The Ao Nang area of Krabi - the area most people mean when they refer to 'Krabi' as a destination - is an increasingly popular beach resort area, due to its dramatic scenery and protected sandy beaches. While the charms of the area are many, scuba diving isn't really one of them. There are a few dive sites in the area, but the really good sites that the South Andaman has to offer are more easily reached from Koh Lanta or even Phi-Phi.
Nang Bay and Nopparat beaches line a long curving shoreline wedged between sheer limestone cliffs, hence their popularity. There are plenty of dive operators in the area to cater to the large numbers of visitors, even though as noted above, the best dive sites are a two to three hour cruise away.
Immediately to the east of Ao Nang is the slightly more intimate Railay peninsula. To the west is the Klong Muangarea, which has several large five-star resorts.
The most direct way to get to Ao Nang is to fly into Krabi Airport and transfer from there to Ao Nang. You can plan on it taking around 30 to 45 minutes, depending on where in Ao Nang you're staying. A taxi (private car) transfer will set you back about 500 Baht (about US$ 15), while a van (shared taxi) will cost about 200 Baht (US$ 10). Check with your hotel, since some of the more luxe resorts may include free transfers with the room.
You can also reach Ao Nang by boat from Phi Phi Don Island. In the rainy season from June to September the seas can be quite rough.
Hotels and Resorts
There are over 200 hotels in the Ao Nang area of Krabi, with options in just about every price range. If you're looking for something a little less crowded, have a look at Railay, Tonsai or the Klong Muang area.
There are around a dozen or so dive shops around Ao Nang and the neighboring beaches. Below is the only one of the dive shops that have been recommended by frequent divers in the area.
- Aqua Vision
- PADI 5-Star Dive Center with a main shop in Ao Nang as well as a branch in the Sheraton in Klong Muang. Difficult to navigate web site, but has lots of information if you dig into it.