The route into Ao Nang is a beautiful one, and the landscape is mostly made up of limestone cliffs, which are on each side of you as you enter. I stayed in the Slumber Party hostel, a well-known party hostel in Thailand. It does a good job of bringing people together as there is an event every night however, it’s quite repetitive with them alternating a pub crawl one night then beer pong championship the next night.
Ao Nang itself isn’t that special. The beach is fairly dirty and the seafront is full of overpriced restaurants and souvenir shops. However you can catch one of the long tail boats from the beach for around 2 which will take you to Railay around the corner. A beach which is only accessible by boat.
Railay is absolute paradise. I think the fact this is only accessible by boat is what makes it what it is. The boat drops you on Railay West, a few small cafes dot the beach and are tucked in by cliffs on either side, one used for climbing. I made my way inland to the viewpoint to check out the view which is stunning. Near the viewpoint is a lagoon. I had to check this out. Accessing the lagoon was not an easy task. There was the first climb up the mountain to the viewpoint which was fairly steep and then there’s the climb down into the lagoon. The climb involved a bit of abseiling down various ropes attached to whatever the most solid thing was on the way down. It was slippery and I was wearing vans, not ideal and when I got to the bottom I was covered head to toe in mud. Well worth it though, the lagoon is amazing, and a refreshing swim was welcome after all the sweaty climbing.
I had heard about a thing called Deep water soloing which involves free climbing up the limestone cliffs and falling into deep water if you slip or miss your hand hold. Sounded pretty cool. I asked around though and it seems the government have recently put a stop to it as a lot of people have hurt themselves doing it and have complained to the authorities. Annoying really. I’m of the opinion that it may well be dangerous, but if something happens, that’s part of the risk you take. Don’t go whining about it later on as you ruin it for everyone else.
I’d recommend to anyone coming here to stay on Railay if you can as there’s nothing going on In Krabi town and Ao Nang is like Magaluf. Railay has the beautiful beaches, climbing activities, caves to explore and numerous chilled out bars playing reggae, easy choice really.