Welcome to Ao Nang Beach (including Anyavee Ban Ao Nang Resort, Wat Thom Suea Adventure, BF Massage,
***Disclaimer: My struggle is real here in the South of Thailand with Internet. Please excuse non-showing images or corrections hard to make via phone app; it’s still great info/tales 😉
Mini Van taxi from Krabi Town to Ao Nang took approximately 30 minutes and cost 300 baht plus 100 baht to the hotel for making the arrangements. The driver was friendly and we felt very safe with his driving and he brought us directly to the open air entrance to our hotel and helped carry in our bags. We always tip any service provider, even though it is not customary or expected here we feel compelled to give the 20-50 baht in the hopes of bringing happiness to these cheerful service people.
The clerk gave us a friendly welcome to Ao Nang Beach and offered that we take a look around while our room preparations were completed.
Anyavee Ban Ao Nang is a multi wing, family friendly resort with large pool area and garden areas separating the wings. It was eye appealing yet left a few bases uncovered. Rooms were slightly cramped but offered pool slippers and towels as well as refrigerator, coffee supplies and bottled water. Rooms also had small balconies overlooking pool or gardens with table and chairs. Glimpses of the seaside could be had from the walkways directly outside the rooms but the rooms themselves were not sea view. The accommodations were not as clean as we would like with stained sheets and towels and remnants of hair in the shower and sink. Daily room service was satisfactory at best with desk and counter areas not completely wiped down and floor not cleaned well. The shower water was never hot, lukewarm at best and water pressure less than necessary for rejuvenating or rinsing soap and shampoo easily.
Staff members occupied space and did minimalist performance of job duties and were not overly friendly. Typically in our Thailand stays we have been greeted, farewelled and offered assistance at every turn. We did not experience this hospitality at Anyavee. At one point my husband asked the front desk for trash receptacle for his empty water bottle and the staff member actually pointed him to a trash can up a set of steps, not the end of the world but certainly not the service standard we’ve usually received everywhere throughout the country.
The pool itself was large and inviting with sun warmed water and offered a menu on the patio area and beverage service to the ample lounge chairs available in sun and shade on the pool decking. Happy Hour from 2p-5p offered blended tropical drinks at 120 baht.
Late night amateur music from the karaoke bar across the street was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” of staying at this location in the future or recommending it. It was nice to walk out the front, be in the middle of the tourist corridor with a five minute walk to Ao Nang Beach in one direction or 10 minute walk the opposite to Nopparat Thara beach but this music started at 8pm and went to 2 am every day and was probably louder in the sleeping rooms elevated one and two floors from the road and having sliding glass doors to the balconies than it was in the bar! While we had great experiences in the area this hotel will not see us in the future.
The second day of our stay found us wandering to Nopparat Thara Beach and Pier. We had a great respite from the sun in a little joint called Hippies. The bar and restaurant was open air with nice fans blowing cool air across the seating areas. It’s garden like atmosphere, good food and cold iced beverages served by a gregarious staff enamored us. We highly recommend a stop here if only for a cold drink and some hypnotic peace in their beautiful surroundings with an expansive view of the Andaman directly across the way.
Following the beach road we checked out the pier area and after consulting maps on our phone, decided to continue towards the non tourist area of Ao Nang. Soon, having surpassed the five mile per day goal, the hubster was stopped and chatting it up with a motor bike rental shop. He opted in and soon we were on the road again this time traveling at greater speeds than allowed by foot power.
We got a 125cc motorbike for 250 baht per day and he booked it for a week. While the majority of rental shops require you physically leave your actual passport with them this one agreed to 5000 baht deposit and copy of passport. We have only surrendered our passport once for this purpose and consciously have decided not to do it again. Giving up your passport means not being able to check into new hotels or even being able to use money exchange.
We gaily made our way into uncharted open highway, taking in the locals, their lifestyle and the beauty of nature.
Now we enter into a tale portion of this blog post, one of life’s little challenges rearing it’s head at us.
Something about the motorbike (traveling at about 25mph) suddenly caught both of our attention. My hubby said to me “Something’s not right!” I patted his belly for my confirmation. Proper motorbike riding in Thailand (except for passing or turning) is dictated by signage to stay to the left of the outside line for ease of travel and safety from larger vehicles. Slowly we pulled farther left and came to a stop on this portion of highway where no businesses or homesteads could be seen. Only palm and rubber treed jungles and limestone cliffs were in sight as far as our eyes could see. I felt my heart race a bit quicker and saw momentary exasperation fleet across the face of my protector. Jumping off the bike, I confirmed our suspicion, flat tire. Hmmm. What to do now?!? With no other handy solution we began to walk the bike. Where were we to walk to? We were in completely unknown territory and sadly both of our phones sat at under 5% charge available. Karma always had had our backs in life and once again she did not fail us!
