I’ve been coming back and forth to Aonang, Krabi since I was 28 (I’d tell you how many years that’s been, but I’m not quite ready to accept how old I am now!). Whilst a lot of the places I visited during my first trip to Thailand have drastically changed, Aonang has someone managed to maintain a lot of its ‘authentic’ Thai feeling, albeit, with a lot more walking streets and overpriced air-con coffee shops.
Outside of the busy, farang-filled main street, you’ll find soi (street) after soi of green jungle roads, dotted with the small concrete homes of locals, roosters freely kicking up the dust in the yards and bare-butt children standing under hose pipes to cool off.
Following many a bar conversation with eager first-timers to the area, I appreciate that (like anywhere new) travelling to a new place can be daunting. This blog addresses the frequently asked questions that people throw at me the most, both before their travels to Aonang, and during their first couple of days in the area. I’ll be covering:
- Where is Aonang located?
- What is the best time to visit Aonang?
- What are the top attractions in Aonang?
- Is Aonang vegetarian/vegan-friendly?
- What are the best restaurants in Aonang?
- What is the nightlife like in Aonang?
- What is the best way to get around Aonang?
- What should I pack for a trip to Aonang?
- What are some cultural customs to be aware of in Aonang?
Where is Aonang located?
Aonang is a coastal town located in the Krabi Province of Thailand, on the western coast of the country. The location, looking out across the Andaman Sea, is often used as a brief stop-point for backpackers making their way to the famous Phi-Phi island, alongside Koh Lanta, and the lesser-travelled Yao Yai/Noi islands.
Nearby Nopparat Thara Pier serves as a gateway to the Andaman Isles and is only a 5/10 minute drive from Aonang’s bustling beachfront. Over the last 5 years or so, the area has begun to carry favour with family holiday goers as it sees a rise in the number of larger luxury hotels, still at reasonably low prices for the South, beach locations in Thailand.
What is the best time to visit Aonang?
The best time to visit Aonang is between November and March when the weather is dry and temperatures are mild. It’s worth noting that November and December are still prone to heavy tropical showers and moody skies. However, in my experience, the rain tends to dry up as quickly as it arrives.
Whilst April usually remains relatively dry, the temperatures for many become unbearable, especially those from colder climates. During my last visit, temperatures in the last week of March were easily pushing into the 37⁰ mark, with local reports reading that (with the addition of Krabi’s humidity) it felt more like 45⁰!
However, it’s worth noting that Aonang remains a popular tourist destination all year round.
What are the top attractions in Aonang?
Aonang has a range of attractions to keep visitors busy, from beautiful beaches to cultural experiences. Some of the top attractions include Railay Beach, Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi and an array of hidden gems that a lot of the tourists often miss – find these on my blog, ‘Unique and cool things to do in and around Krabi Town’
Many of my favourite spots in the area have still not established the need for a website, with most quirky businesses and attractions relying on Facebook pages and local word of mouth.
Is Aonang vegetarian/vegan-friendly?
In short, yes! Aonang is a very vegetarian/vegan-friendly destination. Back when I first began my visits to Aonang, having a basic understanding of the Thai language allowed me to ask street vendors to re-create the favourite Thai dishes without the use of meats and fish sauce (most places will be happy to accommodate this if they can). Whilst this is still handy, especially if you really want to dip into the scarily cheap side-of-the-road local restaurants with their rickety plastic chairs, it’s certainly no longer essential.
Aonang’s main beachfront is lined with Thai/ Indian/ Italian restaurants advertising their vegan and vegetarian options in full glory, and the town now has a good number of restaurants dedicated to plant-based travellers. Over the last two years (due to growing demand) Aonang has seen a flurry of Western-style coffee shops and cafés pop up, most offering oat/almond/soy/coconut milk alternatives, alongside plenty of vegan mains (and sometimes the odd dessert).
You’ll find a comprehensive list of all of the vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Aonang in my blog: The Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Aonang, Krabi, Thailand
What are the best restaurants in Aonang?
As noted above, Aonang has a diverse range of restaurants offering Thai, international, and vegetarian/vegan cuisine. Some of my favourite all-rounders include Tan (they now have two venues and offer great brunch options and delicious coffees), Cafe 8.98 (for pick-n-mix Buddha bowls), CRU Kitchen and Bar (for Western dining), Manana Mexican, Govindas, Ali Baba Indian Restaurant, and all of the stalls located in the Thai open-air food court (opposite Subway and The Coffee Club).
What is the nightlife like in Aonang?
