Ao Nang is the main port town of Krabi, popular among tourists for its long stretch of beach, souvenir shops, and night life. The main thoroughfare runs along the beach and is where the majority of the hotels, shops, and bars are located.
With the destruction caused by the 2012 tsunami, its apparent that Ao Nang is going through a period of regrowth, which causes it to feel underdeveloped and frighteningly foreign in some areas, but is a must see when you are looking for bargains on cheap Thai souvenirs, exotic street food, or a fun night out on the town.
Ryan and I began our journey through the streets of Ao Nang at the centrally located Starbucks, where we purchased a couple of souvenir coffee mugs, and continued along Beach Road, stopping at the various shops and fruit stands along the way. There were a ton of shops selling a wide variety of goods such as colorful t-shirts, bags, beach towels, and sarongs, as well as jewelry, shoes, beach toys, small trinkets, and art. Shop owners weren’t shy about coaxing people into their spaces to buy their wares. Like so many other popular tourist centers, we found many sellers giving prices solely based on shoppers’ appearance, but luckily, everything was negotiable.
As the sun began to set, Ao Nang became increasingly interesting. There was a visible shift in the environment as the streets began crawling with bar crowds, flashy tuk-tuks souped up with neon lights and loud sound systems, and very convincing lady-boys posing for pictures in exchange for tips. Most of the shops remained open and people began filling the many beach bars and restaurants, transforming this relaxed beach town into what felt like a lively night market spread throughout the streets of Ao Nang.
With plenty of restaurant options in addition to street venders selling fried foods and fresh fruit juices, the streets of Ao Nang are a perfect place to visit to satisfy your hunger, especially if you are feeling slightly more adventurous.
While visiting Krabi, Ao Nang is the best place to come if you are looking to do a little shopping. Ryan and I left with a ton of great souvenirs and had a blast exploring this small, but very interesting, beach town.
· More Information ·
Ao Nang, Mueang Krabi District Krabi 81180 Thailand
· Tips ·
• Prices are negotiable and fluctuate quite a bit from shop to shop, so make sure you haggle or wait to find a better price at a neighboring store.
• Visit the Walking Street Market held every Wednesday.
• Look for the “Clean Food, Good Taste” sign posted in restaurants. This signifies that the food is prepared with boiled water, safe to eat, and delicious.
• Ao Nang is a hub for boat tours and day trips to different islands around the area, so if time allows, take advantage of all that there is to do.