Situated on the Krabi mainland is the small town of Ao Nang. This can be a great place to explore and enjoy a little bit on it’s own, or serve as a home base while discovering other parts of Krabi by taking long boats or tours out to the surrounding islands and landmarks.
We really only stayed here for about a day and a half and I thought that was the perfect amount. However, we didn’t take any tours or day trips from Ao Nang because we’re planning to do most of that in Railay Beach. We just adventured around the town and the surrounding mainland area.
After arriving from Koh Phi Phi by ferry in the late afternoon, we were provided free transportation to our hotel. We checked out the cloudy sunset on the beach before going back to our hotel and letting the overwhelming wave of exhaustion take over and lull us into a much needed sleep around 7 pm.
I woke up in the morning starving since we went to sleep without eating dinner the night before. We got up and ready and walked over to the breakfast buffet in our hotel. Fried eggs, boiled eggs, pineapple, croissants, fried rice, fried noodles, orange juice…. heart eyes!
From there we walked over to a moped rental shop and scored a sweet deal: 200 baht per day ($6 USD)! The kind man renting us the moped generously gave us some free fruit straight from his home. Thai people are so nice!?
From there we started our sunny countryside drive into Krabi to see Tiger Cave Temple. If I’m going to be honest here, I will willingly admit that being on a moped scares me way too much. I’d 100% rather jump out of a plane and go sky diving than drive a moped myself. What if we crash, what if we skid on the road and fall, what if we get hit? The possibilities and anxious worries are really endless but God bless Constantin for keeping his patience with me as I reminded him to be careful every three minutes and to “slow down” every time he accelerated.
Even though I was anxious the whole time, the cool wind hitting us felt amazing and the drive was stunning. We passed through some mountains that reminded me of mopeding through Yangshuo, China.
About 10 minutes from the temple, we hit traffic in a small town. As Constantin was trying to weave through cars, we hit a parked moped on the side of the road and I felt a sharp pain in my toe. We drove a bit to get away from the traffic then stopped on the side of the road because my toe hurt so bad. I broke it. We were 10 minutes away from climbing a 1,237 stair mountain and I broke my toe!!! After dying a little bit (it hurt really bad, okay?) I poured water over it, gently placed a bandaid on the cut and popped three ibuprofens before continuing onto Tiger Cave Temple.
Tiger Cave Temple:
Tiger Cave Temple is an absolute gem of Thailand! Because I was wearing track shorts, I had to “rent” a sarong wrap for 20 baht to place over my legs to show modesty and respect to the temple and monks. Women are required to cover their knees and shoulders when in temples. Men get to have a little bit more leniency. For example, my love got to wear HIS shorts. When we asked the Thai man I was renting my wrap from about Constantin’s shorts he replied “men wear anything!” with a smile on his face.
We walked on over to the start of the hike. The sign at the beginning read “1,237” but we really didn’t know what that entailed.
It was hot, humid, & sweaty (like “just got out of the pool” sweaty) and we the frequency of breaks we took were embarrassingly high. It probably took us around 30-45 minutes of walking up steep stairs in the baking sun to get to the top and reap our panoramic rewards. It was worth it.
We got to the top around 11, but I’d strongly suggest arriving and doing this hike as early as possible to avoid the suffocating heat as best you can.
The way down only took us about 20 minutes, then we headed straight to the market to gulp down some ice cold waters. In the market, there was a lady accepting 20 baht donations for the upkeep of the temple in return for a good luck bracelet. We both got one!
From there we checked out the Tiger Cave nearby. Monks were sitting on what resembled a stage and saying their prayers aloud while faithful buddhists kneeled before them.
The temple is named “Tiger Cave” because way back when, a monk used to come to the cave to meditate and he saw tigers roaming about. Seems simple enough, right?
From here, we wanted to go even further into Krabi town to check out the weekend market. As we were driving, it started sprinkling, then raining, then pouring down. We stopped on the side of the road to put on our rain jackets before continuing on into the town. The GPS started doing weird things, the rain was coming down really hard, and I was in perpetual fear that our scooter was going to slip on the wet roads and we’d become roadkill so we stopped at the closest place we could find that resembled a restaurant and took shelter from the downpour there. We walked straight into a Korean BBQ restaurant. A super local one too, because the menu was only in Thai so we ordered our food from the pictures. I had never tried Korean BBQ before but this was so delicious! We grilled our food right in front of us on the table.
After eating and trying to wait out the rain, we decided just to go for it and leave. Because we were only 5 minutes away from the location of the market, we drove toward it only to find out it wasn’t open yet.
The 30 minute drive back to our hotel in Ao Nang began, as did the downpour again. I couldn’t help but to laugh at the misery of the whole situation: raindrops pelting my face and eyes, my legs being completely wet, remembering I broke my toe just hours earlier… I was just praying we’d stay safe driving in the rain.
It was sunny back in Ao Nang– of course. Laying down on the hotel bed to rest from the morning’s explorations never felt so good.
Later in the afternoon, we hit up Monkey Trail. All the way down at the end of Ao Nang beach (if you’re facing the waves, walk left) is a national park trail that you can hike to see some monkeys! It’s about a 10 minute hike (one way) walking up and down wooden stairs and through the jungle.
We read online that the monkeys are supposed to be the most active around 5 ish in the afternoon because the workers from the resorts use this trail to get to and from work. They definitely were active when we went at this time!
Don’t bring food here!! The signs will tell you not to, but if you’re a tourist who’s just looking for some monkey lovins, you’ll probably ignore it. Don’t. Save yourself and keep the food at home. Monkeys are adorable, but from a distance. If they see you have food, they can get super aggressive and attack. A little girl in the family walking behind us actually started getting attacked and she didn’t even have food. She’s probably going to be scared of monkeys for the rest of her life, which is a shame. Just be careful, respectful and mindful of the monkeys and you should be totally fine. Don’t miss out on this hike!
Everywhere you go, you’ll hear Thai ladies yelling “massaaaage” as you walk by. They’re super cheap and definitely live up to their reputation! We decided to go to an open air massage place right on the side walk overlooking the ocean. That view, the ocean breeze, and sound of the ocean mixed with the yummy smell of the oils and creams while you’re getting a back massage… talk about paradise! My first Thai massage experience was nothing short of perfect.
Dinner by the water shortly followed and then a good night’s rest to recharge before heading off to Railay Bay the next morning!