Top Things to Do in Ao Nang, Thailand

Railay Beach is a climbers paradise in Thailands southern province of Krabi
Railay Beach is a climber's paradise in Thailand's southern province of Krabi | © Alex Beer / Alamy Stock Photo
Culture Trip Travel Team

The beaches of Ao Nang are among the most beautiful in Thailand, with white sand fringing the crystalline waters of the Andaman Sea. Snorkel in Tha Lane Bay, climb at Railay Beach or pay a visit to an elephant sanctuary.

Tropical paradise does exist in Thailand – it’s known as Ao Nang, and you can visit it with Culture Trip on our exclusive 10-day Southern Thailand trip, led by our local insider.

Here, endless beaches are lapped by turquoise water and lined with longtail boats, ready to whisk you off on an adventure around the lush nearby islands. Inland, there is even more choice – from ziplining to visiting an elephant sanctuary.

1. Hire a private longtail boat


MA8C24 Longtail boat, Ao Nang beach, Krabi, Thailand
© Ray Evans / Alamy Stock Photo

For an idyllic day of island-hopping, one of the best ways to get around is via a private longtail boat. Head down to the beach and you’ll find plenty of boats available for hire immediately – you just have to agree beforehand on which islands you want to visit and on a fixed day rate. Before you set off, make sure you have a picnic lunch, your snorkel gear and some cash for entry into the National Marine Parks.

2. Go kayaking around Tha Lane Bay


R09P56 Beautiful Tha Lane Bay in Krabi, Thailand. Landscape taken in south east Asia.
© Anna Bieniek / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, why not explore lush mangrove forests at the secluded Tha Lane Bay? Situated about 20km (12mi) outside of Krabi town, this family-friendly excursion takes you through hidden lagoons, quiet canyons and stunning karst formations as you paddle through tranquil waters. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for herons and kingfishers as well as the elusive crab-eating macaques.

3. Hike along the Monkey Trail

Natural Feature

T439XD Monkey is sitting on a tree and eating a banana Thailand
© travelimages / Alamy Stock Photo

For some light trekking, you’ll want to hit up Monkey Trail, a stretch of dirt and wood path that takes you to some of the most scenic spots on the island. As the name suggests, Monkey Trail is populated with cheeky primates, often seen lounging along the path or chilling in the trees with their babies. While the trek takes just 30 minutes to complete in a loop, it is rocky and uneven in parts, so be careful.

4. Get a Thai massage at Aonang Haven


W1D73H Woman getting thai massage in spa
© baranq / Alamy Stock Photo

From high-end resorts to makeshift shacks along the beach, massage services are a dime a dozen in Ao Nang. Aonang Haven offers the best of both worlds – professional service standards and a clean, relaxing environment at prices that won’t break the bank. After a day of strenuous activity, let their professional therapists ease those tension knots away with an invigorating massage. For those who spent a little too much time in the sun, they also have special treatments to soothe sunburned skin.

5. Visit Tiger Cave Temple

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

2FM97WE Ancient pagoda with altar on high mountain near the Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi province, Thailand
© Vladimir Kazakov / Alamy Stock Photo

About a 30-minute drive from Ao Nang, this impressive temple is one of the star attractions in Krabi. As the actual temple is tucked within a warren of limestone caves, you’ll need to hike up a cliff to get access. It takes a gruelling 1,237 steps to get to the top but at the summit, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Andaman Sea, expansive rainforests and majestic limestone cliff formations.

6. Watch climbers at Railay Beach

Natural Feature

GE0YEP Rock climbers climbing the wall on Railay beach
© Maciej Bledowski / Alamy Stock Photo
This serene beach – accessible by a 15-minute boat ride – is popular with day-trippers and rock-climbing enthusiasts alike. The towering karsts offer a crisscrossing network of routes for climbers and boulderers, each with its own challenges and difficulty level. If it’s your first time, no sweat – Real Rocks Climbing School is a local school known for their professional standards and multi-day courses for beginners. Before you know it, you’ll be scrambling up those rocks with ease.

7. Take a day trip to Krabi Hot Springs

Natural Feature

2C77P6E Khlong Thom natural hot spring pool, healthy for 20 minutes
© Sandra Pukjane / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re craving a break from the Ao Nang crowds, make your way to this picturesque spot about an hour away by car. Here, you’ll find a series of naturally hollowed-out stone “bathtubs” in the jungle where fresh thermal spring water bubbles forth. The mineral-rich water hovers at a temperature between 35C and 42C (95F and 107F) and is said to alleviate ailments such as rheumatism and sciatica. After a therapeutic soak, you can take a dip in the cool river below.

8. Grab dinner at Ao Nang Night Market

Market, Street Food

TT5JJK Grilled seafood on skewers is traditional snack, popular among tourists and locals, Ao Nang Night Market, Thailand
© eFesenko / Alamy Stock Photo

What better way to soak up the sights and sounds of Krabi than with a wander through this bustling night market? Set up near the 7/11 store beyond the boxing stadium in Ao Nang, this is where you can feast on Thai street food favourites such as barbecued meats, pad thai and steamed shellfish. Wash it all down with a fruit shake. Besides food, the market also hawks a wide variety of clothing, electronics and other tchotchkes.

9. Whiz down a zipline at Aonang Fiore

Amusement Park

Aonang Fiore
courtesy of Aonang Fiore / Expedia

Round up the little ones and head to this adventure park in the heart of Ao Nang. Apart from side-by-side ziplines, the park also offers a series of cross rope bridges, dangling cables and other obstacle courses, ranging from easy to extreme. All the guides are professionally trained, so just relax and enjoy the wind in your face as you whiz high above the forest floor.

10. Stop by the Aonang Elephant Sanctuary


2DD4CDT A day with elephants at Krabi Elephant House Sanctuary - Thailand. Travel destination in Krabi area - 27th of January 2020
© Andreea Dragomir / Alamy Stock Photo

Get acquainted with gentle giants at the Aonang Elephant Sanctuary. It’s a retirement home for five senior elephants that have been rescued from elephant riding camps or the logging industry. During your time here, you can help feed or bathe the elephants or simply bask in their Zen-like company. There’s absolutely no riding allowed in the sanctuary; they take extra care to ensure the creatures are not stressed out by the presence of visitors.

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