While the beaches at Raileh are certainly nicer, i prefer to use Ao Nang as a base in this region, simply because there's a better selection of good-value accommodation.
Many of the guesthouses here rent out apartment-style rooms with luxuries such as fridge and TV, and our room at Noi's GH even had a large sea-view terrace. Rates are very negotiable during low season. We paid 300B (7€) per night.
If you like to stay in a more quiet and a less "touristy" place than Ao Nang, you should seriously consider staying in one of the resorts in Railay. The beach fronted ones along Railey West Beach include Railay Village Resort, Sand Sea Resort, and Railay Bad Resorts. Their rates are about the same as a 3-4 stars hotel in Ao Nang such as Phra Nang Inn.
The incredibly luxurious Rayavadee Premier Resort is located in Railay as well and occupy a very large area in it. The best thing about it is that it occupies a large portion of the back of the stunningly beautiful Phra Nang Beach. But with a rate of about US$600 per night, it is out of the league of most visitors.
The only drawback about staying in Railay is of course that if you need to get things which the resorts' minimarts do not provide, then you will have to take a long tail boat to Ao Nang. And the last long tail boat is at about 6.30pm.
The price below is for a superior or deluxe accomodation (single, twin, or double).
The sunset in Railay is certainly a wonderful sight to see.
The Grand Tower Hotel is in the centre of Krabi town. Although most people stay near the beaches, they are easy to get to from town by Songthaew. The hotel has a single room for 120baht(£2). Food is cheap there too and they have a bar. breakfast is included.
Banyan Tree Resort is situated on the road that runs along the back of Ton Sai beach. Ton Sai is a quiet cove, and there are numerous cheap bungalow operations. Banyan Tree has some of the nicer bungalows in the area, and is in a nice, peaceful complex. The "resort" is basically a bungalow complex, with a restaurant, reception area and batik school. It has a very laid back feel, and is a fantastic place to chill out. The resort doesn't take bookings, so you're able to stay as long as you like.
The resort has simple bungalows about a hundred metre walk from Ton Sai beach. It is set in nice gardens, and has an outdoor restaurant with fantastic food. Each bungalow has a deck with table and chairs, attached bathroom with western toilet, sink and cold shower. The rooms have lights and fans, but the power is off from 7am to 6pm.
We had three people in a bungalow, which included two beds and a matress on the floor, a wardrobe and dressing table. The room is secure, but it's good to have a moquuito net, as the mozzies get in through the cracks in the walls. This bungalow was 600 Baht per night.
There is a number of bars and restaurants along the road near the complex, and along the beach front are a myriad of choices for food and drinks. There are also a number of places to get Thai and oil massage, or to hire/ buy climbing gear. You can also book tours and hire canoes from places along to beach.
Ton Sai is home to an alternative full moon party, and it's not uncomon for the bars to put on a party. The week we were there, there was a party almost every night. Banyan tree is great as it's close to everything but escapes the noise.
During the day it really looked shabby downstairs, but at sunset and until about 10pm this walkway was beautifully lit up everynight with lots of little lights in the trees that lined it! An easy way to find it! Another easy way to find it was that it's just past the few pubs/bars catering to the tourist market just some 20meters or so away. As I had earplugs and loved the bed I had no trouble sleeping at all and the music stopped around midnight I think anyway. Funny thing is that it was otherwise very quiet. Unlike the gorgeous accommodation along the sea front which has non-stop roar of longtail boats all day long, as well as various bands and karaoke and other "entertainment" during dinnertime.
here I could sit and enjoy the last rays of the day as well as dry my clothes on the racks provided. Lucky for me the first two days I had no neighbours! Third night smokers moved in next door so that was the end of relaxing in the breeze on the porch... :P
When we first arrived in Ao Nang we were armed with the LP and first stop was the Peace Laguna Resort. It just looked so lovely and the setting really is. But the room within our budget (1000Baht) was a big disappointment when we just had a look. Dark, musty and no hot water or airconditioning and certainly no view. So we kept on searching going here and there with our backpacks in the heat. Everywhere the same, for that price we could only get musty fan rooms. I stumbled on the Nong Eed by accident, as I waited for my friends to come back and happened to be waiting in front of it.
The rooms downstairs are sad, but for the same price the ones on the second or third floor are lovely! Clean, cable TV, hot water and air-conditioning. We managed to barter down to 750Baht/night. Actually I slept better here than at the second place we moved to (see above: J-hotel) although the J-hotel was brighter and more modern and friendly. The bed and pillow here at Nong Eed were more to my liking! Also the tacky purple curtains kept out more of the light I think.
Teakwood style 2-3 storey high Guesthouse with veranda. Very nice atmosphere, although the whole Beach has been spoilt by Bungalows resorts that have been developed into luxurious hotels for group tourists.
Last affordable Guesthouse at Rai Leh Beach with some backpacker atmosphere left..but one day also this place will be gone..
Thai Sea Front Resort, Ao Nang Beach
A little on the expensive side for the area at $70 for 2 including breakfast but well worth it.
Initially I was put off by the name - 'resort' - until I realised only had 20 rooms. This with swimming pool, no bar, no restaurant (other than for breakfast) and its location made it a great place to stay. Rooms are huge - kingsize and a large single in the downstairs, doubles upstairs (2 'blocks' of 2 floors), sitting area as well small terraces/ balconies. Enormous European breakfasts. And very very friendly.
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