Due to its central location in the Andaman Sea and to its fabulous topography and sporting opportunities, Ao Nang, at the moment, arguably Thailand’s best all-round beach destination. It is predominately a family and sports destination. Whilst it lacks wild nightlife and young party travellers will bore quickly, it does have a few relaxed bars and two nightclubs.
Many beach destinations get ruined when over-development and over-population result in an unsupportable excess of pollutants. But somewhere along the way there is an optimal state, where there are enough facilities, but a still ecologicaly-sustainable tourist population. Ao Nang is now at this stage and represents, for many people, an ideal compromise between a pristine but boring destination and a fun but polluted one.
The southern half of the beach is not yet bordered by a road, yet the town has a wide enough range of facilities, for example six Italian restaurants, to keep most visitors happily occupied for at least a couple of weeks.
Ao Nang is busy but hasn’t lost that laid back, friendly small-town feel; it is developed but still retains its original beauty and charm.
Ao Nang is, along with Chiang Mai, one of Thailand’s two most exciting soft and extreme adventure sports destinations. The home of two of the best beaches on the planet, Railay, is fifteen minutes away by boat. The town’s location on the eastern coast of Phang Nga bay puts it within easy reach of all the fishing, diving and kayaking sites in the bay. A day-trip to Koh Phi Phi is a better way to visit the place than staying there.
Ao Nang has numerous spas, beauty shops and massage parlours to offer you a little bit of pampering. Thai full- body massages lasting an hour cost around 250 Baht and, though you may feel that you have been pushed and pulled in improbable directions, you will feel rejuvenated afterwards. Ao Nang has all standards of accommodation, from traditional wooden bungalows to luxury 5 star spa resorts.The smell and taste of the Thai dishes is enhanced by a variety of fresh, local ingredients, just don’t forget to ask for non-spicy (mai pet) if you have a delicate, Western palette.
Ao Nang offers a wide range of activities and attractions, including snorkelling, kayaking, island-hopping, climbing, diving, spa/massage/beauty, shopping, white water rafting, hiking, kayaking, snorkelling, temple visits, fishing parks, elephant trekking, cooking classes, massage classes, market exploration and fishing.