A motorbike with two women and a car with three of their companions pulled over to aid us. Little English or Thai was understood between us but the language of one kind human to another prevailed. Soon the male car driver had communicated I would join them in the car. (Yes, I trusted them, instinct as my guide.) My husband would follow slowly on our lame bike followed by the two women on their bike. They indicated that in a short distance we would be to a small village where hopefully a repair shop would remain open. (It was nearing 5pm.) Rounding a second corner, probably just over a mile I saw the edges of an open air market and the beginnings of the village.
Again, fate was in our court and we wished our new friends many Khab Khun’s (thank yous) and the “pit crew” got on the repair. Now, this would have been fun photo documentation but alas no charge to our phones! Where’s that extra power bank when you need it? Haha. You can bet it will be in one of our pockets daily from now on! (Along with the sunscreen and mosquito spray;-) I wondered the streets and open shops of this small town thinking I might find a charger but no luck, although many friendly encounters. When I returned the shop had finished the punctured tube replacement and we paid them the 200 baht plus tipped 100. They could have easily gouged us on the price but they did not. Again, we extended our appreciation as the youngest in the group recounted the easiest path for us to take back to Ao Nang Beach and we were back safely before dark with another great tale for the memory book!
Wat Thom Suea (Tiger Cave Temple) was the adventure of choice the following day. This ride took us away from the beach and through outlying villages to this famous Buddhist temple.
Nourishment was provided by an outdoor food stall vendor where we parked the motorbike at the entrance to the temple. We were offered one simple dish of noodle soup with chicken or pork for 50 baht. We both chose chicken. This delectable soup provided the nutrients (and a couple bottles of water at 5 baht each for hydration) to power is up the 1237 steps to the pinnacle of this shrine where a golden Buddha and 360 degrees of verdant jungle, awe inspiring mountainous jungle and sparkling sea could be found.
The climb itself was rigorous both up and down. The uneven heights and widths of the steps presented great challenges for the few of us who decided to take in the full ascent. (I lost my companion whose knees couldn’t take the beating at step 700 something, many others fell off before and after that.)
Dressing for utmost respect is requested at all temples in Thailand. I had donned a lightweight below the knee; half sleeved lightweight cotton gown for the climb which I could easily slip on over my shorts and tank top. Between the arduous climb and the humidity it was soaked through by the 3/4 mark in the climb. I proudly made it to the top and was thoroughly rewarded by the splendor of the views. The level of sedate calm I felt as I gazed about and rang the series of bells and felt the request for protection resonate in me had me in awe of the spot. Every ounce of effort was worth the reward. No words or pictures can do it justice, this feeling must truly be experienced. Partake of it if you can when you visit the area! (BTW, It took 3 days for my calves of my legs to quit screaming at me! Hahahahaha, so worth it!)
Our final day in Ao Nang I made my way down past the u turn of the main road where another line of restaurants, tourist businesses and resorts can be found and went to Happy Hour at BF Massage. This place has prices that can’t be beat!The exceptional service and care provided by these women had me convinced that I would visit them again. On this day I opted for foot scrub followed by pedicure with paint and acrylic nail fill and polish. The little extra massages provided in these services took them over the top. Incredible treatments with unbelievable value of just 700 baht including tip (Yep, that’s only $21; crazy right?) I highly recommend this staff when at Ao Nang beach. The sound of the waves and the long tail boat motors just add to the ambiance! Honestly, massage prices throughout Ao Nang were lower by 100-200 baht per service compared to what we paid in Chiang Mai last year and we thought they were all a value!
Dinner time arrived after some lethargy poolside and we found a nice spot for fresh fish. The owner of Water Restaurant (on the same road as Carnivore but closer to the main road) was on hand to welcome us, oversee our service and guide us through his menu recommendations. The grilled snapper he recommended melted in our mouths. It was stuffed with betel leaves, lemon grass and ginger. We started with tempura vegetables that were lightly battered in crispy goodness and served with spicy dipping sauce. My honey had Thai noodles in gravy for his entree accompaniment and I had fresh baked potato from the bbq. (Idaho ain’t got nothing on these naturally butter flavored spuds from Thailand;-) The personalized attention of the owner, the preparations and presentation have my belly grumbling as I write and would definitely have me providing a thumbs up for one of your meals as you make your plans to stay on Ao Nang Beach.
Finding ourselves at the end of our bookings to introduce ourselves to the area we had done some investigating online and scoped out our next spot by motorbike. It’s on the edge of Ao Nom Mao Bay. Still close enough to ride into town for some activity, yet a quiet world apart.
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