Towering limestone cliffs, white sands and turquoise seas make Ao Nang a Thailand paradise. Each stunning beach has its own character and selling point. Here are our recommendations of the best things to do on each beach, from sunset-watching to cave exploration.
Want to sit back and let someone else do all the planning for you? Join our 10-day island-hopping trip in Southern Thailand, curated by travel experts and led by a local insider.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Featured on Culture Trip’s very own 10-day tour of Southern Thailand, blissful Ao Nang Beach is a 1km(0.6mi) stretch of soft sand lined with colourful long-tail boats and overlooked by those famous limestone cliffs. The huge, jagged rocks with their luscious greenery protrude from the sea, and this landscape makes Ao Nang Beach the perfect spot to catch the sunset. Grab yourself a Chang (refreshing local beer) from a nearby shop, and watch the sky flush with colour as the sun dips behind the sea. For some true Thailand magic, perch on one of the rope swings to the left of the main sitting area. They’re fit for two and, as the stars come out, you really can’t beat it.
What better way to spend a day than enjoying a picnic on the beach? At Nopparat Thara, you’ll find locals doing just that. Visit nearby food markets for the best street food, then join Thai families and friends on the sands to the west side of Ao Nang. Nopparat Thara Beach is less busy than the main stretch and, thus, much more peaceful. There are lots of tall trees providing shade, which makes it a good sitting spot for lunch or dinner. There are nice restaurants here, too, if you fancy a cocktail or two after sunset, and the port, where you can see traditional wooden boats nestled amongst palm trees, is also nearby. Perhaps best of all, when the tide is low, you can explore the tiny island of Koh Khao Pak Khlong by walking through the shallow sea – it’s the perfect day out.
Awaken your explorer’s spirit by navigating the mysterious Monkey Trail, starting at the east side of Ao Nang Beach. Cross the wooden bridge, then climb the rickety steps up into the hillside. They’re pretty steep, and you’ll have to rely on bamboo rails for support, but the views of the bay are breathtaking. As the name suggests, you might just come across a few furry friends. After your 10-minute mini-adventure, you’ll see the towering trees part, revealing one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. The white sands and turquoise sea at Pai Plong Beach boast the colours of a tropical paradise. It’s lined with perfect palms and a pretty, unobtrusive resort. Take your towel for an idyllic day of swimming and sunbathing on this quiet hidden gem.
Once you’re at Railay, walk over to PhraNang Cave Beach. The huge rock formations are otherworldly. Inject some excitement into your break by climbing inside and exploring the cave. If the tide is right, you can even swim in it – floating underneath the gigantic stalactites is truly awesome. For a bit of the unusual, visit the smaller cave next door, called Princess Cave. Locals have created a shrine to the gods of fertility, where, in difficult times, they leave wooden penises. Marvel at the hundreds lined up inside the rocky walls and bask in the power of the hopes and prayers left here over the years.
This tiny paradise, accessible by a short boat ride from mainland Ao Nang, is unique in its setup. Two lovely beaches are connected by a sandbank, so explorers can hop between them via a refreshing walk through the shallow part of the sea. If visitors are sparse, sit on the bank and spot tropical fish as the gentle waves lap over you. Make sure you’re back at the beach where your boat landed before the tide engulfs the walkway, or be prepared to wade through the water.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.