Anchorages at Krabi & Ao Nang Beach

Phuket Sailing Guide

The stunning beach and sea-mountain scenery of Krabi is now famous, many visitors extolling some of the beaches here as amongst the most beautiful in the world.

This is a geographic extension of the karst sea mountains of Phang Nga, reaching south into deeper, clearer waters and thus offering fine snorkeling and diving. In the northeast monsoon season anchorages here are protected, though the region is completely exposed during the southwest monsoon.

First discovered by cruising yachties and the backpack traveller set some years ago, it has now developed ashore with many bungalows, hotels and restaurants. A few larger hotel groups have opened resorts.

Krabi Town, with provisioning of a similar standard to Phuket available, can be accessed from Phra Nang by longtail boat or dinghy, or by road from Ao Nang.

Road transfer to Phuket Island takes about 2½ hours, a little less to Phuket airport. The recently opened Krabi airport is to the northwest of the town, about 40 minutes from Ao Nang. There are regular direct flights to Phuket, Bangkok and Singapore.

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Ao Nang

Koh Sam - Anchor in sand just south of the pair of islands in depths of around 4 metres. The water is very clear, and the shallows can easily be spotted. This is an excellent overnight stop in the northeast monsoon.

Dinghy excursions up the river are possible keeping close to the western shore at the entrance. Once over the bar, the water is deeper and the inlet is bounded by sandy beaches. The entrance is also suitable for speedboats and shallow draft vessels. Inside the river are two jetties used by small local boats. On the west bank is a bungalow resort development and on the east bank a road provides access to the main road to Krabi and Ao Nang.

Ao Nang - This wide, shallow bay lends a secure haven in the northeast season, with anchorage in about 5 metres well offshore.

Ao Nang is important due to its access to the main road to town, though it is the beauty of the beaches on the peninsula immediately south that have made Krabi world-famous. Rock walls prevent road access to these beaches. Resorts, bungalows, shops and restaurants are all along the beachfront road at Ao Nang.

Telephone, transport, and all the usual amenities of a growing resort town are now available. The local bus service into Krabi Town, about 20 km away, is by ‘song taew', a small truck with benches in the back.

Laem Nang (Southern Tip of Railay Beach)

Rai Le - Anchorage is in 4 - 5 metres on sand in the centre of the bay. This bay has spectacular stacks of rock forming headlands to the north and south. In the shade of the coconut palms fringing the beach, restaurants and bungalows tend to be frequented by budget travelers, contributing to the easygoing ambiance.

A reef, easily seen in the clear waters and a magnet for snorkelers, extends into the bay at the southern end of the beach. Walk along the headland at low tide, and find several caves, fissures and spectacular overhangs.

Going to the right on the beach, there are longtail boats for hire; there is no road access to this area due to the enclosing rock walls.

Tham Phra Nang - Just around the corner from the tall stack which forms Koh Nang is the most strikingly attractive palm-fringed bay in the region.

Anchorage with reasonable swinging room is possible for 3 or 4 vessels in 5 - 6 metres on a sandy bottom in the northeast monsoon season. Between Koh Nang and the beach is a colourful coral reef, excellent for snorkeling. This passage is definitely impassable for keel-boats, and even for dinghies it's advisable only at high water, whatever the activities of the local longtail boats might seem to suggest.

There is a famous cave at the south end of the beach with a colourful phallic shrine inside. Lots of rocky overhangs and outcrops offer themselves for exploring. Behind the beach lies the Rayavadee Resort, with 100 pavilions in a spectacular coconut-grove setting. Hotel facilities are for guests only. There is no access by road.

A new activity is now thriving in this location on the steep sided limestone pillars — sport rock climbing.

Krabi - Ao Nang Marine Chart

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