Asia,  Thailand

Review of Ao Nang’s hidden hotel gem: Panan Krabi Resort

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I lived in Ao Nang for two years (and have been going back every year since). So, I’ve had plenty of time to explore its accommodation scene and watch it expand in favour of its tourists.

I’ve stayed in all sorts of places here, from top-rated hotels, to rented private bungalows and local guesthouses. Having opened its doors in 2018, Panan Krabi Resort had little time to promote itself before the pandemic brought a screeching hault to Thai tourism.

Nestled down a lane of lush greenery, just a few minutes walk from the beaches of Aonang, Panan Krabi Resort promises to provide an appealing blend of natural beauty and modern luxury. As a keen Ao Nang explorer, I checked into the resort as soon as the country’s doors re-opened to wider tourism.

In this review, I’ll take you through my stay, sharing the genuine moments and impressions that made Panan Krabi Resort one of my new go-to hotel destinations.

You can book Panan Krabi Resort here

walk in pool surrounded by trees and plants at panan resort krabi

Where is Panan Krabi Resort? The resort’s convenient location in Aonang

As far as most travellers are concerned, Ao Nang has two main roads: Moo 2 (the one that runs along the beachfront) and Moo 5 (the one that runs up from the beach to the east.) You’ll find Panan just a stone’s throw away from the beach and nightlife on Moo 5. It takes only 5 minutes to walk from the hotel lobby down to the main waterfront.

Initial impressions and arrival experience at Panan Krabi Resort

If you’re arriving into Ao Nang by one of the shared airport shuttles, initial impressions can be grim. There’s a lot of decent budget hotels in the area, but a lot of them have pretty basic (concrete) facias – a far cry from the dream escape most of us have in mind when we think of Thailand’s beach hotels.

As you pass them all, you keep your fingers crossed that your hotel won’t look like that, and Panan is the exception to the (previously mentioned) sad majority. Their driveway is lined with with leafy walls, decorated with fairy lights in the evening, which open out into a spacious open-air lobby.

Panan Krabi reception

Panan Resort’s amenities

Panan was originally recomended to me by an Ao Nang local friend who watched it pop up just before the pandemic. The main sell was their large laggon-like pool, surrounded by leafy palms, wooden walkways and mini waterfalls. Upgraded rooms come with swim-up, private pools or rose-scattered hot tubs with views across the resort. On the rooftop, you’ll find a second pool for lazy evening sunsets and scenes across the limestone cliffs that cut Railay Beach off from Ao Nang’s mainland.

rooftop pool with view to the sea at panan krabi ao nang
pool loungers in the water in panan krabi hotel
view from the pool to hidden sunl loungers at panan krabi resort

I’m going to be honest, as a solo traveller, I didn’t use the hotel’s amentities as much as I could have. Nodding to the area’s enthusiams for climbing, they have installed an impressive climb wall that runs up one of the interior walls overlooking the pool and bar.

They also offer Muay Thai classes with local instructors and an impressive weekly calendar of healthy on-resort activities like yoga, pilates, and aerobics. You’ll find a busy kids itinerary alongside this calendar too!

view from room balcony across pool and climb wall at panan hotel ao nang krabi

Their website has had an upgrade since my visit, and I’ve spotted a number of additional guest benefits since my last stay:

  • A free, one-time kayaking or paddleboarding (for 30 minutes per stay) at REEVE Beach Club. REEVE is located off-site (but is only a 15 minute walk away). Panan offer a scheduled van to get there, for those days where you just can’t be bothered walking along the beach in the heat.
  • Free Thai dessert cooking class. Learn how to make Khanom Jaak, a traditional dessert that involves wrapping ingrediants in nipa palm leaves and cooking over hot charcoals. These classes run every Friday from 14:00 – 16:00 hrs.

Bedrooms photos from Panan Krabi Resort

Every time I’ve stayed at Panan, I’ve chosen the Deluxe Pool View room (still optimistically waiting for the day I get a cheeky upgrade to one of the Ground floor Deluxe Pool Access/ Deluxe Sea View room with outdoor bathtub.)

Anyhoo, the Deluxe Pool View rooms are wonderfully generous in size and overlook the main pool gardens from your balcony. The furnishings are stylish and feel a lot more slick than those of the surrounidng hotels. Something I feel they don’t make enough of a deal about on their website – the huge bathrooms in these rooms! After a few shabby stays in Krabi, I was DELIGHTED to walk into these big luxurious spaces, complete with in-shower seating.

