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Ao Nang

First the hard truths. Thanks to its unchecked development huddled in the shadows of stunning karst scenery, Ao Nang is ugly-pretty. There's a slightly seedy undercurrent, too.

So, yes, it's a little trashy, but if you forgive that and focus on the beaches, framed by limestone headlands tied together by narrow strips of golden sand, there’s plenty to like. In the dry season the sea glows a turquoise hue; during the monsoon, currents stir up the mocha shallows. If you’re hankering for a snorkel in clearer waters, it's easy to get to the little islands that dot the horizon, which generally enjoy less murky water, at any time of the year. Divers too, are close to some prime spots for getting underwater. Above all, Ao Nang is a straightforward and compact, if blandly touristy, destination to visit and that's why people head here.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Ao Nang.