Introducing Ao Nang
First, the hard truths. Thanks to its unchecked and rather unsightly development huddled in the shadows of stunning karst scenery, Ao Nang is ugly pretty, and there's a touch of the Twilight Zone in the air here too, with the countless Indian-owned 'Italian' restaurants and naughty bar-girl sois.
So, yes, it's a little trashy, but if you forgive all that and focus on the beaches, framed by limestone headlands tied together by narrow strips of golden sand, there’s an awful lot to like here. In the dry season the sea glows a turquoise hue; in the wet season, rip-tides stir up the mocha shallows. If you’re hankering for a swim in crystalline climes at any time of year, you can easily book a trip to the local islands that dot the horizon.
Ao Nang is compact and easy to navigate, and with the onrush of attractive, midrange development, accommodation standards are high, with substantial discounts possible. It’s not nearly as cheap (or as authentic) as Krabi town, but it’s cleaner and sunnier. There’s plenty to do (mangrove tours, snorkelling trips) and it’s only 40 minutes away from the Krabi airport and a smooth 20-minute long-tail boat ride from stunning Railay.