Thursday 26 October 2006 – Ao Nang, Krabi Province, Thailand
I rose early and walked up to the view point on the hill overlooking Ton Sai. Another pancake for breakfast after a final wander around the island. Check out was 11am, so to stay cool until my 15.30 boat, I had a two hour Thai massage. The girl really worked on my shoulders which had been feeling the strain of lugging a bag around for two weeks. They now feel much better. Then I found a shady spot at a beachside bar and read for an hour before having some lunch and buying a t-shirt then boarding the boat, just before a light shower hit.
The coast of Krabi Province has more of the spectacular limestone formations of the islands, and Ao Nang is set amid stunning scenery. The tide was out as we landed at a river pier to the north of the main town on Noppharat Thara Beach (a national park). Being low tide the ferry could not dock at the pier, so we transferred to longtails a mile or so out, then to a songthaw for the short ride into Ao Nang.
I stopped at a convenient booking office which found me a very nice big room in the Verandah Hotel for 800 Baht per night, with aircon, a lovely bathroom and breakfast, along with access to the pool of the resort next door.
Ao Nang (or Ao Phra Nang, its full name – the southern Thais have a habit, perhaps like Australians, for abbreviation) is lovely. Much more chilled than Phuket or Phi Phi, quieter, not much traffic, friendly locals and touristed mostly by northern Europeans. (The many Israelis on the boat from Phi all got off at Railay Beach, around the headland, and only accessible via boat from Ao Nang).
By the time I checked in it was dark, so I went for a walk down to the hawker area and found an outdoor restaurant just off the beach with several vendors ranged about. Sat down at Potjawong’s Place and enjoyed some of the best Thai (Issan) food I’d had thus far. Raw prawns marinated in lime juice & spices, a terrific beef dish with a spicy dressing and a wonderful beef soup (Sup Nuua) – all wonderfully fresh and mouth0tinglinly spicy. Will come back each night I’m here.
The menu was well written in English and thoroughly explained the various dishes, dressings and their context and the differences between this, localised, version and what might be served elsewhere in Thailand. It stays open until 3am, so if I get up early enough, I could also come for breakfast!