We flew Asia Airlines, one of Asia’s low cost carriers, from Siem Reap to Krabi (connecting in Bangkok DMK Airport) – two short 1 hour flights. Booked KrabiShuttle online (1200 THB round-trip) and stayed at the Holiday Inn Ao Nang Beach (25k IHG points). The beach in Ao Nang is nothing to write home about, but it was a good jumping off point to visit the islands on this side of Thailand.
The hotel was a solid 3.5 star, with decent service and spacious, clean rooms but we thought the food was terrible in the hotel restaurant. There are nice pools to enjoy, and it’s a good hotel for families if you can score on of the pool front rooms.
We took a group tour booked through the hotel to the Hong Islands (4 stops; $2250 THB pp and they pick you up in a nice a/c van) and it was a pretty good tour, although it seems all the tour companies arrive and leave the same beaches at the same time, making it not so pleasant an experience, but it was nice to have just 12 people in our group (they limit it to 15 unlike many cheaper companies who cram as many people as possible into their groups) and the lunch was yummy and beautifully set up on the beach. I would recommend booking through the hotel (I think the company was called Ao Nang Specialistes or Krabi Specialistes) and I also heard that Thalasso tour offers limited capacity tours that are good (you do not want the experience of being crammed into a bus and then a speed boat like a sardine – their lunches did not look very good either).
We also booked a company called “Real Rocks Climbing” to do some rock climbing in Railey Beach (1000 THB pp half day) – they picked us up in small songthaew (open air truck), along with some other people (several of them were up to 30 minutes late, which got everyone upset and cut into our climbing time), and in boat to Railay Beach. We stopped at their shop, got us outfitted, and walked us to the rocks to climb – the climbing was good but since there are other companies and up to 8 people in a group, you will need to wait around a bit to climb – you may get 3-4 climbs in. It was annoying that many of the guides were smoking much of the time though. We did see a bunch of monkeys on the wall walking back to the shop after the climb, which was cool though!
We saw a great review for a restaurant on Tripadvisor called “Ao Nang Boat Noodle” restaurant, so we took a tuk tuk there (100THB) from hotel. We got there and there was no one in the restaurant at 7pm. We got menus and they smelled like urine – we had to get up and leave because something seemed wrong. Glad we did. We walked down the main street a little bit and a few blocks down to the right in an alley, there were a few little makeshift shacks selling street food. I had a good feeling about it so we had some yummy pad thai (50 THB – about $1.25USD!) each and that filled us up. We met some people from LA ordering mango sticky rice there and there was a sudden rainstorm that happened out of nowhere but we had a good time and got back to our hotel drenched. It was a fun night. We ate at the stall before the shack pictured-closer to the street – a nice Muslim lady was doing the cooking and this was the view from her shack:
A great experience exploring yet again another part of Thailand!