A complete list of all the awesome things to do in Ao Nang, Krabi! Including a list of the best day tours but also a few budget options and totally free Ao Nang attractions!
Top 5 Things to do in Ao Nang, Krabi:
- Longtail Boat Trip to Railay Beach
- Monkey Trail Hike
- Snorkelling and Rock Climbing
- 4 Islands Boat Excursion
- Eat at Ao Nang Night Market and Muslim Street
Can you even say you have been to Thailand if you have not visited Krabi? Yes, that’s what I thought too.
I hadn’t originally planned to visit this part of Thailand and instead wanted to head up north and then to Laos. Yet my plans had to change. I had to leave Asia earlier than planned and travel to Singapore (for my flight) via Malaysia. That sounded pretty awesome too, especially since this meant I would be visiting Krabi!
Those iconic cliffs and beaches with colourful almost like painted on canvas boats, glorious sea and sun! Dramatic landscapes and yummy food! I was coming to Krabi!
Ao Nang was my first stop.
Ao Nang has a reputation for being overrated and touristy, and some even call it a backpackers’ party town. It’s also quite expensive by Thai standards. But there are a lot of great things to do in and around Ao Nang, and the town is a good starting point for exploring Krabi province.
Ao Nang has its pros and cons. Just like any other place in the world. I write about it more in-depth in my post comparing Ao Nang to Krabi town.
But if you are like me and want to go and find out for yourself and want to know what are some of the best things to do in Ao Nang I have a perfect list for you.
Whether you are a tourist visiting on a vacation or a budget traveller you will find something you like on this list.
In this list, I will include the most popular things to do in Ao Nang, some of the best tours and of course, for those budget travellers among us, totally free things to do in Ao Nang as well!
So let’s begin!
What is Krabi / Is Krabi an Island?
Krabi is actually a province of Thailand which includes some of the most spectacular destinations like Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi, Railay Beach and of course Ao Nang. Contrary to what some travellers think, Krabi is not an island. It’s a whole province of Thailand but includes a few islands and a mainland coastline.
The capital of Krabi is Krabi Town and the most popular resort town is Ao Nang which is also a great base for further exploration of the region.
Table of Contents
Totally awesome things to do in Ao Nang, Krabi
Visit Railay Beach
A visit to Railay Beach is absolutely top of the list of things to do in Ao Nang and considering how easy and affordable it is to visit Railay, there’s no excuse!
Railay Beach is a stunning peninsula in Thailand’s Krabi province, just a short longtail boat ride from Ao Nang. It is known for its breathtaking scenery, pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and limestone cliffs. The famous Phra Nang Beach and Phra Nang Cave are located here.
Despite being technically connected to the mainland, it can only be reached by boat due to the high limestone cliffs that surround it, giving it a secluded and isolated feel. Railay Beach is a true paradise!
The area is also a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, especially rock climbers and water sports enthusiasts!
Visiting Railay Beach is the most affordable day trip from Ao Nang!
Chill On Ao Nang Beach
In Ao Nang Krabi there are many beautiful beaches you can visit, but if you are looking for an easy beach day not far from your hotel, then Ao Nang beach is a good choice.
Ao Nang Beach is the main beach in the Ao Nang area, known for its stunning scenery, soft sand and clear waters. It is also a hub for tourist activities with many restaurants, bars and shops along the shore and a fire show almost every evening.
Ao Nang Beach is not the most spectacular beach in the area and I wasn’t expecting much. But I was pleasantly surprised that the beach was pretty nice, not crowded and boasted awesome views too!
I really enjoyed walking along Ao Nang Beach in the evening, especially toward the south side. It’s lined with lots of restaurants, a few swings and many cute colourful lights and the sand is very easy to walk on.
Watch The Sunset At Ao Nang Beach And Stay For The Fire Show!
The sunset at Ao Nang Beach is incredible! Unfortunately, I didn’t capture it with my camera because the only day it wasn’t raining when I was there for sunset was the day I didn’t have my camera with me.
