Our journey from Khao Sok to Ao Nang was slightly more tame than our journey from Koh Tao you’ll be glad to hear. Louise and I were collected from Smiley in a mini bus from here we were driven to a small bus stop in Krabi where we changed mini van to one heading to Ao Nang. We began our journey at 8:30 and were in our hostel in Ao Nang by 12:30. We arrived at our hostel “The Moment”, a relatively new building with really great facilities. The dorms were big, with large windows and aircon. There was a huge shower block, all with hot water! Not to mention free breakfast included with our room fee.
As soon as we arrived we threw on our swim wear and walked to the Ao Nang beach, after exploring this beach and spending an hour or so in the sun we decided to venture further. We spotted a small wooden staircase which we wanted to explore, to our delight the path lead to another, slightly smaller beach. Pai Plong beach was smaller but had whiter sand and more blue water. Not only this but the pathway to it was scattered with monkeys. We saw one with a plastic bottle of Fanta, the bottle was cracked open and he was dipping his fingers in and licking them to taste the Fanta!
We decided to park up again on this beach where we spent another hour. After our afternoon of exploring and sunbathing we headed back to our hostel to shower and change before dinner. As we left the hostel we realised that we’d probably be able to catch the sun set if we hurried. We picked up the pace and made it to the beach in enough time to see the sun drop over the horizon. That evening we ate in a roof top restaurant which, if it wasn’t for the road and the trees, you’d have a clear view out to sea. We moved to the next restaurant along for a cocktail as they were cheaper (yes, we went to that effort to save 10Baht). There weren’t many tables left so we joined another two girls while they were eating their food. They were keen to chat and make friends which lead to Louise and I having a spontaneous night out with our two new friends from dinner. What made this night out so fun was largely due to the roof top bar which was offering free drinks to people who completed certain levels of limbo. No I’m not a pro, but I like to think I’m pretty good. This meant I had free drinks sorted for the whole night!
The next morning even though we were feeling slightly worse for wear Louise and I filled up on the free toast and coffee before heading down to the pier to book tickets to Railey. Once we’d bought our tickets we hopped into a long tail boat. The boat ride only took a few minutes and we were welcomed by gorgeous limestone cliffs similar to those we’d seen in Khao Sok. The beach in Railey was big but a large docking point for long tail boats which made it a bit harder to swim. In true Louise and Sarah style as soon as we arrived we wanted to explore. We first headed to the right of the beach(more north) where after a small walk (flip flops made it a little difficult) we found ourselves in climber paradise. There were small groups of spontaneous climbers tackling all areas of the rock face. In some places thy were so high up that it felt like I couldn’t look up high enough. We later found out this was Ton Sai beach, it was far quieter than Railey but just as stunning and with more shells to collect. After Louise and I were done marvelling at the strength and bravery of the climbers we decided explore what else we could find. We spoke to a kind couple who told us we could go via east Railey to another bay on the south. We walked into the centre of the peninsula through a little row of shops, past the mangrove dense beach of Railey east to the southern most beach of the peninsula: Phra Nang beach. This beach was stunning, super fine powder sand and stunning blue water. The beach is also home to another classic Thailand view: the small spit of sand connecting to a rock form. We explored the areas around this beach, including the princess cave. The princess cave is where sailers used to come to be blessed. They believed that the spirit of the cave was a princess that would bring them life and fertility. Many of them brought gifts, these gifts were generally phallic shaped. This was both interesting but also relatively amusing. Situated on a beach filled with couples it seemed pretty apt. We decided to set up camp on this beach for the afternoon. Here I read my book, dipped in the sea and soaked up the sun. At about 3:30 we decided to call it a day and headed back to Railey to catch a long tail back to Ao Nang. We grabbed our favourite fresh smoothies- mine: passion fruit and pineapple, Louise: mango and pineapple, and headed back to the hostel. For dinner we decided on a Thai/Indian restaurant where we ate curries, naan breads and chipatis. The food was delicious and also wonderfully cheap. There is a lot of Indian food available in Ao Nang, probably due to the large migrant community. We called it a night pretty early keen to catch some sleep after our late one the night before.
Day 2 held another long tail adventure, after weighing up the options and prices we decided on Ko Hong. Ko Hong is famous for its stunning lagoon. On the south of the island there is a small inlet (only accessible by long tail or kayak) which opens into a perfect lagoon surrounded by stunning greenery. There is no where to more up in the lagoon, so after a quick sweep through we were taken to the beach area for the rest of the day. Here, we again, firstly explored as much as possible. On our little island walk we came across a huge lizard like animal. Fair to say this was surreal and also a reminder of where we were. Further round the walk we saw another two of these animals before making it back to the beach where we camped for the rest of the day. As the day went on the beach grew quieter, at about 3:30pm our boat of 6 was some of the last to leave the island. In the evening we made the most of the Indian cuisine and had another delicious Indian meal before packing our bags ready to leave Ao Nang for Koh Lanta the following morning!
In comparison to Koh Tao, Ao Nang and the surrounding area is much more touristy. It’s very much more laze on the beach all day type of place. It had a similar feel to European beach holiday resort. Although if you are ready to explore then there are definitely gems to find!