Ao Nang is a tiny city just south of Phuket. We decided to check it out and there wasn't much to see at first. We rented a motorbike and the road trip took us to an elephant camp where we did an elephant trek. We enjoyed lunch at one of the seaside restaurants, Mother House. We had a nice little unexpected adventure in Ao Nang!
Ao Nang was originally a small fishing village as many of the villages were but now it attracts many tourists, probably too many. I arrived at the end of November and it was relatively quiet but as soon as December hit, swarms of tourists arrived and prices were driven up. Ao Nang has a much nicer feel to it, sterilised almost and this attracts a lot of families and is a big contrast to the likes of Samui. There isn't much nightlife, not much hassle from shop owners or sellers on the beach and GoGo bars are almost extinct, although there are some hidden away behind the beachfront shops.
Ao Nang is perfect for families or people looking for a sterilised version of Thailand but it's not the Thailand I know and love.
Our trips into Ao Nang village certainly managed to convince us (if we needed any convincing that is) that we’d made the right choice of hotel. After descending the wooden walkway, we had to run the gauntlet of the 20 or so massage tents set up on the beach, with their owners all trying to convince us to use their services, and then walk along the promenade till we reached to road into town.
Compared to our hotel's uncrowded beach, which was continually swept and raked, the public beach at Ao Nang looked extremely tatty and was crammed full of bodies and hawkers. It was nice to know that our little piece of paradise was just a 10 minute walk over the headland. I thought the best thing about Ao Nang beach was the troup of macaques which congregated at one end, waiting to be fed by passing tourists.
The main street is lined with shops, bars and restaurants and it reminded me a little of some up and coming Greek resorts back in the 70’s and 80’s when the locals were opening up businesses on every available patch of land to try and get their share of the tourists’ spending money. The restaurants offered amazing value for money though compared to the hotel restaurants and the shops were packed full of bargains and I had a great time haggling for yet more designer rip-offs!