But trust me when I say that the red colour of the setting sun spilling over the sky is something you don’t want to miss! This was one of the most stunning sunsets I’ve seen in Thailand!
Once the sun goes down, make sure you get a good spot to watch the fireworks that take place on the beach almost every evening!
Walk The Monkey Trail
Yet another top thing to do in Ao Nang is the hike on the famous Monkey Trail.
The Monkey Trail in Ao Nang is a popular hiking trail that leads from Ao Nang Beach to the stunning Pai Plong Beach.
It’s easy to find the start of the trail as it begins at the very end of Ao Nang Beach. You can simply follow the beach promenade or walk along the beach. At the end of the path, you will find a sign indicating the trailhead which begins with a small bridge.
The path is easy and as the name suggests – full of monkeys! To be precise – long-tailed macaques. The trail consists mostly of wooden stairs with handrails and the views are gorgeous. Take some time to spend on cute little Pai Plong Beach! The walk only takes about 30 minutes, but it’s quite steep, so make sure you take some water with you.
The hike on the Monkey Trail is also free, so it’s a great option if you’re on a budget and don’t want to do any tours!
Visit Ao Nang Night Markets
I was pretty disappointed with the Ao Nang night market. And to be frank, the Ao Nang Night Market was my least favourite in Thailand.
I found it very touristy, and pretty expensive. Mind you, what for me is expensive (100 or 150Baht) for many is still super cheap. But I ate delicious dishes for half of the price in many other night markets so in comparison, I found it pretty pricy.
If you are visiting other parts of Thailand I would even dare advise you to skip it altogether but if Ao Nang is the only place you are visiting in Thailand then by all means, head over to Ao Nang Landmark Night Market for the Thai night market experience.
It is slightly outside of the town, more or less 30 minutes walk from the centre. Like all the night markets in Thailand, it is full of stalls offering delicious Thai dishes. At Nang Landmark Night Market you will find plenty of seating areas as well as many entertainment options like live music and a bar street!
Closer to the centre of Ao Nang you will find a smaller Night Market Place which has a few food stalls as well as souvenir stores.
It is ok but if you are looking for a real bargain in the food department head over to Muslim Street which I will cover in more length a little bit below.
Stop By The Noppharat Thara Beach
Opposite the Ao Nang Landmark Night Market begins the rather long and yet quite peaceful Noppharat Thara Beach.
It’s a really nice area of Ao Nag, perfect for long walks on the beach, a sunset run or a morning swim. I didn’t find many sun worshippers there, but the sand wasn’t as nice as at Ao Nang Beach. But I really enjoyed chilling at a small bar and watching crazy people running in the scorching heat!
Find Cheap And Delicious Meals On The Muslim Street
Now, if you are looking for great food at a really affordable price and a slightly more authentic vibe you have to head towards Ao Nang Muslim Street.
This was my favourite part of Ao Nang. There are lots of great restaurants and food stalls there where you can get a yummy meal for as little as 50 baht! Yes! In Ao Nang!
The main streets and promenade of Ao Nang can be overwhelming with everyone selling you something, inviting you to their restaurant and with prices I would not have expected in Thailand.
But once you walk north for about 20 minutes you feel like you are back in more authentic Thailand.
Hike To The Secret Mountain Chinese Temple
This temple is a real hidden gem in Ao Nang and a completely free Ao Nang attraction!
I recommend visiting just before or after visiting Muslim Street as it is in the same part of town. Kind of.
It’s a stunning temple nestled between the hills. To reach the top, you have to climb 250 steps, but will be very much worth it!
When I was there, there was hardly anyone around. Keep it secret!
Go Beach Hopping And Take 4 Islands Tour!
Some travellers arrive in Ao Nang, do a 4 or 7-island tour and leave the next day. For real!
