I need to start off by saying that overall, Ao Nang was not the beach paradise I had thought it was. I should have done more research and stayed in Koh Lanta or Railey beach. I found the water at Ao Nang beach to be more muddy than anything else. Perhaps it was just the time of year?
We arrived at Ao Nang from Phi Phi Island via the ferry. Part of our “transport package” included hotel transfer. We stayed at Srisuksant Resort, you can read my review on Tripadvisor Here.
We were lucky enough to once again get upgraded, and we were put up in a room in the newer building. They had a lovely pool bar, and the staff were very helpful (they did struggle to speak English though). The receptionist organised us a scooter rental which we used all day, everyday (I’m not sure if all the companies are the same, but you need to hand in your passport as deposit – slightly scary for us first time travelers). The breakfast was delicious, with a large western and eastern selection. There is definitely something for everyone at the breakfast bar! The resort was very close to the beach, which seemed to me to be more of a fishing beach.
There is a busy nightlife area a short scooter ride away from the hotel, and we spent every evening there enjoying the street food and shopping. I had a delicious bbq corn and spring rolls. The quarter chickens on sticks were also lovely.
Because of the convenience of hiring a scooter, we were able to explore further afield. We got a little lost on one of our drives, and came across a shell market somewhere quite far out of town. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you where it was, as we were lost when we found it, and lost when we left it. The souvenirs were much cheaper there though!
We also drove past a large, laying down Buddha. Unfortunately it was getting dark as we drove by so we didn’t stop to explore.
The only excursion we booked during our stay was an elephant ride. We had read about elephant sanctuaries and about how the elephants are treated well. Unfortunately I can’t say I enjoyed this excursion at all, my expressions in all the photos are of me frowning. My mother asked me afterwards why I could just fake a smile for the pictures, but I really didn’t have it in me to try.
I don’t want to say the name of the place, as I am not 100% sure if it was that place (we booked through an agent), but I will honestly say that I will never do it again.
We rode through through the trees on the back of one of these gentle giants.The elephants were so beautiful, but had little cuts or wounds on their bodies. The guide had one of those hooks in his hand, and when I asked him what happened to the elephant, he spoke in Thai to another guide and they laughed. I’m not saying they are abusive as I didn’t witness anything first hand, I was just uncomfortable with having paid to partake in this industry. I have been told that there is a real sanctuary in Chiang Mai, where rescued elephants go to enjoy their retirement. I haven’t been there myself, but hopefully this is true.
After 3 days, our time in Ao Nang had come to an end. We weren’t really impressed with this part of our trip, but perhaps it was because Phi Phi Island was a hard act to follow. We booked a ferry back to phuket, and set off for the final leg of our Thailand adventure.