We decided to go to fly from Chiang Mai to Krabi, in order to spend time in Ao Nang, due to its easy access to the south islands. We only booked a few days here, as it was only ever meant to be a stop gap to go to Railay Beach and mooch about before we went on to Koh Lanta.
We were really pleasantly surprised with Ao Nang, though, and could definitely have spent at least another two days there. Railay actually turned out to be one of my favourite beaches that we visited in Thailand, and Ao Nang turned out to be quite foodie hotspot with a wealth of great restaurants (picking just one from the huge list of high-scoring restaurants on Trip Advisor was quite a the task).
Our hotel, Phu Pha Resort, was also one of the better ones we stayed in in Thailand. The room was perfectly well-appointed with a lovely balcony area where I spent quite a lot of time, just chilling, painting my nails, browsing the internet for restaurants to visit and spamming the world with my snaps on Instagram. There was also a really gorgeous pool area, with loads of greenery and a brilliant atmosphere, especially in the evenings.
Breakfast, which was included in our booking, was also decent, although we avoided having dinner in the restaurant after some lacklustre reviews of the food on Trip Advisor. Plus, with so many awesome restaurants in Ao Nang Town, we didn’t really feel the need to eat at the hotel.
Railay beach was a short longtail boat ride away which cost a few hundred Baht each, but it was 100% worth the journey. This was the first place where I felt like I got a a glimpse of the Thailand that you see on Pinterest travel pages. The seas was a stunning deep blue, and I was in awe of the gorgeous rock formations of the cliffs. It was all very James Bond.
We spent most of the day just sunbathing on the beach (it was the first and only place that I got sun burnt, oops!), but the beach also boasts its own little walking street market and some little restaurants along the sea front.
The market is small and is a fraction more expensive than those you’ll find on the mainland or larger islands, mainly since everything needs to reach Railay by boat. For example, after paying 35 Baht in Bangkok for a fresh coconut, they were an extortionate 80 Baht here. That’s the most expensive we saw the whole trip! It’s the kind of market where you should pick something up if you really like it, but don’t expect to find a bargain here.
We must have picked the worst of all the restaurants for lunch, Sand Sea Restaurant, right on the beach. Our massamang curry and beef curry was pretty bad, with tough, rubbery meat and that awful congealed quality to it. You know you’re not doing it right when your curry has a layer of red oil, a slightly grey tinge to it and a skin on top.
It’s a real shame as the location of the restaurant is on point and they had some great drinks. This is something to beware (obviously not only in Thailand); sometimes restaurants with great locations rest on their laurels and you can often get much better food and service slightly off the beaten track. This experience made us much more wary of busy restaurants, especially in good locations, and always tried to check Trip Advisor before committing to ordering anything.
After our lunch fail in Railay, we took extra care to ensure we found somewhere awesome for dinner. The restaurant we decided upon was Carnivore Steakhouse, as we both really fancied something western so that we didn’t end up getting sick of Thai food.
The restaurant was close on being fully booked, and we had to wait 20 minutes for a table, but it was well worth the wait. We underestimated that we might be able to walk in and get a table, but this place has pretty slamming Trip Advisor reviews and tables are in really high demand. It isn’t undeserved, as well, as the food and drinks were really, really, REALLY delicious, with tender meat and steaks cooked perfectly to order.
Also: order the peppercorn sauce. You won’t regret it.
Moving on from Ao Nang was fairly painless, we just ordered a ferry ticket from one of the stores on the sea front at Ao Nang beach. From memory I think it was 700 Baht each, so about 14. We decided to head to Koh Phi Phi on the way to Lanta, so we ordered a one way ticket to Phi Phi to then head on from there to Lanta.
This was definitely a good move; Koh Phi Phi is BEAUTIFUL. It truly deserves its status as one of the number one tourist destinations in Thailand. This also deserves a blog post in its own right, which I’ll link to here.
This tour took two hours, which got us back to Phi Phi Don port just in time to grab an ice cream and a drink before our 3pm ferry to Koh Lanta.
Have you ever been to Krabi, Railay Beach or Ao Nang? What did you think of the place? Did you love it as much as I did?