Psolace really starts to feel like a journey after just a month. You wake up in a bungalow without a "where am I" moment and realize that for the foreseeable future this is your home. It's nice. It was this feeling that haunted us in the wonderful place of Ao Nang, “Princess Bay,” as the Thais call it, which is located in the province of Krabi.
Goodbye Koh Lanta
In truth, we began to feel this already Ko Lanta, where we spent a pleasant nine days or so swimming, wandering the beach, and watching individual tourists tan to something approaching grilled chicken hue.
Sure, we ourselves spend time in the sun and turn ourselves into a nice shade of lightly toasted bread, but these people are fanatics. They "smoke" their face and chest all morning, and then turn over and somehow lie on the burnt flesh while their backs are "cooked." We pass by in awe and reapply sunscreen.
After a week of paid accommodation, as well as trekking through the jungle, scooter rentals, walks at sunset, shopping on the pier and an incendiary evening in a bar with an interesting name "Why-not-bar", with a young Connect 4 game master shouting “Oops!” Oops! You lose!" Whenever one of us is six steps away from defeat, we leave Lanta.
Although, in my opinion, the bar, which not only we liked, is unlikely to be spoiled by time if the Thais who manage it and work in it do not change their attitude to business. So "Why-not-bar" I definitely recommend Koh Lanta for an easy vacation.
In general, for us, Koh Lanta has become an acceptable place for a short resort holiday and sunbathing, but the beaches have grown so large, and the locals have become so grumpy and clumsy, that there is simply no point in staying longer. But most likely I'm just being picky.
It's just that our bungalow is run by what looks like a group of surly teenagers who shrug when we say we're out of toilet paper and say they don't have any anymore. We buy it ourselves at the corner store and deduct it from the final payment. No tips for you guys. However, last night we saw an excellent impromptu fire show, which left a pleasant impression.
My friend stopped at Ao Nange, a seaside town or village, as you like, in the bay between Phuket and Railay Beach, so we buy a boat ticket and head north to visit him in «Green View Village 3*", a small Thai hillside hotel where he has wintered every year since he was hooked by Thai.
Forward to meet Ao Nang
Our boat from Koh Lanta winds between beautiful limestone rock islands, which lean and rise above the water, with such angular and incredible curves that they look as if they were dropped into the Andaman Sea from the sky. We're driving over rocks Reilly, sheer and massive, above white sand beaches, surrounded by palm trees and casuarinas.
We heard from someone that Ao Nang in some places it is not particularly developed as a tourist area, so we are preparing for various options, but we soon discover that this place may perhaps become one of our favorites.
Where is Ao Nang?
We need to start with the fact that when talking about Ao Nang in Thailand, we can safely mean two equivalent concepts.
- Firstly, it is a seaside village, even a small city, belonging to the Thai province of Krabi, which is known for its convenient location in relation to many of the Thai islands that are popular in tourism.
- Secondly, this is the beach of the same name, which is located on the coast of the Andaman Sea and adjacent to the same town of Ao Nang.
Ao Nang beach on the map
How to get to Ao Nang
From Krabi Airport (133 Phet Kasem Rd, Nuea Khlong, Nuea Khlong District) 25 km, which is a little over 30 minutes by car (minibus or taxi). You can get to Krabi itself (except for the fastest transport - plane) by bus from Bangkok (a little over 10 hours) or Surat Thani (a little over three hours).
Green View Village Resort 3
After the last tsunami built seaside promenade. There are a lot of tourists here, but they somehow come in “waves”. Also, once the road turns away from the beach and climbs a hundred meters or so, you find yourself among the locals, with only the occasional farang joining you.
Luckily, this is where Green View Village is located, right across the street from a mosque and a 24-hour 7-11. Old meets new - I stop and listen to the beautiful and memorable melody of the evening Muslim prayer, buying a passion fruit smoothie along the way...
"Green View Village Resort 3*" - this offer starts at 750 baht per night, but we book at a weekly rate of 650 baht. For the money we get a private, rustic wooden bungalow on stilts with a comfortable bed, large veranda, tiled bathroom, power shower and flush toilet.
Having been to a few more places, I no longer take it for granted. All this wealth is located on a magnificent landscaped area with a cozy outdoor restaurant and huge swimming pool.
Breakfasts can be called standard for Tai, especially since in my opinion they are more suitable for four-star hotels. Everything is always there, there is enough of everything, everything is fresh, whatever you need is hot, whatever you need is cold. You definitely won't leave hungry.
Ao Nang Beach is a ten minute walk from the hotel and there's really nothing special there, but there are boat tours that take you to some of the world's best spots, ideal for snorkeling and diving.
Thai food in Ao Nang
Days merge into weeks, and before we know it, a month has flown by. It's easy to feel at home here. The number and variety of places to eat within a five-minute walk of here is staggering: restaurants, street stalls, noodle carts and even knock-knockwho drive by with hot soup boiling on a gas burner, or fried chicken on an open container with coal...
To my surprise, I find that Muslims prepare the best fried chicken, which I have ever tried as well pancakes with condensed milk and honey to die for. We try dozens of soups, at least five types noodles, dishes with curryas well as chicken, pork, fish, crab, shrimp, oysters, hamburgers, sandwiches, pizza, coconut waffles, fried ice cream and Thai banana pancakes.
Many of our meals cost anywhere from $1 to $3 per person. I'm starting to understand why Thais eat about five times a day - it's not so much about food, but about the amazing variety of hot and fresh food available everywhere.
And there is also fruits: Heavenly mangoes, watermelons, pineapples, papaya, bananas, served cut into sticks, diced in yogurt bowls, or mixed with ice in a smoothie or lassi.
