit on your own, those lacking Thai language skills may want to employ a local guide. If you’ll be spending time in Krabi town, the rural island of Ko Klang is another good option for observing local ways of life.
Ao Nang is no Chiang Mai when it comes to cooking classes, but a few different schools offer group courses in the 1,000 to 1,500 baht range. They all teach you to make a curry paste from scratch along with well-known Thai dishes like som tam, massaman, krapao, tom yum and mango with sticky rice. While these courses won’t take you very deep into Thai cuisine, they could be worth a few hours if you want to get a handle on the basics. We’ve not tried any of them; a local expat told us good things about Krabi Thai Cookery School by Ya.
The Ao Nang area is a muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) hub of the south. Located in Haad Noppharat Thara, the Ao Nang Krabi Stadium features nine fights every Friday night at 21:00, with additional fights held on Monday nights in high season. Fights between young boys lead up to the main events featuring more serious (and fully grown) fighters, and while this is normal in Thailand, watching kids fight makes some visitors uncomfortable. Ticket prices for foreigners are rather insane: 1,200 baht for general admission and 1,500 baht for ringside.
The stadium also has a training facility charging 400 baht per 90-minute session, though you might be better off at one of the area’s other muay Thai gyms. For example, Bull Muay Thai on the main drag in Ao Nang charges 290 baht for a 90-minute session, while Emerald may be worth a look out near a rubber grove off scenic Ao Nang Soi 11. Other gyms include Kru Lek off the main drag and Chalamkaw up in Khlong Muang. They all offer extended training of weeks or months, and some provide cheap accommodation near the gyms.
Ao Nang Krabi Stadium: 100 Noppharat Soi 13, Haad Noppharat Thara; T: (083) 692 6262; https://www.facebook.com/AonangKrabiStadium/
Bull Muay Thai: 766 Soi Khao Kaeo 1 (just off main drag heading north out of Ao Nang); T: (062) 210 9130; www.bullmuaythaikrabi.com
Chalamkaw Muay Thai Camp: Highway 6024, Khlong Muang (one km inland from the beach); T: (082) 281 9499; www.facebook.com/chalamkawmuaythai/
Emerald Muay Thai and MMA Training Centre: Ao Nang Soi 11 (just east of Phu Phetra Resort); T: (083) 548 3850; www.emerald-gym.com
Krabi Eco Cycle: 304/9 Khlong Haeng Rd (two km inland from beach road between Ao Nang and Haad Noppharat Thara); T: (081) 607 4162; (075) 656 508; www.krabiecocycle.com
Krabi Thai Cookery School by Ya: 269 Moo 2 (near Ao Nammao); T: (081) 979 0677; (075) 662 155; www.krabicookeryschool.com
Muay Thai Boxing School by Kru Lek: 52 Ao Nang Rd (off main drag just north of Ao Nang Mosque); T: (089) 586 4308; www.krulekmuaythaigym.com
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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