Aonang has a vibrant nightlife scene, with a range of bars and a few clubs that cater to different tastes. But let me make it clear, if you’re looking for the wild parties of Phi Phi, Samui, and Koh Phangan, you’re in the wrong place.
For high-energy dancing and a good range of commercial music, Upbeat Bar is popular with backpackers and those looking to party until the late hours of the night. For the best in new House music, I absolutely love Tribe Beach Bar (also located on Aonang’s main strip). You really need to bring your own party here; despite its incredible DJ, this place never draws the lively crowd you’d expect it to (possibly due to its slight setback location from the road). Their happy hour menu (which lasts all night!) serves the strongest, and most authentic, cocktails for 180 baht a piece and their music will have you repeatedly reaching for your Shazam search feature.
The main music scene in Aonang revolves around live performers, often bursting out a similar mix of long-time favourites including Nirvana, Killers, Adele, and any other popular global artist/band that will appeal to the masses. My favourite spots for live music are Full Moon Bar and Reggae Bar, however, keep an eye out for special guest performances advertised along the strip – these often travel from around Thailand and bring a new sound to the offering with them.
What is the best way to get around Aonang?
The best way to get around Aonang is by renting a scooter, which is both affordable and convenient. My go-to bike rental is Jeff Jeff Motorbike Rental Aonang. Jeff has around 60 bikes in rental rotation, ranging from light, easy-to-manage Scoopys to larger, heavier bikes with a bit more power behind them.
Whilst located a little bit out of the house way from the main street, Jeff is friendly and reliable and makes everything about your rental easy;
Taxis and tuk-tuks are also available, but they can be more expensive. You’ll find the majority of them lined up along the beachfront, and haggling is usually a fruitless effort – the drivers have agreed prices that they stick to quite rigorously. A cheaper alternative is to hop on the back of one of the local songthaews (an adapted pick-up/larger truck with two rows of seats in the back). Songthaew drivers will crawl along the road and stop wherever you flag them over, though it’s worth noting that they’ll continue to crawl until their vehicle is full (so you’ll need to learn to be patient when it comes to getting to your desired destination).
What should I pack for a trip to Aonang?
The better question should be, ‘What shouldn’t I pack for a trip to Aonang?’ Ladies – leave the heeled shoes at home! The vibe here is relaxed rasta beach realness, so swap your glam shoes for flip-flops, sandals, or trainers. The same applies to smart shoes for men – an absolute waste of time.
When packing for your trip to Aonang, it’s important to consider the weather and the activities you’ll be doing. Be sure to pack light, breathable clothing, comfortable shoes, and swimwear – many of the daytime excursions are based around boat tours, pools and mountains, so keep it casual. Whilst many guides will tell you to pack insect repellent, I never bother. The best mosquito spray I’ve ever found is available in abundance in Aonanag’s many 7-Eleven stores.
However, be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and a couple of hats to protect yourself from the intense mid-day sun, as so many people end up with burns following a breezy day out on the water.
What are some cultural customs to be aware of in Aonang?
Just recently a friend and I were discussing the fact that tourists seem less aware of the cultural customers around Thailand since they swapped their Lonely Planet guidebooks for quick, specific Google travel searches. It’s worth noting that Krabi (and Aonang) has a significant Muslim population, mainly consisting of ethnic Malay Muslims. Whilst it’s very much accepted that tourists will walk about in revealing swimwear, eveningwear and generally more revealing clothing, it’s good practice to pay some respect to the locals. I’ve witnessed many a tourist walk into a restaurant with nothing but a t-shirt in a thong bikini for dinner service, something I doubt they wouldn’t dream of doing at home.
It should go without saying that visitors should dress modestly when visiting temples or other religious sites. Shoulders should be covered (no strappy tops) and skirts/shorts should be smart and at least knee-length. Some larger, more frequented temples, will often provide a cover-up scarf for a small extra fee.
Travellers in Thailand should remove their shoes before entering homes or temples, and avoid touching someone’s head (it is considered to be the most sacred part of the body). You should also be aware that pointing with your feet/propping your feet up on chairs can be seen as a sign of disrespect. When inside a temple, you should never point your feet towards Buddha. It is customary to sit with both legs on one side (or on your knees), with your feet up and pointing backwards. It is advised not to sit with your legs crossed.
For more information on things to do in Aonang, you might also like my posts:
Unique and cool things to see and do in and around Krabi Town
Khaothong Hill Restaurant – Aonang’s best hidden gem
Krabi Sunset Cruise – The best Aonang island boat tour
The Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Aonang, Krabi, Thailand