We swim in the pool, search for new treats, and buy ice packs in the evenings so we can mix up cold drinks and drink them on the porch.
Trips and excursions
We're going to rented scooter to the beaches of Klong Muang and Taep As before sunset, we quietly drive into the magnificent and ultra-luxurious Amari resort, to enjoy a (perfect) Manhattan and a glass of wine that cost about the same as we paid for the previous day's meal.
We rush into Krabi and encounter the most ridiculous vehicle we've ever seen - a man with the size of an entire house's worth of wicker furniture balancing on a scooter.
Driving through Krabi, we will visit Tiger Cave Temple, located on the top of the mountain, to which 1237 steps lead. In a fit of temporary madness, we quickly walked down the lower steps before realizing that we had not brought anything to drink with us.
It's 40 degrees Celsius now and before the 400th step we're both out of breath and drenched in sweat. Dry, wet and feeling a little idiotic, we somehow make it to the top, where, in the spirit of endless compassion, the Buddhists have installed a drinking water tap.
The view is amazing: coastline of the Andaman Sea And Krabi city in the west, a ring of impressive mountains and cliffs in the north and east, as well as banana plantations, coconuts, pineapples And rubber trees on South. Massive golden buddha surveying the scene, he looks wise, serene and benevolent. I look at the fluffy white clouds passing by and wonder what this place is like during a thunderstorm. Well, on the way from the temple the locals monkey put on a show.
Now is the beginning of the hot season, and often in the evenings they fly right overhead. there are thunderstorms and lightning strikes the rocks near our bungalow. It sounds like a shotgun being fired inches above your head, or like a tree snapping in half as you lean against it; it's impossible not to jump, flinch, or scream in surprise when this happens. We leave the pool when we hear a storm approaching.
We will commit long excursion around four nearby islands, stopping to swim and snorkel around amazing beaches and coral reefs. Marine life unlike anything we've ever seen, curious fish approaching to inspect us as we swim among them. We notice barracudas, sea snakes, angelfish and hundreds of others that we cannot identify.
We're leaving trek on elephants with a company Nosy Parker's, which we chose because of the differences from other similar companies described in their brochure and their voiced humane attitude towards elephants. The elephants certainly seem happy, and we climb aboard from a platform about fifteen feet above the ground and careen through the river into the jungle. By the way, despite repeated visits to Tai, this was our first and definitely our last elephant ride. There is too much information emerging that taming elephants without pain simply does not happen... so decide for yourself.
Our guide, a cheerful and annoying Thai boy, is about 14 years old, and the elephant is, according to him, 44 years old, and we wonder if she finds the child as annoying as we do. We ride through the shady jungle, feed the elephants and watch them bathing in a river. They are beautiful animals and it's great to see them frolicking happily in the water.
Then we set off by speedboat to Phi Phi Island and marvel at the beauty of the reefs and sea life. Endless schools of fish swim above us, below us and around us. At some point we are surrounded by a veil silver fish, floating around us in an endless vortex. We see how Thais collect swallow's nests from the rocks, monkey eat crabs, and schools of fish jump to escape persecution barracuda. Along the way we stop for snorkeling.
Another tour boat slowly passes, towing a guide holding the life jacket of a motionless Thai woman. Our guide calls out to them and they exchange a few words; she tells us that she was found dead floating in the ocean.
Being Buddhists, they don't want to take the body on the boat because they think it will bring evil spirits with it. Feeling shocked, confused and helpless, we watch as their boat continues past, dragging its tragic cargo behind it.
Dating and communication in Ao Nang
Back in Ao Nang, we begin to meet the locals and make all sorts of pleasant, albeit casual, friendships. An employee at our hotel is mending my wife's trousers using a sewing machine.
Several evenings in a row we have dinner at street cafe, where they sell noodles, curry and chicken, and as we turn to leave, the owner says, “See you tomorrow!”
Does it to us massage a girl named Nok who spots us a few days later and takes us to a bar where we play billiards with his friend, a charming teenage girl.
Celebrating Thai New Year - Songkran
It's festival time Songkran, and all Thailand turns into one huge water battle. Having prepared ourselves, we bought pump-action water guns from the night market.
Trucks drive by with dozens of people in the back, dumping buckets of water on everything that moves. No one is safe - shop owners, people on scooters, children, old people, animals. Everything around is wet and everyone around is smiling.
A Thai girl was passing by on a moped and she was unlucky or vice versa. They also pour a bowl of ice water on my neck.
Thais cover their faces mint talc, supposedly to scare away evil spirits and we watch as they splash this talcum powder on cars, clothes, etc. The day is long and absolutely wonderful.
We are buying flashlight, make a wish, light it and watch it fly into the night sky. A few nights earlier we had seen lanterns rising over the beach in a thunderstorm, it looked amazing.
After more than a month of settling in and feeling at home, it was time to move on. My friend's vacation time had also expired, and on a wet monsoon afternoon we loaded his backpack and bicycle into the truck that would take him to the bus heading to Krabi, from where it will fly through Bangkok home to Moscow.
Of course, not everything is perfect in paradise. Our favorite waterproof Pentax Optio refuses to work when a few drops of water get through a dirty seal where it is not needed. We have a backup, my old, small but working 14MP Olympus, but we're still mourning the eventual demise of the Optio.
But all these are just everyday little things compared to the impressions, the sea of pleasures and positive emotions that we received on vacation in Ao Nang, one of the most popular places, located in the Thai province of Krabi. Are you eyeing a trip? Make a decision “For”, and you won’t go wrong!