I wouldn’t go that far, but if you want to see all the best beaches Krabi has to offer in one day, this is the best option. It’s a super popular day tour from Ao Nang and for good reason.
You will stop at places like Railay, Ko Poda, Koh Mor and Chicken Island. But if you take the 7-island tour, you will also stop at even more beautiful island beaches!
A very popular thing to do in Ao Nang is of course a boat trip to Koh Phi Phi! You can take the ferry from Ao Nang to Koh Phi Phi, but if you fancy a fun day out, opt for one of the great day excursions with snorkelling and lunch instead.
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Take A Day Trip From Ao Nang To Emerald Pool!
The Emerald Pool, also known as Sa Morakot or Crystal Pool, is a natural freshwater pool in the Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve and is truly emerald green!
Nestled within a lush rainforest, 70 km from Ao Nang, it is a wonderful escape and makes for a great relaxed day in nature.
However, it is a very popular excursion destination, so you should not expect a peaceful retreat. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth a visit, especially if you also want to visit the famous hot springs of Krabi, which are only a 15-minute drive away.
And Tiger Cave Temple while you are at it!
Tiger Cave Temple is one of the most famous things to do in Ao Nang and Krabi as a whole! And for a very good reason!
Named after a nearby cave once believed to house tigers, the temple boasts intricate shrines and statues, offering a glimpse into Buddhist heritage.
It is most famous for its incredible location. Sitting within the jungle on a high hill, one has to climb 1200 stairs to reach the top and admire incredible views! At the summit, a golden Buddha statue overlooks the serene landscape and a shrine with a statue of a tiger. Tiger Cave Temple is home to a vibrant monastic community, the temple offers visitors a glimpse into daily Buddhist practices amidst the tranquillity of the forest.
You can either get there by rental motorbike or take an organised group tour which will also include Emerald Pools and Hot Springs!
Spend A Day At Tonsai Beach
Tonsai Beach is a secluded gem known for its laid-back atmosphere, world-class rock climbing and pristine waters perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Not far from the famous Railay Beach, Tonsai offers a much more relaxed, slightly hippie vibe.
The beach itself is stunning, surrounded by lush vegetation and jagged cliffs. There are a few cool hostels, beach bars and restaurants that cater more backpacker-friendly budgets.
Discover Khaothong Hill View Point
If you fancy a great half-day trip out of the city, then rent a motorbike and head to Khaothong Hill. Park your bike at the bottom of the hill and head up to enjoy one of the most incredible views in Krabi!
At the top of the hill, you’ll find a nice café with rather average food, but the view makes up for it.
There is a mandatory shuttle to the café that costs 60 baht, of which you can spend 30 baht on the food at the café. You can’t drive up the hill by car or bike.
This is definitely one of the most off-the-beaten-path things to do in Ao Nang!
Watch The Muay Thai Show
You will know about this show from day one! As you walk done the streets of Ao Nang you will inevitably see the van driving up and down and advertising the Muay Thai Show at the Ao Nang Stadium. Very loudly!
Nevertheless, it’s a great show and whether you are a fan or never heard about it – worth checking out!
Not for those who don’t enjoy fighting tho!
In the end, I had a great time in Ao Nang and really enjoyed my stay. The main part of town, the walking street and the touristy part were not my favourites, but once I discovered the more off-the-beaten-track areas and all the bargain food options, I had an amazing time!
Would I come to Ao Nang again? Probably not. If I were to return to Krabi, I would probably stay somewhere else.
But that’s a topic for a whole new post 😉
Let me know what you think!
If you visited Ao Nang, did you like it?
Until then, enjoy Thailand, and happy travels!
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Heading to Bangkok next?
Read my comprehensive guide to visiting Bangkok for the first time! And if you are not sure where to stay, this is my complete guide to the best areas to stay in Bangkok, especially if you are a solo traveller visiting for the first time.
And if you are feeling overwhelmed by the thought of using public transport in Bangkok, I got you covered too!