Book Panan Krabi Resort

pool view room at panan krabi hotel
large shower in panan krabi ao nang
bathroom in panan krabi resort

Vegan dining experiences and the general food offering at Panan

I’m rarely captivated by the vegan food options in regular hotels, we’re usually an after thought, a sad corner providing toast (no margarine), fruit, and dairy-free milk (if we’re lucky).

I did, however, have higher hopes for Panan. They boast a large international breakfast buffet, clearly labelled and presented with a little more care than what I’ve come to expect. Alongside the regular toasts and cereals, I found the Indian hot food offering to be the best for plant-based guests. Options changed daily to keep things interesting, but my favourites days were the ones with fluffy rotis and puris that I could stuff their vegetable curries with.

That said, for the price of the hotel, I had hoped for more – their fruit corner is pretty dissapointing (especially for a province that sees every man and his dog selling fresh cocunts, mangos, and bananas by the roadside for pennies.)

On one of their roti (and puri)-less days, I asked one of the breakfast team about vegan options. In a pleasant twist, they were eager to make sure I got a sturdy breakfast, rushing off to the kitchen to have a fresh plate of vegetable pad see ew fried up for me (pictured below). Following that day, their team came over every morning to ask if I’d like anything custom-made – a rare (and appreciated) guesture which really makes Panan’s service stand out from their surrounding competitiors.

Panan krabi hotel vegan breakfast option aonang noodles

Local attractions and things to do in Aonang

I’m back in Krabi most winters for a few months of remote working, so I’ve been running up a nice list of things to do around the province for some time now.

In my blog ‘Unique and cool things to see and do in and around Krabi Town’, I’ve pulled together a list of places that most of the ‘passing-through’ bloggers always miss. Included in this collection is Into The Forest, a hidden jungle cafe tucked away into a nook in the limestone cliffs, and Krabi Home Run (a bizzare afternoon tea stop made up of renovated RVs and decorated with kitsch British memorabilia.)

For veggie foodies, my blog ‘The Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Aonang, Krabi, Thailand’ highlights food stops for all budgets and tastes.

drone shot of a wooden paths weaving through the mangrovesin thailand

Booking your dream escape: helpful information and booking details for Panan Ao Nang

While Panan Hotel offers light incentives for booking directly via their website (free cocktails etc), I’ve always been able to get a much better rate on the Panan Booking.com page. My genius discount has always thrown out a much lower cost and given me small upgrades like breakfast and (free) same-week cancellation.

Is there motorbike or bike rental service in the hotel?

Kind of, if you ask the Pana’s Reception tea, they’ll put you in contact with one of their preferred rental companies. However, there are lots of scooter companies dotted up the same street as the hotel. I find most of these a little difficult to navigate. If you’re a newbie to driving a scooter, pulling straight into one of Ao Nang’s busiest streets can be intimidating and risky. For that reason, delivery to Panan’s large (private) entrance might be favourable.

My go-to bike rental is Jeff Jeff Motorbike Rental Aonang, though it’s worth noting that he’ll only rent to people who have experience with driving scooters already. His office is located a little bit further out, but he will collect you with notice. I find the roads in this area a little easier to re-familiarise yourself. 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.

You can find more general info in my blog ‘Aonang, Krabi Travel Guide: Travel tips and FAQs Answered.’

Panan Krabi resort email

Their team can be contacted via info@panankrabiresort

Book a stay at Panan Krabi Hotel

How much is a taxi from Krabi Airport to Panan Krabi Resort?

I’ve always arranged my own transport from krabi airport to Panan Resort via local driver Anthony. He worked in the area’s hotels for years before setting up his own transport business and has always been prompt and quick to reply. Depending on season, time, and number of people, you can expect to pay between 600-700 baht with him.

If you’re looking to save money, you can also opt to take a shared van from Krabi airport. When you land and collect your luggage, you’ll come out at arrivals, where there are a good number of (English-speaking) vendors who will sell you a transfer ticket for around 150 baht. Inevitably, this journey will take longer, as you’ll need to drop other guests at their hotels too.

Finally, Panan Krabi Resort offers it’s own transfer service for around 1000 baht. This can be arranged via the hotel team (e-mail above.)

pool view from panan resort ao nang

Travel writer, marketing adviser and blogger based in Edinburgh, with a focus on budget and vegan travel. 39 countries to date, with extensive knowledge of travel within Asia, particularly within Thailand.

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