Ao Nang, Thailand: Jumping off point to the islands

From Ko Samui, Meggan and I took the ferry to the mainland and a bus directly across the thin strip of Thailand to Ao Nang on the opposite coast.  We used Ao Nang as our jumping off point for island hopping along the Andaman Coast to Malaysia.  The town itself is not very picturesque, unless you like photos of Starbucks.  We did end up being on the beach jammed full of long-tail boats during a killer sunset, so all the photos of Ao Nang are from that evening.Ao Nang is in a nice enough setting with the classic Thailand views of blue water and towering limestone cliffs, Although one night is more than enough time to stay here.  Most of the town consists of a never ending row of cheap souvenirs, counterfeit goods and tailors. Hypothetically speaking, if you would like to buy some cheap bootleg DVDs for those long travel days or rainy days stuck at a hotel, this would be a good place to get them… hypothetically speaking, of course.  Ao Nang also seems to be the hyphenated restaurant capital of Asia.  Hyphenated restaurant, you ask?  Well, there’s Thai-Swiss, Thai-Swedish, Thai-Dutch, Thai-German, Thai-Chinese, and Thai-American to name a few.  I guess there’s a tourist demand for gastronomical training wheels.   If you’d like to get a plate of Swedish meatballs with a side of Phad Thai, Ao Nang would be the place to get it.We were able to stay at a great place for a very reasonable rate while we planned which islands we wanted to explore.  This is precisely what makes Ao Nang a good stop over spot.  There is an abundance of information of boat timetables and various islands in the Krabi and Trang provinces.  The transportation between islands is a breeze, which allows travelers to choose their own island adventure.  There are both ferry and speedboat companies with comparable prices.  We found that the speedboat option was usually a bit faster, while the ferry a bit cheaper, but not by much.  We ended up using both the speedboat and ferry along the way basing our decision on the departure times.   We were pretty responsible about how much time we spent in the islands, but we can see how easy it would be to get stuck for a long time in the hundreds of islands of southern Thailand.  The best part is the next time we go to Thailand, we can choose all new islands to explore.  Stay tuned for our next posts on which islands we chose to go to.

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2 Responses to Ao Nang, Thailand: Jumping off point to the islands

  1. Leigh McAdam says:

    Your photography is superb – and the colours colours are sublime.

  2. Stayed in Ao Nang for a few days while I was in Thailand. Went over to Railay Beach and went to a stadium to watch Muy Thai. Also did a cooking class about 10 minutes away from the center of town. Your assessment of storefronts and restaurants is right on but it is a good jumping off point to other places.